He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Let Us Repair Damage Caused By Sin
This week we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday and, by means of an External Solemnity, once again on Sunday. In 1928 Pope Pius XI promulgated an encyclical titled in English, On Reparation to the Sacred Heart, in which he commanded that an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus be made every year on this Feast. Here are just a few of his closing words explaining what this Act is and why it should be done. Below this quote is the actual Act which we prayed on Friday and which I am asking you to pray again today.
20. These things being so, Venerable Brethren, just as the rite of consecration, starting from humble beginnings, and afterwards more widely propagated, was at length crowned with success by Our confirmation; so in like manner, we earnestly desire that this custom of expiation or pious reparation, long since devoutly introduced and devoutly propagated, may also be more firmly sanctioned by Our Apostolic authority and more solemnly celebrated by the whole Catholic name. Wherefore, we decree and command that every year on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, - which feast indeed on this occasion we have ordered to be raised to the degree of a double of the first class with an octave - in all churches throughout the whole world, the same expiatory prayer or protestation as it is called, to Our most loving Savior, set forth in the same words according to the copy subjoined to this letter shall be solemnly recited, so that all our faults may be washed away with tears, and reparation may be made for the violated rights of Christ the supreme King and Our most loving Lord.
21. There is surely no reason for doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth not only to individual men but also to society, sacred, civil, and domestic... And this indeed we more especially and vehemently desire and confidently expect, that the just and merciful God who would have spared Sodom for the sake of ten just men, will much more be ready to spare the whole race of men, when He is moved by the humble petitions and happily appeased by the prayers of the community of the faithful praying together in union with Christ their Mediator and Head, in the name of all...
Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O sweet Jesus, Whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thy altar eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.
Mindful alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the vows of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy Law.
We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holidays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints.
We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.
Would, O divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thy eternal Father on the cross and which Thou dost continue to renews daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.
O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may one day come to that happy home, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: A Monstrance Proposal
Below is an article that I found years ago in a Catholic newspaper. (I think it was in The Wanderer but I don’t have pertinent information attached to the article. Sorry about that.) After all these years the humor remains on target. And, since today we celebrate the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi, it just begs for a re-reading.
At a time when the Church is sunk deep in controversy, faithful Catholics everywhere should be prepared to step forward when asked and be bridge builders, heal rifts. This struck me especially when I read the recent article in (a Catholic newspaper) about Bishop (redacted) of (redacted) Fla., who has directed that eucharistic exposition should not take place except during what we neatly and concisely used to call “Forty Hours,” but which now must be referred to by this ear-catching title: the “annual Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist.”
Here is a rift. Catholics all over the country are getting into perpetual adoration, Forty Hours, and all other kinds of neat stuff. Other Catholics insist that Jesus is in the gathered community just as surely as He is in the “consecrated bread.” In fact, they think that focusing on the “consecrated bread” detracts from the focus which ought to be on the gathered community.
How does one reconcile these two dramatically diverging views on the Eucharist?
I have solved this dilemma. With apologies to Jonathan Swift, I call it “A Monstrance Proposal.”
The actual concept, which I have copyrighted, is quite simple. You need first to envision the configuration of our parish church. It is large (seats 1,000), cruciform, but there was a renovation (O blessed word!) in 1975 which brought the sanctuary forward to the center of the cross, with the choir and organ in the old sanctuary area behind the altar. It was a very carefully done 1970’s renovation, and the result is truly appalling; but that is the subject of another article and we need to move along here.
We understand that we need to emphasize the Presence of Christ in the gathered community at least as much as, if not more than, we emphasize Him in the Eucharist. To this end, we are removing the choir section of our church, that section behind the current altar, and replacing it with a platform on which we will build a 20-foot tall, six-seater monstrance – a monstrance capable of sitting six parishioners in the glass chamber. We will then begin perpetual adoration.
Six parishioners at a time will take turns climbing up and sitting in the monstrance while the rest of us will take turns worshiping Them. Or their gatheredness. Or Jesus in their gatheredness. Or whatever. It’s all a bit fuzzy just yet, which makes me sure that we are on the right track. This is going to be Big. I am waiting for the call from Modern Liturgy magazine anytime now. I expect to be its centerfold.
Why, you may ask, am I offering this proposal? That is an easy question to answer. On the one hand, you have the perpetual adoration people, on the other hand, the Jesus-in-the-gathered community people. Why have another liturgical argument? Make them both happy, I say!!! Take the gathered community, and stick Them in the monstrance. Then worship Their gatheredness. You want perpetual adoration?? Make Them present all the time and you can have perpetual adoration of Their gatheredness.
Each hour of adoration sees a new crew of six climb into the monstrance, and two perpetual adorers assume the lotus position on the beanbags which have replaced pews and kneelers in our church. A devotional booklet of inclusive language campfire songs is available in the devotional booklet rack in the vestibule, conveniently placed between the soda machine and the tabernacle, just before you get to the unisex restroom. Each hour begins with the singing either of Gather Us In, our gathering song for every liturgy, or, for more traditional groups, the traditional thanksgiving hymn, We Gather To Gather To Gather Together.
People are very receptive to the introduction of gathered/enhanced spirituality, as I like to call it, as long as it is presented in the context of the tradition.
Our next step, for example, has to do with the bread plate, traditionally the “paten.” We will be reminding everyone how, years ago when we were in school, the good sisters (yes, this was years ago!) told us that when we were at Mass we should remember all those for whom we wished to pray, and “place them on the paten” as the priest presented it.
Our next liturgical step comes right out of that tradition. We will be fashioning a very large bread plate, probably about 12 feet in diameter, and affixing it to chains hanging from the ceiling. At the presentation of the gifts during the Eucharistic Liturgy, four designated “gifts” from among our parishioners will come up and hop into the suspended bread plate, singing Make Us Your Bread Lord Jesus; Then Break Us Up and Pass Us Around. We expect this will be stunningly effective.
There are still little kinks in our customs which need to be worked out (for example, on one’s way into church, if one passes by little gathered knots of parishioners, does one genuflect to Them, or is a mere bow sufficient?), but with a bit of goodwill everything will be worked out. It is all very exciting, as our people become a Eucharistic People to such an extent that they begin to wear little battery-operated sanctuary lamps in their lapels.
I sense a new age of Renewal coming on….
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka