From the Pastor: First Holy Communion and Latin Leonine Prayers
At the Sunday 10:30 Mass a number of children from Epiphany, after what must seem like a lifetime of preparation and waiting, will receive their First Holy Communion. Please be sure to offer a prayer for them and, if you get a chance, congratulate them on what should be a most memorable day, the day they first receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist!
After the 8:00 am daily Masses this week I introduced the people to the Latin, rather than the English, Leonine Prayers, which are the ones said after each Low Mass. According to Wikipedia, “The Leonine Prayers are a set of prayers that from 1884 to early 1965 were prescribed for recitation by the priest and the people after Low Mass, but not as part of Mass itself. Hence they were commonly called Prayers after Mass. The name "Leonine" derived from the fact that they were initially introduced by Pope Leo XIII. They were slightly modified under Pope Pius X.
The intention for which the prayers were offered changed over time. Originally they were offered for the defence of the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See. After this problem was settled with the Lateran Treaty of 1929, Pope Pius XI ordered them to be said for the restoration to the people of Russia of tranquillity and freedom to profess the Catholic faith. This gave rise to the unofficial use of the name "Prayers for the Conversion of Russia" for the prayers.
The final form of the Leonine Prayers consisted of three Ave Marias, a Salve Regina followed by a versicle and response, a prayer for the conversion of sinners and the liberty and exaltation of the Catholic Church, and a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. Pope Pius X permitted the addition of the invocation "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us", repeated three times.
The Holy See's 26 September 1964 Inter Oecumenici which came into force on 7 March 1965, simply declared: "The Leonine Prayers are suppressed." However, many celebrations of Mass in the 1962 form are still followed by the same prayers with some discussion surrounding the intention for which they are offered.”
A number of people expressed interest in getting a copy of those Latin prayers so that they could practice saying them and/or memorizing them at home. Here they are. Feel free to cut them out and hang them on your refrigerator, or stick them in your prayer book, or place them wherever you might find them most useful.
Prayers after Low Mass (Oratio Leonis XIII)
(3X) Priest: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
All: Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatóribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
All: Salve Regína, Mater misericórdiae, vita, dulcédo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamámus, éxsules filii Evae. Ad te suspirámus geméntes et flentes in hac lacrymárum valle. Eia ergo, Advocáta nostra, illos tuos misericórdes óculos ad nos convérte. Et Iesum, benedíctum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exílium, osténde. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo María.
Priest: Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
All: Ut dígni efficiámur promissiónibus Christi.
Priest: Orémus. Deus, refúgium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa, et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Ioseph, eius Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
All: Sáncte Míchaël Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, Prínceps milítiæ Cæléstis, sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen.
(3X) Priest: Cor Iesu sacratissimum.
All: Miserére nobis.
As a final note, please pray for the people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg. They are currently looking for one or more priests to celebrate Mass for them on a weekly basis.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: He Is Risen But She Isn’t Doing So Well
Happy Easter, everyone! After a late Lent, it is finally time to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. He conquered death for us, something impossible for us to do without Him, as much as we try. When God created us, He gave us life. When we abandoned Him through sin, we chose death. But then we decided that we didn’t like death too much so we have been trying, unsuccessfully, to discover ways of living forever. Most of the time these attempts are done with God purposefully excluded from the equation. We have tried X + Y = eternal life; X - Y = eternal life; (X + 2√Y) / 3(A - B)⁵ = eternal life; (and every other equation we could find. X is our mortal life as we already have it. Y could be “diet” as in “add this food to your diet and you will live forever!” or “Don’t eat this food group and you will remain always young!” Y and the other variables could also be the Fountain of Youth, exercise, medicine, yoga, surgery, genetic manipulation, or any other number of supposed “cures” for death. About the only variable which cannot be added (and must be immediately subtracted should some dumb ox dare to mention it) is union with the one, true God. Oh, how foolish and stubborn we are!
The Catholic Church teaches and we must be absolutely sure of this: the answer (eternal life) will be achieved with or without God on the X side of the equation. If achieved with Him, it will be wonderful beyond our wildest imagination. If achieved without Him, it will be more dreadful than our worst nightmare. Sure, the Church never put this teaching quite like I just did. She teaches with much more eloquence, as in the following: “God created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” “Why,” you might ask, “is it necessary to know God?” A fine answer would be: “It is necessary to know God because without knowing Him we cannot love Him; and without loving Him we cannot be saved. We should know Him because He is infinitely true; love Him because He is infinitely beautiful; and serve Him because He is infinitely good.” Yes, Holy Mother Church teaches in just such a succinct and beautiful way in the Baltimore Catechism #3, questions 150 and 151.
What non-believers fail to understand is that God created us to be immortal so we are all assured of eternal life! Yes, we see death all around us and throughout history. We are not blind to that reality. Those who reject Divine Revelation chalk up death to purely natural causes. When the body is dead, the person is dead as far as they are concerned. Catholics, on the other hand, know that bodily death comes about due to sin rather than nature. We also know that the human soul is immortal and survives the death of the body. Furthermore, we know that, as happened with Our Lord’s previously dead body on Easter Sunday, all the human corpses, no matter their state of decomposition or even complete disintegration with a dispersed scattering of minute particles, will rise again at the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we all will rise again, body and soul, complete human beings. Some, the Saints, will rise glorified. Most, the damned, will rise hideous. Glorified bodies will share 5 qualities (BC #3, Q. 409). “1. Brilliancy, by which it gives forth light; 2. Agility, by which it moves from place to place as rapidly as an angel; 3. Subtility, by which material things cannot shut it out; 4. Impassibility, by which it is made incapable of suffering.” Can you imagine? Wow! In contrast, those who die separated from God will live eternally separated from Him. While in this world they might have been able to convince themselves that they didn’t need Him for happiness, Judgment Day will clarify what they have willingly and knowingly (even if only through culpable ignorance) given up. “The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because both mind and body had a share in their sins. The mind suffers the ‘pain of loss’ in which it is tortured by the thought of having lost God forever, and the body suffers the ‘pain of sense’ by which it is tortured in all its members and senses” (BC #3, Q. 1380). So everyone has eternal life, but each has a choice of spending it in Heaven or in Hell. Choose wisely!
I leave you now with this. The “She” who isn’t doing so well as stated in the title of this article is Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Unlike humans, who will live forever, buildings, even Churches, have limited lives. But like humans, they can sometimes be good and sometimes be bad, in a manner of speaking. She was built some 800 years ago and was beautiful beyond compare at that time. She was later desecrated in the 1790’s during the French Revolution and turned into the “Temple of Reason” as paganism sought to destroy Catholicism in a so-called “Enlightenment.” She survived and later was rebuilt in the mid 19th century to be even more magnificent than before. But the Faith was never restored to the country. And now the State-owned building (She doesn’t belong to the Church!) will be rebuilt in line with modern French values, according to a report from the Macron government. A Catholic/Muslim/”Nones”/Secular-humanist/Pagan hybrid? Please pray that True Faith triumphs!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Holy Week
This weekend we commemorate the second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday. That means that Holy Week is upon us! There are glorious, though sorrowful, liturgies during this week that I hope you will be able to attend and participate in. The Chrism Mass is held at the Cathedral of St. Jude on Tuesday at 11:30. Though I would love to see how this Mass is done in the Traditional RIte, that will not be the case this year. Bishop Parkes has not been celebrating Mass or Confirmations for a couple of months now due to his ongoing (but improving) foot condition so I am not sure if he will be the celebrant or not. At this Mass, the Bishop blesses the three oils which will be used for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Extreme Unction (the Sacrament of the Sick), and Holy Orders. It is always a beautiful Mass. You are all welcome to attend or to watch it live streamed on the diocesan webpage.
On Wednesday of Holy Week, at 7:00 pm, we will have the first of three Tenebrae services. Tenebræ is the name given to the service of Matins and Lauds belonging to the last three days of Holy Week, the Triduum. (Matins and Laudes are two parts of the Breviary which priests and religious pray daily. For Tenebrae, they are chanted by a schola in a very solemn tone. The church is in darkness except for candlelight. Candles are ceremoniously extinguished after each Psalm is completed, adding a reverence not often experienced while praying the Hours. You are welcome to come even if you are unable to stay for the whole ceremony, which will take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours each day. I will be hearing confessions during each Tenebrae service so you can listen with a clean soul!) Holy Thursday's Tenebrae is traditionally "anticipated", or chanted the evening before the actual day. This was done for practical reasons, as the Chrism Mass, which would be a long and complicated Mass for which to prepare and to celebrate, was traditionally held on Holy Thursday morning. No morning parish Masses were allowed so that the priests could join the Bishop at the Chrism Mass. Yet every parish had a Mass later, a Mass with plenty of “extras” in it, on Holy Thursday evening, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until at least midnight (or even all night long). The Bishop, the priests, the sacristans, the altar boys, the choirs, and many other people would probably need burials the following day if all of that was done (and done well) on Holy Thursday. The next day being Good Friday, when no Requiem Masses are allowed, they decided to move Tenebrae to the evening before. Whew! But wait, then something else happened. After the new Rites came out, Tenebrae services stopped, another Catholic tradition supposedly but not really done away with by Vatican II. Also, the Bishops were given permission to move the Chrism Mass to another, more convenient day. So now most priests, not celebrating Tenebrae and having already gone to the Chrism Mass two days before, just have a free day. Don’t get me wrong, most of us will be using that day to do last-minute preparation for the evening Mass, for the Good Friday service and for the Easter Vigil and Easter Masses, so we will be thankful for the uninterrupted hours, but it ain’t like the old days! Our next two Tenebraes will be on Good Friday and Holy Saturday mornings at 6:30 am both days.
The Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday will begin at 9:00 pm. We get the late time slot this year and St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission gets the early one, a reversal from last year. During the Mass, the ceremonial Washing of the Feet will take place, a rare time that the Mass is ever interrupted for anything. After Mass there is a procession, taking the Blessed Sacrament to a Repository, as the main tabernacle will remain empty for the next two days. Adoration will end, for most people, at midnight. (Just ask if you wish to spend the night.) During Adoration we will have the ceremonial Stripping of the Altar, which will remain bare except for a short time during the 3:00 pm Solemn Good Friday liturgy which includes Adoration of the Cross and a Communion service. Holy Saturday morning, after the previously mentioned Tenebrae, we will have, at 10:00 am, the traditional Blessing of the Easter Baskets, which will be filled, as last week’s bulletin showed, with wine, cheese, meats, dairy, eggs, and many other such things that were given up for Lent but will be a part of the Easter Feast.
Finally, at the end of the week, Easter begins! Last year we had the late starting time of 11:00 pm. This year we begin at 8:00 pm. The blessing of the New Fire and Paschal Candle will take place outside in front of the church. Once inside there is too much to describe, but we will have someone entering into the Church and receiving several Sacraments. Ashley Durand, whom some of you may already know, especially through CEW and CGS, will be making a Profession of Faith and officially enter in the Catholic Church, then be Confirmed, exchange Vows of Holy Matrimony with Justin, and, at the Mass, receive her First Holy Communion! (Psst... Justin, you can forget the calendar date of your anniversary as long as you remember that you were married at the Easter Vigil!)
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Unplanned
I went to see the movie Unplanned this week. I don’t get out to the movies too often, although I just saw Garabandal, so, though it’s only April I have now already seen two more movies than I saw in all of last year. At the ticket window was a group of 4, ahem, mature women. They couldn’t hear the ticket teller through the tinny-sounding speaker but they each had questions and they wanted answers. They were each talking at the same time, some asking the teller questions, some telling her they couldn’t understand her and others carrying on seeming random conversations with whichever other friend happened to not be speaking at the moment. The couple in front of me was getting a bit antsy as the minutes wore on, since the movie was about to start, but they were amused by the way the ladies just kept talking and switching places and misplacing their canes, which they kept either leaning against the booth or hanging from the little ledge before they moved around to yell into the microphone before being shoved aside by another one trying to put her ear to the speaker. The couple behind me (and that was the extent of the line) kept commenting on prices and discounts and how they compared to the Veterans 24. The mention of the AMC Veterans 24 reminded me that I stopped going to AMC theaters after I went to that theater one weekday afternoon and was told that I had to pick my seats before getting a ticket. I had never heard of such a thing but was assured that it was an AMC policy to keep people from fighting over seats when the place was crowded. That particular afternoon there were probably only a dozen people attending the matinee but, wouldn’t you know it, they were all loud talkers and bright texters and they all sat right around me. I switched to Regal theaters from then on, which is why I drove all the way to Regal Citrus Park instead of the closer AMC Westshore. Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention to the ticket prices or senior discounts until this couple started complaining about an upcharge of $2.00 for reclining seats. What? I never noticed any reclining seats before. Interesting. Finally, the group at the window figured out how much money they owed for their tickets and, of course, each paid separately. Not one of them pulled out their wallet ahead of time. Once each made it to the lone cashier, acted like she just realized that money would be needed, searched for the latch on her purse, searched even further for her wallet in one of the dozens of zippered pockets, finally found the little wallet where the dollar bills were stowed, carefully counted out the money, searched for the change purse, counted out the coins, received the ticket, put the bill purse and coin purse back in an excruciatingly carefully selected opening of the large purse, and, after once again closing all the zippers on the purse and finding her cane, walked, with the cane carried carefully in the crook of the arm, a step or two off to the side to continue whatever conversation she had been engaged in ten minutes before. Thirty minutes (it seemed) later, the couple in front of me stepped up to the window and laughed with the cashier about the spectacle they had just witnessed. The girl (at least my age) behind the bullet-proof glass was very amiable but was not about to make fun of the prior group. “They are all like that! It’s just like being with my mom at the Publix checkout!” she proclaimed, obviously enjoying her job. This couple had in hand a piece of paper to show her. “Did you purchase these tickets online?” the girl asked, already knowing the answer, “Then you didn’t need to stand in line. This is your ticket so just hand it to the man inside.” To their credit, both husband and wife laughed at themselves and the wife joked about not being taken out to the movies often enough. “Will he tell us where to go?” she asked, regarding the doorman, and then, with a grin and turning toward me, continued, “and I mean in a GOOD way!” as if anticipating where I might have told her to go. Finally, it was my turn. Guess what? I had to choose seats. “You can choose just about anywhere, honey. This is the front, this is the rear.” Hoo, boy. I guess I am done going to Regal theaters, too. Now I understood why the ladies kept switching positions. You cannot see the seating chart without moving at least one step left. I got my ticket and 30 cents change from a $10 bill. I caught up with everyone. The group had made it inside but were just standing there talking. The couple was still at the entrance, as the man taking tickets couldn’t figure out which theater to send them too. It was truly comical. Finally, exasperated, they pointed to me and said, “We’ll just follow him. I bet he’s going to see the same movie that we are.” Sure enough, we were all there to see Unplanned, though I got to my seat first. A recliner. They were all recliners. I checked my ticket. It had a senior discount (unasked for) and the recliner upcharge. The ladies group sat right in front of me and spent ten minutes giving each other instructions on how to make the seat recline.
And the movie? Need you ask? GO SEE IT!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka