Please pray for me and my brother priests!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Little Shakespeare For Christmas

I stumbled across this sonnet today, Shakespeare's 29th, and if I have any readers at all left, thought I would offer it for reflection.    

To paraphrase the scriptures, we are children of God, and if children, then heirs.  To often in our misery we fail to remember this simple, most basic truth of our faith.  From ignoble beginnings rose the king of kings, born not to live but to die in order to save those who would crucify Him.

It is not that we have loved Him, but that He has loved us, as St. John writes so beautifully.  Let us never forget that in this Christmas season, when a Savior was born for us, that by virtue of our baptism we share in the Sonship of that child.  If children, then heirs.  Like Him, it is only for us to love, because He has loved us first.  This Truth will strengthen us and offer hope and light no matter where we find ourselves.   

A merry Christmas to all!

God love you,
Father V.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state 
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate, 
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, 
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, 
With what I most enjoy contented least; 
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state, 
Like to the lark at break of day arising 
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rise Again

Occasionally I write poetry.  I am not a poet, anymore than the man who paints his bathroom is an artist, or the woman who sews a button is a seamstress.  However, I am a sinner, and truth be told a rather successful one at that.  I know what it means to fall, and I know how much easier it seems, at least for a while, to simply stay down.  Staying down is a surrender to evil, and as such it is a vice.  And as with all vice, the longer one wallows in it, the harder it is to break free of.  Sometimes we not only need someones help to move forward, but we need them to push us, taking us by the hand and pulling us from the depths that lead to death.

Fully aware of my limitations, myriad that they are, I write anyway.  Every so often I write something that I like, and this is one of them.  Your comments are appreciated, and your prayers appreciated even more so.  

Happy Sunday, and God love you, 
Father V. 

  The old man asked the crying boy, "Why do we fall down?"
  The boy looked up through teary eyes, unsure of what to say.
  "So that we may rise again, my son...that we may rise again."
  Stooping down, he took the boy's small scraped and fragile hand  
  and standing tall, he pulled the boy and helped him again to stand.  
  "Now throughout life, when you look down and see a fallen man,  
   you must do as I have done, that he too may rise again."

Our Lady's Goodness...

I receive a daily email called "Holy Quotes."  It is a great source of inspiration and guidance.  There is a small  apologetic segment, a small catechetical segment, then a quote from a Church Father, a Pope, and a quote about Our Blessed Mother.  Yesterday, the quote on Our Lady was given from the writings of St. John Vianney:  

The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion Mary has for us. The child who has cost the Mother the most tears is closest to her heart! 

I hope it brings you the consolation it brings me  Even when prayer my own prayer is difficult, turning to Our Lady usually isn't.  By virtue of baptism, in which we become members of Christ's very body, we share the joy of her maternal devotion and love.  When we see an image of her holding close her Beloved Son, we should know, we must know, that we, as members of His Body, are held there, within Him, close to her heart too.  She is so good to me, as she is to all her children.  

Our Lady, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, mother of the rejected,
Pray for us.  

God love you!
Father V.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Even the memory of our sins does not discourage us any longer.
We realize that God's mercy is greater than our sins
and that God's pardon is a proof of His faithful love for us.

+Pope John Paul II

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a long while since my last blog post. Those who know me would understand why, and for those who don't, I simply ask for your prayers.

One moment a life does not make, and I believe now as I always have, that our victory, our salvation, depends not on the stumbles and falls of life, but on how often we rise again to continue our journey to Christ, with Christ. Our salvation is in the struggle, not the successes. If we are to become like Christ, truly be transformed into other Christs, so that as we hear in the Holy Mass, the Father may "see and love in us what He sees and loves in Christ", it is worth repeating that our Lord bore His scars even after the resurrection, and we will bear ours. As we carry the cross of life, we stumble, we fall, and then through His grace, we stand and continue. God is good. Everything is grace.

I received the below passage in a note from my godfather just the other day, and I thought it was worth passing along.

Please know of my prayers for all of you, and I ask again for your prayers for me.

God love you,

Father V.


...I am hurt, but I am not slain.
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile.
Then I'll raise and fight again...

"The Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton"
Clare Booth Luce

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Such Sadness...

I know Theodore Roosevelt had no love for Thomas Jefferson, but these quotes come to mind as I watch the news this evening...a sad day for our country and her citizens.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -- Thomas Jefferson

It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws. --Theodore Roosevelt

God love you,
Father V.

A Good Deal

As promised (although late!), my newest column:

God love you,
Father V.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A New Column

I have been asked to write a bimonthly column for our local newspaper, The Chelmsford Independent. Stop by every other Thursday to give it a read, and feel more than free to leave comment over there!

God love you,
Father V.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Faithfulness in Small Things...

There has been a lot of discussion about the upcoming new translation of the Roman Missal (the texts used by priests to offer the Holy Mass). The translation we use now, hastily constructed after Vatican II, has been shown by Latinists, and declared by the Church, to be a translation that is wanting. The evidence of this? Very simply, the fact that there is a substantial new translation being promulgated! One can argue that this is not the right time, one can argue that the translation is sufficient. I would argue that the translation of the Holy Mass, the source and summit of our faith, must not simply be sufficient, and that if we do find it simply sufficient, we must move immediately to bring it to excellence.

We have become minimalistic in so many ways. Our dress, our entertainment, our music, our films, our literature...the list goes on and on. We are content with simply, trite, casual distractions and tasks, and as a culture have grown complacent with ordinariness. The Holy Mass must never be viewed as ordinary, but as extraordinary, as it is the pluperfect expression of our faith, the highest and most perfect form of divine worship, and the closest man can get this side of death to Heaven. We must never be satisfied with sufficiency, but strive for excellence, we must never be content with what is ordinary, but always reach for the extraordinary. Why? King David tells us in the 8th psalm:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and
the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him but little lower than God, and crownest him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet...

We should not settle for less than the inheritance the Father wishes us to have as His children through baptism. He does not want us to settle, but wants us to come to His glory by means of His Church, and the highest action of that Church: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

There have been some priests who have been trying to delay these new translations, and some who have openly called for dissent and disobedience when they are promulgated. I offer to all those who would contemplate that route this passage from Pope John Paul II's letter to the Church, Dominicae Cenae. The Holy Mass is entrusted to the Church by the Lord for the salvation of the world. Entrusted to the Church. Not to the individual, be he bishop, priest, or laymen to do with what he will. It is a gift that is given to us, and it is for us to reverently love and offer as the Giver of the gift intends.

God love you!
Father V.

The Obligations of the Priest
in Offering the Most Holy Sacrifice

Every priest who offers the holy Sacrifice should recall that during this Sacrifice it is not only he with his community that is praying but the whole Church, which is thus expressing in this sacrament her spiritual unity, among other ways by the use of the approved liturgical text. To call this position "mere insistence on uniformity" would only show ignorance of the objective requirements of authentic unity, and would be a symptom of harmful individualism.This subordination of the minister, of the celebrant, to the mysterium which has been entrusted to him by the Church for the good of the whole People of God, should also find expression in the observance of the liturgical requirements concerning the celebration of the holy Sacrifice. These refer, for example, to dress, in particular to the vestments worn by the celebrant. Circumstances have of course existed and continue to exist in which the prescriptions do not oblige. We have been greatly moved when reading books written by priests who had been prisoners in extermination camps, with descriptions of Eucharistic Celebrations without the above- mentioned rules, that is to say, without an altar and without vestments. But although in those conditions this was a proof of heroism and deserved profound admiration, nevertheless in normal conditions to ignore the liturgical directives can be interpreted as a lack of respect towards the Eucharist, dictated perhaps by individualism or by an absence of a critical sense concerning current opinions, or by a certain lack of a spirit of faith.

Upon all of us who, through the grace of God, are ministers of the Eucharist, there weighs a particular responsibility for the ideas and attitudes of our brothers and sisters who have been entrusted to our pastoral care. It is our vocation to nurture, above all by personal example, every healthy manifestation of worship towards Christ present and operative in that sacrament of love. May God preserve us from acting otherwise and weakening that worship by "becoming unaccustomed" to various manifestations and forms of eucharistic worship which express a perhaps "traditional" but healthy piety, and which express above all that "sense of the faith" possessed by the whole People of God, as the Second Vatican Council recalled.(70)

As I bring these considerations to an end, I would like to ask forgiveness-in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate-for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people.

John Paul II
Dominicae Cenae
February 24, 1980

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Catholic History of the New Orleans Saints

We hear the phrase "cultural Catholic" and what comes to mind is a person who, while still identifying themselves as Catholic, no longer practices the faith. This is a problem on a host of levels. However, one antidote to that is a Catholic Culture, which is only built by a Catholic people who take their faith seriously.

This culture is composed of Catholics who realize that to be a member of the Mystical Body of Christ is not to simply attend the Holy Mass on Sundays, but to pray with our families and by ourselves. It means Catholics not to relegate religious objects to churches and Christmas decorations, but have pictures and statues of Our Lord and Lady in our homes as we would have of any people who are dear to us. It means that we behave as a Catholic at work, in the ballot box, at a ball game or in a restaurant; it means to think like a Catholic who is informed about and embraces all that the Church teaches about things "seen and unseen," it means that when people think of us, they know immediately that we are a Catholic, and that the faith is not simply important to us, but essential to who we are.

One fruit of this Catholic culture we see in the names we give to those things which are important to us: namely our children and our businesses. Think of all the Francis X. (insert Irish last name here!) and Margaret Marys and Mary Catherines there used to be. I can think of such businesses as "Little Flower Florist," "Domino's Pizza (after the Latin word for Lord) and, here in my area "Trinity Ambulance". We do this because the faith matters, and we with to inculcate our lives, and our society, with the Faith. To live the Catholic culture means to not so much be a member of the Church, but to "be" a Catholic.

This article from the Catholic News Agency about the New Orleans Saints points to a small piece of Catholic Culture. One note not mentioned in the article: the owner of the Saints choose the name "Saints" because he was awarded the NFL franchise on All Saint's Day, 1967. He saw the hand of God and the intercession of His saints in the gift of the franchise, and wanted to honor them through the name of the team. He then went to Archbishop Hannon, the then Archbishop of New Orleans, for his approval, and the rest is history!

May we all want to be in that number, when the saints come marching in!

God love you,
Father V.

The Catholic History of the New Orleans Saints

New Orleans, La., Feb 6, 2010 / 08:04 am (CNA).- As the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts prepare to lock horns in the Super Bowl, CNA spoke with the Archdiocese of New Orleans about the Saints and discovered that the team has a significant Catholic history as well as a strong presence in the local Catholic community.

"In recent years, as Mr. Tom Benson has owned the team, the Saints organization has been very involved with the local Catholic Church and Catholic Charities,” Sarah Comiskey McDonald, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, said on Friday. “Mr. Benson is a major donor to our PACE Center (Program for all-inclusive care for the elderly) and our first center was named the Shirley Landry Benson PACE Center at St. Cecilia in memory of his deceased wife.”

"His granddaughter, the team’s executive Vice President, chaired the 2009 Archbishop’s Community Appeal to raise funds locally for the work of Catholic Charities,” she added.
The communications director also commented on the involvement of the team members within the archdiocese.

“Throughout the years, players have been involved in different programs and school visits – recently, Drew Brees visited one of our elementary schools; Reggie Bush has donated several hundred thousand dollars to Holy Rosary Academy and High School, and Scott Fujita, who is adopted, has been an active spokesperson for our adoption services of Catholic Charities,” the archdiocesan spokeswoman said.

“Additionally, Coach Sean Payton, who is Catholic, sends his kids to one of our Catholic schools and appeared in a PSA for the archdiocese on racial harmony.”

The Catholic connections to the New Orleans Saints will be in evidence on the day of the big game as well. Archbishop Gregory Aymond, retired Archbishop Philip Hannan and two Dominican sisters from Cathedral Academy in New Orleans will be attending the Super Bowl this year as guests of the Bensons.

Even the name “Saints” has a Catholic genesis. According to the New Orleans archdiocesan paper, the Clarion Herald, in 1967, the owner of the team approached then-Archbishop Hannan and asked if using the word “Saints” for a football team was sacrilegious. Archbishop Hannan not only loved the idea but wrote an official prayer for the team within that year.

One line of the prayer reads “...Our Heavenly Father, who has instructed us that the 'saints by faith conquered kingdoms...and overcame lions,' grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the Lions but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants, and even those awesome people in Green Bay... .”

However, the Colts also have Catholic boosters of their own, including Archbishop Daniel Buechlein of Indianapolis, who called New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond to make a bet about the gridiron match. If the Saints win, Archbishop Aymond will receive southern Indiana pork chops, but if the Colts win Archbishop Buechlein will have gumbo on his dinner table.

When asked if prelates often bet on sporting events, Archbishop Aymond told CNA that “As far as our friendly wager, we cannot say whether it is a norm, but it is all in good fun.”

“The Archbishop of Indianapolis called us to offer the wager, and I look forward to enjoying the pork chops!”