Pope Benedict XVI

"Beauty... is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God Himself and His revelation."
(Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 35)

27 February 2010

Second Sunday in Lent - Dominica II in Quadragesima

Sun 28 SECOND SUNDAY in LENT (1 Cl V) Station at S. Mary's in Domnica
No Gl Cr Pr of Lent
5pm. St. Patrick's Church, College Road, Kilkenny. 
Celebrant: Rev. Thomas O'Toole CC
1 Thess 4:3-4
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication;That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.
 (Excerpt from the Epistle of the Mass)

22 February 2010

26th of February - Ember Friday - Stations of the Cross and Mass at 5pm!

Fri 26 EMBER DAY (2 Cl V) Station at the Church of the Twelve Apostles.
Pl Ind, No Gl, No Cr, Pr of Lent, Prayer over the People.
5pm - Stations of the Cross followed by Mass at St. Patrick's Church, College Rd., Kilkenny.
Celebrant: Rev. Thomas O'Toole CC.
A reminder that on any Friday in Lent or Passiontide a Plenary Indulgence may be gained, by reciting the prayer En ego in front of an image of OLJC Crucified, having fulfilled all the usual requirements.
This week Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are Ember Days. Traditionally these are days of fast and abstinence. While no longer binding under Church law it is a laudable practice to be encouraged and part of our patrimony as Catholics.

For me insight into Lenten Ember customs and its ancient associations click here!

20 February 2010

First Sunday in Lent - Dominica I in Quadragesima

Sun 21 FIRST SUNDAY in LENT (1 Cl V) Station at St. John Lateran
No Gl Cr Pr of Lent
5pm. St. Patrick's Church, College Road, Kilkenny. 
Celebrant: Rev. Thomas O'Toole CC.
Ant. Ductus est Jesus * in desertum a Spiritu, ut tentaretur a diabolo: et cum jejunasset quadraginta diebus, et quadraginta noctibus, postea esuriit.
Ant. Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, * to be tempted of the devil and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry.
 (Benedictus Antiphon, Lauds)

A Note on the Liturgy for Lent - In the 'classical' Roman Rite

For all the Sundays of Lent, except the fourth Sunday, Laetare, and on weekdays, when the Office is of the season, the altar is without flowers or other decoration. The organ is not played and the deacon and subdeacon (and assistant deacons etc at Pontifical functions) wear folded chasubles.

For all of Lent and Passiontide Votive Masses are not allowed. Private Masses for the dead are allowed on the first 'free' day of each week except Holy Week.

On all ferial days after Ash Wednesday and before Palm Sunday if a double feast or semi-double feast occurs (not a D I Cl or D II Cl)private Masses may be of either (a)the feast with a commemoration and last Gospel of the ferial day or (b) the occurring ferial day, without Gloria and Creed, with the Oratio super populum and Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal, with a commemoration of the feast. When a semi-double feast occurs the third collect will be A cunctis. [However the Office of a double or semi-double feast is always celebrated, not the ferial Office, which is commemorated.]

In all ferial Masses of the season the instruction Humilitate capita is given followed by the Oratio super populum. This prayer is also used as the collect for Vespers from Monday to Friday inclusive, or for the commemoration of Vespers in a festal Office.

The preface of Lent is used in all ferial Masses, on Sundays and on feasts that do not have a proper preface, until the Saturday before Passion Sunday inclusive.

For all of Lent, in the ferial Office, the antiphon at the Benedictus and Magnificat and the respective collects are proper to each day; the ferial preces are said, kneeling, at each Hour; at Prime a fourth psalm (displaced from Lauds) is added as noted in the Psalter.

No Octave, in the Universal or Particular Calendar is kept from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday inclusive with the exception of the great Octave of Easter.

The solemn celebration of Marriage is forbidden until Easter Monday.

(Taken from The Saint Lawrence Press Blog publishers of the Ordo Recitandi)

There have been some modifications with the 1962 Missal which include inter alia the suppression of the use of folded chasuables in Solemn Masses.

16 February 2010

Prayer to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church


Most powerful patriarch St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, 
which has always invoked thee in anxiety and trouble, 
from the exalted seat of thy glory cast a loving glance upon the whole Catholic world. 
Let thy fatherly heart be touched at the sight of the mystical spouse, 
and the Vicar of Christ overwhelmed with sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. 
Oh by the bitter anguish thou didst experience upon earth, 
dry the tears of the venerable Pontiff, defend him, liberate him, 
intercede for him with the Giver of peace and charity, 
that all adversity being removed, 
and all error dissipated, 
the entire Church may serve God in perfect liberty:
Ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis Ecclesia secura Deo serviat libertate.

15 February 2010

Important response to questions from Ecclesia Dei

The New Liturgical Movement carries some news of important clarifications to questions submitted to Ecclesia Dei. The Original letters are reproduced on their site too.

1. If there is no other possibility, because for instance in all churches of a diocese the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum are already being celebrated in the Ordinary Form, the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum may, in the same church in which they are already celebrated in the Ordinary Form, be additionally celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, if the local ordinary allows.

2. A Mass in the usus antiquior may replace a regularly scheduled Mass in the Ordinary Form. The question contextualizes that in many churches Sunday Masses are more or less scheduled continually, leaving free only very incovenient mid afternoon slots, but this is merely context, the question posed being general. The answer leaves the matter to the prudent judgement of the parish priest, and emphasises the right of a stable group to assist at Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

3. A parish priest may schedule a public Mass in the Extraordinary Form on his own accord (i.e. without the request of a group of faithful) for the benefit of the faithful including those unfamiliar with the usus antiquior. The response of the Commission here is identical to no. 2.

4. The calendar, readings or prefaces of the 1970 Missale Romanum may not be substituted for those of the 1962 Missale Romanum in Masses in the Extraordinary Form.

5. While the liturgical readings (Epistle and Gospel) themselves have to be read by
the priest (or deacon/subdeacon) as foreseen by the rubrics, a translation to the vernacular may afterwards be read also by a layman.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro!
Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

14 February 2010

Quinquagesima Sunday

Sun 14 QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY (2 Cl V) Station at St. Peter's Basilica
No Gl Cr Pr of the Holy Trinity
5pm. St. Patrick's Church, College Road, Kilkenny. 
Celebrant: Rev. Thomas O'Toole CC.

Stans autem Jesus * jussit caecum adduci ad se, et ait illi: Quid vis ut faciam tibi? Domine, ut videam. Et Jesus ait illi: Respice, fides tua te salvum fecit. Et confestim vidit, et sequebatur illum, magnificans Deum.

And Jesus stood, * and commanded the blind man to be brought unto Him, and He asked him, saying What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him Receive thy sight thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God.
 (Magnificat Ant. II Vespers)

11 February 2010

Feast of the Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes

O Mary Conceived without Sin,
Pray for us who recourse to Thee!
Today the glorious Queen of heaven * appeared on earth; today her word brought to her people a pledge of peace and salvation; today the choirs of Angels and the faithful exult, celebrating with joy the Immaculate Conception.
(Magnificat Antiphon of II Vespers

Saint Bernadette Soubirous,
Pray for us!

Excerpt from the Encyclical of Blessed Pius XII 
'Warning against materialism on the centenary of the apparitions at Lourdes'
In a society which is barely conscious of the ills which assail it, which conceals its miseries and injustices beneath a prosperous, glittering, and trouble-free exterior, the Immaculate Virgin, whom sin has never touched, manifests herself to an innocent child. With a mother's compassion she looks upon this world redeemed by her Son's blood, where sin accomplishes so much ruin daily, and three times makes her urgent appeal: "Penance, penance, penance!" She even appeals for outward expressions: "Go kiss the earth in penance for sinners." And to this gesture must be added a prayer: "Pray to God for sinners."...
... the world, which today affords so many justifiable reasons for pride and hope, is also undergoing a terrible temptation to materialism ... 
This materialism is not confined to that condemned philosophy which dictates the policies and economy of a large segment of mankind. It rages also in a love of money which creates ever greater havoc as modern enterprises expand, and which, unfortunately, determines many of the decisions which weigh heavy on the life of the people. It finds expression in the cult of the body, in excessive desire for comforts, and in flight from all the austerities of life. It encourages scorn for human life, even for life which is destroyed before seeing the light of day. ...
Le Pelerinage de Lourdes
Blessed Pius XII

06 February 2010

Sexagesima Sunday

Sun 7 SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY (2 Cl V) Station at St. Paul's
No Gl Cr Pr of the Holy Trinity
5pm. St. Patrick's Church, College Road, Kilkenny. 
Celebrant: Rev. Thomas O'Toole CC.

'Cum turba plurima convenirent ad Jesum, et de civitatibus properarent ad eum, dixit per similitudinem: Exiit, qui seminat, seminare semen suum.'
'When a very great crowd was gathering together and men from every town came to Jesus, He said in a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed.'

Ant. ad Benedictus for Sexagesima Sunday
Late 12thC window of the 'Sower on stony ground', Canterbury Cathedral, UK.
The following is the reading, on the Gospel of the day, i.e. The parable  of the sower, Luke 8.4-15.,  taken from the Divine Office at Matins.

Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great,15th on the Gospels.

Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. The Truth Himself hath explained it, and, after that, it beseemeth not man's frailty to fritter away His exposition by any further comment. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, somewhat, which it behoveth us well to weigh. If it were but we who bade you believe that by the seed is signified the word; by the field, the world; by the birds, the devils; and by the thorns, riches ye would perchance doubt of the truth of our explanation. Therefore the Lord Himself hath vouchsafed to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof He hath not given the meaning.Beginning His explanation, the Lord saith that He speaketh in parables. Hereby He doth certify us, when our weakness would unveil to you the hidden meaning of His words. If I spake of myself, who would believe me when I say that riches are thorns? Thorns prick, but riches lull to rest. And yet riches are indeed thorns, for the anxiety they bring is a ceaseless pricking to the minds of their owners, and, if they lead into sin, they are thorns which bloodily tear the soul. But we understand from another Evangelist (Matth. xiii. 22) that in this place the Lord speaketh, not of riches themselves, but of the deceitfulness of riches.Those riches are deceitful riches, which can be ours only for a little while; those riches are deceitful riches, which cannot relieve the poverty of our souls. They are the only true riches, which make us rich in virtues. If then, dearly beloved brethren, ye seek to be rich, earnestly desire the true riches. If ye would be truly honourable, strive after the kingdom of heaven. If ye love the bravery of titles, hasten to have your names written down at Court above, where Angels are. Take to heart the Lord's words which your ear heareth. The food of the soul is the word of God when the stomach is sick it throweth up again the food which is put into it, and so is the soul sick when a man heareth and digesteth not in his memory the Word of God. And if any man cannot keep his food, that man's life is in desperate case.

Late 12thC window of the 'Sower on good and thorny ground', Canterbury Cathedral, UK.

Some comments on the Season of Septuagesima.

The time of Septuagesima can be likened unto the 'portico' of the 'outer courts' of the Temple, leading one into the Holy of Holies of the mysteries of Jesus, which is His Passion. The two outer courts of this season being Septuagesima and Lent respectively.This description of the season echoes the words of Dom Marmion, who describes how the Church each year commemorates in detail the different phases of the Mystery of the Redemption, which reaches towards the triumphant consummation on Easter morning. 

During Septuagesima the liturgy of the Mass and the Divine Office remind us of the first sin, the Fall, and the necessity of penance - confidence in God Who gives light and strength abundantly to those who return to Him.

To read an article on Sexagesima Sunday and the teaching of St. Paul 'The Doctor of the Gentiles' mentioned in the collect of the Mass click here. The station church this Sunday is that of the major Basilica of St. Paul's 'Outside the Walls'.

The two images of the 12thC windows showing the sower from the parable of the Gospel of the Mass tie in well with the article linked to above. They were originally in a series of images, in the middle ages, that showed various types relating to the Eucharist.
'The Host we dare to receive, made from the flour of seeds of wheat, is the seed Christ the High Priest sows in us.  St. Paul teaches us a stern lesson the reception of the Eucharist by the worthy and the unworthy.  We are not in control of our salvation, but we cooperate.'

Two Weeks Absence

I must apologise to anyone looking for weekly information about Masses in Kilkenny. The administrator of the web log has been away for two weeks and was unable to post to the internet during this time.

Prayers were said for all the readers and the intentions of the Society of St. Oliver Punkett during a visit to Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek) in Brugge, Belgium.

The Basilica consists of two churches, a lower and upper chapel. The churches were originally built in the 12th century by Thierry of Alsace, who decided to build a private double chapel next to the Oud Steen, the first residence of the Counts of Flanders, which is now the town hall of Brugge. The town hall is seen below, on the right (with the turrets) and the Basilica extending to the west side.

The lower church is dedicated to St. Basil, whose relic was brought back after the First Crusade by Robert II, Duke of Flanders (also known as Robertus Hierosolimitanus) in c.1100.  The lower church, as shown above, is the best surviving example of the Romanesque style in West Flanders, built between 1134 -1139AD.

The upper church (the high altar shown above) houses a relic of the Holy Blood, which according to tradition, was collected by Joseph of Arimathea at the time of Crucifixion, and brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders.

Thierry went on crusade a second time in 1147 (Second Crusade). According to tradition, Thierry of Alsace returned to his capital Brugge on April 7, 1150 with the relic of the Precious Blood. More recent research would seem to suggest that the relic originates from 1207 when Constantinople was sacked by the army of Baldwin IV during the Fourth Crusade. There is a papal bull of Clement V (1310), grating indulgences to the faithful who venerate the relic.

During the first half of the 13th century, the name of the upper chapel was changed to the Chapel of the Holy Blood.  Originally it was built in Romanesque style, like the lower chapel. It was rebuilt in Gothic Style at the end of the 15th century and again in 1823, having been extensively damaged following the French Revolution.

The picture below, showing the silver tabernacle where the vial holding the Precious Blood is kept.
Only the curved arches giving access to the side chapel of the Holy Cross remain from the original Romanesque chapel. It was promoted to minor basilica in 1923.

The church also houses the relics of Blessed Charles the Good, Count of Flanders (son of Canute IV of Denmark and Adela of Flanders).

Mass according to the 1962 Missal is said there every month.

Staircase entrance to the Basilica

Detail of entrance.

 The Relic of the Holy Blood is exposed for veneration on Fridays.

Sanguis Christi, inebria me!

Recent investigations have showed that the phial (shown above) is made of rock crystal and  probably dates to the 11th or 12th century. It may have been a Byzantine perfume bottle made in the area of Constantinople. It has never been opened since its arrival in Brugge. Its neck is wound with gold thread and its stopper is sealed with red wax. The phial is encased in a glass-fronted gold cylinder closed at each end by coronets decorated with angels. The date "MCCCLXXXVIII die III maii" (May 3, 1388) is engraved on the frame. (Nickell, Joe. 2007. "Blood of Jesus". Relics of the Christ. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 169–170.)

Some more pictures off-site here.