Monthly Archives: July 2012

Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Born one year before Columbus set sail for the New World, Ignatius came into the world at the onset of a very tumultuous period in European and Ecclesiastical history.

He underwent a spiritual awakening while injured after a battle in 1521(Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses in 1517). During that time, he read many great texts and practiced self-denial. Along with six other intellectual friends, he founded the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, in 1534. They originally limited their work to service in hospitals but went on to found many exceptional universities and schools throughout the world. Pope Paul III issued the papal bull Regimini militantis Ecclesiae(to the Government of the Church Militant) in 1540 which officially approved the order and allowed them to expand up to sixty members.

The Jesuits vigorously opposed the protestant movement and lived according to the motto ad majorum dei gloriam, which is all for the greater honor and glory of God. Most famously, St. Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises which is an intense retreat formula that has transformed many hearts and minds and is still in use today. He died in 1556 in Rome and is buried at the Church of St Ignatius near the Pantheon.



One Year Anniversary of Archbishop Sambi’s Birth into Eternal Life

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Pietro Sambi on this, the one year anniversary of his passing.

The Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC after the passing of Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

My favorite memory of the Papal Nuncio was his 2010 visit to my parish, Holy Rosary in Northeast DC. When I reiterated how much of an honor it was to be in his presence, he smiled and simply invited me to have a piece of cake with him. His Excellency was a top-tier Vatican official and a highly skilled politician, but you would never know it outside of the office. He carried all of his own belongings and took time to approach every unsuspecting stranger with a smile, greeting them and leaving you without the slightest impression of his diplomatic ranking.
As a politician in the Vatican Diplomatic Service, he remained loyal his mission of charity, compassion, and returning Christ to His flock. Most notably, he negotiated with the Israeli and Palestinian governments to ensure more religious freedom and ease of restrictions on Catholic clergy living in Israel. In 2005, he was charged with his most pressing and final mission: serving as Papal Nuncio to the United States. From 2005 to 2011, his priorities included the protection of children, facilitating the healing of Church wounds, and the Papal visit of 2007.
Lord give us the humility of your faithful servant, Pietro, who submitted himself to you with a simple smile and unfailing spirit of charity for your flock. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Catholic Priesthood (Official Promotion Video)

For the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana(Dioecesis Lafayettensis in Indiana)

When in Rome, do as the Romans unless…

When we stray from the teachings of the Church or even reject one of them, we now subject ourselves to a faith by men instead of one for us by Christ.

St. Ambrose was Bishop of Milan in the 4th century and is hailed as one of the great doctors of the Church. He warned against the liturgy becoming so rigid that the people are no longer served by it, but he never advocated straying from the faith or the Mass as the first Christians celebrated it. He coined the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

The official banner of the City of Milan which depicts the city’s patron saint, Ambrose. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan still celebrates the “Ambrosian Rite” and its own liturgical schedule with the permission of the Vatican.

In this past week there has been a lot of attention in the media reflecting on Church teachings and public opinion. Many in the secular world expressed that they were deeply touched by the compassion the Anglican Church exhibited when they approved the new liturgy for same-sex marriage on July 9th.

In the Washington Post on July 12, a Catholic school teacher complained her conscience was violated  at St. Anne’s Parish by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington because she and her coworkers were asked to reaffirm their faith in an oath. After being asked to profess her faith, she resigned from her post and cited the male-only priesthood as one particular teaching she disagrees with.

Both stories are examples of people who really desire to see greater pastoral care which is charitable and compassionate but in this case it was misguided. Unfortunately, both stories are actually total abandonment of pastoral care. In the pastoral method of Saint Ambrose, the liturgy was prayed and preached in a way that the public could understand better. Saint Ambrose never modified the teachings of the faith or the necessary practices of the Mass in order to open the Church to greater numbers.

When we stray from the teachings of the Church or even reject one of them, we now subject ourselves to a faith by men instead of one for us by Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We should be inspired by the early Christians who felt deeply unpopular and have confidence knowing that we are called to be the light in the world – even when the world seems so dark.


Moments of Weakness in our Charity

Charity is a virtue. In fact, it means so much more than giving time or money to organizations. As beings created by God, who is all-loving of those whom he created, we have this innate sense of love for others within us.  The measure of that love can be called “charity”, or “caritas” in Latin.

Christmas time in the parish hall of Holy Rosary in Washington, DC. That time of year fosters a prevailing atmosphere of charity. How can we reignite that same love in July?

True charity is universally applied. But in those moments where we fail to be entirely selfless(which happens quite frequently for most human beings), our actions follow suit and fail in charity.

We often think of the marginalized(abandoned, abused, minorities, poor, sick) as the weakest members of society, so our works of charity often focus on those members. Our greatest weakness in the application of charity is often with those in closest proximity to us. Think of those little moments where we forget to be patient with our parents(especially as they become older and need more constant help). There are lots of other moments of weakness like road rage, etc. The good news is that these are just moments of weakness, and as we begin to recognize them, we begin to grow in our desire to be more charitable towards others in these moments.

Because we were designed by a loving God, Love(charity) is very naturally spiritually refreshing while selfishness(absence of charity) is destructive. That explains why we feel good after performing good deeds for others.

The Apostle John said, “Most beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God. And everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I John 4:7

A Message from Cardinal Wuerl on Religious Freedom

“Let the dead bury the dead” – a call to fill the void

“Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” -Matt 18:22

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we are called to something greater than our responsibilities here on Earth. We are called to Him and nothing here on earth can fill that void.

Church of the Gesu in Rome, Italy
It is the mother church of the Jesuits and is attached to the home where St. Ignatius of Loyola died.

It sounds shocking and insensitive to tell a mourning man to let the business of his father’s funeral be left alone, but the back-story is that this man was genuinely looking for a reason to delay his service to Christ. It’s something we do a lot in our daily lives, and even more especially if the commitment to Christ is a life long vocation to marriage or  religious life.

Two weeks ago, I heard a friend say, “You know, I’m Catholic but I’m just not sure there really is something after death.” I asked her if she ever feels like there is something more to life or if she feels totally satisfied all of the time? Of course, she responded no. Philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft tells us that we are unable to reach complete satisfaction in this life because we are made for something more.  The argument from desire states that our desires correspond to something which can satisfy it. Hunger corresponds to food. Sexual desires correspond to sex. But we never feel fully satisfied to the point of never feeling need again. That is because our ultimate end is not death of the body, but life after.

I proposed that my friend and I take a walk down to the Church of the Gesu (pictured above) which is attached to the home of St Ignatius of Loyola. I told her that St. Ignatius, a man who fearlessly dedicated his life to the conversion of Protestants back to Catholicism, died on that top floor. There was something very real about being present at that location which gave us both strength. For we knew that a man of great honor and certitude entered into death happily from that very spot.

In today’s Gospel, we are called to Christ without delay. That decision can be to follow him today by avoiding sin, or it can be the call to a specific vocation in life at the time God calls us to enter into that. When Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead,” He is calling that man to leave behind the empty void in his life and to fill it with his true calling.