From the Pastor: Prayers in English and Latin
A couple of weeks back I mentioned in a homily that there is a Catholic prayer to be recited generally three times a day but which I never knew, let alone prayed. A good old Jesuit priest taught it to me through example at a parish at which we were both assigned. It is called, “grace after meals.” Yes, there is a prayer for after meals as well as before. The prayer before the meal is actually called the “blessing” even though I had always heard the word “grace,” used, as in, “Let’s say grace so we can eat!” This holy Jesuit priest, God rest his soul, used to complain that poorly educated Catholics too often prayed like protestants at meals. By this he meant that the “blessing” was actually more of a “thanks for everything” prayer that had to be unique every time (rote prayers being too Catholic), include different things to be thankful for every time, had to show off theological competence, had to be poetic or filled with grandeur, and was, therefore, always unduly long and burdensome. “What is wrong with starting the meal with a simple request for God’s blessing upon the people and the food and concluding with thanks for everything He has provided, and remembering in a special way to pray for the faithful departed, which in turn reminds us to strive always for a happy death?” I am poorly paraphrasing him, for whenever he said this he made sound it pretty darn funny!
Enough reminiscing, though. After the homily, I was asked to publish the grace after meals prayer so that those who don’t have the benefit of a Jesuit mentor at their table could also use and memorize it. Before I remembered to put it in the bulletin, though, I mentioned, as I encouraged the men to pray the 54 day Rosary Novena using at least the three major prayers in Latin, that exorcists tell us that the devil hates Latin. Someone then asked for the mealtime prayers also in Latin. Yikes! I have set the bar pretty high, it seems, even higher than I have ever jumped, having never memorized these particular prayers in Latin myself. But, since you asked for it, here goes.
Blessing before meals
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bénedic, Dómine, nos et haec tua dona, quae de tua largitáte sumus sumptúri. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.
Grace after meals
We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Agimus tibi grátias , omnípotens Deus, pro univérsis benefíciis tuis, qui vivis et regnas in saécula saeculórum. Amen. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.
There are several English versions of this prayer, each differing slightly. Since this is the version which I learned, this must be the proper one! I take the same stance with the St. Michael prayer after the low Mass. Rather than the one printed in the book (which varies from missal to missal anyway), I use the one I memorized years ago. I also do the same with the Angelical Salutation, for I greatly prefer “amongst women” instead of the more modern dropping of the “st” and I adamantly refuse to switch to “you” from “thee”, to “are you” from “art thou” and to “your” from “thy”. Although there are often differences in translations from the original Latin into any other language, strangely enough I also found a slightly different version of the Latin grace after meals. It begins, “Grátias agimus tibi” and then the rest of the prayer is in the same word order. Why the difference? I don’t know. The meaning is the same, as the word order of Latin is very fluid.
And finally, in case you threw away your old bulletin with these prayers, here you go again.
Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur Nomen Tuum. Adveniat regnum Tuum, fiat voluntas Tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris, et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; Benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Per orationem tuam sanctitatem,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Demonic Political Party Stances
A few years back I wrote an article which is worth printing once again, especially as so many people are praying a novena for our nation. It deals with political parties (note: without mentioning any in particular) and their members/voters. In the article I did not tell anyone who to vote for or against, yet some were offended that I warned them of eternal consequences awaiting those who purposefully choose to support any party which champions intrinsic evil. So be it. Better to offend while teaching and perhaps saving souls than make people feel good about voting/supporting their way to eternal damnation. In this year’s convoluted election, though, you still have a lot to discern beyond this basic warning. Anyway, here it is in its entirety below.
There are some businesses and “social organizations” that hold values so contrary to the Catholic Faith that no Catholic may belong to them. Such organization could, perhaps, hold to other morally acceptable tenets and might even do some very good work but the evils they hold simply cannot be overlooked on account of the good. Along with that reality comes the logical correlation that if any member of such an organization were running for any public office, from dog catcher to mayor or even further up the scale, no Catholic may, with right conscience, vote for him/her, given other options.
A business example is Planned Parenthood. Many worldly people gush at the supposed “good” PP does while distributing cheap contraceptives and aborting babies but no Catholic could ever volunteer at or be employed by PP without cooperating in those mortal sins. Nor could any Catholic vote for, in any election or for any office, a PP employee or staunch supporter for the same reason, if there is an opponent who does not embrace intrinsic evil.
An example of a “social organization” of this ilk is the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK promotes hatred of Catholics, Jews and Blacks. No Catholic could possibly claim membership in such a club nor could any Catholic vote for a member of the KKK if one were running for any political office, even if the member was a well-known philanthropist. Should a Catholic join the Klan with the explanation, “Well, I don’t agree with their stand on certain matters but they are a bunch of good guys most of the time with whom I simply enjoy getting together and sharing a few laughs. I leave the meetings when they go on a lynching so they know where I stand on that,” nobody would buy it. A Catholic would have to basically renounce his faith to either become a Klan member or support a Klan member in an election. It would not matter what his “conscience” told him or how much he “prayed” on it.
Whether brand new or generations old, if the organization’s charter puts it directly at odds with morality, especially if it officially endorses intrinsic evil, no Catholic should ever voluntarily become or remain a member once they understand what evil the organization holds out to be a “good.” Furthermore, no Catholic could, in good conscience, support a member of such a club or business in an election if a rival candidate, even if not preferable in areas open to prudential judgement, could be found who did not endorse intrinsic evil. Because this seems to me to be so very clear, it baffles me that seemingly nobody in authority in the Catholic Church will tell Catholics that same truth when it comes to organizations that are much more powerful than mere social clubs or even influential businesses: political parties.
If the Knights of Columbus, a well established Catholic organization, wrote a new platform promoting embryonic stem cell research, homosexual “marriage” and abortion, no matter what else was in their charter, and regardless of their stellar past history, no priest or bishop would hesitate to tell all Catholic men to renounce their membership immediately and forbid any Catholic from joining the group, for their very souls would be in grave danger. Yet political parties have vastly more importance in the lives of us all than the K of C. How any Catholic can even belong to a political party whose platform currently holds out as “good” those just-mentioned grave evils is beyond my understanding. How any Catholic can justify supporting any candidate who belongs to such a political party is as bewildering as a Catholic supporting a KKK member or a PP director. Those who participate in or cooperate with mortal sin and die unrepentant do not go to Heaven but rather face “the eternal death of hell” (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially paragraphs 1852-1869). All other political positions and means for achieving peace, prosperity and the common good are for nought if salvation is lost. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Pray for the conversion of politicians and voters and for holy boldness among the clergy.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: The New Men’s Group
Last week I announced the first order of “business” for the men of our parish who wish to be part of the newly forming men’s group, is prayer. Specifically, a 54 day Rosary Novena. Yep. 54 days straight. Praying the Rosary. Alone or, better yet, leading the family in it. In Latin. (Oops, I forgot to mention that part? Well, the exorcists keep reminding us that the devil HATES Latin. And men, if you dare to say, “But Father, we don’t use the ‘H’ word in our home; it is too harsh” then you absolutely, positively, show the dire NEED for a solid Catholic Men’s group to battle such uber-feminism! Real Catholic men HATE the devil and LOVE whatever the devil HATES!) As of this writing, 12 men have asked for a copy of the Rosary Novena book. Many others will wish they had.
Cardinal Burke has agreed to be the spiritual head of the new Holy League, which we may at some future time become a part of officially, but for now just take a look as what a recent National Catholic Register article about it had to say, for it mirrors what is going on here. (The priest in the article is the one who put together the books will we will begin with.)
In 1571 as Christendom was threatened to be overwhelmed, St. Pope Pius V asked for a Holy League to form and meet the threat. With the terrible world threats today, a new Holy League was reborn to meet the menace.
First, the historical background. When St. Pope Pius V saw Christendom not more than a shambles and Moslem Turks getting ready to deal the last blow, he got Don Juan of Austria to head remnant armies from a few nations to join together forming the first Holy League. St. Pius V called on people in Rome and the regions to pray the Rosary and implore Our Lady for her intercession. Don Juan gave every man in the naval armada a rosary, and all prayed it. They asked for our Blessed Mother’s intercession, priests heard confessions, and against great odds, with heaven’s help the smaller Christian fleet crushed the Turkish Moslem fleet in the Battle of Lepanto... “Pius V nicknamed that collection of forces the Holy League,” says Father Richard Heilman. “We’re the new Holy League here and we’re talking about spiritual warfare more than anything else.”
What will be the focus of this Catholic Men’s group we are forming and what will we be doing? We will be learning to put aside the feminized version of Catholicism we have been taught for as long as I have been alive, and practicing the manly Catholicism seen in the lives of of the past great manly men Saints. The first thing we will see is that devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially in the Most Holy Rosary, far from being a devotion reserved to little old ladies, is rather almost a necessity for a masculine man and a formidable weapon of war in our spiritual battle against the demons. Especially if prayed in Latin. At least the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.
Our meetings will be held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month (barring other greater events, like Thanksgiving and the Immaculate Conception), starting August 25. Men, come when you can, even if travel from work prevents you from being here when we begin. At 6:00 some men of the parish usually chant Latin Vespers (Evening Prayer) so we will join them (listening, if not chanting). When they finish, I will lead a Rosary (did I mention that it will be in Latin?). Fortified with prayer we will gather for some manly activities such as Catholic study, encouragement, and other stuff.
My brother in law recently asked me if I knew why God made scotch taste so bad. “Why?” said I, wondering where he was going with this odd question. He replied with a laugh, “So that our wives wouldn’t drink it!” It is up to you as to whether you partake or not, but the pastor will supply some of this heavenly anti-wife liquid and some truly prayerful stogies (you’ll see what I mean) for our first meeting.
The excuses to stay away are already coming in. I can already hear and answer some of them. “But Father, cigars smell icky.” Yes, and there are other gross, stinky things men do and say, too, sweetie. “But I don’t drink!” Nobody asked you to. Have water. “But I will be hungry. Will you supply some dinner for us?” No. McDonalds has a drive thru. “But, but, but...” Whiners prove the need. Manly excuses are acceptable, of course. “Sorry, Father. I ran into a burning building, saved two babies and their mother, conditionally baptized an unconscious man who might not make it, and I am using wire from my car stereo to stitch my lower leg back on after the burning roof truss ripped it off when the house collapsed around me. I’ll be a bit late tonight!”
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: A Look Back to 2015
Last July I became the pastor of Epiphany of Our Lord parish. Most of you did not arrive until the first weekend of August, when the Traditional Latin Mass began being celebrated here. This week I will give you a look at what I wrote to the small but faithful congregation, giving them a glimpse of what they were in for! First they asked for a short biographical piece to put in the bulletin before I arrived:
Father Palka was born in Michigan but the family moved down to Florida when he was a child. He grew up in the Orlando Diocese but came to Tampa when he was in college and received his undergraduate degree at USF. He entered the seminary several years later and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1996. He has had numerous parish assignments, the latest of which was as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish and school in San Antonio, Florida. His mother, Carole, has been active at Epiphany parish for many years so many of you have seen him occasionally at various parish events when he has come to visit. He has absolutely no outstanding talents or abilities but is rather a mediocre parish priest whose goal is to save the souls of his parishioners through a reverent celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. And now you are stuck with him!
That short article was, I think, a nice introduction to my writing style as well as to me. From that point on, people were on notice that my bulletin article may not always be a cut and dried theological discourse put into writing. A bit of self-deprecating humor makes even hard truth a bit easier to swallow! Next, I had to address some rumors going around that had everybody all worked up and worried. I wrote:
Rumors, rumor, rumors! Everywhere there have been rumors about what is going to happen once the new pastor (that’s me) gets to Epiphany. Several months ago Bishop Lynch called me into his office to tell me that he was giving me a new challenge. He was sending me to a parish of which he figured I didn’t even know the location, Epiphany of Our Lord. (Ha! It is my mom’s parish!) He told me that there were over 400 people attending the sole Vietnamese Mass Sunday evening but only 87 people attending the two English Masses combined. The long-time and beloved pastor, Fr. Tuoc, was retiring, he told me, and he wasn’t sure how to keep the parish open with its very small congregation. (St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission is a separate entity which, on the books, at least, basically “rents” the property from Epiphany. Father Tuoc had been pastor of both the parish and the mission so the expenses of only one pastor was incurred and split by both groups. The English community would not be able to afford a pastor on their own and no bi-lingual priest was available to be pastor of both at this time.) So the bishop had a bright idea. He would send me to Epiphany as pastor and bring in a Vietnamese priest to be in charge of the mission and, to try to increase the Mass attendance and, to be honest, the income of the parish so that they could afford an extra priest, I was to turn it into a “center for the Latin Mass.” This is not the Mass you have become used to for the last six decades. This is the old, traditional Latin Mass of the ages. Many know it as the Tridentine Mass. It is the Mass that all of the great old Saints we know and love either celebrated as Priests or attended as Religious or laity. It’s basic form dates back 1500 or more years and the last minor changes were codified in 1962, so this is the Mass which was celebrated by the Pope and all the bishops gathered for Vatican II. After the English Masses next weekend we have a little celebration which you are all welcome to attend. After everyone gets fat and happy I will answer questions and give a little explanation about the differences in the two forms of the Mass if any of you wish to remain for a while.
Now that the Traditional Latin Mass community has been here a full year and everyone is settled in, rather than relaxing and letting things simply be as they are, it is time to redouble our efforts to win the battle for souls. Manly, truly Catholic Men are the key to holy families, which make holy parishes, which make Saints. The men of the parish will begin a 54 day Rosary Novena on August 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary. It will come to its conclusion on October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (in honor of the Catholic defeat of the muslim invaders at Lepanto). More next week.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka