Ubi Caritas. . .
Fr Harrison on "pastoral care" from The Hapless Bench.
[A tip of the balmoral to Mr Eakins of CTNJogues for the reference.]
"[A] man . . .the other day pointed out that I was never bored. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true: I’m never bored. I’m appalled, horrified, angered, but never bored. The world appears to me so infinite in its variety that many lifetimes could not exhaust its interest. So long as you can still be surprised, you have something to be thankful for." -Theodore Dalrymple
Ubi Caritas. . .
Hitler and Stalin: Only Seconds in Command
This Came in the Mail Yesterday
The Family That Sprays Together, Stays Together
On Avalon Street in Echo Park, Victoria Villicano is known as a devoted mother who is often seen behind the wheel of her SUV, driving her two teenage sons to stores and sporting events.
But Los Angeles Police Department detectives say the 42-year-old woman also drove a five-member tagging crew, including her two children, around Silver Lake and Echo Park, stopping long enough for the group to jump out and vandalize.
God Bless Opera
Interesting Things You Can Learn About Blogspot. . .
24 Augusti Nono Kalendas Septembris. Luna ...
from Charles Moore's "The Spectator's Notes"
Red China has nuclear weapons. . .
Still here. . .
Assumpta est Maria in Cælum
The feast of the “ Dormition “ or Assumption of the Mother of God into heaven is probably the most ancient of all the feasts of Mary, since, long before the Councils of Chalcedon and Ephesus, it appears to have been commonly and widely celebrated, not only among Catholics, but also among the schismatical sects and the very ancient national Churches such as the Armenian and the Ethiopian.
It is probable that the dedication in Rome itself of the Basilica maior of the Blessed Virgin on the Esquiline on August 5, in the time of Pope Liberius (352-366), or in that of Sixtus III, had some connection with the feast of the Assumption, which, even if it was kept in the Gallican rite on January 18, and in that of the Copts on January 16, yet it was celebrated by the Byzantines in the middle of the month of August, on a date which the Emperor Maurice fixed definitely in the time of St Gregory the Great.
Whatever may have been the origin of its introduction, it is certain that the festival was kept at Rome long before the Pontificate of Pope Sergius, for, as we have already said, this Pontiff, in order to surround it with greater splendour, ordained that a solemn procession should take place every year on this occasion, starting from the Basilica of St Adriano sul Foro, and proceeding to St Mary Major, where the Pope celebrated the stational Mass.
He also prescribed that the same ceremony should take place on the Purification, the Nativity, and the Annunciation of the Mother of God, and in this he was probably influenced by the custom of the Byzantines, who had already been keeping these festivals for several centuries.
Leo IV, about the year 847, ordered that the feast of the Assumption should be preceded at Rome by a solemn vigil, to be kept by the clergy and the people in the Basilica of St Mary Major, and he also appointed that on the day of the Octave the station should be celebrated outside the Porta Tiburtina in the Basilica Maior dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, which had been built by Pope Sixtus III in front of the apse of the Constantinian Church of St Lawrence.
The order of the solemn stational procession introduced in the time of Sergius I is still known to us. Early in the morning, the people, carrying lighted candles and to the singing of antiphons and of solemn litanies, went in procession to the Church of St Adrian, where they awaited the coming of the Pontiff. As soon as he had arrived, having come on horseback from the Lateran, both he and his seven deacons exchanged their usual garments for sombre penitential pænulas, and the procession set off.
First walked seven crossbearers with their crosses, the people followed praying aloud, then came the clergy attached to the palace with the Pope escorted by two acolytes, carrying candelabra with lighted torches according to the Roman imperial custom. A subdeacon came next, swinging a thurible with incense, then two more crossbearers the one behind the other, each bearing a precious stational cross, and finally the procession was closed by the schola, of the choir, composed of the boys of the Orphanage, who sang alternately with the clergy the antiphons and litanies appropriate to the occasion.
When this interminable procession at length reached St Mary Major at the break of dawn, the Pope with his deacons withdrew to the secretarium in order to change their garments and prepare for the celebration of the Mass, while the rest of the clergy together with the people, humbly prostrate before the altar, as is still the custom on Holy Saturday, sang for the third time the Litany ternaria of the Saints, that is to say each invocation was repeated three times.
In course of time this vigiliary ceremony, comprising nocturnal processions with crosses, candles and antiphons, which is so different from the customary Roman pannuchis and which consequently at once betrays its Eastern origin, developed very considerably and became one of the most characteristic ceremonies of medieval Rome.
A New Blogger
No News is Bad News
Thankyouverymuch. And with thy spirit.
Pope Benedict Sends Personal Envoy to the Lebanon
Oh, one more thing. . .
Life Among the Semi-Connected
The Transfiguration of Our Lord
A special reference to this great divine manifestation, which the Fathers justly regard as one of the chief miracles wrought by God for a testimony to the Messianic character of His Christ, is to be found in the ancient Roman Liturgy on the solemn vigil of Ember Saturday in Lent. On that solemnity, St Leo the Great delivered several striking homilies on the Gospel story of the Transfiguration; homilies that were all the more effective from being delivered during the nocturnal synaxis which was held at the tomb of Peter, one of the three witnesses of the miracle of the Transfiguration.
When, moreover, the people had ceased to have a clear understanding of the Liturgy, and consequently entered less into the traditional treasures of the Roman Missal, it was felt to be necessary to supply that which was lacking by instituting a new feast in honour of the Transfiguration, with the object of arousing popular devotion to this mystery.
In addition to this, as for many centuries the Greeks had celebrated on August 6 a special festival entitled “H ‘ agia Metamorphosis ton Kurion”, on which day the Christian forces won a famous victory over the Turks, so Callixtus III instituted in 1457, on the same day, the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord as an annual act of thanksgiving to God for the favour received..
The ancient Roman festival of St Sixtus II and his six heroic deacons was in consequence almost obliterated, being reduced to a simple commemoration.
On this day there were two Masses at Rome: Sixti in Callisti et in Praetestati, Agapiti et Felicissimi. We must go back to the year 258, when the persecution under the Emperor Valerian is raging. Pope Sixtus, notwithstanding the decree forbidding it, is holding a synaxis in an oratory at the cemetery of Callixtus. He is surprised by the police, and is hardly allowed the time necessary to finish the Mass when he is beheaded as he is seated on his throne.
With him are put to death four deacons who stood around the altar, Januarius, Magnus, Vincent, and Stephen; two other deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus are decapitated on the same day, whilst the archdeacon Lawrence is reserved in order to die a more cruel death three days later. The persecution of the Christians receives fresh impetus from this slaughter, so much so that the Roman clergy are obliged to wait several months before they can choose a successor to the martyred Pontiff.
THE FIRST MASS
Station at the Cemetery of Callixtus
Sixtus II was buried in the papal crypt in the place of honour, in a loculus excavated in the end wall; the four deacons who were beheaded with him shared with him also the honour of being buried in the papal vault; whilst Felicissimus and Agapitus, for some unknown reason, were laid to rest in the neighbouring cemetery of Pretextatus on the other side of the Appian Way.
The tragic death of the Pontiff and of his seven deacons deeply impressed the minds of the faithful, so much so that the name of Sixtus II was not only inserted in the Canon of the Mass, together with that of St Lawrence, but it may even be said that his memory dominates the subsequent history of the entire necropolis of Callixtus.
In the Itineraries, indeed, we see the devotion with which the pilgrims of the early Middle Ages, before going down into the subterranean labyrinth, visited the ecclesiam parvam ubi decollatus est sanctus Xystus com diaconibus suis -- as the Salzburg Ininerary attests.
. . . . . .
THE SECOND MASS
Station at the Cemetery of Pretextatus
Felicissimus and Agapitus were either not made prisoners with Sixtus or else were dragged before the judge previously to being executed, as was also done in the case of Lawrence the archdeacon. It is certain that they perished by the sword on the same day as the Pontiff; but as it was not any longer possible to bury them in the cemetery of Callixtus, the access to which was perhaps guarded after the massacre, they were honourably interred in the neighbouring cemetery of Pretextatus.
Their earliest burial-place has, in fact, been discovered near the speulunca magna mentioned in the Itineraries. There, also, Pope Damasus had placed the following. . .inscription:
”Behold this tomb; it contains the sacred relics of two saints whom heaven suddenly called to itself. Followers and ministers of the invincible cross, they shared the faith as well as the merits of their Pontiff, and thus attained to the eternal mansions and to the kingdom of the blessed. It is especially the people of Rome who rejoice in this, since the two martyrs led by Sixtus have merited from Christ the highest honours..
Damasus to Felicissimus and Agapitus.”
The tomb of the two deacons is full of graffiti inscribed by priests who said Mass there in early days, and by devout pilgrims who begged the prayers of the martyrs.
Israel Strikes Christian Cities North of Beirut
Israel’s offensive in Lebanon has reached Christian cities in the Mount Lebanon area, now full of refugees from three weeks of war between the Jewish State and Hezbollah’s militias.
“Jounieh, Byblos and Fidar were hit”, Former Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz told AsiaNews.
Rosenborg: A Recommendation
Credo. . .visibilium omnium et invisibilium. . . .
Christians Under Fire
The archbishop of nearby Tyre visited yesterday to steel the spirits of those who had remained behind.
"We are caught in a conflict of Jews and Muslims. We have a mission of peace," said Monsignor Nabil Hage as he walked slowly through Ain Ebel's deserted streets. "This is a holy land. Christ passed here, the Virgin Mary passed here, the apostles passed here. It is a holy land that we must defend."
At the sight of the archbishop, tearful residents came running out of their homes to greet him.
"Pray for us!" a middle-aged woman wailed. "Give us hope!"
The publication of his message coincides with the start of the traditional period of prayer and fasting for the feast of the Assumption of Mary. The patriarch said: “This year, we will fast and pray for peace, for the end of hostilities in Gaza and South Lebanon. We pray for all the parties involved, Palestinians, Israelis and Lebanese. To all of them we wish peace and security.”
During Mass held today at the summer seat of the patriarchate in Dimane (north Lebanon), Patriarch Sfeir said: “This morning the bad news reached me about the murder by Israel of 50 defenceless civilians in the village of Qana, a village that has already tasted the bitterness of death and hatred in the not distant past, again at the hand of Israeli forces. Once again I make my appeal, launched on Friday together with all the Maronite bishops, for an immediate ceasefire. Lebanon is no longer able to endure, our people is in agony while the world looks on. The crime of Qana must be condemned by all.”
The patriarch also reiterated his request to “open humanitarian corridors and to respect the life of each and every person, which is a gift from God”.
Archbishop Chucrallah-Nabil El-Hage, Maronite Catholic Archbishop of Tyr, went into the hills of his war struck archdiocese yesterday, in search of those who have been unable or unwilling to abandon their homes. . . .In a visit to the mostly Christian village of Ein Ibil, the archbishop encountered an abandoned convent and 20 of his flock still in the town, who rushed to greet him.. . . .
"This is the Holy Land," the archbishop said. "We have a spiritual mission as Christians here to bring peace between Jews and Muslim people. I am coming here to tell the people who have stayed that they are the ones who will bring a new spring. I pray to God that Lebanon may be protected and will continue its mission to the world as a country where different religions and cultures have come together, and not a country of conflict."