- Monday, 06 May 2013 08:22
Just before Ascension Thursday, there are three days of prayer asking God to bestow his blessing on creation, particularly the on farms that produce the food we need for nourishment. We call these days minor Rogation Days, in comparison to the major Rogation Day is observed on April 25. “Rogation” comes from the Latin rogare, to ask, as in, to ask for God’s mercy, His blessings, His continued benevolence upon all creation. Whether major or minor days of asking, Christians have been doing this type of prayer since the time of Saint Gregory the Great (the major day) and Saint Mamertus (the minor days). This is good example of how we Christians connect trust and confidence in God and the work of human hands on the earth.
A Catholic sense of ecology always includes prayer and not merely a commitment to a green ideology. All of our thinking and acting is informed by our prayer, work and prayer, faith and reason. From a gesture of gratitude we give thanks to the Lord for the beauty of the earth. The key biblical passages prayed come from Psalm 69, Jeremiah 10-11: 1-16, James 5:16-20 and Luke 11:5-14.
In the Northeast we don’t see too much of Rogation Day observances with Mass, litanies and processions. Sad to see so little done in this area since there are lots of working farms here and it would be a good thing to make supplication to God. In the Midwest can be experienced. Farmers, gardeners, agricultural professionals and others, gather to pray for all who work on the land, for a favorable planting, growing, and harvesting season, and for safety and protection from natural disasters.
Some of the Benedictine monasteries will attend to Rogation Days in collaboration with the local pastor or bishop. In 2012, the Benedictine Sisters of St Benedict Monastery (Ferdinand, IN) for example, had a procession that went from their monastery to the local parish with Bishop Charles C. Thompson, bishop of the Diocese of Evansville. Offices of Catholic Rural Life in certain dioceses ought to be attentive to this ancient form of prayer.
Some places to read further: here and here (with a very good history of the Rogation Day practice).
- Wednesday, 06 March 2013 22:12
Father Augustine Thompson, OP, delivered the 23rd annual Aquinas Lecture “Baptismal Theology and Practice in the Age of St. Thomas Aquinas”
I highly recommend watching the video presentation.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Fr. Augustine examined and presented research on his discoveries of the liturgical and social significance of baptism in Northern Italian cities of the thirteenth-century. He also discussed developments in the Catholic theology of baptism from the twelfth century to Aquinas in the late thirteenth, including Aquinas’ disagreements with other theologians. I found his presentation compelling because he speaks of how Northern Italy preserved the unity of the sacraments of initiation, the role of the bishop in being the prime minister of Christian initiation, the role of city government, the faith community, and many other things like the fast of infants.
A New York native, Fr. Augustine is Professor of History at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, CA. He earned a PhD from UC Berkeley and in 2007 was given the STM from the Order of Friars Preachers. He is the author of the recently published Francis of Assisi: A New Biography, Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 and Revival Preachers and Politics: The Great Devotion of 1233; Ad Completorium Liturgiae Horarum secundum Usum Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum. Oakland, CA: Provincia Ss. Nominis Jesu Ordinis Praedicatorum, 2010 (Liturgical Music); Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325. 2005; and edited John Williamson Nevin. The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinist Theology of the Holy Eucharist, 2000.
- Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:31
There are few opportunities for good and solid learning on the sacred Liturgy these days. Many of the conferences that pass for the advancement of Catholic thinking on the Liturgy are ideological. BUT, the forthcoming conference in Rome, Sacra Liturgia 2013, provides a great venue, a a clear context, a group of well-informed speakers dealing with the Catholic worship of the One Triune God.
Recently, a member of the Catholic World Report interviews one of the organizers, Dom Alcuin Reid, of Sacra Liturgia 2013 which will take place 25-28 June.
Dom Alcuin answers a question on Pope Benedict’s contribution to liturgical life of the Church:
Primarily in fostering the “new liturgical movement,” I think. Firstly, by his teaching, above all in Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a profound tutorial on the liturgical and ecclesial celebration of the Blessed Eucharist. Also by his acts, most certainly through Summorum Pontificum, where he authoritatively asserted that that the rites that were once “sacred and great…cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or considered harmful.” Finally, by his example: papal liturgies have shown us the meaning of ars celebrandi–the manner of celebrating the sacred mysteries with a true noble simplicity. And always, at the head of these liturgies has stood a man who has looked together with us toward the cross he had placed in the center of the altar. The liturgy is about Him, not me, he has taught us.
Clergy, religious and laity are welcome!
Dom Alcuin Reid is a monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France.
Reid’s major work, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2005); he updated The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (Burns & Oates, 2009) and he is the editor of From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelization (Burns & Oates, 2012).
- Thursday, 14 February 2013 09:40
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) under the direction of Monsignor Richard Hilgartner of the Secretariat for Divine Worship, has produced a packet of materials regarding the pope.