Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: July 2009 Archives

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Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, Archbishop of Hartford, in a letter to the Saint Gregory Society of New Haven, Connecticut, gave his permission for the Traditional Latin Mass community to relocate from Sacred Heart Church in New Haven to Saint Stanislaus Church at 9 Eld Street in New Haven.

"He wants to be certain the church is appropriate for your needs," wrote the archbishop.

He gave permission for the first Traditional Latin Mass at Saint Stanislaus in New Haven to be on The Feast of the Holy Cross, September 13, 2009. The Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal will be celebrated at 2 pm at Saint Stanislaus just as it had been celebrated at 2 PM at Sacred Heart.

In his cordial letter of introduction, Archbishop Mansell encouraged cordial relations with the pastor, Father Roman Kmiec, C.M., pastor of Saint Stanislaus. Father Kmiec has indeed warmly welcomed the Saint Gregory Society.

Archbishop Mansell said he was "glad to help" the Saint Gregory Society in finding a new home for the Community.

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Saint Stanislaus Church is staffed by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) of the New England Province. The Vincentians, an congregation of priests and brothers founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in the 1600s, spread the gospel message of Jesus in championing the needs of the poor.

The De Paul Provincial House is located at 234 Keeney Street in Manchester, CT.

I am happy to receive this news. I spent nine years of my formative years at Saint Stan's with the Vincentians and the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Saint Stan's is New Haven's best looking church maintaining the original artwork and liturgical furnishings.

The Saint Gregory Society of New Haven is a non-profit lay association founded in 1985 to promote the local celebration of the Traditional Latin Liturgy according to the Tridentine Missal in response to the Papal indult of October 3, 1984, Quattuor abhinc annos, which granted the use of the liturgical books in force in 1962.

Since January 1986, the Traditional Latin Mass regularly has been celebrated at the Sacred Heart Church in downtown New Haven. The Saint Gregory Society exists primarily to advocate the preservation of the immemorial rite of the Mass, to work for its celebration on a regular and unrestricted basis, and to disseminate information about and cultivate interest in the classical Roman liturgy and its central importance for Catholic faith and culture.

The Society supports a professional Schola Cantorum that provides the proper Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony for all sung liturgical functions.

For further information:

(this article is edited & adapted)

Do you ever think of the (dis)unity of Christians? Are you concerned enough to pray for the unity of the Churches? Today after Mass I prayed a prayer that asked God the Father to give us the grace of unity among Christians while He also fixes the errors that exist among the same. A tall order I know but I am known for bold requests! For some time I've been praying that one day--in my lifetime-- that among some Christian churches we can observe a common date of Easter if not also a common altar. Needless to say, I am saddened by the fact that most Christians don't have an issue with the various Christian churches and ecclesial communities celebrating Easter on different days. I lament this apathetic approach to our observing THE most solemn day of our Lord and Savior's triumph over sin and death.

Admittedly, the problem of a common date for Easter is nearly as old as Christianity itself. History shows us that when the Apostles formed the various Christian communities under the power of the Spirit and by their work of evangelization differing opinions surfaced on how and when to commemorate Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Most often differing opinions were based on how the four gospels recorded the events of our salvation. We know the first attempt at deciding a common date for Easter began with the Council of Nicaea (325). The Council taught that the date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. However, there was no method for calculating the full moon or the vernal equinox.

Today, we have the practice of the Orthodox churches who use the March 21st of the Julian calendar as the date of the equinox, while the churches of the Western tradition  base their calculations on the Gregorian calendar.  Hence, a window of difference is five weeks exists. Hmmm!!!???

According to a report on a recent seminar in the Ukraine attended by Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians of Europe, all participants endorsed a compromise proposed at a 1997 World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation in Aleppo, Syria. Notice that no North American theologians' opinions were considered. The proposal made was to keep the Nicaea rule but calculate the equinox and full moon using the accurate astronomical data available today, rather than those used many years ago. Brilliant, if you ask me!  Now I wonder of the  churchmen who head these churches also agree.

Recently, the French Orthodox theologian Professor Antoine Arjakovsky, director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, pointed out: "Whilst the astronomic reckoning of the Nicean rule comes closer to the Gregorian calendar than to the ancient Julian one, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches did take a step towards the Orthodox churches in Aleppo, accepting that the date of Easter should be established on the base of a cosmic calendar rather than by a fixed date as had been proposed prior to the inter-Orthodox meeting in Chamb├ęsy in 1977."

In 2010 and 2011 there is a convergence of calendars which will produce a common Easter date that may, one hopes, serve as an opportunity for all Christians to join together for a celebration that is not based on mere coincidence. By Easter 2012 (April 8), can we hope that a date based on exact astronomical reckoning and celebrated by all Christians?

It seems that it's not only theology or the calendar's calculations that's the problem but the ecclesial relations among the communities of faith. Sad if you ask me.
For many reasons I have had a devotion to Saint Thomas Becket whose liturgical memorial is observed on December 29. Becket was killed in 1170. His conversion and subsequent witness to the work of the Trinity in the world is one which inspires and challenges me to follow Christ more closely.

Today is the day that the Church in Canterbury observes a liturgical remembrance of the transfer of relics of Saint Thomas Becket. I should point out, however, there is a problem for some people in verifying Becket's relics being as true and therefore the subject of debate among some scholars. You can read any number of works on the subject if you'd like to enter the debate. I happen to come down on the side that the relics of Saint Thomas Becket are real. 

A transfer of relics from one shrine to another is similar to a reburying a body. As we know of tradition, it is in the second half of the 4th century that some local churches (dioceses) placed the relics beneath the altar and this placement of matryrs' relics became part of the dedication rites of a church.

The veneration of martyrs is a very ancient part of Christian faith. All sorts of practices surfaced with regard to the honor paid to a martyr-saint (and later to non-martyr saints) such as adorning the tombs, lighting lamps, paintings, inscriptions, offering the Eucharist on the martyr's anniversary of death, writing of the martyr's history, making a pilgrimage and the like. All these things first acknowledge the power of God over sin and death (the Resurrection) and then the confidence that we have in the martyr would intercede on our behalf before God. All this contributes to the belief that the martyrs were (and continue to be) true disciples of Jesus Christ. The martyr witnesses to us the reality and truth of the Paschal Mystery and our being able to be saved if we surrender to that Mystery. Why are we concerned with the transfer of relics? Why is this important? Existentially it is rather unimportant; as a matter of faith and Christian living the transfer of a saint's relics is important because of the honor due to God through the life of a blessed man or woman as interpreted for us by Christ crucified and risen; the martyr is only important insofar as he or she points to Jesus; the martyrs' relics and there occasional transfer illustrates an eschatology present in the baptism we daily live.

We venerate (we don't adore) the remains of a person we are morally convinced, that is, we have certainty that this person is among the saints in heaven and that the saint shows how to excel in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Today we remember the moving of Becket and we ask him to ask God for the grace of courage and greatness of heart.

from a letter by Saint Thomas Becket

For our sake Christ offered himself to the Father upon the altar for the cross. He now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day he will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve. It must therefore be our endeavor to destroy the right of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple of the Lord.

The harvest is good and one reaper or even several would not suffice to gather all of it into the granary of the Lord. Yet the Roman Church remains the head of all the churches and the source of Catholic teaching. Of this there can be no doubt. 
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Everyone know that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to Peter. Upon his faith and teaching the whole fabric of the Church will continue to be built until we all reach full maturity in Christ and attain to unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Of course many are needed to plant and many to water now that the faith has spread so far and the population become so great.

Nevertheless, no matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what he plants is the faith of Peter, and unless he himself assents to Peter's teaching. All important questions that arise among God's people are referred to the judgment of Peter in the person for the Roman Pontiff. Under him the ministers of Mother Church exercise the powers committed to them, each in his own sphere of responsibility.

Remember then how our fathers worked out their salvation; remember the sufferings through which the Church has grown, and the storms the ship of Peter has weathered because it has Christ on board. Remember how the crown was attained by those whose sufferings gave new radiance to their faith. The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing truth that without real effort no one wins the crown.

Happy 4th of July

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God of love, Father of us all, in wisdom and goodness you guide creation to fulfillment in Christ your Son. Open our hearts to the truth of his gospel, that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice guide our lives.

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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from July 2009.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: June 2009 is the previous archive.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: August 2009 is the next archive.

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