Friday, March 27, 2015

Doing Away with Holy Days of Obligation

The Diocese of Albany publishes weekly a periodical titled, The Evangelist. It highlights events and developments around the Diocese, as well as across the globe. For the most part, it's somewhat solid. But every once in a while you'll find, scattered in the pages, a heretical idea, or a photo of liturgical dancers. This week, my brief scanning found (yet another) ridiculously stupid write up.

This week's The Evangelist published a question from a reader (originally from December) to Fr. Kenneth Doyle, Albany's Chancellor for Public Information, essentially asking when Holy Days of Obligation will be removed from the calendar...

From the column, "Question Box:"

"When are we going to do away with holy days of obligation? We no longer live in medieval times when a village is closed down for the day. The only people at Mass now are the diehards. Please encourage the bishops to put the celebrations on Sunday or take away the obligation. (Copake, NY)"
His answer was not exactly informative...

Of course, this illicits a response from yours truly...

If you don't want the richness of the Catholic Faith, if you want a bland year that passes without anyone noticing, then you're looking for something other than the Truth. 

It's time to evaluate. 

Holy Days of Obligation (or HDOOs, as I like to call them) should not be thought of as "obligations," as burdensome days when you have to go to Mass, or else. These are days of rejoicing! All Saints, Christmas, Ascension, these are days that we should be running to our Churches to praise God!

The reader who asked the question is very misinformed. I wouldn't be so quick to say that their sentiment is malicious, but it certainly shows how uncatechized they are. Things like HDOOs that are a major part of the Church and the Liturgical Year can't just be "done away with" simply because people don't want to take an hour out of their day to go to Mass. This is part of the visible effect of the changes of the Second Vatican Council. When the Liturgical Year was rewritten/revised/recreated, people were given the idea that things in the Church can be changed on a whim, and the fact that nobody was really educated about the changes of Vatican II is partly to blame for things like this. Results of this are obvious - Why can't we allow divorced and remarried folks to receive Communion? Because the Church doesn't allow it. I'm a woman and I'm not going to veil anymore. We never said you shouldn't veil. I think abortion and homosexuality are okay. The Church doesn't; she never has and she never will. Let's have clowns during Mass.  ...     It doesn't work like that.

Okay. Let's pretend that the Church could change directions on a dime. Fine. However, God does not change; He is ever the same. The same is true for His Word and teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in entry 2059 that the "ten words" were pronounced by God Himself to Moses in the midst of a Theophany (Deuteronomy 5:4). It then goes on to say (entry 2072) that "the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, an they oblige us always and everywhere. No one can be dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart." Wow. No arguing with that one! Let's go on. The third Commandment tells us to keep holy the Sabbath Day. The Church and her Catechism reach further than "just Sundays," and extend this commandment to Holy Days of Obligation as well. 

It's not like Masses on HDOOs are so hard to find. Churches everywhere offer Masses throughout the day, especially on Holy Days. It's not impossible, by any means, to work 9-5, or 8-4:30, or even 10-7, and make Mass. There are morning Masses, noon Masses, and evening Masses. The problem with attending Mass isn't the convenience, it's the attitude of the attendee. 

Even if you have a really rough day at work, and you're exhausted, and all you want to do is go home and pass out on the couch watching Jeopardy!, you should get comfort out of knowing that you will spend an hour of your day with Our Lord, and that the day is a Holy Day because it is a special day. Sadly, many Catholics don't think of it this way, and will never think of it this way. They are misinformed about the Liturgy, about the Church as a whole, and about their duty to Worship God. 

One small point having to do with the statement, "We no longer live in medieval times when a village is closed down for the day." Something curious that I found while reading the Catechism to discuss the topic of the Commandments is this nugget from CCC 2188

"In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country's legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this 'festal gathering,' this 'assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.'"

Interesting! Could you imagine how amazing it would be to make the Assumption of Our Lady a national holiday? Now we really wouldn't have an issue getting to Masses! But alas, America...

The Liturgical Year needs to shape our year. It is our year! We must adopt the cycles of the Church into our own daily life. As Michael Voris said a couple of weeks ago, we must be "Catholic, more than we are human!"

The sense of dreadful obligation that accompanies Holy Days of Obligation is really a problem, and that's the only thing that needs to be changed...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meeting Michael Voris

It's been a busy couple of weeks here in the Albany Diocese! And I mean the good kind of busy - not liturgical-dancers-prancing-around-the-Altar busy...

Conference on 3/14/15

Immediately following the Bishop's Mass on the 14th, my best friend and I went to hear Michael Voris of ChurchMilitant.TV speak at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church in Watervliet. Since the conference began in the morning I missed half of it, but the one talk that I did hear was extremely inspiring and engaging. After the sessions were over, I approached Michael to get a picture with him (of course!).

He was staying at my friend Kirk's house. Kirk invited me and my friend over for dinner and to spend some time with Michael. Of course, I accepted the gracious offer, and we met them back at the house.

We were there until midnight, talking with Michael Voris and Matt Pearson about the Church and what's going on in Albany and New York City. The following day they would head down to the City to begin filming coverage of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, which would include active and open homosexuals this year for the first time ever. We had a very engaging conversation and lots of fun getting to know each other a little. We exchanged stories of the Sisters, and about our new Bishop. Fr. Paul Nicholson even got in on the fun, all the way from Rhode Island (We were all tweeting back and forth making jokes)!

Michael reviewing the tweets on my phone...

Michael is such a great person and an exceptional Catholic. He's extremely friendly, very intelligent, and surprisingly (please don't take offense!) not stuck up or full of himself. He's down to earth despite his status as being one of the leading reporters in Catholic news. Likewise, Matt is a very kind guy who is extremely personable and down to earth. If you ever get the chance to meet either of them, I encourage you to take it. I hope and pray that I will see them again, and that God will reward them for all of their good work for the Church.

Please watch and support ChurchMilitant.TV as they aim to expose the truth of the Faith and bring to light issues that must be addressed within the Church.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bishop Celebrates the 1962 Mass at the Cathedral in Albany

The Cathedral was filled nearly to the brim as the Bishop of Albany, installed just less than a year ago, celebrated the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, installed as Bishop of Albany on April 10th, 2014, celebrated a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on Saturday morning, March 14th at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Fr.s Michael Flannery and William Pape of the Diocese of Albany and Fr. Jeffery Larche, MS served at the Mass, as well as 10 altar boys, including 2 MCs. A choir of sixteen singers was led by Brian Gurley, the Director of Music for the Cathedral .

This event was publicized on Fr. Z's WDTPRSPatheos, and Cleansing Fire.

The Mass was particularly special to this Diocese because it was the first Mass in the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated at the Diocese's Cathedral in nearly 50 years, and it is especially notable because it was celebrated by the Bishop of Albany. Historic, indeed.

As previously mentioned, the Cathedral was nearly full for this event. Attendance estimates range from 350 to nearly 600. I helped to hand out worship aids (with the Propers and Prayers) before Mass, and we extinguished all 300 of them before 15 minutes prior to the event. The Priests and MCs had to scramble before Mass to make sure that enough hosts would be consecrated because of the unexpected large number of people that were pouring into the Cathedral. The parking lot was nearly full with more than a half-hour to spare before the beginning of Mass.

Overall, it was a fantastic event. The turn-out was incredible, and the response was very positive! Thank you to all who organized and supported this event, and an even bigger thank you to all who participated as servers or singers. Most of all, thank you, Bishop Scharfenberger, for making this Mass possible!!

We were unable to obtain a professional photographer for the Mass. However, David Pietruza was gracious enough to take photographs during the Mass. I also managed to take some (less-than-high-quality) shots from my pew. Please excuse the poor quality. Next time...

View more photos of the event HERE and please "LIKE" our page on Facebook, The Extraordinary Form in the Albany Diocese.

UPDATE 3/15/15 8:30pmEST:

Here is a recording of the Bishop's Homily. Hopefully it's audible.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Updates and I'm Still Alive!

Wow I haven't posted on here in almost a month! I'm sorry!

Much is going on, and my life has been very busy lately, thankfully.

Announcement - I'm no longer unemployed! I'm currently working through a temp agency at a medical billing office, and I absolutely love my job! I really enjoy the work, and my coworkers are so incredibly positive and friendly. I've made so many friends since starting and I really feel like they've adopted me as one of their own. I love it! Thank you to all those who prayed for me to find employment!

Other amazing news! My Bishop, +Edward Scarfenberger, will be celebrating a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany! This is a huge event in this Diocese, as this will be the first time the EF has been celebrated in the Diocese's Cathedral in about 50 years! Also, I'm very excited that our Bishop will be the Celebrant! I will be sure to update you all with photos afterwards! If you happen to see this tonight, PLEASE share this event with those in the area. There are people coming from MA and VT for this. It's going to be awesome.

Another exciting event tomorrow! Michael Voris - yes, the same Michael Voris that does the Vortex and owns CMTV - will be in Watervliet tomorrow giving a conference! I will be attending following the Mass. See poster below, but please note that it conflicts with the Mass. I suggest going to the Mass, and then going to see Voris afterwards... Don't tell him I said that, although if he didn't have to be there, he probably would be at the Mass too!

So it's official, my best friend and I are visiting my Sisters next week for the Feast of St. Joseph! I'm super excited to see my wonderful Sisters and Brothers, and I'm also excited because they are celebrating with a Solemn High Mass!

So that's enough update for now. I'll post again after photos of the events are published and accessible. I hope you are having a blessed Lent!

UPDATE: This just posted: