Category Archives: Catholic priesthood

Blessings, etc, at a priest’s First Mass

priestly first mass image.jpgWe are now preparing for the ordinations of men to the Order of Deacon and to the Order of Priests this time of year. With these ecclesial events, there is generally a lot of misunderstanding as to what is permitted, what is not, and who can restrict what. Imagine: liturgical and ecclesiological confusion in the Church! 

Plenty of newly ordained deacons and priests exhibit arrogance and a sense of entitlement that is both inconsistent with the gift of the priesthood and with the law of charity. Because a man is ordained, or given an office to exercise, e.g., pastoral care of souls in a parish or the abbatial office or the Vicar General’s office does not mean you’ve “arrived,” and that you can do whatever you want just because you are now “somebody.” Ask yourself, what example does Christ the high priest and head of the Church require? What does true priestly humility look like?
The ever attentive canonist Edward Peters on his blog (In Light of the Law) posted today a helpful primer to questions asked with regard to “Ordinations, first Masses, clerical blessings.” I recommend laity and clergy alike carefully read what Dr Peters has to say and carefully attend to the distinctions he makes.
***I hear that if you write for the special use of an indulgence, or the solemn pontifical blessing (a particular note needs to be added to your “worship aid”, or fax, the Apostolic Penitentiary, you will get a quick response. The Prefect is Manual Cardinal de Cordeiro. His address:
Palazzo della Cancelleria
Piazza della Cancelleria, 1
00186, Roma Italia

Where do you remain, and with whom? Where is your joy?

On January 14, Monsignor Massimo Camisasca admitted several men to Candidacy. This means those who are asking to be ordained priests in the Missionary Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo. Monsignor is the founder and Superior General. The reason I am posting this homily is because of Monsignor Camisasca’s imagery of the house of God and the invitation given to enter. He sets the stage of what priesthood is about… Where do you remain, and with whom? Where is your joy?

To introduce us to the profound meaning of what happens to you today and in reflex to us, let us place ourselves on the same wavelength of the question that Andrew and John directed to Jesus: Master, where do you live? (Jn 1.38).

As well as this evening we also ask: “Where do you live?”. To be able to stay with Him, we must know where he lives. Your “yes” today is placed on the path that you are completing here in the seminary, a path in which you learn where Jesus lives and how to stay with him. To know Jesus, to know Him interiorly, profoundly, to experience him constitutes the fullness of our existence.

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Being a Catholic Priest–and Married, salient reflections….

A dear friend of mine, Father Richard Cipolla published an article today in the Wall Street Journal on what it means for a faithful Christian to belong to Christ faithfully, moving from an Episcopal Church to full communion with the Catholic Church and being a married Catholic priest. The life of sacrifice and joy is clear in Cipolla’s story. For me, it is a testament of grace to know Father Richard and his wife, Cathy, and to have met his children. Wouldn’t be good if all the clergy could say that with conviction and love. Last week Father Richard celebrated his anniversary of ordination to the Catholic priesthood on January 28 in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Let us pray for him and Holy Mother Church.

The WSJ article follows:

Being a Catholic Priest–and Married

The pope has created a new diocese for bringing Episcopalians into the church.

By Richard Cipolla

Richard Cipolla.jpg

Last month, Pope Benedict announced the formation of an American “ordinariate,” or special diocese for Episcopal congregations that want to move to Roman Catholicism (driven largely by Episcopalianism’s liberal drift). These congregations, the pope ruled, could keep some of their Anglican liturgy. More significantly, a small but sizable number of married Episcopal priests will now become married Catholic priests.

As a married Catholic priest ordained in 1984 under a special provision set forth by Pope John Paul II (for individual priests, judged on an individual basis), I have closely followed Pope Benedict’s announcement. I rejoice in this catholic and generous gesture by the pope and am overjoyed that these priests and their families will be welcomed into the Catholic Church. But that is not to say it won’t bring its own share of challenges.

My experience as a married Catholic priest for 28 years brings to mind several thoughts, both practical and spiritual. First, the church must support new priests’ families financially. During my first years as a married Catholic priest, there were times when we could not pay the heating bill. When I was ordained, it was made quite clear to me that I should not look to the church as my main source of income but rather to a full-time job outside of the church. My parish duties have thus always been secondary.

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Chaput gives witness to the vocation of bishop

Charles J Chaput coat of arms.jpg

Yesterday’s installation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia was beautiful on all avenues: music, word, gersture. One of many beautiful parts of his homily was on the ministry (vocation) of the bishop. For that part he quoted the great bishop and Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine of Hippo. You may think I am cynical by saying this, but I wonder sometimes how often our bishops live up to their vocation as the Church has expected and how often they reflect on the words of a brother such as the eminent Augustine. Perhaps not often enough. AND that is likely the reason Archbishop Charles mention the vocation his homily.

What follows is a terrfic teaching on this vitally vigorous vocation of the Church.

Thanks be to God for the Archbishop!

St. Augustine of Hippo, speaking in the 4th century captured the role of the bishop in these words: 

“Jerusalem had watchmen who stood guard . . . And this is what bishops do. Now, bishops are assigned this higher place” — the bishop’s chair in the basilica -“so that they themselves may oversee and, as it were, keep watch over the people. For they are called episkopos in Greek, which means ‘overseer,’ because the bishop oversees; because he looks down from [his chair] . . . And on account of this high place, a perilous accounting will have to be rendered [by the bishop] – unless we stand here with a heart such that we place ourselves beneath your feet in humility.”

bishops ceremonial dress.jpg

Another time, on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination, Augustine described the bishop’s duties in the following way: 

“To rebuke those who stir up strife, to comfort those of little courage, to take the part of the weak, to refute opponents, to be on guard against traps, to teach the ignorant, to shake the indolent awake, to discourage those who want to buy and sell, to put the presumptuous in their place, to modify the quarrelsome, to help the poor, to liberate the oppressed, to encourage the good, to suffer the evil and to love all men.”

It’s crucial for those of us who are bishops not simply to look like bishops but to truly be bishops. Otherwise, we’re just empty husks — the kind of men Augustine meant when he said, 

“You say, ‘He must be a bishop for he sits upon the cathedra.’ True – and a scarecrow might also be called a watchman in the vineyard.”

John Corapi leads a double life, SOLT explains

The past few weeks have proved to be a most confusing time trying to figure out the assertions made against the “former Father John Corapi” now taking a leave from ministry. Today, a “Press Release
Concerning Fr John Corapi from SOLT Regional Priest Servant” was released. It is a disturbing piece of information but something that deserves our time, patience and prayer. Someone accused me of misjudging Corapi when the allegations surfaced; my only response is that it is possible that a former addict could have a relapse.  We need to exhibit Christian forgiveness and beg God for His Mercy. We need to beg the Holy Spirit to warm John Corapi’s heart to return to the regular observance of his vowed religious life. Here’s the text:

From: Rev.
Gerard Sheehan, SOLT Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most
Holy Trinity Robstown, Texas

Fr. John A. Corapi
submitted his resignation from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity
(“SOLT”) early in June. SOLT is a Society of Apostolic Life of
Diocesan Right with its regional office in Robstown, Texas.

While SOLT does
not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr.
John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful
Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also
recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his
false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by
means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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