From the Pastor: Holidays and Holy Days This Week!
This week brings us great holidays and Holy Days. The first big Holy Day is the one we are celebrating Sunday (today, for most of you reading this in the parish bulletin): Christ the King. Now, for those of you attending the Novus Ordo Saturday evening Vigil Mass, you might be scratching your head, wondering what in the world I am writing about, as this weekend’s Mass is for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time and Christ the King isn’t until November 20. Right you are! This is a big problem with having two differing liturgical calendars within the same Catholic Rite. What a mess. But in the Traditional calendar, Christ the King is today. Why is this a big Holy Day? Because if Christ is really the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Savior of the World, (and He is!) we should absolutely bow down, worship and adore Him, proclaiming wholeheartedly, resoundingly and enthusiastically, that He is King of our hearts, our bodies, our minds, our country, our universe, our eternal life. And this is one day set aside to remind us of His Kingship. He should rule every aspect of our lives--and absolutely YES, this includes our politics, for how could a King be excluded from the governance of His own people?
The next day, Monday, is a fun holiday, Halloween. It has roots in being the vigil of a Holy Day, All Saints Day, but is now mostly seen as a day to dress up in funny or scary costumes and go door to door throughout the neighborhood begging for candy. Back in my day (what a old man’s statement that is!) I believe Halloween was more fun. Everyone I knew had to make their own costume (with mom’s help, of course), so it took a bit of imagination to come up with something which would be both fun and capable of being made. Ghosts were popular, for just about anyone could cut out eyeholes in an old sheet. Cowboys, indians, baseball players, robots and other figures were also common, and, believe it or not, bows and arrows and toy guns and tomahawks were not thought of as “dangerous weapons” but as toys. The girls dressed as princesses and fairy godmothers and nobody thought of it as “sexist” just because boys had boy costumes and girls had girl costumes. Plus candy was a real treat. It was something we didn’t have around the house on a regular basis and here we were each getting a bag of it! Today the costumes are all bought at a store, kids get candy every single day, and the feigned fear of the fake skeletons and goblins has been replaced by a real fear of demonic activity and kids getting snatched. I best move on...
Not to be outdone, Tuesday brings us a real, honest to goodness, Holy Day of Obligation! I bet you thought those things were extinct. You already know that it is All Saints Day, a day in which we commemorate all of the Saints in Heaven, both those proclaimed officially and those whose entrance into the Beatific Vision has not been, and most likely never will be, declared by the Church. We offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on this day, not for them, as if they still had need of the graces of this salvific act, but rather as a tribute to them, as a means of congratulating them for running the good race and persevering to the end, as a means of renewing our own desire to get to Heaven as well, and almost as a pep rally for ourselves as we recall once again that it is not impossible to overcome all of the world’s obstacles, for, if they (the Saints) can do it, we can do it! (No, we will not have cheerleaders at Mass, though I have heard of worse. Sigh.)
And finally, who could forget that Wednesday is All Souls Day. This is the day when we offer Mass for all of the faithful departed who have not yet been made perfect and so are still in Purgatory rather than Heaven, though they are assured of eternal salvation. I have asked you to remember and to write down the names of all your deceased friends, family and acquaintances so that they will all be included in these Masses. The minutes or hours it will take me to read all the names you have asked me to pray for will be pure joy for me, for I will know that so many more souls will not be languishing in pain, forgotten. The poor souls whom you remember in this way will undoubtedly be more grateful than you will know while still here upon Earth. Keep adding to your list!
As a final note, in case you were wondering, Halloween is not on either liturgical calendar as it is simply a secular holiday, but both All Saints and All Souls Days are the same on both Novus Ordo and Traditional calendars.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Unfit for Office
Anybody who expected that only Saints would run for President this time around has never studied our nation’s history. But it is very clear at this point that not one of the national candidates are morally fit for the job. Even so, one will become our President. How is a Catholic to vote? If you don’t want a blunt explanatory answer to that question, quit reading now.
Those now claiming that “sexual harassment” is a single issue worthy of disqualifying a man from being fit for President are quite right and, under “normal” circumstances, that would end all political discussion. Unfortunately, those making this claim are then embracing one of the even more unfit candidates. The single issue of “pro-abortion” makes one not only unfit for the Presidency, but also unfit for any other respectable position in society. All evils are not equal and it is high time for the immoral opportunists, especially the false Catholic ones, to quit pretending that abortion is just one of many commensurate issues. Get ready to cringe at this true statement that nobody wants to say (myself included) or hear but without which this issue loses its veracity: Abortion makes mothers and fathers the murderers of their own children. The depravity does not stop with mom and dad. Grandparents often willingly participate in these homicides by encouraging the killings and often even paying for these killings. Many teachers, counselors, clergy and religious, judges, government officials of all sorts, in short, those in authority who should be fighting for morality, goodness and justice, willingly participate too, usually while hypocritically claiming that good (a baby) is evil and that evil (killing an innocent, defenseless baby) is good. Be clear on this: Anyone who supports maiming, torturing and ultimately killing a helpless baby human--for any reason--cannot be trusted to give a rat’s patootie about human beings after they are born. Advocating the deliberately killing of one's own innocent offspring the sake of a perceived temporal benefit is more than sufficient proof that the person has sold their soul to satan, or at least rented it out to him temporarily.
No vote may be cast for such homicide-inciting candidates. Period. Why? Hell and damnation, how many times do you have to hear that millions of innocent children are being legally murdered every year because demons have convinced people that abortion is not any worse than, or even better than, name-calling, sexual harassment or bad combovers. Kids die at the request of their own parents! The parents (and everyone who willfully, knowingly participates in this evil action, including voters) go to hell for eternity if they die unrepentant and without absolution! “But what about the children?” these demons scream through those they afflict. “Aren’t they better off dead than having a rapist father, an impoverished mother, or a birth defect?” Get ready once again to cringe at this true statement that nobody wants to say (myself included) or hear but without which this issue loses its veracity: the Church does not teach that aborted babies go to Heaven. The Catechism wishfully states only that, ”As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God...” (CCC 1261). But, unlike children who were born and died before baptism or who died in utero or due to miscarriage, whose parents desired to baptise them but never had the opportunity, aborted children’s parents deliberately thwarted God's plan that they receive this sacrament which is necessary for salvation. Nobody, but nobody, wants to admit that, but it almost certainly destroys the possibility of “baptism of desire” on behalf of the parents for their child. Abortion supporters often portray killing the children as “the best thing for them” when there is no indication that this is true. People assuage their consciences by claiming, “My baby would have known want and suffering in this life but she is in a better place now.” Not so fast. Even Limbo, where unbaptised babies may be experiencing natural happiness but without the beatific vision, is often thought to be a part of hell, not Heaven. Abortion supporters are either gambling with babies’ souls or don’t give a damn.
Do not be fooled. Abortion is an inordinately grave evil. It is a demonic mockery of Our Lord’s Holy Sacrifice, which was/is a free giving of His life for the salvation others, while abortion is very different sacrifice: a forced taking of a child’s life for the convenience of others. If you have been a participant in an abortion, this letter no doubt hurts. I am sorry for the hurt but glad if it leads you to repentance. (God will forgive anything to the repentant sinner. Come to confession!) Distorting and ignoring the truth about abortion so as to make people feel good is what got us into this disgusting voting conundrum in the first place. Pray, fast, and never support, hire, or trust anyone who encourages killing kids. It is morally permissible and perhaps necessary to vote for even an unfit, arrogant blowhard in order to vote against the putrid evil of abortion.
With sorrowful prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Preparing for All Souls Day
As a follow up of my homily from last week, I want to remind you to pray often for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, especially remembering them in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the upcoming All Souls Day. A simple story of the value of such prayers comes via Fr. Faber’s The Two Catholic Views of Purgatory Based on Catholic Teachings and Revelations of Saintly Souls. (He gives credit to another author, though I have been unable to procure a copy of that book.) The story involves a dispute between two Dominican Friars.
Bro. Bertrando was the great advocate of poor sinners, constantly said Mass for them, and offered up all his prayers and penances to obtain for them the grace of conversion. “Sinners,” he said, “without grace, are in a state of perdition. Evil spirits are continually laying snares for them, to deprive them of the Beatific Vision and to carry them off to eternal torments. Our Blessed Lord came down from Heaven and died a most painful death for them. What can be a higher work than to imitate Him and to cooperate with Him in the salvation of souls? When a soul is lost, the price of its redemption is lost also. Now the souls in Purgatory are safe. They are sure of their eternal salvation. It is most true that they are plunged into a sea of sorrows, but they are sure to come out at last. They are the friends of God, whereas sinners are His enemies, and to be God’s enemy is the greatest misery in creation.”
Bro. Benedetto was an equally enthusiastic advocate of the suffering souls. He offered all his free Masses for them, as well as his prayers and penances. Sinners, he said, were bound with the chains of their own will. They could leave off sinning if they pleased. The yoke was of their own choosing, whereas the dead were tied hand and foot against their own will in the most atrocious sufferings.
“Now come, dear Bro. Bertrando, tell me--suppose there were two beggars, one well and strong, who could use his hands and work if he liked, but chose to suffer poverty rather than part with the sweets of idleness; and the other, sick and maimed and helpless, who in his piteous condition could do nothing but supplicate help with cries and tears--which of the two would deserve compassion most, especially if the sick one was suffering the most intolerable agonies? Now this is just the case between sinners and the Holy Souls. These last are suffering an excruciating martyrdom, and they have no means of helping themselves. It is true they have deserved these pains for their sins, but they are now already cleansed for those sins. They must have returned to the grace of God before they died, else they would not have been saved. They are now most dear, inexpressibly dear, to God; and surely charity, well ordered, must follow the wise love of the Divine Will and love most what He loves most.”
Bro. Bertrando, however, would not give way, though he did not quite see a satisfactory answer to his friend’s objection. But the night following, he had an apparition which it seems so convinced him that from that time he changed his practice, and offered up all his Masses, prayers and penances for the Holy Souls. It would appear as if the authority of St. Thomas might be quoted on the side of Bro. Benedetto, as he says, “Prayer for the dead is more acceptable than for the living, for the dead are in the greatest need of it and cannot help themselves, as the living can.”
This example given by Brother Benedetto of the two beggars, one healthy but lazy and the other truly in need, also helps to show why Indulgences may only be offered for the Poor Souls or for oneself but not for other living persons. The living, after all, if they truly desired this cleansing gift from God, are capable of receiving the indulgence themselves, and if they don’t, it indicates that they would reject the graces being offered, anyway. The Holy Souls, on the other hand, are always grateful for any graces offered and are incapable of getting indulgences on their own. This observation leads directly to this reminder that a plenary indulgence may be obtained for a soul in Purgatory each day from November 1 through November 8 by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. On November 2 only, a plenary indulgence may be obtained for the Poor Souls by visiting a church and praying an Our Father and a Creed. In both these cases, all other conditions for reception of a plenary indulgence must also be met. (Look them up!)
So keep adding names to your All Souls list. I will offer the Holy Mass for them on All Souls Day and include them in all of my November Masses.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
My Name Day
Many of you are named after well known Saints. Others might be bear the name of a lesser known Saint. But does anyone know anything about St. Edwin? His feast day this year, and, thus, my Name Day, is this Wednesday, October 12. Reading about him made me extremely thankful that my name is “Edwin” instead of any of these other men named in the following clip from the old Catholic Encyclopedia: Aella, Ethebric, Ethelfrid, Redwald, Eadbald, Eorpwald, Penda, Cadwallon! I hope you enjoy reading about the Saint whose name I share. Do you know your Saint or your Name Day?
The first Christian King of Northumbria, born about 585, son of Ælla, King of Deira, the southern division of Northumbria; died 12 October, 633. Upon Ælla's death in 588, the sovereignty over both divisions of Northumbria was usurped by Ethebric of Bernicia, and retained at his death by his son Ethelfrid; Edwin, Ælla's infant son, being compelled until his thirtieth year to wander from one friendly prince to another, in continual danger from Ethelfrid's attempts upon his life. Thus when he was residing with King Redwald of East Anglia, Ethelfrid repeatedly endeavoured to bribe the latter to destroy him. Finally, however, Redwald's refusal to betray his guest led in 616 to a battle, fought upon the river Idle, in which Ethelfrid himself was slain, and Edwin was invited to the throne of Northumbria. On the death of his first wife, Edwin, in 625, asked for the hand of Ethelburga, sister to Eadbald, the Christian King of Kent, expressing his own readiness to embrace Christianity, if upon examination he should find it superior to his own religion. Ethelburga was accompanied to Northumbria by St. Paulinus, one of St. Augustine's fellow missionaries, who thus became its first apostle. By him Edwin was baptized at York in 627, and thenceforth showed himself most zealous for the conversion of his people. In instance of this, Venerable Bede tells how, at their royal villa of Yeverin in Northumberland, the king and queen entertained Paulinus for five weeks, whilst he was occupied from morning to night in instructing and baptizing the crowds that flocked to him. By Edwin's persuasion, moreover, Eorpwald, King of East Anglia, son of his old friend Redwald, was led to become a Christian. In token of his authority over the other kings of Bretwalda, Edwin used to have the tufa (a tuft of feathers on a spear, a military ensign of Roman origin) borne publicly before him, and he received tribute from the Welsh princes. Under him the law was so respected, that it became, as the Venerable Bede attests, a proverb that "a woman might travel through the island with a babe at her breast without fear of insult". St. Edwin was slain on 12 October, 633, in repelling an attack made on him by Penda, the pagan King of Mercia, who, together with the Welsh prince Cadwallon (a Christian only in name), had invaded his dominion. Perishing thus in conflict with the enemies of the Faith, he was regarded as a martyr and as such was allowed by Gregory XIII to be depicted in the English College church at Rome. His head was taken to St. Peter's church at York, which he had begun. His body was conveyed to Whitby. Churches are said to have been dedicated to him at London and at Breve in Somerset.
The Venerable Bede, mentioned above, in his book Ecclesiastical History, tells more of the tale including a discussion between St. Edwin and several men whose advice he trusted, including the pagan chief priest. Several of them (chief priest included), when asked what they thought about this “new” religion (Catholicism), admitted that they had, for various reasons, long since ceased believing in their own pagan Gods! I believe that that phenomenon still occurs on a regular basis, where people, even before they are convinced that the Catholic Church is the source of all Salvation, already know that their own religion does not have the fullness of the truth. Protestants cannot help but question how each protestant congregation and individual minister can claim to get different understandings of Truth out of the same Scripture readings. They know something is wrong long before they admit it. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientologists who know any history at all cannot help but question the absolutely unbelievable origins of their false religions. They know something is wrong long before they escape their sects.
With that being stated, perhaps this Wednesday would be a good day to pray, through St. Edwin’s intercession, as Patron Saint of Converts (as well as Patron of hoboes; homeless people; kings; parents of large families), that these people would finally sit down with someone they trust, put into words what is already in their minds and souls, renounce their false religions once and for all and embrace the only true Faith, becoming members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the only Church founded by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Feast of St. Francis
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 is the feast day of St. Francis. Many parishes, especially those in rural areas, will have a special “blessing of the animals” on this day, since St. Francis is always pictured as surrounded by critters of all sorts. Police officers will bring in their patrol dogs and horses, children will bring in their pet rabbits and gerbils, pirates will bring in their parrots, and all manner of farm animals, dogs and cats will be presented for a blessing. Everyone loves their pets and service animals and, knowing that God ordained from the beginning of time that they would be our companions and helpers, they delight in this annual Franciscan ritual.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 is also the first of two days that Epiphany of Our Lord parish has made a commitment to publicly ask God’s blessing upon a different type of animal, one without nearly the protections that the above mentioned animals receive in these United States. This particular type of animal was created above all the other animals and differs from them in several important regards. This animal, which philosophers and theologians call a “rational animal” is the only animal which actually “does” philosophy and theology. It is the only animal created in the image and likeness of God. It is, of course, the human animal. Specifically, we Epiphany-ians are praying that day for the conversion of adult human animals which plan to kill--or facilitate the killing of--unborn human animals. Human animals within their mother’s wombs are perhaps the only animals our country refuses to protect. Our immoral political leaders, aided and abetted by our spineless and/or immoral religious leaders, have mandated that the only animal with an immortal soul, the only animal created directly out of love (for God loved us into existence to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in the next, while every other animal--and all of creation--was created for us) not only gets almost no protection before birth, but beyond a lack of protection--and this is so unbelievable it cannot possibly be true, yet it is--his/her parents are encouraged to cause their own offspring pain ending only in death: to burn them with chemical baths, to rip them apart limb from limb or even to suck their brains out and crush their skulls while seeing and holding the rest of their tiny bodies which have already been delivered, all in the name of “compassion”, “mercy”, and “love”!
Sounds gruesome, doesn’t it? So gruesome, in fact, that no right minded person would ever publicly admit to encouraging it, making it legal, making taxpayers subsidize it, performing it, having it, or keeping silent about it while it occurs. Yet that is exactly what has been done, is being done, and, will continue to be done by those who are not right minded. To be quite frank, those who fit that bill are far from simply being “wrong minded” they are downright evil. Make no doubt about it, they will go to hell if they die unrepentant. This is one of those most terrible of sins so obviously demonic that nobody need be a Thomas Aquinas to understand its eternal ramifications. Yet even those who supposedly are good Catholics, even, God help us, good Catholic Bishops, support for President and every other office, those who are squarely, publicly and proudly pro-torture-to-death-human-infants-as-long-as-they-are-(for now)-at-least-mostly-in-the-womb. The Catholics who do so and die unrepentant will be in a deeper, more painful part of hell than those who lack the natural and supernatural benefits and graces given in and through the only Church founded by the Son of God.
I am willing to bet that, nationwide, more people will attend “Blessing of the Animals” celebrations than will be praying outside of abortion mills this Tuesday. Perhaps more will attend the animal blessings than will pray outside the abortion mills during the entire 40 Days for Life campaign. Every excuse is made to avoid anything to do with abortion. Nobody wants to see an abortion (videos such as “The Silent Scream” will never be shown on TV or in public school “health” classes or even in Catholic homeschool curriculums; posters of aborted baby parts are decried and trashed even on college campuses, let alone other public places where “intellectual integrity” and “being open to new ideas” is less touted). Nobody wants to hear about abortion, even in Catholic parishes (including this one. Don’t think for a minute that those attending Traditional Latin Mass don’t complain if I preach or write about abortion or any of the sexual sins which lead up to abortion, or the need to vote pro-life. “Scandalizing the children” is an acceptable excuse, don’t you know.). Nobody wants to publicly stand up against this evil and pray for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls. How about you? (PS--Epiphany seems to be covering more time slots for these prayers at the abortion mills than most other parishes. Kudos!)
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka