Sacraments

Come, Holy Spirit

There was a priest with whom I used to meet for occasional spiritual direction, named Fr. Mike.  During a conversation one day, Fr. Mike told me about a habit that he had developed over the years.  Any time he encountered someone whom he sensed was in distress or sad or anxious, or if he passedContinue reading “Come, Holy Spirit”

Sacramentals

Statues, rosary beads, crucifixes, scapulars, holy cards, miraculous medals, candles, palms, ashes – these are part of the “furniture” of our lives as Catholics.  Technically, we call these things “sacramentals.” Sacramentals are different than sacraments in a couple of ways.  The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself as the seven ordinary ways in which He shares His life – His sanctifying grace – with us.  As one author puts it: “Sacraments bearContinue reading “Sacramentals”

First Communion

This Saturday, as we did last Saturday, we will celebrate Masses of First Communion in our parish.  These Masses almost always happen at the beginning of May, but because of the shutdown we had to move them to September.  In every parish, First Communion is one of the best days of the year, and I’m veryContinue reading “First Communion”

Holy Matrimony

posted 9/17/20 The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is one of the most remarkable places in the world.  The current church dates back to the 11th century, and is built on the ruins of one that dates back to the 4th century.  Within this church are the sites of Our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.  I remember the first time I wentContinue reading “Holy Matrimony”

Holy Orders

posted 9/15/20 What is a priest?  A priest is one who offers sacrifices on behalf of a group as an act of worship to God.  As long as human beings have roamed the earth, there have been priests.  We see them in the most ancient days of the Old Testament.  Adam was a priest, as were the PatriarchsContinue reading “Holy Orders”

Anointing of the Sick

posted 9/10/20 The other day I was perusing my bookshelf and rediscovered a book that I hadn’t picked up in a while.  It’s called The Faith Explained by Fr. Leo Trese, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and a best-selling author who died in 1970 at the age of 68.  Leafing through it, I was reminded how well Fr. TreseContinue reading “Anointing of the Sick”

Confession

posted 9/8/20 If you ever visit a seminary you will find that they are places where there is much laughter.  I really enjoyed the comradery I found among my classmates, which was healthy and joyful. While most of our formation sessions involved moments of levity and laughter, there was one particular experience that I remember we took with absolute seriousness, and that wasContinue reading “Confession”

The Most Blessed Sacrament

posted 9/3/20 We have come to the third “Sacrament of Initiation,” which is the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist.  While Baptism is the first Sacrament and the doorway to the supernatural life of grace, the Eucharist is the greatest of the Sacraments.  Indeed, the Second Vatican Council refers to the Eucharist “the source and summit of the Christian life…. For inContinue reading “The Most Blessed Sacrament”

Why Confirmation?

posted 9/1/20 What is the sacrament of Confirmation?  What does it do?  When Bishop Curtis confirmed me many years ago, I don’t think I would have been able to give a good answer to those questions.  I knew Confirmation had something to do with the Holy Spirit.  Even better, it meant you got presents AND you didn’t have to go to religiousContinue reading “Why Confirmation?”

Why Baptize?

posted 8/27/20 Baptism is the first sacrament.  Typically, within a couple months of a child’s birth, the family will bring the baby to the church, and the priest (or deacon) will pour water over the child’s head while saying the words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of theContinue reading “Why Baptize?”

Do the Right Thing

posted 8/25/20 On June 3, 2017, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit celebrated a Mass during which he attempted to ordain five new priests, but failed to do so.  Only four of the five men were actually ordained that day, since one of them, Fr. Matthew Hood – a young man who had just spent 6 years in seminary formationContinue reading “Do the Right Thing”

Consubstantial

posted 5/1/20 Athanasius Contra Mundum.  This is a famous Latin saying that means: “Athanasius Against the World.”  The man to whom this refers is St. Athanasius of Alexandria, a 4th century bishop from Egypt who found himself embroiled in the great Arian controversy of that period.  Now, it’s important to understand that 4th centry Arianism has absolutely nothing to do with the 20th century racist ideologyContinue reading “Consubstantial”

The Importance of Liturgy

posted 4/27/20 In my conversations with members of the parish, it is common to hear people express their desire to receive the Eucharist.  It is certainly one of the great sufferings of our current circumstances that the faithful are deprived of the reception of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion.  But I have come to realize that it is notContinue reading “The Importance of Liturgy”

Emmaus

posted 4/15/20 The gospel for today’s Mass gives the account of the encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).  It takes place on Easter Sunday, when two disciples of Jesus are leaving the city of Jerusalem to go to a nearby town called Emmaus.  As they are engrossed in their conversation, Christ draws near and walks with them, butContinue reading “Emmaus”

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