Aug 19, 2017

Introduction to Sacred Music (Chant 101, Corpus Christi Parish)

On Sacred Music:

1. We don't create the Liturgy, we receive it -- this is why we use antiphons rather than hymns.
2. We don't sing at Mass, we sing THE Mass -- this is why we prefer gregorian chant as well.
3. The human voice is God's instrument by which he desires to be praised -- this is why we favor the organ and flute over other instruments.
4. Notes on the Liturgy of the Word.

Below are a number of reference quotations.

Listen online [here]!

Holy Day Sermon, August 15 -- The Assumption of Mary

The Dogma of the Assumption: That Mary, at the end of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. It is the common teaching of the Church that Mary died, was raised, and then was assumed.

This feast reminds us all of our call to heaven -- God wants us all to be saved. This is our vocation!

Listen online [here]!

Sunday Sermon, August 13 -- Salvation and the Jews (Sermons on Romans, Part 6)

"They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen."

We discuss the division of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans.
I. The Doctrine of Grace
   A. The Necessity of Grace (Chapters 1-4)
   B. The Effects of Grace (Chapters 5-8)
   C. The Origins of Grace (Chapters 9-11)
II. The Life of Grace (Chapters 12-16

The consideration of the relation of the Jews and the Gentiles in the one Church of Christ. None are save by being Jewish, but only through the grace of Christ. Like all people, the Jews do not inherit salvation, but must be evangelized and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Modern Judaism is not the same religion as ancient Judaism, because the holy men and women of the Old Testament believed in the Messiah who was to come, but modern Judaism explicitly rejects this Messiah who has come, Jesus Christ. We Catholics are of the same religion as Abraham and Moses, of David and of St Joseph.

Listen online [here]!

Aug 3, 2017

Holy Day of Obligation, August 15th -- and Schedule Change

Tuesday, August 15 is an Holy Day of Obligation - The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.

To fulfill the obligation (note: It is a mortal sin to intentionally skip an holy day of obligation without a grave reason):

Monday, August 14 - Mass 5:30pm
Tuesday, August 15 - Mass 7am
Tuesday, August 15 - Solemn Mass with incense 5:30pm
*no 4:30pm confessions on Tuesday, August 15

Also, note the schedule change for the remainder of the week:

Wednesday, August 16
7am Mass
No 4:30pm Confessions

Thursday, August 17
No 7am Mass
No 4:30pm Confessions

Friday, August 18
7am Mass
4:30pm Confessions

Saturday, August 19
9am Mass
4:30pm Confessions
5:30pm Vigil Mass

Schedule Change, August 8-12, 2017

Due to the Fatima Conference in Laurel, MT -- Schedule change for Corpus Christi Parish.

No daily Mass, weekday confessions, or adoration - Tuesday, August 8 to Saturday morning, August 11.

There will be confessions at 4:30pm on Saturday, August 11.

Aug 2, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 30th -- Predestination and Calvin's Heresy (Sermons on Romans, Part 5)

"For those he foreknew he also predestined. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."  (Romans 8:29-30)

The Catholic Doctrine of predestination teaches that those who are to be saved are foreknown by God who gives them grace to do good works in the present and rewards them with glory in heaven. God's foreknowledge is a cause of all things, but, although certain, does not impose necessity upon all things. God knows all that we will do, and he knows he will do it freely. God's grace does not destroy free will.

The protestant heresy (especially as by Luther and Calvin) maintains that man is saved without works but only by God's grace. However, if man is saved without any consideration of his works and without his free cooperation, so too will man be damned without any consideration of his sins and without his freedom. Thus Calvin will affirm that God creates some men for hell, and not because of their sins but because of God's sovereign choice. God predestines some men for hell, even as others are predestined to heaven - and all without any choice or merits on the part of man.  This is what the "reformation" revolution was really all about, to give us a God who is a devil. This is why Calvin and Luther had to be condemned.

As we move forward, recall that the prime example of predestination is Jesus Christ in his humanity. Predestined from eternity, Christ was still entirely free and his choices made a real difference in the world.

Listen online [here]!

Jul 25, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 23 -- Speaking in tongues and Prayer in the Spirit

"The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings."

St Paul is not referring to "speaking in tongues" (that miracle in the early Church whereby the Apostles and others would suddenly know new languages and speak the native tongue of their listeners fluently).

Rather, the Apostle teaches us that the Holy Spirit moves the soul through the Gifts (especially the Gift of Counsel) to pray for those things which are truly according to God's will.

Listen online [here]!

Jul 19, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 16 -- Justified by works, not by faith alone (Sermons on Romans, Part 3)

Quotes from Scripture related to Faith:

Romans 3:27-28, "Where is then thy boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the Law."

Romans 11:5-6, "There is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace, it is not by works: otherwise grace is no more grace."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works, that no man may glory."

Quotes from Scripture related to works:

Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his works."

1 Corinthians 13:2, "And if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing."

Philippians 2:12, "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling."

James 2:24, "A person is justified by works and not by faith alone."


It is amazing that Luther and Calvin (and the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Fundamentalist Protestants today who follow them) could claim that man is saved through FAITH ALONE. This phrase "faith alone" is only used one time in the Bible, specifically to reject the very heresy that the Protestants promote -- "A person is justified by works and NOT by FAITH ALONE." (James 2:24).

How could the Protestant heresy have gotten it so wrong? There are two main errors which led Luther into his heresy 500 years ago. 1) A Scriptural error: Luther read all of the Bible in light of St Paul and especially placed Romans as the most important book of Scripture; but the true approach to Scripture places the Gospels first and reads St Paul in light of Christ presented in the Gospels.

2) A philosophical error: Luther thought that if I do 50% of the work of salvation, then that would mean that God could only do 50%, or if God does 100% then I must do 0%. However, the work of salvation is fully divine and fully human (even as Jesus is fully God and fully man) -- salvation is both 100% the work of God and 100% my work.

We affirm: Of course man can merit salvation! After all, Jesus was a man, and he merited salvation for the whole world. In Christ, we too merit our own salvation, as we cooperate with the grace of the Lord.

Listen online [here]!

Jul 16, 2017

July 16 - The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Informational Bulletin)

The History of the Brown Scapular
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

On 16 July 1251, St Simon Stock, who was then the superior of the Order of the Carmelites, received an apparition from Our Lady. She handed him a brown scapular saying, “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I obtained for thee for they children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”

However, the history of the brown scapular begins long before the 13th century, originating with the mantle of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament! To bring the people back from their worship of the false god Baal the prophet Elijah prayed for a drought, which lasted for three and a half years. After this, Elijah climbed Mt. Carmel to petition for the rain to return. A cloud in the shape of a foot came and provided much-needed rain. (See 1 Kings 18:41-46)

Pious tradition holds the cloud represented Our Lady’s heel crushing the devil, as prophesied in Genesis. We also recognize Mary as the Mediatrix of graces, for out of a single cloud flowed an immense quantity of rain, or grace, which quenched the parched desert.

Following the event, Elijah formed a community of hermits on Mt. Carmel. These Jewish “carmelites” awaited the return of Elijah to announce the coming of the Messiah. After Pentecost, it is believed that these hermits were converted to Christianity. It was out of this community the Carmelite Order was born in the late 11th century.

The Devotion of the Brown Scapular
The scapular in the well-known smaller form came about by at least 1276, adopted by laymen who had worked with the community as a pious tradition. Over the years a great many holy men and women developed devotions to the Brown Scapular, including St. Teresa of Avila, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. John Vianney, St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Maximilian Kolbe and Pope St. Pius X. Pope St. John Paul II was also known for his devotion to the sacramental, famously instructing surgeons to leave his scapular on him during the operation after the 1981 assassination attempt. Of this
sacramental, the Pope said: “The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives.”

The scapular is not really in the same category as blessed medals or other objects, rather it should be thought of as a piece of clothing. Indeed, we are “invested” (i.e. “dressed”) in the scapular, after the manner that a Carmelite monk or nun is given a religious habit to wear. This is why a cloth scapular is preferred to wood or metal.

Our scapular is a reminder of the constant protection and love of Mary for each of her children. We are “clothed” with the virtues of Mary, and even of Christ.

What are the requirements of the Brown Scapular?

Wearing the scapular is traditionally associated with the praying of the breviary or of the Little Office of Mary (a collection of psalms said at various points through the day). However, it is now permissible to pray five decades of the rosary daily to fulfill the obligations of the scapular - even here, it is good to recall that we are all simply trying to grow in holiness and devotion, we should start wherever we are and simply try to do better each day. If we forget or fail to pray the rosary on a given day, there is no additional sin committed by wearing the scapular - we simply ask our Lady's help to strive to grow more and more each day. I should also note that there is a strong tradition of abstaining from meat on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year as a practice associated with wearing the scapular - it isn't mandatory, but perhaps something worth considering (even just restricting ourselves to meat at only one meal on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with meatless Fridays).

What are the promises associated with the Brown Scapular?

Our Lady promised to St. Simon Stalk that those who wear the scapular with devotion will be saved. This is not to be interpreted in a superstitious manner, as though the scapular were some sort of “charm” or “loop-hole” into heaven. However, certainly our Lady will give special graces to the one who wears the scapular devoutly - if we trust in Mary and place ourselves under her care and protection, we will find the grace necessary to be saved. The scapular is a most powerful and easy means of gaining salvation! Wearing the scapular doesn’t mean we can go on sinning as we please, rather this devotion will break the bonds of sin so that we can live a life of freedom in the law of the Gospel.

Many also speak of the sabattine privilege whereby Mary is said to have promised Pope John XXII that anyone who dies wearing the scapular will be freed from purgatory on the following Saturday. Although some of the stories associated with this promise are not based in history, there can be no doubt that Mary’s love and care for her children does not end with death but continues even into Purgatory. Who could doubt but that our Lady’s special patronage is felt by the Holy Souls on Saturdays, the day which is specially dedicated to her honor? I would invite you to pray in a special way on Saturdays for the souls in purgatory who died wearing a scapular, and trust that others will pray for you if you find yourself in Purgatory on a Saturday!

Sunday Sermon, July 9 -- Christ liberates us from sin, the flesh, death, and the Law (Sermons on Romans, part 2)

Romans 8:1-13, from which our second reading is taken in today's Mass, put forward four major themes which are essential to St Paul's understanding of the human condition prior to redemption in Christ.

Before man receives the grace of Christ, he is under the law of sin, the law of the flesh, the law of death, and the Law of Moses. The law of sin: Man is conceived in sin, in a state of rebellion against God. The law of the flesh: The lower part of man's soul, his passions and emotions ("the flesh"), rebels against the higher part of man's soul, his reason and will. The law of death: Man is conceived destined for death, not just bodily death but also eternal death. The Law of Moses: Although the Law pointed out the way to do good, it did not give man the grace to actually follow the path to heaven.

But Christ liberates us from sin, the flesh, death, and the Law of Moses! Christ makes us free! This is the joy and good news of the Gospel! However, because our hope is in heaven and not in the vanities of earth, we live a life of penance and mortification - putting to death the deeds of the body. As G.K. Chesterton once said, "It is better to fast for joy, than feast for misery."

Listen online [here]!

Jul 12, 2017

Schedule Change for VBS Week, July 17-21

Mass and confession schedule for the week of July 17-21 (Monday through Friday).

Daily Mass will be at noon. No 7 AM Mass.

Rosary will be at 5:30 PM with the Dominican Sisters, followed by dinner. No 4:30 PM Confessions.

Jul 6, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 2 -- Introduction to the Letter to the Romans (Sermons on Romans, Part 1)

We read from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans from the 9th to the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time this year (Year A). For an additional 8 Sundays or Holy Days, we read from Romans as well. Practically, we will be reading from Romans for three months straight - from the last Sunday of June to all but the last Sunday of September (with the exception of the Transfiguration on August 6).

Catholics are often intimidated by St Paul's Letter to the Romans, thus we will be preaching on Romans many of the weekends over the next three months. It is my hope that we will all feel familiar with Romans by the end of September.

A basic outline of the Letter can be found below. We also point out the historical context: This letter was written by St Paul in the year 58, the 6th and longest of 14 letters included in Scripture, the final letter written prior to his arrest. Rome, at the time, had about one million inhabitants, with 50,000 Jews and 13 synagogues. The Christian community in Rome was made up of a good number of Jewish converts, but certainly there were even more gentile converts to the faith. St Peter was the bishop of Rome at the time.

St Paul is writing about the grace of Christ, and shows that neither the Law of Moses nor the wisdom of the pagan philosophers will bring salvation. Thus, all (Jew and gentile) are united as one by the grace of Christ and by the Catholic religion.

Listen online [here]!


An Outline of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans
From Father Ryan Erlenbush (based on the commentary of St Thomas Aquinas)

St Paul’s Letter to the Romans discusses the grace of Christ considered in itself
Part I (Chapters 1-11): The Doctrine of the Grace of Christ
Part II (Chapters 12-16): The Moral Life of Grace in Christ

Part I is divided into three parts:
A.     (Chapters 1-4): The necessity of grace.  St Paul teaches us that all men are conceived in sin and need the grace of Christ in order to be saved. We are not saved by the works of the Law of Moser, nor by the wisdom of the world, but only by the Christian Religion which Christ established.
B.     (Chapters 5-8): The effects of grace, that grace is sufficient for salvation. St Paul discusses what grace does for the soul. Specifically, the Apostle teaches that, by the grace of Christ, we are freed from sin, from death, and from the ordinances of the Law of Moses.
C.     (Chapters 9-11): The origins of grace. Here, St Paul explains that from the Jews has come the adoption, the glory of the covenant, the giving of the Law, the service of God, the promises, and even the Christ. The Apostle discusses the relation of the Jews and the Gentiles in the Church.

Part II is divided into two parts:
A.     (Chapter 12-15): The living in grace, morality. St Paul explains how the Christian should cooperate with grace so as to become perfect in Christ, and how those advanced in perfection should relate to those who are not so advanced. 15:14-33, St Paul addresses issues specific to the Roman Christians.
B.     (Chapter 16): Conclusion of the Letter.

Jun 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, June 25 -- The Dogma of Original Sin (Sermons on Romans, Prelude)

"Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned."  (Romans 5:12)

Original sin can be understood as the sin of Adam originally committed in the garden, or as the privation of grace which is inherited by all men. As the sin in the garden, it was specifically Adam's sin (not Eve's) that caused the Fall of the human race - since all men (including Eve) come from Adam. As the privation of grace, original sin is transmitted to all by generation not merely imitation.

Adam spoke for us all when he sinned and, although each of us did not personally choose to sin, original sin is considered "voluntary" insofar as is the effect of the voluntary choice of Adam. However, even as in Adam all sinned, so also in Christ we have been victorious over sin and death! Just as Adam spoke for all when he disobeyed, Christ Jesus has spoken for all who are baptized into him and in Christ we have been obedient!

Listen online [here]!

Jun 21, 2017

Sunday Sermon, June 18 -- Reverent is not enough, we must be traditional

Lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of belief. This means that how we pray will inform what we believe -- if we want to believe as all Catholics have believed through all the ages, we must also pray as Catholics have always prayed. This holds especially true in the Sacred Liturgy: It is impossible to have a radical change in the form of liturgical worship without risking the integrity of the faith.

It is astonishing to realize that the Mass was basically the same from the end of the early persecutions when we were first permitted to have public worship until the time of the Second Vatican Council (roughly, for 1,600 years from 360 to 1960). However, the common way that Mass is celebrated since Vatican II bears little resemblance to the form of worship which was common to all the saints and indeed all Catholics for all time.

The Second Vatican Council did not intend this extreme change in the form of worship. Indeed, Popes St John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all been guiding the Church to realize that there should be continuity between how the Mass was celebrated before and after Vatican II. When we attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (aka Traditional Latin Mass) and then attend the Novus Ordo Mass of Vatican II, we should be struck not by how different but rather by how similar they are.  We should be able to pray in basically the same way in the New Mass as we do whenever we attend the Traditional Mass.

If we want to have the same faith of the saints of all the ages, we need to pray in the same way as the saints of all ages have prayed - and this holds most especially for the Holy Mass. Which is to say: It's not good enough to be reverent and conservative, we must be traditional when participating in the Mass of Vatican II.

Listen online [here]!

Jun 7, 2017

Pentecost Sunday Sermon, June 4 -- No Salvation without the Holy Spirit, No Salvation outside the Catholic Church

The Holy Spirit is the true soul of the Catholic Church. Even as the soul gives life to the human body and makes it to be one body made up of many parts, so also Holy Spirit vivifies and unites the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Holy Catholic Church.

Even as it would be greatly disordered for the human soul to work outside of the body or be separated from the body, so also the Holy Spirit chooses to work in the world inside the Mystical Body and only in union with the Church.  This is called "co-extensivity" -- where the Church, there the Holy Spirit; where the Spirit, there the Catholic Church.

St Joan of Arc said it well: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing: and we shouldn't complicate the matter." Whoever receives the Pope and the Bishops as messengers of Christ, receives Jesus. Whoever rejects the Pope and the Bishops, that is, whoever rejects the Catholic Church, rejects Jesus and not only Jesus but also the Heavenly Father.

However, this does not mean that only Catholics are saved - but that if any non-Catholic is saved, they are saved by virtue of the presence of the Catholic Church in the world.

More than anything, this should inspire us to be missionaries! To preach the Gospel and to preach the message of salvation given through the Church and her sacraments! We have a duty to bring all people into full communion with the Catholic Church, so that they might be happy in this life and find salvation in life everlasting.

Listen online [here]!

Jun 3, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 28 -- The Miracle of the Sun and the Message of Fatima

We conclude our three part series on the message of Our Lady Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Appearing first on 13 May 1917, our Lady promised she would return each month until 13 October. on 13 July, Our Lady promised a great miracle in October which would confirm the truth of the apparitions and of the message.

13 October 1917, in the presence of over 70,000 people, some of whom were more than 20 miles away, the sun "danced" in the sky and then crashed toward the earth in a manner that made all believe the world was about to end. The children of Fatima continued to pray, and the sun returned to his place in the heavens.

During this great miracle, the children saw St Joseph, holding the Child Jesus, bless the world three times for peace (together with the Child). They also saw our Lady and our Lord appearing in various manners.

This miracle is to convince us of the message. What is the message of Fatima?
The first message is the children: Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco -- which is to say, a life of prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world.
Then also, the daily Rosary, the scapular, the First Saturday devotion. And also, devotion to St Joseph.

We say with St Francisco -- Mary, we will give you all the Rosaries you want! Just give us salvation and peace!

Listen online [here]!

May 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 21 -- The Three Secrets of Our Lady of Fatima

When our Lady for the third time appeared to the three children of Fatima, 13 July 1917, she gave them three secrets, which also contain the essential message of Fatima.

The first was the vision of hell, the second the horrors of World War II, and the third was a mysterious apocalyptic image which detailed persecutions of the Pope.

The third secret was at least partially fulfilled in the assassination attempt on Pope St John Paul II, which occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981. Our Lady miraculously saved the Pope on that day.

Below, find the text of the three secrets.

Listen online [here]!


First Secret of Fatima
Sr Lucia: “As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.
“That vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our Good Mother of Heaven, Who, at the first apparition, had promised to bring us to Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.
“Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and sadly: You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.

Second Secret of Fatima
Mary: “If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father.
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”””

Third Secret of Fatima -- JP II makes public in June 2000.
‘At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword; it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice:
“Penance, Penance, Penance!” ‘
‘And we saw in an immense light that is God… a Bishop dressed in white. We had the impression it was the Holy Father. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins, and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks.’
‘Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels, each with a crystal aspersorium in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.’

“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Sunday Sermon, May 14 -- The Three Children of Fatima

13 May 2017 was the 100th Anniversary of our Lady's first apparition to the three children of Fatima in Portugal. Appearing from May to October, generally on the 13th of the month, our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed daily and that people be devoted to her Immaculate Heart.

Pope Francis canonized two of the three children on 13 May 2017 -- Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto! Lucia (the eldest of the three) did not die until 2005, and thus her canonization process is far behind her two cousins who died in 1918 and 1919.

We discuss the history of the apparitions (beginning with the vision of the Angel of Peace) and the lives of our new saints, Francisco and Jacinta.

NOTE: This is the first of three sermons on the apparitions of our Lady, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Listen online [here]!

Sunday Sermon, May 7 -- Discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life

In the new Mass, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also Good Shepherd Sunday. The Church throughout the world also celebrates this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

We consider how to discern a call to the priesthood or religious life -- not only for those young people who are still in the time and age of discernment, but also for parents, relatives and friends who may be able to assist in discernment of a vocation.

The keys to discernment are a life of prayer and a pure motive to love God in and above all things. Essentially, once our motives are purified, God will reveal our vocation to us through giving us joy at the thought of living that vocation. And the priesthood and religious life are the happiest vocations on earth.

Listen online [here]!

May 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 30 -- Receiving the Eucharist Well, and Not Distributing the Chalice

The apparition on the road to Emmaus teaches us about the Holy Eucharist -- the bread which our Lord "took, blessed, broke, and gave" is none other than his gift of self in Holy Communion.

We take an opportunity to consider receiving communion well, with greater love and devotion. It is also good to note that Jesus only distributes communion under the one species of the Host -- whereas, on Holy Thursday, he gave communion under both kinds (the Host and the Chalice) as he was distributing to his apostles whom he had just ordained as priests; here, when distributing communion to the lay faithful (Cleopas and the other), our Lord only gives communion under the species of his Body. The whole Jesus is present in the Host and in the Chalice: Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and the fullness of grace is received under Host alone. Indeed, the Church teaches that there is nothing "less" in receiving only the Host, nor is there any "more grace" in receiving the Chalice.

Although not all of the following norms are specified in the sermon, it is good to make note of certain guidelines under which the Chalice is permitted to be distributed. First and foremost, we recognize that the general norms of the Church do not permit the distribution of the Chalice except in the most unusual circumstances (e.g. when people make First Communion, Religious Profession, to the couple who gets married). In the United States, wider permission was given (by a special indult from the Vatican and only with the dispensation of the local bishop and the wise discernment of the pastor) for communion to be distributed under both kinds -- but the following norms must be observed.

From "Redemptionis Sacramentum", Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship from 2004 (paragraphs 100-107):

"[Distribution of the Chalice] is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned."

"The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration."

"[The Chalice is not to be distributed] where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated."

"In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, 'one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state'. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down."

Additionally, the USCCB states that where there would regularly be more lay people serving as extraordinary ministers of holy communion than three are priests and deacons serving as ordinary ministers, it may be fitting to not distribute the Chalice so as to avoid the appearance that it is ordinary or normal for lay minsters to distribute communion.  (cf. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds)

What does this mean? That if there is any danger that the Chalice might be spilt, communion should be given only under the Host. If there is a large number of people at the Mass so that it is difficult to estimate very exactly how much wine to use, communion should be given only under the Host. If say 20% of the people don't want to receive from the Chalice, communion should be given only under the Host. If there are not a number of priests and deacons so that they would generally outnumber the lay extraordinary ministers, communion should probably be given only under the Host.

Finally, the care of the Precious Blood is such a serious matter, that those who have poured the remaining Blood down the drain or into the ground are subject to an excommunication which even the Bishop cannot lift -- and this abuse is something which many of us know from experience to have been shockingly common in certain places and times over the past 50 years.

Listen online [here]!

May 1, 2017

Sunday Sermon April 23 -- Divine Mercy Sunday, The Indulgence and the Promise

There are two things to be aware of: 1) The Church offers a plenary indulgence on this day. 2) Jesus promised special graces on this day. The indulgence and the promise are similar, but not identical.
1) The plenary indulgence: This requires confession (up to 20 days before or after), communion (a couple days before or after), prayers for the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary), no attachment to any sin, and the specific "work" is the mercy devotions. The devotions are those held in common in the church, or before the tabernacle to pray an Our Father and the Creed and "Jesus, I trust in you". Those who are unable to travel to church can say the Our Father, Creed, and invocation of mercy even at home before an image of the Divine Mercy (but they still must confess and receive communion).
2) The promise of Jesus: That any who confess (up to two weeks before) and receive communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (Our Lord does not say that the Saturday evening Mass counts) trusting in his mercy, will have not only their sins but even all the punishment of purgatory will be completely washed away. This is the perfect renewal of the graces of baptism -- and it does not require complete detachment from all sin, but only that we trust in his mercy!

A comparison between Jesus' appearance to Thomas the Apostle and his gift of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Listen online [here]!

Apr 24, 2017

Easter Sunday Sermon, April 16 -- The Paschal Candle and Easter Meditation

The meaning of the Paschal Candle: The candle represents Jesus, first in his passion (the Cross is marked on the candle), and in his burial (the five grains of incense recall the perfumed oil used to anoint his five wounds). The unlit candle represents Christ Crucified, who by his death is Lord of all time (hence the numbers of the year, and the "alpha" and "omega"). When the candle is lit, this represents Jesus' resurrection! His light illumines our hearts by the ministry of his priests, and we all then give light to the whole world.

Easter is longer than Lent, and is a season of many graces! We can be open to these by practicing daily mental prayer, meditation on the mysteries of salvation -- hopefully, for at least 10 minutes a day.

Listen online [here]!

Holy Thursday and Good Friday Sermons -- April 13 and 14

Holy Thursday, April 13 -- Jesus Presence in the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and Charity
Listen online [here]!

Good Friday, April 14 -- Consoling the Jesus on the Cross
Listen online [here]!

Palm Sunday Sermon, April 9 -- An Act of Contrition

Making a perfect act of contrition, in consideration of the love of Jesus for me made manifest on the Cross.

Listen online [here]!

Daily Sermons, April 4 to 22

Sermons from daily Masses for the final weeks of Lent and Easter week.

Apr 21, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday, Parish Schedule

A few notes about Divine Mercy Sunday!
There are two things to be aware of: 1) The Church offers a plenary indulgence on this day. 2) Jesus promised special graces on this day.  The indulgence and the promise are similar, but not identical.

1) The plenary indulgence: This requires confession (up to 20 days before or after), communion (a couple days before or after), prayers for the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary), no attachment to any sin, and the specific "work" is the mercy devotions. The devotions are those held in common in the church, or before the tabernacle to pray an Our Father and the Creed and "Jesus, I trust in you".

2) The promise of Jesus: That any who confess (up to two weeks before) and receive communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (Our Lord does not say that the Saturday evening Mass counts) trusting in his mercy, will have not only their sins but even all the punishment of purgatory will be completely washed away. This is the perfect renewal of the graces of baptism -- and it does not require complete detachment from all sin, but only that we trust in his mercy!

Divine Mercy Sunday Schedule

9 AM  - Solemn Mass with incense
11:30 AM - Low Mass, no incense

1 to 3 PM  - Confessions (only Father Ryan available)

3 to 4 PM - Solemn Adoration and Divine Mercy Devotions

[Also, we have our Adoration Breakfast in the parish gathering area all morning!]

Daily Mass Schedule Till the Summer

At least until the summer months, we will retain the Mass schedule for daily Masses as we had during Lent. Namely, Masses will be at 7 AM on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The main reason for this is the large number of people who are now able to attend daily Masses -- often 50 people, or more!

Daily Mass Schedule
Corpus Christi Parish, Great Falls, MT

4:30 PM Confessions
5:30 PM Mass followed by Perpetual Help Devotions and Rosary

Wednesday - Friday
7 AM Mass
4:30 PM Confessions
5:30 PM Rosary

9 AM Mass followed by Rosary
4:30 PM Confessions
5:30 PM Vigil Mass

9 AM Mass
11:30 AM Mass

*Note: Wednesday and Saturday mornings are the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form)

Apr 2, 2017

Parish Schedule for the Final Two Weeks of Lent

Tuesday, April 4
4:30 PM, Confession
5:30 PM, Mass
6 PM, Devotions

Wednesday, April 5
7 AM, Mass
No 4:30 PM Confessions
No 5:30 PM Devotions

Thursday, April 6 (Chrism Mass in Billings)
No 7 AM Mass
No 4:30 PM Confessions
No 5:30 PM Devotions or Confessions

Friday, April 7
No 7 AM Mass
4:30 PM, Confessions
5:30 PM, Mass
6 PM, Station of the Cross followed by devotions

Saturday, April 8
9 AM, Mass
10 AM to Noon, Confessions
4:30 PM, Confessions
5:30 PM, Vigil Mass

Sunday, April 9
9 AM, Mass
11:30 AM, Mass

Tuesday, April 11
4:30 PM, Confessions
5:30 PM, Mass

Wednesday, April 12
7 AM, Mass
No 4:30 PM Confessions (Penance service on military base)

Holy Thursday, April 13
4:30 PM, Confessions
5:30 PM, Mass of the Lord's Supper
7 to 9 PM, Confessions with multiple priests available
7 PM to Midnight, Adoration

Good Friday, April 14
4:30 PM, Confessions
5:30 PM, Commemoration of our Lord's Passion
7 PM, Stations of the Cross

Holy Saturday, April 15
10 AM to Noon,  Confessions with five priests available
Noon, Rosary
12:30 PM, Decorate Church for Easter
10 PM to 12:30 AM, Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday, April 16
9 AM, Mass
11:30 AM, Mass

Sunday Sermon, April 2 -- The Raising of Lazarus and Confession

[pre-sermon note on why we veil the cross and other images during the final two weeks of Lent (passiontide)]

Lent is a time of preparation for the renewal of our baptism at Easter. We renew our baptism by confession, especially in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday. Consider this week's Gospel in relation to the sacrament of Confession.

"Master, the one whom you love is ill." When we prepare for confession, we recognize that Jesus loves us so much! and that we truly are ill and in need of healing.

"And Jesus wept." When we confess we must be truly sorry for our sins.

"Show me where you laid him." We then confess our serious sins according to name and number, and our venial sins we confess as is most helpful to us.

"Untie the burial bands." Even after being forgiven, the stench of sin is around us. However, penance helps to free us from the bonds of sin!

Listen online [here]!

Mar 26, 2017

Sunday Sermon, March 26 -- St Joseph and Joseph the Patriarch

We consider the many ways in which Joseph the Patriarch of the Old Testament foreshadows St Joseph of the New Testament.

They share the same name, and have fathers of the same name. St Joseph is also loved by God and given many graces, especially being forgiven original sin while in the womb and preserved from every actual sin (this is foreshadowed in the cloak given Joseph in the Old Testament). The Patriarch was pure in his relations with Potiphar's wife, and St Joseph was most pure in maintaining perpetual virginity. The Patriarch was made "master of [Pharaoh's] household, and ruler of all his possessions," even as St Joseph was head of the Holy Family. The Patriarch provided grain for the world, St Joseph stored up the true Bread of Life.

Finally, the Patriarch was at first not recognized by his brothers in their need, so also it is only in these last days that the Church has come to call upon St Joseph and recognize him in her public devotions as the Universal Patron!

Listen online [here]!

Mar 25, 2017

Daily Sermons, March 21-25

Sermons from Daily Masses, March 21-25.
Human Customs, Lent, Love, Annunciation.

Mar 22, 2017

Sunday Sermon, March 19 -- Why We Don't Follow the Old Law, and Seder Meals

Christians no longer observe the ceremonial precepts of the Old Law -- we are permitted to eat all types of food, we do not observe ritual purity or washings, we don't even keep Saturday as our Holy Day. While the moral precepts (e.g. "honor thy father and thy mother", "thou shalt not kill", etc) remain, the ceremonies and all the external forms of Old Testament worship pass away.

Outward worship expresses interior faith. Abraham and Moses believed, "the Messiah WILL come", but we believe, "the Messiah HAS come". Thus, the rituals of the Old Law point to the Messiah who had not yet come, but the ceremonies of the New Law point to Jesus who has come and who will come again. Because the Messiah is come, it was necessary that the ceremonies of the Old pass away as they are fulfilled by the New.

Thus, it would be a form of false worship for a Catholic to participate in the ceremonies of the Old Law -- because this would imply that the Messiah has not yet come, and that Jesus is not the Messiah.

From this, it clearly follows that the Catholic cannot participate in the Jewish Seder meal at Passover time. Further, it is also inappropriate for Catholics to perform a "Christian version" of the Seder meal (the US Bishops explicitly forbade this in "God's Mercy Endures Forever" in 1988). 

It is also good to realize that the Last Supper was not a Seder meal, as the Seder didn't even exist at the time of Jesus. What was the Last Supper then? It was the Mass!

Listen online [here]!

Mar 19, 2017

Daily Sermons, March 14-18

Homilies from daily Masses, March 14 to 18.
The Law, Zebedee's Sons, The Rich Man, St Patrick, Total Consecration.

Mar 15, 2017

Schedule for the Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday (April 13-16)

Holy Thursday, April 13
4:30 – 5:30 PM  Confessions
5:30 PM  Mass of the Lord’s Supper
7 – 9 PM  Confessions
Adoration in the “garden” until midnight

Good Friday, April 14
4:30 – 5:30 PM  Confessions
5:30 PM  Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion
Stations of the Cross following

Holy Saturday, April 15
10 AM – Noon  Confessions
Noon  Marian Devotions
Decorating the church following devotions
10 PM  Easter Vigil Mass (will go till around 12:30 AM)
          * Please note: Bishop Warfel has stated that the Vigil is not to begin until at least one hour after sunset. This means that the very earliest that the Vigil can begin in Great Falls is 9:15 PM.

Easter Sunday, April 16
9 AM   Mass

11:30 AM  Mass

Mass and Devotions During Lent

4:30 – 5:30 PM  Confessions
5:30 PM  Mass
6:15 – 7 PM Adoration and Evening Devotions
          Rosary, Marian Devotions

Wednesdays and Thursdays
7 AM  Mass  (Traditional Latin Mass on Wednesdays)
4:30 – 5:30 PM Confessions
5:30 – 6:15 PM  Adoration and Evening Devotions
          Rosary, Marian Devotions
6:15 – 7 PM  Confessions

7 AM  Mass
4:30 – 5:30 PM  Confessions
5:30 PM  Stations of the Cross
6 PM  Solemn Adoration and Sacred Heart Devotions
6:30 PM  Soup Supper
6:30 – 7 PM  Confessions

9 AM  Traditional Latin Mass
10 AM – Noon   Confessions
4:30 – 5:30 PM  Confessions
5:30 PM  Weekend Mass

9 AM  Mass
11:30 AM  Mass

Sunday Sermon, March 12 -- The Christian must suffer to come to Easter glory

Christ was transfigured before Peter, James, and John to strengthen them with the hope of the Resurrection so that they would not despair at the Passion. The Transfiguration is a lesson to teach the Apostles that "the Christ must suffer and so enter into his glory."

Likewise, the Church gives us this Gospel on the Second Sunday of Lent to strengthen us with the hope of Easter so that we might persevere in accomplishing our Lenten discipline. We also learn that each Christian must suffer (through voluntary penance) in order to enter into the glory of the Risen Lord.

Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus - It is striking to note that these are the only other two men in Sacred Scripture who fasted for forty days. If we want to have a joy-filled and holy Easter, it is necessary that we enter into these forty days of penance and fasting with the Lord.

Listen online [here]!

Daily Sermons, March 8-11

Daily Sermons from March 8 to 11.
Moses and Elijah, St Frances of Rome, the 40 martyrs, Total Consecration.

Sunday Sermon, March 5 -- The Three Ages of the Interior Life and Mortification

[pre-sermon note on almsgiving during Lent: Remember that the poor live a much harder Lent than we do, and they live it all year long. Our Lent should provide some savings which is given to the poor. When you are really craving whatever you sacrificed this Lent, consider making a small donation for alms as a way of connecting fasting and almsgiving]

There are three ages of the spiritual life: The beginners, the proficients, and the perfect; or the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way.

The beginners are attached to sin and to the world, and though they have truly begun to follow God and do desire to be holy, they still have a worldly outlook and worldly goals.
The proficients have broken their attachment to the world and strive to avoid sin. Their focus is on God and his glory, and they seek heaven; but they approach the spiritual life from an human perspective and with human judgments (looking for human success in the spiritual life). They have entered into the life of infused contemplation in prayer.
The perfect have broken all attachment to the world and to sin. They live in constant union with God and have a totally supernatural world-view. These are the great saints. They still commit some venial sins, but they are very humble and follow God unreservedly.

One of the main reasons why people remain as beginners their whole life is a failure to practice bodily mortification. It is true that interior penance is more important than physical or bodily mortification (like fasting), but if we can't practice external penance we will never be able to practice interior penance. If I can't give up meat, I'll never be able to give up pride!

Lenten penance and bodily mortification (especially fasting and abstinence) is a great means of attaining spiritual growth!

Listen online [here]!

Mar 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 7 -- Father Raymond Nyquist, Funeral Sermon

Sermon from the Funeral Mass for Father Raymond Nyquist.

Father Nyquist had three loves: The Eucharist, the poor, and the family.

Listen online [here]!

Sunday Sermon, February 26 -- Judging Actions, Avoiding Scandal

[pre-sermon note on fasting and abstinence during Lent. The Church only requires that those from 18 to 60 years old fast (one regular meal and two small snacks) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and those from 14 years and older abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent, and every Friday throughout the year (excepting Solemnities). The US Bishops received permission so that another penance can substitute for abstaining from meat on Fridays outside of Lent. Father Ryan recommends that we do more than this, considering possibly abstaining from meat on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and even abstaining from eggs and dairy in addition if that is possible.]

"Therefore, do not make any judgments before the appointed time, until the Lord comes." (1 Cor 4:5)

Many today say, "Who am I to judge?", but what St Paul is really saying is that we should respond to people caring only how Jesus will judge us and not worrying about whether people will love us or hate us. In this very Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul excommunicates a man for public adultery! And the Church follows this by refusing to admit to Holy Communion all those who publicly and obstinately persist in manifest grave sin (example, pro-abort politicians or those Catholics married outside the Church).

But the Church isn't judging a person when we don't give communion to those living in public grave sin. The Church is only judging the objective situation, and protecting us all from being scandalized. For this same reason, we should not attend invalid marriages, for example.

Listen online [here]!

Sunday Sermon, February 19 -- On loving the enemies of the Church and of good morals

[pre-homily note on attending daily Mass during Lent. Please note: I mistakenly said that only Lent has proper Masses for each of the weekdays, that is no longer the case as there are now proper Masses for the weekdays of Advent as well. Traditionally (prior to Vatican II), Lent was unique in this respect. Even still, the weekdays of Lent are of an higher rank than the Advent weekdays and "trump" most saints' feast days -- thus, the essential point remains the same, namely, that the daily Masses of Lent have a unique character and importance in the Liturgical Year.]

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

It is truly divine to be able to love our enemies -- Jesus proves his divinity by his love for his enemies.

To love means to sacrifice. If we love our enemies, then we will be sacrificing for them -- prayer and fasting.

Listen online [here]!

Daily Sermons, February 21 to March 4

Daily Sermons from February 21 to March 4.

These are a few weeks of daily Mass sermons all posted together.

Feb 20, 2017

Feb 15, 2017

Sunday Sermon, February 12 -- Invalid Marriages and Holy Communion

Despite the confusion in the world (and even among members of the Church hierarchy), marriage is indissoluble and those who are divorced and remarried (without an annulment) are guilty of living in public adultery. These are the words of our merciful Lord Jesus: "Whoever divorces his wife - unless the marriage is unlawful - causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matthew 5:32)

It was the pharisees who believed in divorce and remarriage, it was Jesus who condemned it as adultery. There are some in the Church (even some cardinals who should know better) who are modern day pharisees in this regard.

The Church has always taught and continues to teach that we must accompany all people, including the divorced and remarried. But this "accompaniment" cannot include giving communion to those living in public adultery. The priest (or even a lay person) is mandated by Canon Law to refuse communion to those who are married outside the Church.

What is required for those married outside the Church to receive communion? Simple answer, they must separate.
Those who have a wholly unusual and grave reason why they cannot separate (perhaps related to having young children at home, for example) may continue to live together as "brother and sister" with separate bed rooms etc. However, although this would allow them to receive absolution in the confessional, they still would not be permitted to receive communion publicly - as this would cause scandal.

Pope Francis has not changed this at all. Amoris Laetia has changed nothing at all regarding Canon Law in general, or Canon 915 in particular -- those who claim otherwise are the "blind leading the blind" straight into the pit.


From the Code of Canon Law, Can 915: "Can.  915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."

From Familiaris Consortio, 84 (Pope St John Paul II): "The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.  […] Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.'"

From Sacramentum Caritatis, 29 (Pope Benedict XVI): "Finally, where the nullity of the marriage bond is not declared and objective circumstances make it impossible to cease cohabitation, the Church encourages these members of the faithful to commit themselves to living their relationship in fidelity to the demands of God's law, as friends, as brother and sister; in this way they will be able to return to the table of the Eucharist, taking care to observe the Church's established and approved practice in this regard. This path, if it is to be possible and fruitful, must be supported by pastors and by adequate ecclesial initiatives, nor can it ever involve the blessing of these relations, lest confusion arise among the faithful concerning the value of marriage."

Listen online [here]!