Welcome, Raymond Cardinal Burke!
From the personal website of Raymond Cardinal Burke, https://www.cardinalburke.com/
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is an American Cardinal Prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.
Born in 1948 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Raymond Leo Burke attended seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Rome, where he was ordained a priest by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1975. Ordained a bishop in 1995 by Pope Saint John Paul II, he served for almost nine years as Bishop of La Crosse, where he founded the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and over four years as Archbishop of St. Louis.
He was named a cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Burke has written and spoken widely on Roman Catholic canon law, the Holy Eucharist, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the sanctity of human life. He is a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
"Welcome to my personal website. I am pleased to communicate with you. It is my hope that your visit will be a source of encouragement to you. For my part, the website is a means of carrying out more fully my mission as a Bishop and Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, especially the teaching of the Church’s doctrine and discipline. In a particular way, I hope that your visit will inspire you to pray for me. Please let me know of special intentions which you wish me to remember in prayer. May God bless you and your home."
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
From the Pastor: We Are Blessed!
What an honor to have Cardinal Burke celebrating the Mass for us on the Feast of Christ the King! How is it that this distinguished Prince of the Church should grace us with such a gift? His Emminence accepted an invitation to speak at a meeting of our local Legatus group. (Legatus is an organization whose members are Catholic business leaders.) One of the members told me that His Emminence stated that while he was here he would like to celebrate a Pontifical Solemn High Mass at Epiphany—if the pastor was agreeable to it! Are you kidding? Who would say “no” to such an offer from such a holy man? Not me!
The members of Epiphany have worked long and hard hours to make everything run so well that all who are in attendance think we do things like this all of the time. Sacristans, altar boys and their trainers, musicians, office staff, grounds crew, Knight of Columbus, Epiphany Council of Catholic Women, Prugatorial Society, and seemingly just about everyone else volunteered to do some thing (or many things) to bring this to fruition. Many, many of them even sacrificed attending the Pontifical Mass just so that others could be there. They are working while we are at Mass. Thank you, Cardinal Burke! Thank you, Legatus! Thank you, Epiphany members! Welcome, all who have never been here before!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: One Week Left To Prepare
There is only one week left to prepare for what may be the first Pontifical Solemn High Mass at a parish in this diocese in the past 50 years or so. I don’t know if, even when the TLM was not the “extraordinary” but rather the “only” Mass, it would have been too common for a Cardinal, a Prince of the Church, to visit and celebrate such a Mass. Because St. Petersburg never had its own Cardinal, it would have had to be a visitor coming in for such a Mass to occur. If we have any Church history buffs out there, I would love to know when the last one was!
Because we (clergy and altar boys) need the extra time to prepare and practice for the big Mass, we will have to cancel several regularly scheduled events to make time for the practices. So men, sorry to say it, but the Holy League will be canceled this coming Thursday. Practice will begin at 6:00 pm, and it will be pretty difficult to have both a Holy Hour and Mass practice in the same sanctuary at the same time. And for those of you who normally come to the Saturday morning Adult Catechism Class, it, too, will be canceled. The Saturday morning practice is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am, which means that Adoration and Confessions must be completed by then. So don’t dilly dally in getting to the church that morning if you want to pray in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament and/or go to confession. I usually allow confessions to go until the last person is finished but this time, even if there are hundreds of people in line, it will end by 9:45 at the very latest. [Note: “...end by 9:45 at the very latest” does not mean “get in line at 9:44:57” or even “enter the confessional at 9:40 and expect to stay there for a 10-minute confession.”] There are probably more things that are or will be canceled but I cannot think of any of them at this time. No Masses will be canceled, so don’t worry about that. Thank you for understanding and being willing to postpone your burning desire to be at these parish functions so that we can prepare for a truly extraordinary parish function.
But enough about that. We have to now start preparing for everything that is coming up next! Remember that the Tuesday following the Pontifical Mass, November 1, is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. We will have our normal morning Masses at 6:30 and 8:00, plus an extra Mass at 7:00 pm. The following day, Wednesday, November 2, is All Souls Day. Once again, our morning Masses will be at the normal times and, even though it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, we will have another extra Mass at 7:00 pm due to great public demand. [I will write more about All Souls at the end of this article.] Two days later is First Friday, and, because I doubt that my mother will be able to get too many sign-ups during the Cardinal’s big day, we will need you all to really step up to the plate and let her know that you will cover your prayer hours. With this schedule, you will be spending almost as much time at church that week as I do!
Daylight Savings Time ends the following weekend, Election Day follows on Tuesday, and Veterans Day finishes the “work week” on Friday. Those are not Church celebrations of any sort but they each need to be noted and entered into one’s schedule of life events. But then the very next weekend (November 12-13) all of the secular things can be set aside once again because that begins our first Parish Mission since the Covid meltdown. More information on the schedule for Fr. Shannon Collins’ talks on The Most Precious Blood of Jesus will be coming out soon enough but for now, just be sure to mark your calendar so that you don’t miss out! The next week brings us the big feast of Thanksgiving and then the following week begins Advent. You all know what Advent is preparing us for, so this is where I will end this “looking ahead” part.
But I promised above that I would write some more about All Souls Day. If you wish to have me and the other priests pray for your departed loved ones, be sure to write their names down (legibly, of course) and turn in those lists to the office, or leave them at the sacristy, or put them in the collection basket. There does not need to be a donation attached to the list but if you wish to leave a donation it will be divided among all of the priests who celebrate Mass here during the month of November, as all of us will be praying for all of those for whom you requested prayers all month long, not just on November 2. We keep the list on the altar to remind us to pray for them and I hope it reminds you to pray for them as well.
More and more Catholics are dying now without their children even having a Requiem Mass said for them and I doubt that those children remember to pray for them even on All Souls Day. The protestants and non-Christians never give a second thought (at least, not in a good way) to Purgatory, and now Catholics are following suit, so who will pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed? Only the truly faithful Catholics. You. Make long lists!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: The Cardinal’s Visit Approacheth!
His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, will celebrate a Pontifical Solemn High Mass on Sunday, October 30, at 10:30 am. None of that should be new news to anyone. But as the day approaches, more and more people are asking questions, most of which I cannot answer! How many people are we expecting? I have no idea. We are getting a little less than 800 people for Masses on a typical weekend right now. Will they all show up at this one Mass? Perhaps. If so, we will fill the church and the social hall and still have people outside. Will many decide to go to the 7:30 Mass instead of fighting the crowds at 10:30? Perhaps. If so, depending on how many do this, we may all fit in the church. Heck, we may even have empty pews in the church if enough people do this! Will people from outside of the parish come to Mass? Perhaps. But even guessing how many is fraught with unknown factors. Will everyone who attends Traditional Latin Mass at St. Justin Martyr in Largo, St. Anthony the Abbot in Brooksville, Christ the King in Sarasota, the SSPX, or the Old Roman Catholic Church come here? It is highly unlikely, although they are the ones most likely to have heard that the Cardinal is coming here. Will even a small group come from each of those places? Perhaps. But none of them are too close, so perhaps not. Will people who don’t usually attend Traditional Latin Mass come? Perhaps, for his Eminence is well thought of by many people outside of TLMs, too. But, then again, how would they have heard of his plans? I haven’t seen any news about this Mass or the rest of what the Cardinal is doing while he is in town even in our diocesan news outlets. Traditional Catholic media, secular media, and mainstream Catholic media have all been silent as well, as far as I know. [Note: that is just an observation, not a complaint!] So, how many people are we expecting? A rough guess puts it between 53 and 1428 people, give or take a few.
Fortunately, some of the questions are easier to answer. Will there be coffee and donuts after Mass? This burning question gets asked more than any other. The answer is, yes, we will have coffee and donuts. But, because the social hall will be set up for maximum seating, there will be no tables inside. Trying to set up the coffee and donuts in there only after the Mass is done would be, due to the crowds and chairs already in place, impossible. So the ECCW is setting up outside, between the church and school. Another question deals with “real” food, as if donuts are not really food! At one time we looked into getting a few food trucks to come but there are logistical problems with that if we get a large crowd. Where to park the trucks, for instance, if the crowd is large, where they won’t take up valuable parking spots and yet still have enough room around them to handle the lines of people waiting for food. But, as it turns out, the Troops of St. George have taken the reigns and will provide a cookout as they have been doing for the Sundays in which we chant Vespers in the afternoon.
Another question deals with tickets to enter the church for Mass. Where do we get them? How much do they cost? What if we forget them? (OK, so that is more than one question.) This is another issue that we found ourselves rethinking. We obviously cannot sell tickets to attend Mass. People have a right to attend the Holy Sacrifice without cost. Anything they give to the collection is certainly a free-will offering, not a set fee. Those contributions are between the giver and God, ultimately, as to how much and how often they should put money in the basket. But if I sell tickets, that becomes a problem at my own Judgment, when God will ask for accountability for those I may have excluded due to poverty or ability to make it to the “ticket window” on time. Plus, if we give out tickets to our parishioners so that they get the first chance of getting a “good seat” in the church or hall, many will be left extremely unhappy if the crowd is large, for, as mentioned above, we may not be able to fit everyone inside even if just our own parishioners show up en masse to Mass. It would also necessitate having the ushers become a combination of police officers and bouncers, checking tickets at the door, turning away those without tickets, and having to make decisions on who gets in and who stays out. Who wants to turn away the little old lady with a walker who claims to have lost her ticket? Or the huge bruiser in the pin-striped suit pushing his way through with his Boss and Family in tow? (Nah, that would only happen in New York!)
I will end with just one more question for which I have no definitive answer at this time. Will the Mass be streamed live? I personally do not have the technical ability to do that but it still may be done by one or more of our parishioners. There has been talk about it.
Bring your lawn chair and umbrella in case you are outside for Mass or staying for food afterward. Be patient and prayerful and be sure to thank those who are giving up “their spot” in Mass so that they can serve in various ways.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Indigenous People’s Day!
Yay! Monday, October 10, 2022 is Indigenous People’s Day! When I saw that on the calendar (alongside that loathsome official federal holiday, Columbus Day) I got so excited that I almost wet myself. In fact, I may have, except that my tears of joy were so copious that I couldn’t tell whether I had soaked myself from the top or the bottom. In case you don’t know why I would be so overwhelmed with giddiness about this holiday, I will give you a short history lesson. Don’t worry, I will try to make history a little more interesting than what seems to be the standard boring fare of classrooms.
First of all, let me introduce you to Christopher Columbus. He used to be a hero, an explorer, a man of true Faith, and one spoken of quite highly in American schools from elementary through post-graduate classes. But that was way back in the days of the Great Stupidity. Now that we are so much more elitist, enlightened, and generally all around good guys/gods, we know that every single thing he did or stood for was evil. First of all, he was always listed as a “man.” I know, I know. But people used to think that men were men and women were women and never the twain shall be confused for each other. The fact that there is no evidence of him ever calling himself a her, it, or non-binary, a-amorous, ex-gender-differentiated “thing” of any sort proves that he was quite depraved. Worse still, “he” was born and raised in the Republic of Genoa on Italy’s northwest coast, making him a [gasp] European man, which, we all know now, is the worst kind of man that there is. His skin was white and he never claimed to contain one one-hundredth of a percent of any racial minority, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a straight out bigot. And, speaking of “straight,” he was. How could we have ever been so witless as to have honored a straight, white European male who [guffaw] thought he was a man? Surely this shows that he was perverted, yet we celebrated this reprobate with his own holiday. Go figure. Thank Pachamama that at least he didn’t have orange hair, for that would have spelled the end of the universe as we know it. Orange man bad.
But, as preposterous as this may seem to us greatly enlightened people of this day and age, all of those characteristics mentioned above that seem to point so obviously to his being an offensive man/whatever are nothing compared to his worst attribute. He was, gosh, I find this so hard to write, he was C...no, I just can’t make myself write the whole word. Let me go get into my safe space for a little bit until I can stop shaking from this uncontrollable fear. [3 days later] Ok, I think I may be able to make it through this time. Christopher Columbus was a cat. No, that’s not it. He was cathartic. I almost got it out that time. He was Catholic. There! I said it. And I received only a slight tremor in my jab⁴-healthy myocardiacical beating thingy. And he was not just a media-favorite type of Catholic (one who would party with Coccopalmerio and admire the frescos of Paglia) but was a real, honest-to-Gaia practicing and believing Catholic. How did that slip by the censors back then (before Biden gave us the competing holiday way back in 2021)? Those really were the bad ol’ days.
But now for some good news. Let’s take a look at the peaceful, loving, gushing, sweet-as-honey, never-hurt-a-fly indigenous people of the Americas. Although they were too backward to interchange males and females, we can certainly celebrate them because they did not know about—much less believe in—Jesus Christ. They regularly and with great viciousness killed each other, sure enough, but they didn’t really mean much harm. Those were just petty tribal squabbles, that’s all. And when the nasty, evil, straight, white, orange-haired (you know it’s his fault), European men came into their land bringing the Gospel message of Salvation through the love of Jesus Christ and His Church, they responded in the way only peaceful, loving, etc., people would think to respond. With torture and death. Excepting, of course, those cruel, far right, conspiracy theorist, nut job, wackadoodle Indians who accepted the truth and converted. But we need not be inclusive of them, for they were obviously not real indigenous people. Let’s take a look at what compassion the true natives showed to St. Isaac Jogues, for instance. The kindly indigenous people enslaved, tortured, and mutilated him for thirteen months because he was teaching another group of indigenous people, with whom they were at war (but it was a benevolent war) about how to get to Heaven. They chewed off the tips of his two index fingers and possibly his thumbs for the sole purpose of preventing him from celebrating Mass. Obviously, these indigenous people had a far superior religion which should be inculturated into Catholicism today. When he finally escaped and returned to Rome his features were so disfigured by the gentle torture he received that he was unrecognizable. Jogues, the hater sharing the same vile religion as Columbus, having received a dispensation to celebrate Mass even though his “canonical digits” were missing, returned to continue his horrendous mission of saving souls. This time, he was invited by this warm-hearted group of indigenous people to come to the chief’s house, where, upon his entrance, they lovingly crushed his skull with a tomahawk. The way we sometimes show love to partially born babies today.
And now you know why I giddily await the new, merciful, holiday. Class dismissed.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Hurricane Week
If you are reading this, it means that the hurricane was not so bad that the bulletin couldn’t get printed and that you survived it no matter how bad it was. I didn’t yet this year get around to writing about what happens at the parish when a hurricane is threatening. So, although this is a little late for this one, it’s not too late for any that may follow. The basic premise is that I live on the church property so, barring extreme conditions such as the eye of the storm coming directly over Epiphany just before Mass time, I should be able to celebrate Mass and hear confessions on schedule. But you don’t live on campus so you are going to have to make a responsible judgment call about the safety of traveling. If it is not safe for you to come, please stay home! Even if you feel like taking a chance under bad conditions, remember that if you lose the gamble, you will put other people’s lives in jeopardy, especially emergency personnel who will brave all but the worst conditions to try to rescue you. This bulletin had to be written before the storm hit so I cannot tell you how things worked out, but all meetings were canceled Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday just to be safe, with Friday up in the air as I type, as there is still debate about just how long the conditions will be bad, and we don’t know if we will have any electricity or clear roads. This information was sent out over Flocknote, posted on Facebook’s Epiphany page, and noted on the first page of our parish website. These are usually good ways of getting information like this, and if you don’t know how to access any of this, today is a great day to ask someone to help you!
Looking forward and assuming that there is no continued power outage or major damage in our diocese, this coming week is our annual Priest Convocation. Each year we are given the opportunity to gather and have some good food, discussions, teachings, and prayer together. I don’t believe in canceling Masses at the parish so for several years I traveled back and forth between the Bethany Center and Epiphany but it was exhausting and I wound up missing the morning talks and prayers. For a couple of years, I was able to have a Parish Mission given during that week and the priest giving the Mission also took the morning Masses. That way I was able to just stay at the Bethany Center and participate in everything as scheduled. This year, as with the last two covid years we will not have a Parish Mission. But we are having one fairly soon, as it is scheduled for the weekend of November 12/13 and then continuing on through Thursday the 17th. As for the morning convocation talks, I am not all too interested in racing over to hear them. Last year the topic was something like, “Crying together about why nobody is coming to church anymore.” I would have gotten into a lot of trouble if I went to those talks, for I could not have kept my mouth closed about what the problem really is and who is to blame. This year seems to be a similar topic, where we will hear about how to make “disciples” in the parish. As far as I can tell, that simply means that the presenter doesn’t believe that those few who actually stayed or who came back after the covid lockouts are really followers of Christ. My experience here is just so very different from what the other pastors seem to be going through that, once again, I would be in a lot of trouble if I told them what they really need to do to make disciples at each parish. Our Traditional Catholic solution just doesn’t resonate with all too many clergy, it seems.
Now for something strange that I announced last week at Mass. (I am not sure if Fr. Mangiafico also announced what I wrote out.) I said that Friday was First Friday and that my mom, who coordinates everything by making sure people are signed up to Adore every hour of the day, was out of town and therefore couldn’t sign anyone up in person. I was sure that she told me to announce that. And she did, kinda. She also told me to give it some sort of a “Don’t make me turn this car around” type of motherly threat if she came back and we still had hours without anyone signed up. So I dutifully made the announcement. Unfortunately, mom was actually sitting in the pew listening to me announce this, for it was one week earlier than she wanted me to announce it! As you probably know, Hurricane Friday was not First Friday. This coming Friday (probably!) is. So make sure you sign up for First Friday regardless of whether or not mom was able to get out of town. At this time, even her trip out of state is up in the air (so to speak) since she is scheduled to fly out on Hurricane Friday. I won’t know if she made it or not before this gets printed, but if you don’t see her you can assume that her flight didn’t get canceled.
That just about wraps it up for this week. I hope and pray that you made it through the hurricane unscathed. After all, we once again prayed the special Collect, Secret, and Post-Communion prayers to Avert Storms starting on Sunday and continuing until no longer needed. I’m going to assume that those prayers produced fruit for our area.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka