From the Pastor: This is a Big Week!
This weekend, perhaps even as you are reading this (3:00 pm Sunday, October 29), Bishop Parkes is holding a special ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle at which he bestows the St. Jude award to one recipient from each parish. This award is given to somebody who has done much good for the parish, usually behind the scenes and unnoticed by most, without any thought of payment or acknowledgment except for the reward they may or may not receive in Heaven. This year the award is being received by Clara Miller. Although she is just a tad over, ahem, 39 years old, lives in Dade City, and doesn’t drive on the interstate, she has, for years, managed to come to daily Mass at 6:30 am, stay for the 8:00 am Mass and the Adoration which follows, and she sometimes stays even longer if there is a parish function following that. She puts in a full day’s worth of “work” as she spends so much time in prayer! She generally only misses due to inconveniently scheduled doctor appointments or really bad weather. Of course, she also attends Sunday Mass and stays to chat with a group of friends for hours afterward, sometimes long after the coffee and donuts have run out. Congratulations Clara! You are an inspiration to us all.
Wednesday, November 1, is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. We will have our regular weekday Masses at 6:30 and 8:00 in the morning and another Mass at 7:00 pm. On this special day, we commemorate all of those people who died in a state of grace and, being perfectly purified, are now in Heaven. We do this to make up for any shortcomings in our manner of celebrating canonized Saints’ feasts as well as commemorating the majority of Saints in Heaven who will never be officially recognized by the Church through her canonization process. This is a feast for all of the “secret” Saints in this regard! And, just as it always does, All Souls Day immediately follows All Saints. Thursday, November 2, we commemorate all of those people who died in a state of grace without yet being perfectly purified and are currently undergoing the cleansing fire spoken of in Sacred Scripture. We ask God to grant them—quickly—whatever graces of which they are still in need before they can enter into His Divine Presence. On that day, too, we will have the two regular Masses in the morning (6:30 am and 8:00 am) and an extra 7:00 pm Mass in the evening. People write the names of their departed loved ones and give them to me so that we can offer the Masses for them that day and remember them at each Mass throughout the remainder of the month. If you have not yet done so, don’t procrastinate any longer! The 2nd is also our parish’s second day to pray at the abortuary, so plan on spending some time in prayer there, as well. Sign up if you haven’t already done so.
The entire month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls, as these suffering souls are known, and the Church allows for plentiful opportunities to relieve them of some or all of their torments, especially through a generous octave of Indulgences. From November 1 through November 8, inclusive of both of those dates, a Plenary Indulgence may be gained and applied to a soul in Purgatory simply by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to previously forgiven sins, so the soul in purgatory who receives one, through God’s grace and mercy given through His Church, is made perfect and able to enter into the Beatific Vision. You may also receive a Plenary Indulgence applicable to a Poor Soul on All Souls Day by visiting any parish church and praying aloud one Our Father and one Creed. Since you are likely going to be at Mass that day anyway, you might as well get an indulgence while you are there! Remember, though, that you can only get one Plenary Indulgence per day, so if you also visit the cemetery and pray for the departed that day, one of these indulgences may be Plenary and the other partial (removing only part of the temporal punishment). Partial Indulgences are granted to anyone who recites Morning Prayer (Lauds) or Evening Prayer (Vespers) of the Office of the Dead on those days. Partial Indulgences are also available for a poor soul if anyone recites the prayer “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”
To receive either type of indulgence you must be in a state of grace before the indulgenced act or prayer is completed. To get a Plenary Indulgence, you must also confess your sins and receive Holy Communion either shortly before or after the act or prayers (within 8 or perhaps even 20 days), pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be detached from all sin, even venial sin. Is it difficult to achieve such a lofty goal? It is harder for some than for others, but it is worth it. Plus, habitually living in such a manner as to be worthy to receive the indulgences becomes almost second nature with practice, and soon you will become a living Saint as you help the Faithful Departed become Saints!
Lastly, don’t forget that the following two days are First Friday and First Saturday! Be sure to sign up for Friday Adoration and attend to the devotions asked for on both of those days. Is it too much all in one week? Not for Saints-in-training!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: A Reminder of Purgatory
This is a reminder that All Souls Day, is coming soon. There is only one more Sunday before that day (Thursday, November 2) on which to bring in your list of the Faithful Departed whom you wish to have remembered at Mass. Unless and until Holy Mother Church declares any departed person to be in Heaven we rightfully pray for their soul in case they are still in need of final purification before entering for all eternity into the presence of God. Also, remember that the first 8 days of November will bring opportunities to receive, on behalf of a soul in purgatory, a plenary indulgence by visiting a cemetery and praying for the poor souls. In past years I have often written here about the official Church teachings on Purgatory. Today I will instead leave you with just one heart-touching story of Purgatory from an undated work Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan.
HOW A GIRL FOUND HER MOTHER
A poor servant girl in France named Jeanne Marie once heard a sermon on the Holy Souls which made an indelible impression on her mind. She was deeply moved by the thought of the intense and unceasing sufferings the Poor Souls endure, and she was horrified to see how cruelly they are neglected and forgotten by their friends on Earth. Among other things the preacher stressed was that many souls who are in reality near to their release -- one Mass might suffice to set them free -- are oftentimes long detained; it may be for years, just because the last needful suffrage has been withheld or forgotten or neglected! With her simple faith, Jeanne Marie resolved that, cost what it might, she would have a Mass said for the Poor Souls every month, especially for the soul nearest to Heaven. She earned little, and it was sometimes difficult to keep her promise, but she never failed. On one occasion she went to Paris with her mistress and there fell ill, so that she was obliged to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, the illness proved to be a long one, and her mistress had to return home, hoping that her maid would soon rejoin her. When at last the poor servant was able to leave the hospital, all she had left of her scanty earnings was one franc! What was she to do? Where to turn? Suddenly, the thought flashed across her mind that she had not had her usual monthly Mass offered for the Holy Souls. But she had only one franc! That was little enough to buy her food. Yet her confidence that the Holy Souls would not fail her triumphed. She made her way into a church and asked a priest, just about to say Mass, if he would offer it for the Holy Souls. He consented to do so, never dreaming that the modest alms offered was the only money the poor girl possessed. At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, our heroine left the church. A wave of sadness clouded her face; she felt utterly bewildered. A young gentleman, touched by her evident distress, asked her if she was in trouble and if he could help her. She told her story briefly, and ended by saying how much she desired work. Somehow she felt consoled at the kind way in which the young man listened to what she said, and she fully recovered her confidence. "I am delighted beyond measure," he said, "to help you. I know a lady who is even now looking for a servant. Come with me." And so saying he led her to a house not far distant and bade her ring the bell, assuring her that she would find work. In answer to her ring, the lady of the house herself opened the door and inquired what Jeanne Marie required. "Madam," she said, "I have been told that you are looking for a servant. I have no work and should be glad to get the position." The lady was amazed and replied: "Who could have told you that I needed a servant? It was only a few minutes ago that I had to dismiss my maid, and that at a moment's notice. You did not meet her?" "No, Madam. The person who informed me that you required a servant was a young gentleman." "Impossible!" exclaimed the lady. "No young man, in fact no one at all, could have known that I needed a servant." "But Madam," the girl answered excitedly, pointing to a picture on the wall, "that is the young man who told me!" "Why, child, that is my only son, who has been dead for more than a year!" "Dead or not," asserted the girl with deep conviction in her voice, "it was he who told me to come to you, and he even led me to the door. See the scar over his eye; I would know him anywhere." Then followed the full story of how, with her last franc, she had had Mass offered for the Holy Souls, especially for the one nearest to Heaven. Convinced at last of the truth of what Jeanne Marie had told her, the lady received her with open arms. "Come," she said, "though not as my servant, but as my dear daughter. You have sent my darling boy to Heaven. I have no doubt that it was he who brought you to me."
With or without a donation or All Souls envelope, place your list of departed family, friends and even, perhaps, enemies in the collection basket next Sunday. The All Souls Day Masses will be offered for the repose of their souls, plus we will pray for them at each Mass throughout the rest of the month. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord...
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Climate Change Document
While I was at the Convocation last week a new document on “climate change” came out of Rome. I don’t know if any of you follow the writings of William Briggs, a Catholic statistician who writes with clarity about such things. Below is a small smattering of his take on this, which I changed by what he calls “paragraphication.” I pass this on to you mostly because I didn’t write anything while on Convocation and need to fill this spot! But secondarily, I wanted to introduce you to this author, for his ability to use logic and actual science instead of emotion and “models” is quite refreshing. His latest book, “Everything You Believe Is Wrong” is, for instance, truly a good read as he points out the flawed arguments made every day by so-called “experts.” You can find him at https://www.wmbriggs.com/
The Vatican’s New Exhortation On “Climate Change” Has Many Errors
BY BRIGGS ON OCTOBER 5, 2023
The Vatican issued a new Apostolic Exhortation, given in the name of Pope Francis, entitled Laudate Deum. The document is addressed “To all people of good will on the climate crisis.” There is no “climate crisis.” It does not exist. It is not so. I (and many others) have spent years and years documenting an enormous number of arguments showing there is no “climate crisis” (a small handful here). Whoever wrote this exhortation has based it on a false premise. And, as Aristotle taught us, from a false premise come the greatest errors. Like this error: “the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.” Passing by the needlessly frightening “breaking point”, we note that this sentence is not so. The world is not collapsing, not due to “climate change” anyway. The West is collapsing, it is true, but in part because of unnecessary hersteria (effeminate hysteria) over “climate change”.
Overreaction like this: “We will feel [climate change’s] effects in the areas of healthcare, sources of employment, access to resources, housing, forced migrations, etc.” Whoever wrote suffers from a now common inability to imagine changes in the environment that are not bad. Because it is not physically possible that all changes in climate are bad, because some changes are good (like increased plant and crop growth and warmer weather), sentences like this reveal more about the author’s mind than it does about the world.
Now for a theological curiosity: “African bishops stated that climate change makes manifest ‘a tragic and striking example of structural sin’.” This is false. Every plant, animal, and even every inanimate object affects the atmosphere, and hence the climate. Is impossible—not unlikely: impossible—that whatever is on earth not to affect the climate. The climate on earth has never been static, and never will be static. It cannot be static. It is impossible to stop climate change. A changing climate is not a sin. Rise up, Peter, kill and eat. Man, like all other animals, must affect his environment to live—and even to die. Certainly there will be, at times, excess; for instance in the over-vigorous production of the tracking devices we insist on carrying with us everywhere. All excess should and must be condemned. Gluttony and greed are not new sins. They are sins. “Climate change” is not a sin.
There are many factual errors in the document, which were easy to check, but were not. For instance, “the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident”. The climate is always changing, so that is true, but the one must understand that when the phrase “climate change” is used by the untutored they mean the theory of “climate crisis”; they take this theory as proven. Yet this is not so. It continues: “it is verifiable that specific climate changes provoked by humanity are notably heightening the probability of extreme phenomena that are increasingly frequent and intense.” This is false, and easily seen to be false. All these attribution studies are fundamentally flawed. They are all premised on perfect model predictions, a false premise. Details are at the link. Another: “we are presently experiencing is an unusual acceleration of warming” (and more similar rate-of-change claims later in the document). Not so. Historical data come from models of temperature by proxy, which necessarily smooths values; whereas current values are much more variable because of the increased frequency of measurement. This gives an entirely false picture of rate-of-change if one is not careful. The amount of uncertainty in actual changes is too large to make the claim. Another: “melting of glaciers can be easily perceived by an individual in his or her lifetime”. It has grown warmer (thank God) in some years. What happens to ice when it is hot? It melts. That melting is taken as (separate) proof that the theory for the warmth is therefore true. But there are alternate theories, which make the same, and better predictions. Other, better, rival theories besides “global boiling” or “climate crisis” exist. These are supported by the same evidence of melting glaciers. Another: “Droughts and floods, the dried-up lakes, communities swept away by seaquakes and flooding ultimately have the same origin.” This is false. Droughts and floods are down, not up, and their harms are down, not up. And seaquakes caused by “climate change”? No.
These are followed by a surreal claim that some blame “climate change” on the poor, and women. I have studied this subject for decades and have never heard this, from any source, even once. Yet if somebody has made this preposterous claim, they are wrong. Or perhaps this is a mere appeal to pity.
Anyway, read the rest of his article at the website listed above. He actually has the credentials needed to make such critiques, in case you were wondering, and is not just some Catholic knucklehead with a keyboard and a grudge against the Church or Her leaders.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Follow-ups to Last Week's Items
1) Because this item was the last of four items of note last week, it seems that nobody read it, so here goes one more shot at this. Every year the priests of the diocese get together from Monday afternoon through Thursday afternoon during the first full week of October in what is officially called the Convocation for Priestly Renewal. For as long as the Bethany Center has been open as our Diocesan Retreat Center, we have met there. We pray together, we share meals together, we hear some talks, we shoot the breeze, and enjoy priestly fraternity. Late nights are a given, especially when the Rays are in the playoffs and have night games. Sometimes the people giving the talks and are worth listening to and sometimes not so much, just as in any organization. But the main attraction is just having time to spend with other priests. Many of us only see each other on rare occasions when we are at meetings or large diocesan Masses, when there is no time to do more than just say “hello” or wave a greeting across a room. Some parishes cancel Masses during the Convocation. I choose not to do so. I used to get up early (after the late night) to drive back to celebrate Mass and then drive back for the morning talk. It was not ideal. So I started having parish missions held during that week so that the mission preacher could celebrate the morning Masses and I could more fully enjoy the convocation. Covid threw a monkey wrench into that plan a couple of years ago as the Mission preachers were put under travel restrictions by their Bishop. This year we have our parish Mission already scheduled for November 11-16, so I didn’t schedule a Mission for the Convocation. You may recall that the Bishop wants me to show up at more diocesan functions so I will once again travel back and forth. But I will not be able to stay long enough to offer confessions and Adoration on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. So please note this and don’t call me or the office or write questions about it on farcebook: The Monday and Friday schedule is as normal but on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (October 3, 4, and 5) there will be Mass as normal at 6:30 am and 8:00 am but without confession or Adoration following Mass on those three days, as I must return to the Bethany Center for the mid-morning talks. I highly recommend that you don’t ask anyone in the office if there will be Adoration or confessions next week, for physical harm may come to you as one or more staff members smack you upside the head with a rolled-up bulletin while yelling, “DOESN’T ANYONE READ THIS THING?”
2) Bishop Parkes was at our Deanery meeting this week. (The diocese is broken into “deaneries” much as Florida is broken into counties.) He made a point of telling me in person what he recently emailed, that he is still receiving, on a near-daily basis, letters and notes of support and encouragement from our parishioners, including from our children. He also saw that our parish contributions to the Catholic Mission Appeal are going up and he was pleased with our continuing progress on that. Keep it up! Your letters are allowing him to see that we appreciate his work as our Bishop, not only, but especially, as he works to keep the Traditional Latin Mass to remain at a time when they are being canceled in other places.
3) I wrote about a petition being put forth to change the Florida State Constitution in such a way that all abortion restrictions would be eliminated, making us one of the “abortion tourist destination states” that so many despicable and evil people are desperately trying (and sometimes succeeding) to make a reality. Bishop Parkes and the Florida Bishops’ Conference have been sending out warnings about this, asking people to refrain from signing their petitions to get it on the ballot. It seems that many people sign such petitions without even bothering to read what they are supporting. But the day after I wrote and sent the article to be printed in the bulletin, a parishioner came in and showed me another—polar opposite—petition being circulated to change the Florida State Constitution in such a way that the right to life shall be recognized and protected for all preborn humans. It seems to have been drafted specifically in opposition to the anti-life petition. Should the petition gather enough signatures to be put on the ballot, the ballot title for this one will read, “Human Life Protection Amendment.” Please remember that the evil ballot initiative is called “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion.” They are competing with each other as good vs. evil and, if you are not aware that there is a “good” one as well as an “evil” one, you may immediately dismiss the people trying to get you to sign the one protecting the unborn children. A website where you can see the complete petition, sign it yourself, and even print out copies for others to sign is, “https://humanlifefl.com/”. The ballot summary (the short version that voters will see should it make it on the ballot) sums up the proposed Constitutional Amendment thusly, “An amendment recognizing the God-given right to life of the preborn individual. Defines ‘preborn individual’ as a preborn human person at any stage of development. Affirms that life-saving procedures to save the life of the mother shall not be construed as a violation when accompanied by reasonable steps to save the life of the preborn individual. To be added to the Declaration of Rights under Article I of the Florida Constitution.” Be sure to sign the right one!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka