Apr 242018

The phrase “No Bible, No Breakfast! No Bible, No Bed!” is one coined by Father Larry Richards. I thinks I heard him mention it a couple of time on his radio show, but didn’t think much about it. When I saw him at our Eucharistic Congress this year the phrase sunk in a little bit more for me.

At first my reaction was “Well this is a good idea for other people, after all I read the Liturgy of the Hours, listen to homiletic podcasts, and have read through the Bible a couple of times.” Surely that’s enough. The more I thought about this the more lame this excuse sounded to me. So I started to take up daily scripture reading again.

“…If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.” – The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)

Chesterton is exactly right (as usual) and it is amazing that when you think you know something you start to see it for the first time. What I thought familiar had nuances I realized I only glimpsed at the surface. Intellectually I knew to some extent how polyvalent scripture was. I just needed to relearn that lesson.

I remember sometimes thinking while watching the Journey Home show on EWTN, former Protestant pastors talking about not really noticing a passage before. I was thinking DOH!, but then having to double-DOH! myself.

Apr 162018

As a pessimistic-optimist I was pretty skeptical about the Christ Renews His Parish Men’s Retreat. Thought it would be rather gimmicky team building.

Glad I was wrong. The witnessing by people telling their life stories was pretty powerful and the camaraderie was excellent. Pretty much impressed by this 36 hour retreat.

The range in ages of people there really ran the gamut. From 17 on up. Regardless of age it was men trying to take the next step in their faith lives. Just super impressed by the people I met.

I’m the type of introvert that does fine in group settings – especially as the class clown or jester in my case.

I mainly went to this retreat since I am trying to step out of my self-imposed isolation. Mostly I am fine just sitting at home reading. I keep myself amused. Not exactly the recipe for stepping out with the Gospel acclamation. So becoming active in my parish beyond attending Mass was my goal. I knew I needed community life because keeping to myself I have a fool as a companion.

Apr 112018


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 21 January 2018 to 11 April 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus/Regina Coeli

Apostolic Exhortation

General Audiences



Papal Tweets

  • “Let us go forward with the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection, knowing He is always by our side!” @Pontifex 5 April 2018
  • “The Word of God is a light in the darkness: it helps us face our difficulties without fear.” @Pontifex 6 April 2018
  • “Like the Good Samaritan, let us take care of those who are sick and suffering! #WorldHealthDay” @Pontifex 7 April 2018
  • “God covers us with His mercy, He enfolds us in Christ, so that we can become instruments of His goodness.” @Pontifex 8 April 2018
  • “Today God is still searching for hearts like Mary’s, hearts that are ready to trust in Him completely.” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “I wish to repropose the call to holiness: “Rejoice and be glad”. #GaudeteetExsultate https://t.co/cZxmUGpMW7” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “The Lord calls each of us to holiness, you too. #Holiness” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. #Holiness” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Being poor of heart, reacting with meekness and humility, knowing how to mourn with others, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 10 April 2018
  • “Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love, sowing peace all around us, accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 10 April 2018
  • “The word ”happy“ or ”blessed“ becomes a synonym for ”holy“, because those faithful to God, by their self-giving, gain true happiness. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 11 April 2018
  • “Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 11 April 2018

Papal Instagram

Apr 052018

During Mass on Holy Thursday during the elevation instead of bells I heard a more wooden sound. I was wondering what was going on?

The Fascinating Story Behind the Rarest of Liturgical Devices: the Crotalus.

In the Roman Rite, altar bells are not supposed to be rung after the Gloria in the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday, and are supposed to remain unused until the Gloria on Holy Saturday. This is supposed to make things more somber as we remember the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, during this short period of time, is anything supposed to take its place? That’s where the crotalus comes in. The Church’s liturgical rubrics don’t prescribe a replacement for altar bells, but there is a long-standing tradition of using a wooden clapper or noise-maker in its place. This serves to both mark the same events as the altar bells, but in a less “sweet” way and thus maintain the somber tone.

More specifically in Paschale Solemnitatis from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

  1. During the singing of the hymn “Gloria in excelsis,” in accordance with local custom, the bells may be rung but should thereafter remain silent until the “Gloria in excelsis” of the Easter Vigil, unless the conference of bishops or the local ordinary, for a suitable reason, has decided otherwise. [56] During the same period, the organ and other musical instruments may be used only for the purpose of supporting the singing. [57]

Or maybe the continuous ringing of the altar bell during the Gloria leaves the bell ringer too tired to do it during the consecration. Well not really.

Apr 052018

When I went to the Diocese of St. Augustine Eucharist Congress, I heard a couple excellent talks from Fr. Larry Richards.

In one he was asking those attending about belief in the Eucharist – going through stages asking us to affirm this belief. Then he asks – then why don’t you go to daily Mass then.

At the time I felt rather satisfied about myself since I do attend daily Mass. Still this question got me thinking more about this and what caveats and distinctions this questions entails.

For one, fully believing in the reality of the Eucharist and not going to daily Mass is certainly not necessarily proof that you “don’t actually believe”.

I remember scouring through Masstimes.org trying to find a Mass I could go to before work. My criteria being first that it is early enough that I can get to work on time in the morning. Second that the distance is somewhat reasonable.

The first criteria pretty much reduced my list to only two possibilities. All other Mass times, even living in a large city. were too late. The parishes most directly on route to work had morning Mass after I needed to get to work. Getting to work by 8:00 A.M. is probably a normal situation for many people.

So I consider myself lucky that of my two choices – one does not take me too far off my route to work. The other choice takes me more time – but is great when I want to be able to go to confession on a First Friday or other circumstances.

If these choices had not been available, my only other choice would have been a Mass after work which would have been an hour drive one way. Traffic at the time would have likely made this longer and also likely me getting their late. Still I could have seen myself trying this a couple days during the work week if I did not have my primary choices. So does this mitigate my belief in the Eucharist? Perhaps in some aspect it does as I put limits on what I am willing to do. Overall I think not as I would be happier to not be put in such a circumstance.

It does make me wonder how much consideration is done by parishes when they set their morning Mass times? Apparently not much since all the other parishes had Mass times after 8:00 A.M. Or maybe I am not taking in how much this is dependent on the availability of priests and all the demands on their time.

Even if all the parishes had earlier Mass times how much would this enable more people to be able to attend? I remember one wit on Facebook mentioning that if you want to feel young, go to daily Mass. It’s funny because it is mostly true. The mix seems to be mostly people who are likely retired. I’m no spring chicken at 59 years of age – but often am close to the youngest one there. Still no doubt there are people who work and would love to be able to attend Mass. Plus there are plenty of other situations such as those taking care of children who logistically would find it difficult to attend.

Still I would like parishes to make allowances where possible to increase access to daily Mass and to encourage people to go. I remember how the late Fr. Leon had set the time for the noon Mass to 12:10 to allow people working downtown to have time to get to Mass during lunch hour. This beside having a 7:30 A.M. Mass. The parish I attend morning Mass at actually has a 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. Mass. One parish I use to go to had a 5:00 P.M. Mass which enabled my wife and I to go together. I believe this Mass was cancelled because there was some annoyance that many of the people attending were from other parishes. I remember being quite surprised when I first heard this was considered an annoyance.

So getting back to what Fr. Larry Richards said as a challenge, no doubt he had the necessary caveats in mind. Still it was a question meant to be a challenge in that if you do truly believe do you act on this belief. I am pretty grateful that circumstances do allow me to attend daily Mass – I need all the help I can get.

Apr 042018


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 29 March 2018 to 4 April 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.



Papal Tweets

  • “Through the Eucharist we enter Christ’s paschal mystery, allowing us to pass from death to life with Him.” @Pontifex 29 March 2018
  • “Look upon Christ Crucified: our hope for eternal life is born in Him.” @Pontifex 30 March 2018
  • “Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive! This experience is at the heart of the Christian message.” @Pontifex 1 April 2018
  • “Today we repeat that wondrous proclamation: “The Lord is truly risen, as He said!”. A Blessed Easter to you all!” @Pontifex 1 April 2018
  • “As we contemplate Christ’s empty tomb, let us renew our belief that nothing is lost with Him!” @Pontifex 2 April 2018
  • “May Christ who conquered the darkness of sin and death, grant us peace in our days.” @Pontifex 3 April 2018
  • “Love is the only invincible weapon, because it has the power to disarm the forces of evil.” @Pontifex 4 April 2018
  • “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.” @Pontifex 4 April 2018

Papal Instagram

Apr 032018

I was pretty excited when I first heard that author Rod Bennett was going to be doing a weekly podcast called The Popcorn Cathedral.

I was already a big fan of his from his books regarding early Church history [Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words] and The Apostasy That Wasn’t: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church. Became an even bigger fan with his intelligent time travel novel The Christus Experiment. Later I read his books of essays The Popcorn Cathedral: Essays at the Junction of Film, Faith, and Fantasy and found we had many overlapping interests. Just loved his essays and his storytelling.

Like the book of essays, the podcast also explores film, faith and fantasy. As a movie buff he has done a lot of background reading along with thinking much about what it means to be a Christian geek.

The first series in this podcast involved Raiders of the Lost Ark with theme “Why Indy Won’t Convert”. The relays the whole genesis of how the movie came to be made and the influences that drove the writers. Really fascinating as the character of Indy could have been a lot different than how it turned out. As this is one of my all-time favorite movies – I enjoyed all the details.

The latest series is on “King Kong Died for Your Sins” and of course explores the movie King Kong, but also a look into Christ figures and the distinctions between symbol, allegory, and reiteration. It is always interesting what makes it into a story whether book or film and how unattended influences make their way in. Writes are often surprised by their own characters and how their muses inspire them.

He does this podcast with his son Jack, who shares his interest and enthusiasm. The shows range from a more scripted style to a more free-ranging style. While Rod is Catholic, the podcast is intended for a general audience.

The Facebook page for the podcast is very active with posts giving more background about what is discussed.

Mar 302018

I so love this from St. John Chrysostom in today’s Office of Readings.

”If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish”, commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors”. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

“There flowed from his side water and blood”. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.”

Mar 282018


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 11 March 2018 to 28 March 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.


General Audiences



Papal Tweets

  • “To defend the earth and to safeguard water is to protect life.” @Pontifex 22 March 2018
  • “Now is the time to be reconciled with God. Staying on the path of evil is only a source of sadness.” @Pontifex 23 March 2018
  • “The Word of God invites us to connect our ears to our hearts, and our hearts to our hands, in order to do good deeds.” @Pontifex 24 March 2018
  • “We enter this Holy Week with the Lord Jesus in order to celebrate Easter with hearts that are renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.” @Pontifex 25 March 2018
  • “Dear young people, never get tired of being instruments of peace and joy among your peers!” @Pontifex 25 March 2018
  • “Please, let us fight together against the crime of human exploitation, which continues to cause unspeakable suffering.” @Pontifex 25 March 2018
  • “Christ, teach us never to be ashamed of your Cross!” @Pontifex 26 March 2018
  • “Jesus changes our sins into forgiveness and our fears into trust. In His Cross our hope is reborn again and again.” @Pontifex 27 March 2018
  • “Anyone who turns away from the Cross, turns away from the Resurrection.” @Pontifex 28 March 2018

Papal Instagram

Mar 272018

A performance of the play SOCRATES MEETS JESUS by Kevin O’Brien, based on the book by Peter Kreeft, at the American Chesterton Society Conference in Worcester, MA on August 2, 2013

This is generally really good. I especially loved the wrap-up which puts a lot of things into context.