Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday - Diocese of Scranton

This day, Maundy Thursday (also "Holy Thursday" or "Shire Thursday") commemorates Christ's Last Supper and the initiation of the Eucharist. Its name of "Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "command." This stems from Christ's words in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you." It is the first of the three days known as the "Triduum," and after the Vigil tonight, and until the Vigil of Easter, a more profoundly somber attitude prevails (most especially during the hours between Noon and 3:00 PM on Good Friday). Raucous amusements should be set aside...

The Last Supper took place in "the upper room" of the house believed to have been owned by John Mark and his mother, Mary (Acts 12:12). This room, also the site of the Pentecost, is known as the "Coenaculum" or the "Cenacle" and is referred to as "Holy and glorious Sion, mother of all churches" in St. James' Liturgy. At the site of this place -- our first Christian church -- a basilica was built in the 4th century. It was destroyed by Muslims and later re-built by the Crusaders. Underneath the place is the tomb of David.

After the Supper, He went outside the Old City of Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley, and came to the Garden of Gethsemani, a place whose name means "Olive Press," and where olives still grow today. There He suffered in three ineffable ways: He knew exactly what would befall Him physically and mentally -- every stroke, every thorn in the crown He would wear, every labored breath He would try to take while hanging on the Cross, the pain in each glance at His mother; He knew that He was taking on all the sins of the world -- all the sins that had ever been or ever will be committed; and, finally, He knew that, for some people, this Sacrifice would not be fruitful because they would reject Him. Here He was let down by His Apostles when they fell asleep instead of keeping watch, here is where He was further betrayed by Judas with a kiss, and where He was siezed by "a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief Priests and the ancients of the people" and taken before Caiphas, the high priest, where he was accused of blasphemy, beaten, spat upon, and prepared to be taken to Pontius Pilate tomorrow morning.

As for today's liturgies, in the morning, the local Bishop will offer a special Chrism Mass (notmn this diocese, however) during which blesses the oils used in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Unction, and the consecration of Altars and churches.

At the evening Mass, after the bells ring during the Gloria, they are rung no more until the Easter Vigil (a wooden clapper called a "crotalus" is used insead). Parents explain this to their children by saying that the all the bells fly to Rome after the Gloria of the Mass on Maundy Thursday to visit the Popes. Children are told that the bells sleep on the roof of St. Peter's Basilica, and, bringing Easter eggs with them, start their flight home at the Gloria at the Easter Vigil, when when they peal wildly.

Then comes the Washing of the Feet after the homily, a rite performed by Christ upon His disciples to prepare them for the priesthood and the marriage banquet they will offer, and which is rooted in the Old Testament practice of foot-washing in preparation for the marital embrace (II Kings 11:8-11, Canticles 5:3) and in the ritual ablutions performed by the High Priest of the Old Covenant (contrast Leviticus 16:23-24 with John 13:3-5). The priest girds himself with a cloth and washes the feet of 12 men he's chosen to represent the Apostles for the ceremony.

The rest of the Mass after the Washing of the Feet has a special form, unlike all other Masses. After the Mass, the priest takes off his chasuble and vests in a white cope. He returns to the Altar, incenses the Sacred Hosts in the ciborium, and, preceded by the Crucifer and torchbearers, carries the Ciborium to the "Altar of Repose," also called the "Holy Sepulchre," where it will remain "entombed" until the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday.

Then there follows the Stripping of the Altars, during which everything is removed as Antiphons and Psalms are recited. All the glorious symbols of Christ's Presence are removed to give us the sense of His entering most fully into His Passion. Christ enters the Garden of Gethsemani; His arrest is imminent. Fortescue's "Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described" tells us: "From now till Saturday no lamps in the church are lit. No bells are rung. Holy Water should be removed from all stoups and thrown into the sacrarium. A small quantity is kept for blessing the fire on Holy Saturday or for a sick call." The joyful signs of His Presence won't return until Easter begins with the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.

And, of course, tomorrow's Matins and Lauds may be read as part of the "tenebrae service".

Thursday, March 21, 2013

All About Him - diocese of Scranton

I have taken my own advice this past week and prayed. And discerned.

So now I have to speak up.

The Pope is not just the Pope.

He is the Bishop of Rome.

Now everyone pretty much thinks of St. Peter's Basilica when they think of the Pope. Well, as Bishop of Rome he also has St. John Lateran as his diocesan cathedral.

But in his eagerness to be humble, Pope Francis has not yet taken possession of St. John Lateran.

Holy Thursday Mass, which celebrates the institution of the holy priesthood and the Eucharist has for hundreds of years been celebrated by the Bishop of Rome at St. John Lateran.

Not this year.

This year the new Holy Father has decided to take a road trip down to the local prison.


Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass in a youth prison outside of Rome.

Ok, fine.

We get it. You're channeling St Francis of Assisi.


Get over it because you are the Pope now, not the bishop of Buenos Aires. You have duties and responsibilities. Remember all those people who stood outside in the crappy weather when you were elected?

Remember how you spoke as the Bishop of Rome to your flock?

Yes, it is an act of mercy to visit those in prison.

But couldn't you visit the prison earlier in the day? Wednesday, perhaps? Said Mass for them some other time?

The bigger picture is that every time he rides the bus or doesn't wear the Mozzetta, or wears black shoes or moves Holy Thursday Mass to a prison, he makes it all about him. "Oh look! Our Pope is sooooo humble and nice!"

If he really wanted to show them some mercy, he should have arranged for the prisoners to come to St. John Lateran and get them out of the prison for a few hours to assist at Holy Mass.

But, what are ya gonna do? Hopefully someone at the Vatican will tell him what he's supposed to be doing. We'll see.

Watch and pray my friends as the Pope Francis show continues!

Latest update: Pope Francis also got rid of the Papal Throne, and is making the humble Papal apartments in the Vatican smaller. On top of that, lets not forget they had to order brand new vestments for his installation. He didn't like any of the ones the Vatican had laying around. Not too thrifty, eh? More money that could have been saved for the poor.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pray and Discern - Diocese of Scranton

Yes, we have a Pope.

Yes, he is from the "Americas".

Yes, his name is Francis.

Other than that, I am praying, watching, and praying some more.

That's what you all should be doing as well.

I'll be back, something of this magnitude requires quiet and reflection. And prayer.

There's a lot of questions. A lot of accusations. A lot of joy. A lot of sadness.

Discernment is required.

Don't listen to CNN on this. Don't listen to CBS.

Pray and listen to what God says to you.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Obamalley - The Diocese of Scranton

If you're my friend on Facebook,, you've seen my ongoing comments regarding the conclave today and our first look at the black smoke, and some of my criticism of the American "cardinals" Dolan and O'Malley.

Here's a story I had to go to Canada for about Obama's connection to O'Malley. Shame on the American media for not reporting this.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Conclave 3-12-13 - Diocese of Scranton

Well, they have set the start date for the conclave that will elect Raymond Cardinal Burke the next Supreme Pontiff. (I hope and pray!) 

(Vatican Radio) The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals meeting in the Vatican Synod Hall Friday has decided that the Conclave for the election of the Pope will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.A “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. Then Tuesday afternoon the 115 Cardinal Electors will gather in the Pauline Chapel for a moment of collection and prayer and from there they will process in order of precedence through the Sala Regia to the Sistine Chapel invoking the Holy Spirit.There they will take their seats, again observing the order of precedence, to elect the 265thSuccessor to St Peter. Once they have taken their seats they will hear the second meditation established by the Apostolic Constitution governing the papal transitions. It will be given by the Maltese Augustinian, Cardinal Prospero Grech. Following the mediation, the 115 cardinals will swear an oath to observe the rules of Conclave which include to maintain fidelity to the election of the Pope, to maintain secrecy, never to support or favor interference. The Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano, reads aloud the formula of the oath, the Cardinal electors respond: I do so promise, pledge and swear. After all the Cardinals have taken the oath, the Master of the Papal Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini orders all individuals other than the Cardinal Electors and conclave participants to leave the Sistine Chapel. He stands at the great wooden doors and pronounces the phrase: "Extra omnes!" He then closes the door. According to the Apostolic Constitution, on the afternoon of the first day, one ballot may be held. If a ballot takes place on the afternoon of the first day and no-one is elected, four ballots are held on each successive day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. If no result is obtained after three vote days of balloting, the process is suspended for a maximum of one day for prayer, meditation and reflection. A two thirds majority is required for the election of a Pope.Of the 115 Cardinal Electors, more than half are European with the largest single nationality represented by the 28 Italian Cardinal Electors. In a geographical breakdown: 60 come from Europe, 19 from Latin America, 14 from North America, 11 from Africa, 10 from Asia and 1 from Oceania. The average age of the Cardinal Electors is 71 while 67 of the Cardinals who will enter in the Conclave Tuesday were appointed by Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI. There were eight Conclaves in the 20th century, only three of which lasted longer than three days. The longest Conclave in the last two hundred years was 1830-1831. It lasted 50 days for a total of 83 ballots resulting in the election of Gregory XVI, the last religious elected to the papacy. The shortest Conclave in the 20th century took place in 1939. Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pius XII after just three ballots

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fit For A Pope - Diocese of Scranton

While everyone else is blogging about the coming conclave and what qualities the new Pontiff will need, I wanted to focus a bit more on something gravely important.


What will the new Pope be wearing?

Well, the famous Rome tailor shop Gammarelli, just a stones throw from the Pantheon now has on display in its front window the cassock and accessories to be worn for the new Pope's presentation to the people just after his election the Catholic News Service reported.

"The Gammarelli shop proudly showcased in its street-level window the white wool cassocks in three different sizes: "tall," "medium," and "small," since no one knows who will be the new pope or what his measurements will be.

It takes three-and-a-half days to cut, prepare and sew by hand one complete cassock, said the sixth-generation family member, so all three were finished "very quickly" by March 1 and displayed in the shop window the morning of March 4.

The shop eventually will deliver the ensemble to the Vatican in time for the conclave and election.

The Gammarelli shop was founded in 1798 and has served every 21st- and 20th-century pontiff except for Pope Pius XII, who stuck with his family's tailor."

Read the complete story here:

I'm thinking about ordering a pair of socks from Gammarelli for Sunday Mass. Probably the only thing I can afford. If anyone else wants to order something, email me, we can save on shipping!