From the Pastor: The Feast of the Holy Machabees
On Monday we celebrate the Feast of a holy group of men, Mathathias and his sons, the Machabees. When is the last time you read the two books of the Machabees in your bible? There may never be a better time to do so than this week. Men, I ask you especially to read this to or with your boys, for it teaches lessons on manhood, on faithfulness, on courage, and other now-lost aspects of what it is to be a true man of God. And, for the ladies and girls, there is one of the best examples of faithful motherhood in book two! The first book starts out with an evil king conquering nation after nation, taking everything of value, and instilling fear in all others. It shows how even Jerusalem, God’s holy city, was ravaged and sacked. Many of God’s people, having more fear of death than fear of God, did even abominable sins and renounced their faith in order to please this evil king with the hopes of being left alive, even if left in squalor. Here we will see, though, that when just one man, Mathathias, retains his faith and is willing to risk everything for the glory of God, others will follow him and God will bring miraculous victories. Let me give you just a taste of the second chapter of the first book to whet your appetite.
And they that were sent from king Antiochus, came thither, to compel them that were fled into the city of Modin, to sacrifice, and to burn incense, and to depart from the law of God. And many of the people of Israel consented and came to them: but Mathathias and his sons stood firm. And they that were sent from Antiochus, answering, said to Mathathias: Thou art a ruler, and an honourable, and great man in this city, and adorned with sons, and brethren. Therefore, come thou first, and obey the king's commandment, as all nations have done, and the men of Juda, and they that remain in Jerusalem: and thou, and thy sons shall be in the number of the king's friends, and enriched with gold, and silver, and many presents.
Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments: I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers. God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: We will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way.
Now as he left off speaking these words, there came a certain Jew in the sight of all to sacrifice to the idols upon the altar in the city of Modin, according to the king's commandment. And Mathathias saw, and was grieved, and his reins trembled, and his wrath was kindled according to the judgment of the law, and running upon him he slew him upon the altar: Moreover the man whom king Antiochus had sent, who compelled them to sacrifice, he slew at the same time, and pulled down the altar, And shewed zeal for the law, as Phinees did by Zamri, the son of Salomi.
And Mathathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: Every one that hath zeal for the law, and maintaineth the testament, let him follow me. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that they had in the city. Then many that sought after judgment, and justice, went down into the desert And they abode there, they and their children, and their wives, and their cattle: because afflictions increased upon them... And all they that fled from the evils, joined themselves to them, and were a support to them. And they gathered an army, and slew the sinners in their wrath, and the wicked men in their indignation: and the rest fled to the nations for safety. And Mathathias and his friends went round about, and they threw down the altars: And they circumcised all the children whom they found in the confines of Israel that were uncircumcised: and they did valiantly. And they pursued after the children of pride, and the work prospered in their hands: And they recovered the law out of the hands of the nations, and out of the hands of the kings: and they yielded not the horn to the sinner.
Now the days drew near that Mathathias should die, and he said to his sons: Now hath pride and chastisement gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation: Now, therefore, O my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. And call to remembrance the works of the fathers, which they have done in their generations: and you shall receive great glory, and an everlasting name.... And thus consider, through all generations: that none that trust in him, fail in strength... You, therefore, my sons, take courage, and behave manfully in the law: for by it you shall be glorious... And you shall take to you all that observe the law: and revenge ye the wrong of your people. Render to the Gentiles their reward, and take heed to the precepts of the law. And he blessed them, and was joined to his fathers.
You can find the rest of the story in your own bible.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Personal Pronoun Enforcement Time!
Recently, I was reading a news article and couldn’t figure out who in the heck was being written about after the first few sentences of the article. The pronouns didn’t make any sense to me. Without explaining in the article, the writer was using non-normal or abnormal personal pronouns when referring to one of the characters in the story. I could also classify this use of incorrect pronouns the way I just did (they are “incorrect”) or by saying that they are non-normative or that they are a misuse of proper English. But however I classify them, there will be people who claim that I am the one not classifying them properly. They will even accuse me of being transphobic, homophobic, racist, and pre-Vatican II because I did not say that the willful misuse of personal pronouns is both perfectly acceptable and mandatory. But caring about understanding a news story (hence, I read it in English rather than in Greek) does not make me a -phobe of any sort. In fact, not another single article I read in that same publication misused personal pronouns, and, by using “normal” pronouns for “normal” people they show that either each reporter and editor (other than those responsible for the original subject of this article) is also pre-Vattranshomoraciphobic or else they show that normal is normal and abnormal is just for show.
The fact that an avid English reader such as myself cannot understand an English news article shows that it certainly is not normal at all to use the wrong pronouns. For, even if I had been reading a very detailed article written using highly specialized terms, such as an article in a prestigious medical journal dealing with the latest technological advances in fighting off Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia on a hot summer day, I should be able to understand, due to proper use of personal pronouns, whether the author is quoting the doctor or the patient or anyone else already specified in the article, even if it took me a while to figure out that they were discussing what is commonly known as “brain freeze” from eating ice cream too quickly.
I sort of feel sorry for the reporters nowadays. I can picture them sitting alone in their apartments, masked up, with CNN on in the background stating once again, “Thank Fauci-god that Joe Biden is 5 times jabbed and masked because he just tested positive for covid once again!” trying to enter personal pronouns into the story of a lady and her two adult daughters, but, being reporters rather than biologists, not being able to distinguish just how many women, if any, were just interviewed. It must be extremely difficult to use sex-specific pronouns when one cannot distinguish between males and females! But, realizing that I am just an old fuddy duddy (see, even the use of such a term shows how ancient I am) who is behind the times, I decided to examine more closely the whole “pronoun” thing to see if I could catch up. I found a quite amusing table of woke genderbender-identifying information.
Pronouns: In a sentence:
she/her/hers She wants you to use her pronouns.
he/him/his He wants you to use his pronouns.
ze/hir Ze wants you to use hir pronouns.
they/them/theirs They want you to use their pronouns.
co/cos Co wants you to use cos pronouns.
No pronoun (use the person’s name instead of a pronoun) ___(name) wants you to use ___(name) pronouns.
xe/xem/xyr Xe wants you to use xyr pronouns.
hy/hym/hys Hy wants you to use hys pronouns.
Have you ever seen such nonsense? You have if you work for the government or a woke company. I know that some of you have had to sit through “inclusivity” or “anti-hate” indoctrination meetings which teach such very strange things as this. You can even find name tag stickers online that say, “Hello! My Name Is... My Pronouns are...”
Needless to say, I think it is a travesty that the elites are allowing individual people to insist that we pervert the English language just so that they can feel smug about themselves for a brief moment. That the official press “stylebooks” mandate such usage for their reporters just adds to the madness. But I am not averse to piling on even more madness! So next week, when I go in for my gynecological exam (on what grounds could the insurance company deny that bill?!?), I plan to fill out the information form stating that my personal pronouns are “My lord and My god / All hail the king / I’m a little teapot” with the notation that the last pronoun must be sung when it is used.
In closing, Ze was going to try writing the last one of xyr’s sentences using hers various pronouns but co wasn’t quite sure how to write them’s pronouns and didn’t want to make theirs cry by using the incorrect ones incorrectly.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Catholic Enrichment Week
This week our Catholic Enrichment Week went swimmingly well. Without any literal swimming, of course, but we did play in the rain a little bit. Many parishes hold summer Vacation Bible Schools which are usually fun and glitzy protestant play- and sing-fests with a song and a Bible verse to memorize each day. They sometimes use a “Catholic” version of it which doesn’t actually make it Catholic but it removes any overtly anti-Catholic teachings from the box. For the most part, they are glorified babysitting services used by the parents to keep their children busy for a few hours a day without having to supervise them themselves. I can’t say I blame them, for a whole summer of breaking up sibling arguments and listening to “I’m bored!” can get pretty rough. But our program is better, and I take no credit for this whatsoever, for years ago someone who always wishes to remain nameless and gets embarrassed if I give her credit, said, “I think I can put something together with some real meat. May I?” And she did. And it has grown every year, with more and more volunteers teaching, watching, preparing, cleaning up, and doing everything else needed to pull it off. I am always impressed.
This week the focus of the teachings and crafts and other things was “The Mass.” It began on Monday morning with a very informative and scholarly history of the Mass taught by She Who Will Not Be Named. I don’t know how many hours, days, weeks, and months she puts into her presentations but they are always packed full of facts, stories, dates, trivia, and other, dare I say, intelligent information. She doesn’t try to teach to the lowest level of interest, of Catholic education, of ability to sit quietly, or anything like that. She treats the children to a cluster of facts and figures that even the adults can (and do) learn from and lets everyone simply absorb what they are capable of taking in. That approach keeps it from being dull for the most interested of “students” and it is never too “dumbed down” for anyone in the group. It is amazing what even the youngest or least informed (some are new to Catholicism, some new to Tradition) will pick up if you just give them the chance!
Tuesday brought the incomparable Fr. Paul Pecchied all the way from the North Pole (or Brooksville, I get them mixed up sometimes). He gave a talk on the colors and other symbols used in the Mass. He spoke about light and darkness, triangles and circles, the vestment colors of red, green, rose, black, violet, white, gold, silver, plaid, checkered, and mauve (or maybe I misheard part of that), plus he threw in a little Greek to explain the Chi Rho and maybe even a few other languages as well. He is well versed in all things Catholic and presents with a little bit of humor and a lot of New York attitude. We were blessed that he could make it and help us out.
On Wednesday we had our resident musical hippie, Anders Bergmann. He more than makes up for my lack of hair with his long trusses but he keeps it all wrapped up in a man-bun, probably because if he wore a ponytail I would call him a hippie. Like I just did. Don't’ tell him! He probably doesn’t read the bulletin and won’t know what I said! Unlike the hippies of my day, he didn’t bring a guitar and tambourine with him for his presentation, though. He gave a history of Church music. Once again, we had in him a presenter who was not about to give a childish presentation to the children but, rather, gave a lesson worthy of an adult audience. Some of the children were very keen and already well-informed musically and they probably followed everything he said completely. Others would have only gotten part of it. But even the littlest learned more and were actually more interested in the talk than adults usually give them credit for. When we are afraid of “talking over their heads” we wind up with musical presentations including rounds of “Michael, row your boat ashore” or worse, with the excuse that “it keeps their attention.” It also keeps them from learning about how good liturgical music helps them pray!
The last two presentations were given by your pastor. Uggghhh. I know, but they ran out of good presenters and, when they were scraping the bottom of the barrel, there I was. My two presentations were on “How to use a Missal.” Why did I get two days and everyone else only got one? Because I am the pastor, of course! Plus, I talk a lot and need more time than allotted in just one day. Of course, I am having to write this before I have given my presentations, but I assume that nobody died of boredom and that all of the children now know how to use their missals. Most of them may already have their own personal missals (I can hope, at least) and already know how to use them. So my first day’s talk was to be just reiterating the basics: The Sunday Masses’ changeable parts (prayers and reading which differ each week) are in the front of most missals. The Daily Masses’ changeable parts (much more difficult to follow) are in the rear. And the unchangeable parts of the Mass are in the middle. The second day’s talk was to be “How to use your missal to pray the Mass while ignoring what I taught you yesterday.” How did it go? Ask the children!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: The Brown Scapular
This coming Saturday, July 16, is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. At the end of Mass, I will gladly enroll anyone who has not yet been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular as long as they bring a Brown Scapular with them. You only need to be enrolled once in your life and this is traditionally done at First Holy Communion, but some of you may not have had that grace given to you. You know how traditions have fallen by the wayside in recent decades, after all. So have a scapular at hand and come to Mass on Saturday! Below is some great information gleaned from the website sistersofcarmel.com which happened to be the first non-advertisement google result for brown scapulars. Edited for readability in this space.
In the year 1251, in the town of Aylesford in England, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a brown woolen scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites and who perpetually wear it.
True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary consists in three things: VENERATION, CONFIDENCE AND LOVE. By simply wearing the Scapular, we can tell her every moment of the day that we venerate her, love her and trust in her protection.
The Scapular Is a Silent Prayer
As Our Lord taught us to say the Our Father, Our Blessed Mother taught us the value of the scapular. When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. It is good, therefore, to hold the scapular in the hand. A prayer offered while holding the Scapular is as perfect as a prayer can be. It is especially in time of temptation that we need the powerful intercession of God’s Mother. The evil spirit is utterly powerless when the wearer of a scapular faces temptation, calling upon the Holy Virgin in this silent devotion. “If you had recommended yourself to me, you would not have run into such danger,” was Our Lady’s gentle reproach to Blessed Alan de la Roche, one of her devoted servants.
Enrollment in the Confraternity
To be eligible for the scapular promise, one must be enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. This is a simple ceremony which can be performed by any priest (see below). The members of the Confraternity have the added benefit of sharing in all the spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order.
The Sabbatine Privilege
The Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular from the fires of hell; She will also shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment.
This promise is found in a Bull of Pope John XXII. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and, speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular, said, “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
The Blessed Virgin assigned certain conditions which must be fulfilled:
1. Wear the Brown Scapular continuously.
2. Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single).
3. Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin OR Observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR With permission of a priest, say five decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary OR With permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.
The Morning Offering
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss the scapular as a sign of your consecration), I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
THE ROSARY AND THE SCAPULAR ARE INSEPARABLE. PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY.
And now for a few departing remarks from your pastor. I wear the brown scapular always and everywhere. I used to take it off when swimming or bathing because I was used to the cheapo versions of it falling apart in water, but discovered that if I purchased a good quality scapular (see the site the above info came from) it could withstand even a good scrubbing! Plus, it stays clean and smells fresh without my having to carefully wash it. My brown scapular keeps me united to my mother Mary. It doesn’t take much time to say the morning offering and to kiss my scapular yet it starts me on the path towards Heaven even before I’ve celebrated Mass. Get enrolled and wear yours, too!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: What Will Become Of Us?
The Supreme Court ruled that the legality or illegality of abortion must be returned to the states. They rightly pointed out that the US Constitiution does not give the Federal Government authority to make abortion legal. What they failed to state is that no State Government should be able to legalize the murder of children in the womb, either. But at least it is a start toward that reality and will save countless lives and even more souls. But, judging from the demonic howls of leftists, you would think that abortion is now illegal everywhere in the world (as it should be). There are a few states which already had laws in place stating that, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, abortion would be illegal in that state. But lawsuits have already been filed asking to stay those laws and overturn them as soon as possible. Several Attorneys General in such states have already announced that they will not enforce those laws regardless of what the courts decide. Yes, the demons are boldly revealing themselves. “We must kill children! The torture, dismemberment, and sales of the resultant dead baby body parts is our Right/Rite!” they chant, scream, and screech, though they dress up those words in such a way as to make the grim reality more palatable for those too squeamish to admit the truth about it. There are cries that Democracy is dead, that our Country cannot survive without abortion, and that the Supreme Court must be eliminated. More on this later.
Large, woke, mega-Corporations have announced to great fanfare that they will pay huge sums of money to their employees who wish to kill their children in utero, all to keep them working, for the bottom line is more important than the child’s life, and it is cheaper to pay for “abortion vacations” than to pay maternity leave. Some previously unknown group is currently threatening a “sex boycott” encouraging women to stop sleeping around with men until they go to the vet and get fixed. Wow! It sounds almost (almost, mind you) like they want to bring back abstinence outside of marriage and chastity in dating!
The “funny” thing about this is that suddenly everyone and their brother (or sister or trans something or other) actually knows what a woman is. Excluding, that is, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who should be sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice by the time you read this article. But all of the other pro-deathers keep repeating that men should have no say in abortion “rights” even though they said until last week that men can get pregnant! This week, only women can get pregnant and only women can interpret the Constitution and only women can join the sex boycott (since men boycotting it would, presumably, be a means of controlling and subjugating women to their own whims, or something like that).
Although it would have been written and submitted long before the Dobbs case overturned Roe, the comic strip Dilbert poked fun of this woke nonsense about not being able to distinguish between men and women just last Sunday. In the June 26 strip, Wally told his boss that he had to go home because of “cramps” (and not leg cramps) claiming, “I identify as a birthing human.” He continued, “To be honest, I am only doing it for the benefits, but I believe that my scheme is allowed under our current guidelines, is it not?” Yes, it is only a comic strip but it points out the absolute absurdity of claiming that men and women are distinguishable only by how they self-identify rather than by biology. All of the “elite” in our society seem to have embraced such nonsense to the point that the aforementioned new Justice was not laughed out of the room and out of contention for her coveted spot when she(?) could not define what a woman is, claiming that she(?) “isn’t a biologist.”
Assuming that at least some states wake from Woke and outlaw child murder, what will become of America? Is Democracy dead without abortion? I think it already was dead but, like a zombie, still kept some slight appearance of being alive. The recent covid authoritarianism and last “election” quite clearly exposed our “zombie democracy” for what it is. (That the Supreme Court could invent a “right” to abortion out of thin air without the other two branches immediately putting that lie to rest, and without an immediate revolution from the people in the voting booths, shows that Democracy was sickly even before we started killing our children by the millions.) Can our Country survive without abortion? I am not sure but at least it will die with some states having regained dignity. We may see the Divided States of America. Imagine California not allowing the import or sale of any food, goods, or services if the parent company has any dealings with a pro-life state. Same with the major mega-Corporations and sports authorities. No, those leftists who demand open borders today will demand walls around the pro-life states tomorrow, to intimidate, threaten, and even starve them into abortion acceptance once again. They will sacrifice even their own people to achieve this end. Will the Supreme Court be eliminated? Probably not. One leftist was already apprehended while attempting to murder a “conservative” Justice. More will follow his footsteps. If successful, the Court, rather than being eliminated, will simply be filled with immoral ignoramuses aplenty.
But all is not lost. Maybe, just maybe, we still have enough (mostly silent until now) moral people willing to openly fight for life now that it looks like we have a chance. May God give supernatural grace to the “good guys” in this battle!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka