Monday, September 15, 2014

15th Call to Holiness Conference, and Solemn High Mass Photos; Audio and Video


This weekend Call to Holiness had it's 15th conference since it began in 1996.  It was held at the Best Western Sterling Inn in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  Feedback I have gotten thus far has been very positive.  People felt the subject matter helped them to probe their own spiritual lives deeper. The speakers provided people things needed for discernment, especially in the area of the virtues.  As a member of the Board of Directors, I can tell you that we were all very glad that Archbishop Vigneron accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker.  I also heard many attendees express likewise.

If you could not attend the conference, CD's and DVD's are available through the homepage, calltoholiness.com, by printing a form and sending it in, or by using the online option at Eventbrite. 

What follows are just a few of the many images I took. A link to the gallery will be found after the photos below.  I would appreciate a direct link to this post, rather than to the photo galleries, so people can get the background and other information, including that about audio and video. 

The conference began with a dinner on Friday night.  Dr. Ray Guarendi and Dale Ahlquist played off of one another very well.  We had 250 at the dinner - just 10 shy of the number of place settings.

Friday Night Dinner









Saturday, Main Conference


On Saturday, there were a number of events taking place at the same time.  Years ago, it was hard to find a conference like this and the Call to Holiness conferences would draw from 1000-2000 people.  These days, it is hard for any Catholic apostolate or the Archdiocese of Detroit to plan an event and not have something overlap.  I suppose that is a good problem to have here in metro Detroit.  We were blessed with about 600 people between the 60 in the youth conference and those at the main conference.

We could not have had a finer MC than Dale Ahlquist on Saturday.  I have been aware of G.K. Chesterton and have watched some of Dale's programs on EWTN, but after hearing him speak Friday, I have a desire to finally dig in to some of his writings.



I wish I could summarize what each speaker talked on, but running around taking pictures and tending to other things, I myself rarely get to hear the talks.  I end up getting the DVD's and seeing them after the fact.  Here are photos of the speakers on Saturday.

Sr. John Dominic of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, kicked things off in the main conference.  I saw her booth in the vendor room and I would encourage everyone to visit their webpage for the curriculum they have on the virtues.  They have materials that would be easy to use in the home or in school.  See it here: https://educationinvirtue.com




The president of Call to Holiness, Chris Kolomjec, introduced Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron.  Chris praised him his defense of life, and of traditional marriage.






I heard from a number of people who told me they liked how he broke things down into parts. They felt it was something they could easily walk away with.



Fr. Aidan Logan, o.c.s.o, the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A., is seen listening to Archbishop Vigneron. He had a booth representing his archdiocese in the vendor room.  He celebrated the Noon Mass at Assumption Grotto on Sunday, pictures to follow in this same post.




Here, the Archbishop was encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and speaking of it's importance.


Naturally, I took more photos of my archbishop, but I like having stock photos too.  Here are two of my favorites.


This photo I call, "The Angelus."  Dale had asked Archbishop Vigneron to say grace as boxed lunches were being wheeled into the hallway.  But His Excellency noted that we were approaching noon and said we should pray the Angelus, after which, he said grace and blessed the food.


As an aside, Archbishop Vigneron will be leading the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan prayer vigil for life this Saturday, September 20, 2014.  See details here.

Dr. Peter Kreeft spoke next.  As with many of the other talks, I myself did not get to hear this one and am looking forward to watching him on DVD (purchase info at top of post).



Dale was having fun with Father William Casey, C.P.M., in his introduction.  The priest found it funny too.  He is with the Fathers of Mercy.  Click around their website for resources.






Dr. Ray closed out the day.  We had to close out the vendor room before the talk ended, but his table was in the hallway afterwards.  People should visit his site to get his excellent material.




Saturday, Youth Conference

Board Member, Stephanie Nofar-Kelly did an outstanding job of pulling together a phenomenal youth conference.  We had 60 attendees this time.  Most of the speakers from the main event spoke to the young people, including Archbishop Vigneron.  Here are some photos I took.

Fr. Anthony Kathawa led this event as he did at the 14th Call to Holiness.  He was so popular we had to bring him back.





The Archbishop spoke to the young people for about 15 minutes, encouraging them to be bold in following Christ. He explained how the world will pull them into ways that are contrary to Church teachings and to have courage in saying, "yes" to God's ways and "no" to the world's.  He then fielded questions for another 15 minutes before going on to speak at the main conference for an hour.  Here, he listens to a young man's question.



I was not able to capture all that went on in the youth conference and elsewhere, but here are a few images taken by fellow board member, Debbie Bloomfield.  



Young people had an opportunity to participate in a pro-life demonstration during one of their breaks.  Saturday was a National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.  Our conference took more than a year to plan so we were unaware that it would fall on the same day.  Ours was one of three main events that took place in metro Detroit that day.  The other was a Christ Life session.



Fellow board member, Stephanie Nofar-Kelly, also organist extraordinaire, was behind the great youth conference.



Here is just one area where people were able to eat lunches. It was in the main lobby area.  Tables were also set up in the center of the vendor area.  I heard from many vendors who were happy with how things turned out. We made sure there was plenty of break time so people could visit them and to give the talks a little time to sink in.  Sometimes, conference talks are ram-rodded through with only a 5 minute break between, with a 45 minute period for lunch that is often running late and compressed.  We wanted a more relaxed atmosphere.  



Debbie got the vendor area too.



Here you see the vendor area during lunch with people eating in the center and vendors lined up around the walls.




Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Exaltation of the Holy Cross


On Sunday we had a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, celebrated by Fr. Aidan Logan, o.c.s.o.  He was joined by Fr. Charles White IV as deacon and Fr. John Bustamante as subdeacon.  Deacon Richard Bloomfield was in choir.  Fr. Eduard Perrone, pastor of Assumption Grotto, was conducting the orchestra and choir in the orchestral Mass.  I had videotaped the homily by Fr. Logan, but the echo made it too difficult to understand.  I hope to have a direct feed in the future.  Father is a Cistercian monk so he wears his hood up rather than a biretta.  This was a Mass on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.






Fr. Perrone is seen conducting here, with Mass in the background.







To view more photos see these below.

Note: Once again, please link to this post, rather than directly to my photo galleries, since I have a number of important links and explanations here). 





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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Orchestral Mass; Extraordinary Form shifted to Noon this Sunday only



Tonight and tomorrow is the 15th Call to Holiness Conference at the Sterling Inn Best Western in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  Walk-ins accepted.  See details here: http://www.calltoholiness.com

This Sunday there will be a special Orchestral Mass at Noon.  Fr. Perrone discusses it in reference to the closing of the Call to Holiness, but it is also the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  September 14th is remembered each year as the day Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum went into effect (2007) allowing for open and broad celebration of the Mass using the 1962 Missal.  All of these things factored into an orchestral Mass and when Fr. Perrone conducts an orchestral Mass, it is done in the context of the older form of the Mass.  Music written in eras past is particularly suitable for this Mass.  I anticipate this will be a Solemn High Mass.  I regret not having the music at this time so you'll have to come to find out.

In his column for this week's bulletin, now online, Fr. Perrone laments not having announced at all the Masses last weekend, that the 'Tridentine' shifts from it's usual 9:30 a.m. time slot to the Noon slot, this week only. He explains:

F east of the Holy Cross. 
This is one of those rare liturgical celebrationswhich is celebrated even on a Sunday, whether in the ordinary or extraordinary form of the liturgy. By an oversight (the effect of aging?) I neglected to have announced at the weekend Masses lastweek (except for the noon Mass) that the Latin Tridentine Mass would be moved today to noon instead of 9:30 to accommodate the closing of the Call to Holiness Conference (about which I cannot have anything yet to say now since I am writing in advance of the Conference). I apologize to those persons who may have come from a distance for the Tridentine Mass only to find that it is not celebrated here at 9:30 today. The Mass at 9:30 is in Latin but in the new form. (According to current legislation, we are not permitted to have two Tridentine Masses on days ofobligatory Mass attendance.)





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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Time is running out: 15th Call to Holiness is September 12-13



I've been tied up with much this summer, and blogging has been at a minimum.  Hopefully, I can get back to more regular posting.  




Archbishop Vigneron; Dr. Peter Kreeft; Dr. Ray Guarendi; Fr. William Casey, C.P.M.; Sr. John Dominic, O.P.; Mr. Dale Ahlquist - these are the primary speakers at the 15th Call to Holiness at the Best Western Sterling Inn in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

I wrote more in a previous post. 

Tickets will be sold at the door as long as they are available, but as you can imagine, we need to get food counts in.  It would be merciful if you get your tickets in advance to help us with food planning. If you pay at the door, you might consider bringing a bagged lunch.  There will be extras available, but those might be limited depending on how many show up to buy at the door.  There is a restaurant attached to the hotel and conference center, but that too will be limited.

Discussion of Call to Holiness on Ave Maria Radio - Audio Archive. 


Recently, Teresa Tomeo interviewed Debbie Bloomfield and Ed Leslie about the conference on Catholic Connection.  You can hear the interview here.

Also, Al Kresta just interviewed Dale Ahlquist who will be the keynote speaker at the Friday dinner and MC at the Saturday conference.   He always has some interesting things to say about G.K. Chesterton.  I had some good laughs listening to Dale and Al.  I suspect we can expect more of the same at the conference.  Hear that interview in this link.

For more info, and to register, visit http://calltoholiness.com.  The page has been loading slow so be patient.




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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Full Text: Sermon of Fr. Eduard Perrone on Assumption Day 2014 at Assumption Grotto





Here is the text of Fr. Perrone's sermon for August 15, 2014.  If this Scribd box below does not work of you, click here for a link to the PDF.






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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Assumption Day at Assumption Grotto

Click the pic to enlarge


Tomorrow is the big day.  It is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Assumption Grotto goes all out making it a day of prayer.  There was a beautiful article in, "The Michigan Catholic".

The poster above, made by a parishioner, shows Archbishop Vigneron on 2009, singing to the Blessed Virgin Mary after the candlelight procession.  He celebrated the Mass that year - his first as Archbishop of Detroit. Just so no one misunderstands, His Excellency will not be with us this year, to the best of my knowledge.

Unlike past years, I will not be taking photos this year.  My camera broke on Friday.  Aside from that, I was feeling like it was time to just bring myself.  I've never had a chance simply to devote myself entirely to prayer and worship on this solemnity.  So, tomorrow, I will do just that.

The highlight of the day is the big 7:00 PM Mass and candlelight procession. Dress warm!

There is a spaghetti dinner which ends at 5:30.  It's a good idea to get there before then.  Parking can be a challenge.  Don't get there at 6:30 and expect a parking spot.  There is shuttle service going all day to and from St. Veronica's which is just about 2 miles away, in Eastpointe.  See map here.

Most Masses will be down by the grotto.  There are wheel chairs to assist those who cannot walk that far.  

The evening Mass will be in the Extraordinary Form.  I believe Fr. Perrone is the celebrant and if it is like past years, it will be a Solemn High Mass, with choir and a small orchestra. Usually, the Noon is also in EF.  I'm not sure about the 9:30 a.m. Mass.  The 6:30 a.m. Mass is the usually in English and has no music.

You will find more concise schedules posted around the parish.

A note about anointing advertised in the poster.  The Sacrament of Anointing is not indiscriminately given.  The priests usually explain who may be anointed.  As with any Sacrament, souls must be predisposed for it.   Therefore, private, Sacramental Confession is available in the parish church before hand (the anointing takes place down by the grotto).

Someone once asked me about this kind of communal anointing. From the catechism:

1517 Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration,132 whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or church, for a single sick person or a whole group of sick persons. It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist, the memorial of the Lord's Passover. If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the sacrament of Christ's Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the "viaticum" for "passing over" to eternal life.
I've seen the priests sometimes have a brief discussion beforehand with someone who seeks it and is not in advanced age or visibly ill.  It is not like what I recall when, after Mass, a priest went up and down the aisles anointing anyone and everyone who stepped forward.  If in doubt, ask a priest in advance. Here is a video of the anointing some years ago, and the Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament that followed.







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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Assumption Grotto Mourns the Loss of Pam Manteuffel




It is with shock and sadness that I bring the news to fellow Grotto parishioners that Pam Manteuffel passed away overnight, yesterday.  She had not been feeling well for many months and was taken to the hospital last week only to learn she had lymphoma.  She was too weak for the biopsy, then passed away rather unexpectedly at 2 a.m. Saturday, before anything else could be done.

Pam was a fixture at the convent, always helping the sisters and Opus Angelorum. She was also known for her pro-life work, and was a familiar face in the chapel and in the parish Church during Adoration, Mass, and other devotions.

Update: From the Will and Schwarzkoff Funeral Home website (source link)

Pamela L. Manteuffel, age 70 of Harrison Township, passed away early Saturday morning at Henry Ford - Macomb Hospital, Clinton Township. She was born August 10, 1943 to Florian and Helen (Gugala) Manteuffel in Detroit, Michigan. Pamela was a graduate of the University of Detroit, and was a member of Assumption Grotto Catholic Church. She was a teacher at St. David Catholic School and Denby High School, and retired in 2009 as a medical technologist from William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. Pamela did volunteer work for Sisters of the Holy Cross, and enjoyed gardening, cooking and traveling. She is survived by her mother, Helen of Harrison Township; siblings, Max (Cynthia) Manteuffel of Florida, Michael (Fidez) Manteuffel of California, Linda (Ed) Allen of Shelby Township, Gregory Manteuffel of California, Laurence (Mary) Manteuffel of Washington Township, Mark (Teri) Manteuffel of Chesterfield, Maria Wilcox of Harrison Township, Ronald (Kit) Manteuffel of Chesterfield, and Andrea Jantz of Harrison Township, and 13 nieces and nephews. Pamela was predeceased by her father, Florian in 1994. Visiting hours are 3 - 9 p.m. (with an 8:00 p.m. Rosary), Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at Will and Schwarzkoff Funeral Home, 233 Northbound Gratiot, Mount Clemens. A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. (in state 9:30) Wednesday at Assumption Grotto Catholic Church, 13770 Gratiot, Detroit with Father Eduard Perrone officiating. Burial will follow at Assumption Grotto Cemetery. Share memories at willandschwarzkoff.com

Here is a map


MEMORARE


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, 
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, 
implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence,
 I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; 
to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. 

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, 
despise not my petitions, 
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.







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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mother and baby lose everything in house fire…


Dear Friends,

The daughter of a parishioner at Assumption Grotto, and her three month old baby, have lost everything they own in a house fire, including their beloved pet.  In your mercy, please pray for them, and consider helping them to get back on their feet.  Donations are being accepted at this Go Fund Me page for her and the baby.

Go Fund me uses credit cards.




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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Catholic Virtual Wars 12: Mocking and ridicule of bishops - a failure in communication…




There are lots of ways to try to change the hearts of bishops where one thinks change is needed.  Some feel certain bishops are going out of their way to hinder the use of the extraordinary form Mass. In some dioceses, this may be true.  But, one sure way to fail at driving change, is to publicly mock and ridicule, "the bishops." It doesn't matter if it's done in a general way, or by name.  Such behavior will lead only to a self-fulfilling prophecy when those bishops, and ordinary people, think all traditionalists are cranks who can't seem to find 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 if it was taped to the inside of the 1962 hand missal.  St. Francis de Sales makes the point:

One of the most evil dispositions possible is that which satirises and turns everything to ridicule. God abhors this vice, and has sometimes punished it in a marked manner. Nothing is so opposed to charity, much more to a devout spirit, as contempt and depreciation of one's neighbour, and where satire and ridicule exist contempt must be. (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life)

How much more offensive to God it must be when the target of contempt is a bishop?  Oh, people inform me all the time that St. Thomas Aquinas said we can fraternally correct a prelate, even in public, if what he says or does presents a danger to the faith.  But, I wonder how many have read it in context of all that he wrote on the subject?  And, kvetching is not fraternal correction. Aquinas lays down some boundaries that are somewhat inconvenient to the trigger-happy.  When composing or sharing something online we should also be mindful of canon 1373.

If you want to compound the failure in communication, simply gin up the  crowd-anger by mixing in other complaints in a condescending and abrasive manner on passionate subjects like Communion-in-the-hand. Hit a triple by showing public scorn for particular bishops by including the most undignified pictures of them in the narrative; and, don't forget to present every word and action in the most unfavorable light. Toss out the traditional practice of making excuses for others to protect their dignity. In this way opinion of them is lowered in the eyes of others.  Consider how Our Lord treated Judas.  St. Augustine points out something worthy of pondering...:

Of this patience Himself afforded and showed an example, when, before the passion of His Body, He so bore with His disciple Judas, that ere He pointed him out as the traitor, He endured him as a thief; and before experience of bonds and cross and death, did, to those lips so full of guile, not deny the kiss of peace.


One can advocate for more extraordinary form Masses or ending Communion in the hand, or any other subject that brings out strong emotions, but it ought not be made with all the tact of bison in a ballroom.  In fact, the more sensitive the issue, the greater the need for restraint in how it is discussed - if progress is desired.  If we want people to hear what we have to say on these topics, we have to cease the condescension, mockery, ridicule, and abrasiveness. It's not necessary. In fact, it is counterproductive, no matter how entertaining it may be to the choir. When we die, God won't ask us how well we entertained others; but, He might have something to say about our sins against charity. Venting is not a virtue; it's a vice.  More from St. Francis de Sales:

A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.

Read that whole section from St. Francis de Sales. It will have you heading into Adoration to meditate rather than desiring to commiserate at the usual watering holes that leave you feeling hopeless, bitter, and angry.  See also what St. Alphonsus says about anger.

How to advocate for a good cause


Bishop Athanasius Schneider has been traveling the world, and writing books,(1) discussing how we can increase reverence for the Eucharist interiorly and exteriorly.  He does so in the most respectful way, very mindful of the dignity of those he addresses and speaks about.  His is a mission love - love for God that is manifest in the dignified way he speaks about the subject, about his concerns, and about people.  Anyone who has heard Bishop Schneider speak can sense that love.  He is not abrasive; he does not put on airs; he does not make use of put-downs and ridicule.  He explains and teaches, constantly proposing with gentleness and meekness. Sometimes he is firm on a point, but his most firm expressions are gentle and loving.  Knowing Bishop Schneider from his visits to Detroit, I can attest that his gentle and meek manner has everything to do with the fact that he is aware people have a free will and can accept or reject what he teaches.  This is prudence in action.

If you want to help Bishop Schneider, then follow his gentle and meek way of advocating.  If you want to harm his mission and cause a good many bishops, priests, and people in general to reject the discussion altogether, and turn against it, then go ahead and mock and ridicule them publicly.

I've seen people use Bishop Schneider's interviews and quotes to browbeat other Catholics over Eucharistic reverence.  I've seen people use the words of Cardinal Burke likewise, as well as Pope Benedict XVI.  I've never heard any of them speak the way that I see others sometimes quote them.  All this does is get people to tune out what they have to say. It never ceases to amaze me that anyone would think that quoting them in vinegar-laced airs would convince others to hear their words. It is so contradictory and unorthodox to promote reverence for the Eucharist or, for the EF Mass, by abrasive and condescending means.

Let's all remember to pray for our bishops and priests.  Where our public, and private, respectful discussion cannot make headway, prayers can.  We have to be mindful, that what God doesn't will, He permits.  If the thing we want doesn't come when we want, despite respectful discussion and prayer, then it is best to leave it in God's hands.

"We can have the most beautiful liturgy in the world, and not have love... It's just for show.... As we seek our way forward...not to be angry and embittered, but people filled with the joy of the Gospel, in love with Our Lord Jesus, and sharing that with our brothers and sisters..." - Archbishop Alexander K. Sample at first Pontifical Mass in EF as Archbishop of Portland. 

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
    Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
Psalm 37:8



When will they learn?




More Catholic Virtual War Series posts:



(1) Both of Bishop Schneider's books, now in English, can be purchased here, including his latest book, Corpus Christi.


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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Saint Alphonsus: Love is not prone to anger


Today is the feast day of St. Alphonsus.  In his book on The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Chapter 8, he writes about anger and how easy it is to fall into sinful anger. 
Still, as we all know, there are times when it seems absolutely necessary to answer insolence with severity. Occasions do occur when we may resort to righteous anger. But this we must remember: It may sometimes be expedient - speculatively speaking - to answer someone severely; but in practice it is very difficult to do so without some fault on our part.

We should take great care to practice meekness, especially when we are corrected, either by those who hold authority over us, or by our friends. Saint Francis de Sales writes: "To receive a correction cheerfully proves that we love the virtue in which we have failed. And, consequently, this is an indication of growth in holiness". We should even practice meekness toward ourselves in this case. Anger at ourselves is a deceit of the Devil to make us think that it is somehow virtuous to act in this way after we have committed a fault.

Gentleness is even more important when we must correct others. Corrections made in anger often do more harm than good, especially when the person corrected is also excited. In such a case, the correction should be postponed. If we correct others when we are angry ourselves, our correction will always be mixed with harshness, and the person being corrected will, consequently, ignore our admonition.

We must prove how dearly we love Jesus Christ by meekly and gladly accepting every kind of injury and contempt.


We are what we eat


Years ago, after reading that chapter, I stopped following Catholic sites that seemed to gin up anger by focusing on some outrage or another, daily.  I'm not talking about the occasional thing someone might talk about; rather, I'm talking about Catholic sites that seem to draw traffic on scandal and outrage.   Our human fallen nature is drawn to it - whether it is in a printed tabloid in that check-out line, or in an online tabloid masquerading as orthodox Catholicism. Don't allow yourself to be dragged into those things.  Jesus told us to imitate Him because He was meek and gentle of heart, not because he flipped tables.

So, what do we do about the evil around us? Go to an Adoration chapel and pray.  Pray a Rosary.  Read Scripture. Read classic works by the saints.  Go find some charitable work to do or help an elderly neighbor. Spend time with your spouse and kids doing wholesome activities.  Make use of labor in prayerful silence.  All these things can be offered up to convert souls from their evil ways.  Do you want to really help the Christians being persecuted by radical Islamists?  Here's the Catholic response.  Does this mean we can't talk about those things? No. But, we should be discerning whether something is causing us to be in a chronic state of anger.

I shared a post yesterday on the movie of Saint Sharbel with English subtitles online.  At one point, two monks from another monastery enter where he was dining with other brothers. He explained that they were being persecuted by the Turkish regime and monks from several monasteries rose up against them.  Blood was shed - some were killed on both sides.  A young monk turns to Saint Sharbel and appeals to him using Scripture, after seeing him lower his head in disapproval. He responds, in part:



By acting on anger, we can cross into sinful anger very easily, and become tools of the devil, all the while thinking we are doing God's work.  There is a thing called righteous anger, but let me pull out one sentence from the quote by St. Alphonsus:

It may sometimes be expedient - speculatively speaking - to answer someone severely; but in practice it is very difficult to do so without some fault on our part.

I priest I know of a very traditionalist bent, who doesn't seem to get too worked up the way we see some traditionalists online, once told me that much of the anger we see displayed is not authentic righteous anger. We were, in fact, talking about bitter Catholics online.   I think this will make good content for a follow up post some day.  I will try to get more perspective from him on this. In the meanwhile, we need to learn about how to counter sinful anger.


Meekness is the virtue that is contrary to anger.  Fr. Hardon writes:

"...I would like to just for a moment pull out what I consider the key to the mystery of meekness and gentleness. How can we remain unmoved when we see so much that is wrong in the world especially when the wrong touches us? The key is to recognize that sin is also part of the providence of God. So that in practicing meekness and gentleness we imitate God himself in human form, Jesus Christ who couldn’t have been more meek and gentle with sinners always assuming they recognized their misdeed and were willing to repent. If God in human form practiced meekness and gentleness who are we to act otherwise."


In another talk on meekness Fr. Hardon said:

People watching you, people maybe even try testing you, and they find you meek under provocation. God gives meek people such influence over others as no one else on earth has a right to enjoy. It may be that the one toward whom I am to practice heroic meekness, it may be that the person toward whom I must practice heroic meekness, is the one over whom God wants me to exercise that influence. That it maybe without me and my meekness that person may never be converted to God.



That is what I mean when I often refer to the face we put on the Catholic Church.  I know, that every time I lose my temper, and am impatient or angry with others, I cause harm to the mission of the Church.  The anger we wear on our sleeve is like the bumper sticker on our cars that tells everyone we are proud to be Catholic, as we screech past them offering a salute with a few choice words.







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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saint Charbel, The Movie



If you liked Into Great Silence, you will probably like a movie on the life of the Maronite monk, hermit, and mystic, Saint Sharbel Makhlouf.

His name is technically spelled, Charbel, and I will use the two interchangeably.  

I stumbled upon this movie on YouTube on his feast day, July 24th.  I finished watching it tonight and wanted to draw attention to the fact that it is available, with English subtitles. I highly recommend watching this when you can do so in a prayerful way.  It is now among my favorite movies on the saints.  I wasn't surprised to read this in a report by Catholic News Agency last week on his feast day:


Charbel's superiors observed God's “supernatural power” at work in his life, and he became known as a wonder-worker even among some Muslims. In 1875, he was granted permission to live as a solitary monk in a nearby hermitage dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.


Saint Charbel he canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 9, 1977. Pope Paul VI, in his homily that day, said (slightly edited google translation, emphasis mine in bold):

"Yes, the kind of holiness practiced by Charbel Makhlouf is a great weight, not only for the glory of God, but for the vitality of the Church. Certainly, in the one Mystical Body of Christ, as St. Paul says (cf. Rom 12, 4-8.), Charisms are many and varied; they correspond to different functions, each with its indispensable place. We need Pastors who gather the people of God and president wisely on behalf of Christ. We need theologians who investigate the doctrine and the Magisterium…  We need evangelizers and missionaries who carry the word of God over all the world's roads. We need catechists who are teachers and educators informed of faith... We need people who are dedicated directly to the support of their brothers. . . But we also need people who are available to be victims for the salvation of the world, freely accepting penance, in an incessant prayer of intercession, like Moses on the mountain, in a passionate search for the Absolute, God testifying worth to be worshiped and loved for himself. The lifestyle of these religious, monks, hermits of these is not available to all as an imitable charisma; but in its pure state, in a radical way, they embody a spirit which no faithful of Christ is taught, they have a function that the Church…"

I've encountered so many Catholics over the years who tend to think one charism over another is better, when in reality they are all needed.   Some people are even dismissive of monastic, cloistered, and eremitical life.  Yet, those who follow the call into these ways of life - all do work that is largely hidden to the world. Others are graced to understand the value these souls provide to the Church. In the movie we see Saint Charbel take on the penance of someone who has confessed their sins.  When we do penance and prayers of intercession for others, we imitate Christ who offered Himself for our sins (Colossians 1:24).  We don't need to be monastics to do this.

Why would a lay person - whether they are single or married, take interest in the life of a holy man who lived much of his life in silence and solitude?  While it is not practical for father or mother to practice silence when they should be paying attention to children, there are times during the day, that anyone can choose to turn off various forms of noise - from TV and radio, to text messaging and social media.  The question is, do we make use of opportunities to be in silence, and to explicitly offer that silent period up to God for the conversion of sinners or for those in purgatory?  These things are hardly taught any more and they are far from passé. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."  From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them. 
If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.



We are also reminded, learning about someone like Saint Sharbel, about other forms of penances, but also about charity. How many times this saint had a reason to complain about someone or something.  When confronted with someone who was offending him, he didn't stand there and defend himself because his feelings were hurt. He let it roll off his sleeve.  He was secure in his relationship with God to not be concerned with what was said or done to him.  When confronted with something troubling or evil, he turned to prayer, silence, and more penance.  Making acts of reparation for someone else's sins is something foreign to those of us who were raised to value our self esteem more than our souls, or the souls of others.  We need our priests and bishops to talk more about this aspect of our faith.

Some things in the movie may seem harsh or difficult for us to relate. Many of us have grown up in a culture and time when we can choose to overindulge in everything from food to things.  Comfort is what the world teaches us to pursue; but is that what we learn from the Crucifixion?

We need more saints like Sharbel among us, not just to pray for us and for the Church in some distant, hidden place, but for what they can teach those close to them, and the rest of us long after they are dead and their stories become public.

Something that really endeared me to this movie, besides the great acting of each of the boys and men who played the role  of Charbel from infancy to death, was looking through a different movie lens. I'm accustomed to seeing films made in the US or Italy on the lives of saints.  Given that he lived in Lebanon, I was glad to see things as close to "home" as they could be in this movie.  I was taken back to time and place.  This wasn't about something that took place during the time of Saint Francis of Assisi, yet it seemed so.   Even watching how the brothers made wine was interesting or how Saint Charbel pressed a host to be used at Mass.  The movie gets into some of the interesting little miracles that happened during his life.  They continued after his death, which came following a stroke he suffered during Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve.

I also found the cinematography aesthetically pleasing.  The meditation this movie pulled me into lasted long after I got done watching segments of it. I found it working on my thoughts during the day.  There is a desire to be in solitude, and to go into Adoration, or to a daily Mass.  The Holy Spirit can work through films like this, just as He can work through books, to move us, if we allow ourselves to be moved.

The video is embedded below, or you can go right to YouTube and watch it there.  It is not high quality so the smaller the screen you watch it on the better it will look.  Tablet viewing was pretty good, as was my iPhone.






The movie is at Amazon, but it does not have English subtitles. In fact, it says nothing about what language it is in, so I would not recommend getting it unless you contact the seller and ask.  The version with subtitles appears to be a work on YouTube.  It would be nice to see this movie formally sub-titled and marketed by sites entities like Ignatius and EWTN on DVD.  The quality of the story, the scenery, and the acting, makes it a pity it is limited to YouTube, but I'm grateful it is available there.

Further Reading:










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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.