May 302017

I have been thinking about some of the changes in church architecture coming up on the twenty years I have lived in the Diocese of St. Augustine. The downtown parish where I came into the church looked like everything I had come to exspect what a Catholic parish would look like from Hollywood. I had found it accidentally when driving around I spotted the Catholic bookstore sign and so bought my first Catholic books there. When my wife and I walked into the church afterwards I was totally struck by the beauty of the high altar, stained glass, and statues.

I soon learned that this was not the normal state of things regarding church building architecture in my diocese. Seemingly the majority of parishes I encountered were of the ubiquitos clamshell design. Nothing uplifting about them as they could be converted to civic auditoriums overnight. When I saw one parish close to me was rebuilding, I was happy until I found out the clamshell design was being replaced by another larger clamshell. The other parish close to me when they started building their new church building, was also of the same design. Having been to many parishes in my city this is the dominant design. As much as I dislike this design, another parish went for the design with a altar in a center with a runway up to it. I guess the common factor was to make sure people were staring at each other.

Since I now go to daily Mass at a typical clamshell church I started taking a new route into where I go to work. Because of this I found a new parish I had not been aware of. A somewhat large cruciform shaped building traditional in design. I had been wanting to check it out, but there daily Mass is after the time I need to be at work. So last week when I had a day off ofter a week of travel I finally got around to visiting it. The daily Mass was held in a chapel behind the main church. I have seen this type of design in many parishes. I imagine this arrangement is for cost savings regarding heating and A/C.

The interior of the church was as I hoped it would be based on the exterior. Fairly beautiful and you could actually recognized things in teh stained glass and not the abstract blobs I have found prevalent. The chapel was packed with people and they had a beautiful bust of Pope Saint John Paul II. The Mass was said reverently. After Mass the priest asked me my name and welcomed me. Now as an introvert, this can be unnerving to me. Still I actually did feel welcomed as something more than some fake sense of community. At the daily Mass I have been attending I haven’t had one word from any of the priests there. This was especially disconcerting since the pastor had given my wife Last Rites. This same priest had told me my wife looked fine, a week before she died. So I guess even introverts such as myself desire some level of acknowlegment.

So this parish was a nice surprise. Still in the last ten years the new parishes I have visited have all been of cruciform design. One of the new parishes is not only beautiful, but had a liturgy to match. So this is all a good development and I have seen other parishes stuck with the clamshell making changes they could like moving the Tabernacle from a side chapel to the center. So the microcosm that I see in my diocese seems to be for the good. I do wonder if this is a trend nationwide or not?

In other news I am now singing with the choir at the Latin Mass I attend. They must be desparate since they asked me to join even after they heard me sing. Still I do love to sing and I did have four years of choir in High School which was initially quite accidental. I sing so much better when I have confident voices around me to keep me in tune. Plus the acoustics of this wooden church are spetacular.

May 172017


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 27 April 2017 to 18 May 2017.

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

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences





Regina Cæli


Papal Tweets

  • “With Mary, as a pilgrim of hope and peace I travel to Fatima tomorrow.Let us see in her that everything is God’s gift and He is our strength” @Pontifex 11 May 2017
  • “I ask everyone to join me as pilgrims of hope and peace: may your hands in prayer continue to support mine.” @Pontifex 12 May 2017
  • “Here in Fatima, I give praise to Christ, our peace, and I implore for the world concord among all peoples.” @Pontifex 12 May 2017
  • “Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness.” @Pontifex 13 May 2017
  • “Fatima is more than anything this mantle of Light where we take refuge when we ask the Virgin Mary: “show unto us Jesus”.” @Pontifex 13 May 2017
  • “Let us all ask for the gift to understand God’s word.” @Pontifex 14 May 2017
  • “Let us ask for the grace to follow Jesus faithfully, not in words but in deeds, and to have the patience to carry our own cross.” @Pontifex 15 May 2017
  • “Jesus asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved.” @Pontifex 16 May 2017
  • “Our hope is the Lord Jesus whom we recognize as living and present in us and in our brothers and sisters.” @Pontifex 18 May 2017

Papal Instagram

May 112017

One of the developments of the last two Presidential Administrations has been the use of Religious Sisters to support their goals.

President Barack Obama said that the Affordable Care Act—AKA Obamacare—would not have been enacted had it not been for Sister Carol Keehan. She was at the signing center for the “Affordable Care Act” and was given the pen the President used to sign the bill. She did not hold out for the traditional 30 pieces of silver.

“And it’s true, I just love nuns, generally. I’m just saying,” said Obama.

That love did not apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor or other religious groups as the so-called “Contraception Mandate” was forced on them where multiple accommodations led to no real accommodation and only to the courts where this is still not resolved.

Recently on May 4th.

President Donald Trump invited members of the Little Sisters of the Poor on stage ahead of his signing of a religious liberty executive order Thursday.

“We know, all too well, the attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Trump said, “Incredible nuns who care for the sick, the elderly and the forgotten.”

So finally the problems the Little Sisters of the Poor had has been resolved. Well not really. The Executive Order is weak sauce and the problem should have been taken care of at HHS where the “Contraception Mandate” was created as an interpretation of ACA.

So again we have Nun Props for a President to use. (Yeah I know their Sisters, but Nun Props flows better). I felt embarrassed for the Little Sisters of the Poor being used for a photo op. Time will tell if the actual problem gets fixed, but so far President Trump seems to like the idea of appearing to want to protect Religious Freedom over actually doing something. Yeah typical politician.

May 102017


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 4 April 2017 to 10 May 2017.

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

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences



Regina Cæli

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by the newness that Christ alone can give. May his tenderness and love guide our steps.” @Pontifex 4 May 2017
  • “In every age, the Risen Christ tirelessly seeks us, his brothers and sisters, wandering in the deserts of this world.” @Pontifex 5 May 2017
  • “Rejoice! Hidden within your life is a seed of resurrection, an offer of life ready to be awakened!” @Pontifex 6 May 2017
  • “Let us be challenged by the words and actions of Jesus, and welcome his call to a life that is fully human, happy to spend itself in love.” @Pontifex 7 May 2017
  • “May Jesus, who vanquished the darkness of sin and death, grant peace to our days.” @Pontifex 8 May 2017
  • “Everyone has something to give to society; no one is excluded from contributing to the good of all.” @Pontifex 9 May 2017
  • “God is greater than nothingness, and a lit candle is enough to overcome the darkest of nights.” @Pontifex 10 May 2017

Papal Instagram

May 032017


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 4 April 2017 to 3 May 2017.

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


Regina Cæli


Papal Tweets

  • “Please pray for my journey tomorrow as a pilgrim of peace to Egypt.” @Pontifex 27 April 2017
  • “We are called to walk together, in the conviction that the future also depends on the encounter of religions and cultures.” @Pontifex 28 April 2017
  • “May the Lord today grant us to set out together as pilgrims of communion and messengers of peace.” @Pontifex 28 April 2017
  • “The presence of Jesus can be communicated through our lives and the language of gratuitous and concrete love.” @Pontifex 29 April 2017
  • “By his resurrection, Jesus Christ has set us free from the slavery of sin and death, and has opened before us the way to eternal life.” @Pontifex 30 April 2017
  • “May Saint Joseph give young people the ability to dream, to take risks for big tasks, the things that God dreams for us.” @Pontifex 1 May 2017
  • “Let’s work together to increase solidarity and sharing. Cooperation helps to build better and more peaceful societies.” @Pontifex 2 May 2017
  • “May our attitude be gentle and humble, attentive to caring for the poor.” @Pontifex 3 May 2017

Papal Instagram

Apr 282017

This is happens when you don’t know what aspergillum means.

The ceremony took place before a bunch of asparagus was taken to the European Parliament as a thank you for granting it protected status

Worcester Cathedral has hit back at criticism over a service that included a man dressed up as a spear of asparagus.

A packed congregation on St George’s Day saw asparagus from Evesham receive a blessing to mark the start of the British Asparagus Festival.

Gus the Asparagus Man was part of the procession- dressed in a giant green asparagus costume.

Pressure group Christian Concern said the scenes in the Cathedral “made a mockery of Christian worship”.

A post written on the Archbishop Cranmer blog site continued the criticism: “Why only adoration of asparagus? Where’s the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms?”.

However, Canon Precentor of Worcester Cathedral, Reverend Michael Brierley, said in response: “I think the inclusion of the figure added a bit of colour”. Source

Well the colour green to be specific.

The jokes write themselves.

  • Lettuce pray.
  • Did the Aparagus Man receive a celery, or was it part time?
  • Did they sing A-Maize-ing Grace?
  • What are you giving up for Lentil?
  • Peas be with you.

Gus the Asparagus Man was part of the St George’s Day service at Worcester Cathedral.

Apr 272017

The one thing worse than political coverage is Church coverage. Almost always the reason for this is that they see everything through the political lens.

Exhibit 2,028,029,329,029,230,902,292,039,023:

This time from Reuters.

Ex Knights of Malta head defies pope order, plans Rome return

The ousted Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Catholic charity will attend a meeting that could elect his successor, the group said on Wednesday, in a direct defiance of Pope Francis’ order for him to stay away.

A spokesperson for the Knights said Matthew Festing, who resigned on Jan. 24, had informed the group that he would come to the meeting this Saturday at its headquarters in Rome.

It was not clear if he would stand for re-election, as some of his supporters have urged him to.

On April 15, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy secretary of state, who the pope named “special delegate” to the ancient chivalric group, ordered Festing not to travel to Rome for the election.

“Your presence would re-open wounds, only recently healed, and would prevent the event taking place in an atmosphere of peace and regained harmony,” Becciu said in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters from a Vatican source.

So is it true that Matthew Festing defied the Vatican or the Pope’s order? Nope.

Vatican Reverses Decision, Allows Festing to Take Part in Order of Malta Election

The Vatican has reconsidered an earlier instruction forbidding the Order of Malta’s former Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing from attending the election of his successor this week.

According to sources within the order, Fra’ Festing will be coming to Rome to vote in the Saturday election partly because his absence as a professed knight would have invalidated the ballot.

Now I understand the whole debacle regarding the Order of Malta has run more like a soap opera than normal church governance. The whole thing has seemed rather heavy-handed as seen by an outsider such as myself. Still the Reuter’s story is typically bad as the whole emphasis of the story isn’t even correct. What actually happened was much more interesting and Edward Pentin provides his typical excellent coverage.

Apr 262017

When I heard the Pope had released a TED talk, I was not expecting this.

OK that was only in my head and my graphics program.

His real TED talk can be viewed here.

And here is the transcript from the Vatican’s site.

Video message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the occasion of the TED conference in Vancouver


[26 APRIL 2017]

Good evening – or, good morning, I am not sure what time it is there.

Regardless of the hour, I am thrilled to be participating in your conference.

I very much like its title – “The Future You” – because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a “you.”

“The Future You:” the future is made of yous, it is made of encounters, because life flows through our relations with others.

Quite a few years of life have strengthened my conviction that each and everyone’s existence is deeply tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions.

As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: “Why them and not me?”

I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people.

And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”

First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.

We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.

Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world.

Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component. Even science – and you know it better than I do – points to an understanding of reality as a place where every element connects and interacts with everything else.

And this brings me to my second message. How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.

How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries.

Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the “culture of waste,” which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.

Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary. Solidarity, however, is not an automatic mechanism. It cannot be programmed or controlled. It is a free response born from the heart of each and everyone. Yes, a free response!

When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?

In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. And I know that TED gathers many creative minds. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.

There is a parable Jesus told to help us understand the difference between those who’d rather not be bothered and those who take care of the other. I am sure you have heard it before. It is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

When Jesus was asked: “Who is my neighbor?” – namely, “Who should I take care of?” – he told this story, the story of a man who had been assaulted, robbed, beaten and abandoned along a dirt road. Upon seeing him, a priest and a Levite, two very influential people of the time, walked past him without stopping to help. After a while, a Samaritan, a very much despised ethnicity at the time, walked by. Seeing the injured man lying on the ground, he did not ignore him as if he weren’t even there. Instead, he felt compassion for this man, which compelled him to act in a very concrete manner. He poured oil and wine on the wounds of the helpless man, brought him to a hostel and paid out of his pocket for him to be assisted.

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People’s paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves “respectable,” of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road.

Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets. Mother Teresa actually said: “One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense.”

We have so much to do, and we must do it together. But how can we do that with all the evil we breathe every day?

Thank God, no system can nullify our desire to open up to the good, to compassion and to our capacity to react against evil, all of which stem from deep within our hearts.

Now you might tell me, “Sure, these are beautiful words, but I am not the Good Samaritan, nor Mother Teresa of Calcutta.” On the contrary: we are precious, each and every one of us. Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.

To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.

Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life.

And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist.

And that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.

The third message I would like to share today is, indeed, about revolution: the revolution of tenderness.

What is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need.

Tenderness is the language of the young children, of those who need the other. A child’s love for mom and dad grows through their touch, their gaze, their voice, their tenderness. I like when I hear parents talk to their babies, adapting to the little child, sharing the same level of communication. This is tenderness: being on the same level as the other.

God himself descended into Jesus to be on our level. This is the same path the Good Samaritan took. This is the path that Jesus himself took. He lowered himself, he lived his entire human existence practicing the real, concrete language of love.

Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.

Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.

There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.

Through humility and concrete love, on the other hand, power – the highest, the strongest one – becomes a service, a force for good.

The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of an “us.”

We all need each other.

And so, please, think of me as well with tenderness, so that I can fulfill the task I have been given for the good of the other, of each and every one, of all of you, of all of us.

Thank you.

Apr 262017


This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 11 February 2017 to 26 April 2017.

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


Apostolic Letter

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences






Papal Tweets

  • “Since Christ is resurrected, we can look with new eyes and a new heart at every event of our lives, even the most negative ones.” @Pontifex 20 April 2017
  • “When we have reached the lowest point of our misery and our weakness, the Risen Christ gives us the strength to rise again.” @Pontifex 21 April 2017
  • “Lord, bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.” @Pontifex 22 April 2017
  • “God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires.” @Pontifex 23 April 2017
  • “Let us pray for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world.” @Pontifex 23 April 2017
  • “If we had God’s Word always in our heart, no temptation could separate us from God.” @Pontifex 24 April 2017
  • “He died, He was buried, He rose and He appeared. Jesus is alive! This is the heart of the Christian message.” @Pontifex 25 April 2017
  • “Let’s promote friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions in order to build a world of peace” @Pontifex 26 April 2017

Papal Instagram

Apr 252017

I don’t usually post press releases here, but I love de Montfort Music and support all their efforts.

NEW YORK, April 7, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ – An international community of young priests known as The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, or “The Fraternity” as they have lovingly been referred to, includes some of today’s most skilled and committed singers of Gregorian chant.  The community has been preparing to present ancient melodies anew, on the album _Requiem_, to be released on May 12, 2017 through their new international collaboration with De Montfort Music/Sony Classical.

Many have heard The Fraternity sing Requiem chants at funeral Masses over the years, often suggesting that the group, who is so close to this treasured music, record this moving collection. The decision to make their major-label debut with the music of _Requiem_ was unanimous among the priestly singers, as they know well that nothing is so universal as the experience of death, the care of souls and as well the many emotions evoked by the living. The text of the Mass – beginning with “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” (Grant them eternal rest, O Lord) – is spiritually uplifting, meant to convey souls to a particular vision of the beyond; the effect of the music is far-reaching and timeless, bound to touch the deepest emotions of any human heart.