Our Lady is patroness of the United States under her title “conceived without sin.” Did you know that the greatest river in the United States, the Mississippi River, is also named the River of the Immaculate Conception? That’s the name that Jesuit missionary and explorer Pére Jacques Marquette, S.J., gave the river when he discovered it. Pére Marquette (1637-1675) addressed the following beautiful prayer to Our Lady, conceived without sin:
“Hail daughter of God the Father, hail Mother of God the Son, hail spouse of God the Holy Ghost, hail temple of all the Persons of the Trinity, by your holy virginity and your Immaculate Conception, make clean my heart and my song.” (http://catholicism.org/pere-marquettes-prayer-to-the-immaculate-conception.html) Continue reading
Today (Dec. 6, regardless of what appears above) is the feast day of St. Nicholas of Myra, Bishop and Confessor. When my maternal grandmother was a girl, children received gifts from St. Nicholas on the morning of his feast day. The children set out their shoes on the night before. I think they filled the shoes with hay for St. Nicholas’ horses. In the morning, they found the shoes filled with oranges, apples, and nuts. That’s how St. Nicholas was celebrated in one German-American Catholic family in the Driftless Area, 40-50 years before Vatican II.
This Old World Catholic tradition was remembered in Wisconsin through the year 2000 at least. When I was a freshman at Marquette, the Residence Assistant in our dorm set small gifts of candy from our parents outside our doors on the morning of St. Nicholas’ Day. We were in the midst of finals and looking forward to Christmas break. It’s a fond memory. Continue reading
Today, November 30, is the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle. St. Andrew is the patron saint of the church of the town where I live. This is fitting, as the town was founded by a Scotsman and St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. Here are two photographs of the statue of St. Andrew outside of the local church:
The nave of the church is fittingly shaped like a ship (“nave” means “ship”); St. Andrew was a fisherman and is a patron saint of fishermen. Here’s a close up of the coat-of-arms beneath the statue:
I normally drive one town over, deeper into the Driftless Area, for Sunday Mass. Recently, though, I attended Sunday Mass at the parish church in the town where I live. The parish priest addressed the upcoming election in his homily. He made the following points:
1.) We should pray for both candidates. They are both morally corrupt. We shouldn’t judge souls, but their moral corruption is apparent from their actions.
2.) We learn about these actions from the news. Not all of the news we hear is true.
3.) We need to consider the platforms of the respective parties. One party is solidly in favor of abortion and euthanasia. Without the right to life, there are no other rights. Continue reading
Happy feast day (in the Old Calendar) to St. Raphael the Archangel! He is the patron saint of the Diocese of Madison and a patron saint of mine. Here is a photo I took in one of the side-chapels of the Basilica of Sant’ Andrea della Valle in Rome (http://romanchurches.wikia.com/wiki/Sant%27Andrea_della_Valle). The painting depicts St. Raphael revealing himself to the elder Tobias (on the left) and the younger Tobias (on the right).
I found the placement of this painting providential, as Sant’ Andrea della Valle is my favorite church in Rome. I also have a devotion to St. Andrew, the patron saint of the church in the town where I now live. St. Raphael and St. Andrew, pray for us!
As a New Liturgical Movement article reminds me, yesterday (June 6) was the feast day of St. Norbert of Xanten. St. Norbert is the patron saint of St. Norbert Parish in Roxbury, WI. The parish was founded by Fr. Adalbert Inama, a 19th-century missionary priest who is regarded as the Apostle of the Four Lakes Region.* Fr. Inama belonged to the Premonstratensian Order, also known as the Norbertines because they were founded by St. Norbert. So a Norbertine priest named the parish after the founder of his order. To add to the name game, Fr. Inama shared his Christian name with St. Adalbert, the first Archbishop of Magdeburg, a see that St. Norbert later held.
In addition to being one of the best-preserved historic churches in the Driftless Area, St. Norbert’s is also a hub for the Traditional Latin Mass, which is offered there on weekdays and on Sundays (click the parish link above for the schedule). The parish is served by the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, which was founded in Spain (here’s the website of their founder). I think the missionary heritage at St. Norbert’s is heartening. St. Norbert held the see of St. Adalbert, the Apostle of the Slavs. His spiritual son Fr. Adalbert Inama came from Austria to serve the German-speaking Catholics of the Driftless Area. Now a Spanish order has taken the baton. Continue reading
Well, from the *edge* of the Driftless, to be precise. I’ve been wiped out by work this last week, which is great, because I love having a job. On the downside, I’ve had less time to coruscate with refulgent wisdom on these here pages. I have a longer post in the works, but in the meantime I’ll jot down some drafts for future reference. The author of the Siris blog does much the same, and he’s my inspiration. Here goes:
–The indissolubility of sacramental matrimony as a sign of the indissolubility and final perfection of the New Covenant. Divorce allowed under the Old Testament because of the provisional nature of the Mosaic Law.
–If the ordained priest acts in persona Christi, the non-ordained Christian acts in persona Mariae
–St. Joseph as the type of the clergy, providing the canonical structure within which the Holy Ghost overshadows and fecundates the Blessed Virgin/the Church
–God the Son as Eternal Christ (“Anointed”): The Holy Ghost as the seal of the bond between the Father and the Son. Oil as a seal preserving the integrity of skin and hair against soiling and disintegration/rupture.
–Noah and his Ark, outside of which there was no salvation, as a type of St. Peter and his Barque, the Church, outside of which there is no salvation Continue reading
Among the many traditionalist shibboleths is the supremacy of worship ad orientem, “toward the east.” For those of you, who don’t know, that means the priest faces away from the people when he offers Mass.
“What?! No! It means that the priest and people both face eastward, which is the traditional posture of Christian prayer going back to the Apostolic era. Christ is our ‘east,’ the rising sun of justice. The idea that the priest is ‘facing away from the people’ is a modern misunderstanding! Don’t you know that in the Roman basilicas the priest faces the people so he can face east, due to the alignment of the churches? And in the early centuries, the congregation faced east, *away* from priest, at certain times during the Mass?”
Why, thank you for that trad smackdown. I’m sure it was very cathartic for you . . . Ennnnyyy-hooo, let me get back to my point about why ad orientem worship in practice means that the priest has his back to the people. Continue reading
My Mother’s Day post will need to wait — this being an obscurantist blog, our focus is on yet *another* suppressed feast in early May. Today’s is the Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. Here’s what Fr. Prosper Gueranger has to say about the feast and its origin.
The title of this post comes from the famous Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. As it happens, May 8 (at least in some countries) marks Victory in Europe Day — the day the last Axis forces in Europe surrendered to the Allies. So today was the day, 71 years ago, when St. Michael delivered on this invocation.
Now, history is messy, and so is Catholic traditionalism. During and since the war, some Catholics have objected to the Western Allies’ connivance in the Soviet conquest of Eastern Europe. While I think this is less the case now, there used to be a strain of World War II revisionism among certain traditionalists (think of the +Williamson affair, which was less anomalous than one might wish). Continue reading
Tonight (May 5) I attended the Pontifical Mass that Bishop Morlino offered at St. Mary of Pine Bluff. In his homily, Bishop Morlino said that Mass is not just a commemoration of the Passion, but also the Ascension of Our Lord — Christ’s “Great Entrance” into Heaven. I’d add: there’s a link from Maundy Thursday (the institution of the Eucharist) to Ascension Thursday (Our Lord’s bodily entrance into the Heavenly sanctuary).
The Epistle at Mass on Ascension Thursday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. One of the passages (Acts 1:10-11) reads:
“And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.”
Where have we seen these two men (i.e. angels) before? At the Resurrection: Continue reading