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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Rome Experience in Ars

Among the twenty-two seminarians on this year's Rome Experience are our own Robert Little (Burlington), Matt Gill (Fall River) and Thom Willis (Worcester).  Here's the first photo of the entire group, which begins their pilgrimage in Ars, praying in the footsteps of Saint John Vianney!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

You just can't escape!

Seminarians Robert Little (Burlington), Tom Willis (Worcester), and Matt Gill (Fall River) run into a familiar name at O'Hare International Airport on their way to Lyon, France...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Echoes of Yesterday and Tomorrow

Pope Benedict with the Vox Clara Committee
As a personal/professional aside, you might find John Allen's article on the "Liturgy wars" in Crux to be interesting.  The reference is a bit self-indulgent, since I am quoted in the article, but it does bring to mind what I believe to be one of the most important pastoral initiatives of our time.  Perhaps, this would not be a bad time to return to the opening paragraphs of the instruction Liturgiam authenticam, the instruction upon which the translation was based.

1. The Second Vatican Council strongly desired to preserve with care the authentic Liturgy, which flows forth from the Church’s living and most ancient spiritual tradition, and to adapt it with pastoral wisdom to the genius of the various peoples so that the faithful might find in their full, conscious, and active participation in the sacred actions – especially the celebration of the Sacraments – an abundant source of graces and a means for their own continual formation in the Christian mystery.
2. Thereupon there began, under the care of the Supreme Pontiffs, the great work of renewal of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, a work which included their translation into vernacular languages, with the purpose of bringing about in the most diligent way that renewal of the sacred Liturgy which was one of the foremost intentions of the Council. 
3. The liturgical renewal thus far has seen positive results, achieved through the labor and the skill of many, but in particular of the Bishops, to whose care and zeal this great and difficult charge is entrusted. Even so, the greatest prudence and attention is required in the preparation of liturgical books marked by sound doctrine, which are exact in wording, free from all ideological influence, and otherwise endowed with those qualities by which the sacred mysteries of salvation and the indefectible faith of the Church are efficaciously transmitted by means of human language to prayer, and worthy worship is offered to God the Most High. 
4. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its deliberations and decrees assigned a singular importance to the liturgical rites, the ecclesiastical traditions, and the discipline of Christian life proper to those particular Churches, especially of the East, which are distinguished by their venerable antiquity, manifesting in various ways the tradition received through the Fathers from the Apostles. The Council asked that the traditions of each of these particular Churches be preserved whole and intact. For this reason, even while calling for the revision of the various Rites in accordance with sound tradition, the Council set forth the principle that only those changes were to be introduced which would foster their specific organic development. Clearly, the same vigilance is required for the safeguarding and the authentic development of the liturgical rites, the ecclesiastical traditions, and the discipline of the Latin Church, and in particular, of the Roman Rite. The same care must be brought also to the translation of the liturgical texts into vernacular languages. This is especially true as regards the Roman Missal, which will thus continue to be maintained as an outstanding sign and instrument of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite. 
5. Indeed, it may be affirmed that the Roman Rite is itself a precious example and an instrument of true inculturation. For the Roman Rite is marked by a signal capacity for assimilating into itself spoken and sung texts, gestures and rites derived from the customs and the genius of diverse nations and particular Churches – both Eastern and Western – into a harmonious unity that transcends the boundaries of any single region. This characteristic is particularly evident in its orations, which exhibit a capacity to transcend the limits of their original situation so as to become the prayers of Christians in any time or place. In preparing all translations of the liturgical books, the greatest care is to be taken to maintain the identity and unitary expression of the Roman Rite, not as a sort of historical monument, but rather as a manifestation of the theological realities of ecclesial communion and unity. The work of inculturation, of which the translation into vernacular languages is a part, is not therefore to be considered an avenue for the creation of new varieties or families of rites; on the contrary, it should be recognized that any adaptations introduced out of cultural or pastoral necessity thereby become part of the Roman Rite, and are to be inserted into it in a harmonious way.

Boston Ordinations to Priesthood

On Saturday morning we celebrated the first of the ordinations to priesthood of our fourth year men.  Fathers Christopher W. Bae, Matthew J. Conley, Patrick J. Fiorillo, J. Thomas Gignac, Stephen R. LeBlanc, Huan D. Ngo, Thomas M. Olson, Kevin Staley-Joyce, and Thomas R. Sullivan were welcomed as members of the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Still to come are ordinations in Burlington, and in the near future, Hung Hoa, Vietnam.  Our prayer for all and each of them is best expressed by the Rite of ordination of Priests itself:

May God, who founded the Church and guides her still,
protect you with his unfailing grace.
that you may faithfully discharge the office of priest. Amen.

May God make you servants and witnesses
   of divine love and truth in the world
and faithful ministers of reconciliation. Amen.

May God make you true pastors
who nourish the faithful with living bread and the word of life

that they may continue to grow into the one body of Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Commencement Exercises for the Theological Institute

Yesterday afternoon we celebrated the fifteenth Commencement of the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization.  A packed chapel congratulated all those who received a Masters in Ministry or a Masters in Theological Studies degree!  Our grateful prayers and good wishes go with our latest alumna and alumni and our deepest thanks to Father O'Connor, Dr. Aldonna Lingertat, Dr. Steven Fahrig and the entire faculty and staff of the Theological Institute.

Three Kinds of Priests

I was privileged today to celebrate Mass with the Serrans of Northern Worcester County.  Here is the Homily I preached on three kinds of priests.

How appropriate that the Church today places before us two countersigns for what a priest is supposed to be—examples of the bad priest. I hope you have never met them, but I suspect that you probably have. 

The first is from the Epistle of Saint James the Apostle.  He speaks of the boastful apostle who plans a career for himself…going into a town not to preach the Gospel, but “to make a profit.”  Saint James calls him “a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears,” a man “boasting in [his] arrogance,” who does not know what the right thing is anymore.

Priests who have given into such careerism have been condemned by Pope Francis on numerous occasions.  He says of them, “They are victims of careerism and opportunism; they honor persons and not God (cf. Mt 23:8-12). They serve thinking only of what they can get and not of what they should give. Small-minded persons, unhappy and inspired only by their own lethal selfishness (cf. Gal 5:16-25).” (1)

The second countersign is the jealous Apostle, who seeing a rival disciple successfully driving out demons in the Lord’s name is jealous of him.  Why?  Because he is “not of our company,” one of them!  Such jealousy is born of a deep insecurity and a need by the priest to build himself up at the expense of others.  

Pope Francis describes jealous priests as those who “flay each other alive” with gossip and resentment.  He goes on: “I want to tell you that this is so common, so very common. I too have fallen into this. I have often done it, often! And I am ashamed of myself!” (2)

Why is this such a scandal?  Because the priest, is called to be like Christ, who from the Altar of the cross pours out every drop of blood and gives every breath unto death for us.  He gives all in a perfect sacrifice of kenotic love.

The is why we prayed the antiphon in today’s Responsorial Psalm: Blessed are the poor in spirit.  In that antiphon, the Church provides a model of who the Priest is supposed to be.  Motivated neither by self-interest or self-aggrandizement, he is to seek the last place, wash feet and lay down his life in the model of his Lord and Savior.

That is the kind of priest you need in your parish and the kind of priest any Seminary worth its salt is trying to produce.


1 - Pope Francis to the Roman Curia, 22 December 2014.

2 - Pope Francis to Seminarians and Novices, 6 July 2013.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Deacon Glen Dmytryszyn Ordained

Archbishop Leonard Blair, Archbishop of Hartford, ordained Glen Dmytryszyn as a Deacon this morning at Immaculate Conception Basilica in Waterbury Connecticut.  Congratulations Deacon Dmytryszyn!