Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

Dedication of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran

Lateran Basiclica with St Francis.jpgO God, who out of living and chosen stones builds up an everlasting dwelling-place for Thy majesty: help Thy people, who humbly pray to Thee, and whatever material room Thy Church may set apart for Thy worship, let it bring also spiritual increase.

(Post-Communion prayer)
We celebrate the dedication of this Church as the seat of the Bishop of Rome from which all other pastoral authority is derived. We honor the anniversary of a church’s dedication because a church gives full voice to the sacred Liturgy. The feast of the dedication gives full acceptance and capacity to live the ancient theological principle, legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi (the law of belief given through the law of prayer, or even more of short-hand, the law of prayer is the law of belief).

Blessing of Water in Honor of Saint Willibrord

St Willibrord3.jpgA tradition on the day which the liturgical memorial of Saint Willibrord is celebrated is the blessing of water. As we know, Catholics use the natural world to “hook” on to the supernatural world. That is, the Incarnation of the Word came into human history to hallow creation and for the redemption of the world. The Church sensing this, has organically developed blessings of things and people to lead us into the deeper reality of our faith looking toward salvation. The opening prayer for the Mass of Saint Willibrord may be found here, and ritual for the blessing of water follows.

Saint Willibrord (d. 738) freed a home haunted by an evil spirit through the use of water blessed by him.

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who made heaven and earth.

Thou creature water, I purge thee of evil by the living + God, by the holy + God, that thou mayest become a saving remedy for body and soul, through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Let us pray.

Bless, + O Lord, this water as a remedy for repulsing the foe of mankind, and send down on it they Holy Spirit, so empowered by heaven it may drive out both sickness and the worst enemy of all, and be a source of health to all who drink thereof. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray.

O Lord Almighty! Bless + this water which thou has granted for mankind’s use in washing away all guilt of sin, so that, through invoking upon it thy holy name, it may prove an unfailing and divine remedy whatever it is sprinkled or used for drink. Let this water serve to wash away every impurity, and to bestow by thy beneficence health of body and soul upon all who use it, through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead and world of fire. Amen.

Let us pray.

O Lord, the Father Almighty! Bless + this creature of water that it become a saving means for humankind in removing all evil of body and soul and in expelling all harmful influence of the enemy. And grant that, through invoking thy holy name, we may possess in it a safeguard for our corporal and spiritual well-being. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, Who has appointed illustrious promoters of the true faith for the various nations; grant, we beseech thee, that all who come seeking the intercession of our holy teacher, Saint Willibrord, may experience the joy of good health here on earth and prosperity and the glory of beatitude in the life to come. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forevermore. Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son + and Holy Spirit come upon this water and remain for all time. Amen.

Honoring the dead, the companionship of saints–the Catholic way


Holy Rood Cem.jpg

… while we visit cemeteries, let us remember that there, in
the tombs, only the mortal remains of our loved ones rest, while awaiting the
final resurrection. Their souls — as Scripture says — already “are in
the hand of God” (Wisdom 3:1). Hence, the most appropriate and effective
way to honor them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and
charity
. In union with the Eucharistic sacrifice, we can intercede for their
eternal salvation
, and experience the most profound communion while awaiting to
be reunited again, to enjoy forever the love that created us and redeemed us.

… how beautiful and consoling is the communion of saints! It is a
reality that infuses a different dimension to our whole life. We are never
alone! We form part of a spiritual “company” in which profound
solidarity reigns: the good of each one is for the benefit of all and, vice
versa, the common happiness is radiated in each one
. It is a mystery that, in a
certain measure, we can already experience in this world, in the family, in
friendship, especially in the spiritual community of the Church. May Mary Most
Holy help us to walk swiftly on the way of sanctity and show herself a Mother
of mercy for the souls of the deceased. (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 2, 2009)

O loving and sustaining Lord: in honor of Saint Charles Borromeo

St Charels Borromeo2.jpg1. O loving and sustaining Lord, 
A joyful song your people raise 
On this, our patron’s festive day 
And sing your love in thankful praise. 

2. A bishop faithful to your word, 
A pastor loving to the sheep, 
Charles preached the Gospel truth to all, 
And strove th’Apostles’ faith to keep. 

3. A lover of the Cath’lic faith, 
He worked to build within his see 
A knowledge and a love of God 
That all in Christ be fully free. 

4. His tireless striving for the poor 
Was modeled on the Christ, his Lord; 
He taught the doubter and the lost 
And brought the beggar to his board. 

5. All glory, Lord, to you we sing, 
And thanks for Charles your bishop bring, 
As we the Father now adore 
And Holy Spirit, evermore. 

J. Michael Thompson 
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications 
LM 
PUER NOBIS, WINCHESTER NEW 

No such thing as a dead saint

The expression “a living saint” can be misleading. Certainly, we have encountered people in our own lives who fit that description, as best as we can judge. The Holy Church makes the final decision about saints. We celebrate them especially on All Saints’ Day, and on All Souls’ Day, we pray for our loved ones who are drawing more closely into the aura of holiness. The saints on the calendar are only the tip of the iceberg, and most of the saints who have ever existed are known to God alone. Perhaps churches should have a shrine to “The Unknown Saint” quite as we have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All Saints’ Day is rather like that.

 

St. Simon Stylites.jpgMy point, though, is that there is no such thing as a dead saint.There are saints alive now, and there are saints who have physically died, but all are alive in Christ and they are “busy” in heaven, to use a temporal metaphor. Some saints capture the popular imagination more in one generation than in another. For instance, St. Simon Stylites was admired in Syria in the fifth century for spending most of his life seated on top of a pillar. That is not a useful model for our day, although some may still remember Flagpole Kelly, and not long ago thousands of New Yorkers went to watch a man spend a week on top of a column up the street in Bryant Park.

 

Millions are drawn to Padre Pio, and some are compelled by an unmeasured fascination with his miraculous spiritual gifts, which were blessings indeed, rather than emulating his heroic humility and discipline. There remains an astonishing cult of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was almost the reverse of St. Pio: totally St Therese of the Child Jesus.jpgunknown in her earthly lifetime, and accomplishing nothing conspicuous to her contemporaries. She would have remained such had not her spiritual writings been discovered and published. Perhaps she fascinates precisely because in just barely 24 years on earth, she did the most ordinary things with most extraordinary joy. Whenever her relics are taken on pilgrimage to foreign lands (not to mention the one that was taken on a space shuttle), hundreds of thousands pour out to pray by them. This happened most recently in England, where the media were confounded by the huge crowds.

 

Concurrent with that phenomenon, there were astonishing developments in long-moribund Christian life there, not least of which was the announcement of the first papal state visit to Britain and the expected beatification of John Henry Newman, who predicted a “Second Spring” of Faith in England. Then came news of an Apostolic Constitution, which will provide a unique canonical structure to welcome those desiring union with the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI, who well deserves the title “The Pope of Unity,” has shown the power of the intercessions of the saints.

 

Rev’d Fr. George Rutler

Church of Our Saviour, NYC

November 1, 2009

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]yahoo.com.
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