Saturday, September 26, 2009

Solemn High Mass at the Shrine...

Just getting back from attending a Solemn High Mass across the street at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The Mass was celebrated as part of the pilgrimage of the National Church Music Association of America, who provided the music for the Mass (which, as you can tell in the video below, was very well done). The ministers for the Mass came compliments of St. John the Beloved Parish, which is located across the river in McLean, VA (Diocese of Arlington). You'll recall that I helped some there last semester, serving as subdeacon for two Solemn High Masses on Palm Sunday and Easter:

The Mass took place in the crypt church, which in my opinion is the nicest part of the Basilica. Unfortunately, the lighting is quite dark there, however. The crowd was sizeable, filling the pews, and the choir was huddled in the space to the right of the altar around the pipe organ. Being that the majority of those present for the Mass were musicians themselves who were there for the pilgrimage, many of the congregation joined in the chanting of the ordinary parts of the Mass. As is typical with Extraordinary Form Masses, the congregation was quite young, and well versed in this form of the Mass. The "nay-sayers" of the Latin Mass often harp on their notion that this Mass does not permit participation of the faithful. I beg to differ, however, and offer tonight's Mass as evidence to the contrary. The ordinary of the Mass was eminently "sing-able" by the congregation, and many, in fact, did just that. Now, you will say, that was precisely because all those present were musicians! Well, I will grant you that that was the case, HOWEVER, while they may have been more apt to sing since they were musicians, the melodies of the Mass were certainly no more difficult than the "gather and praise" stuff that is played at most parishes these days. With but minimal acclimation, a congregation could easily learn this form of music (a treasure of the Church, in my opinion). One need not look any further than the classical music aisles of any music store to see the popularity of Gregorian Chant CDs among a broad spectrum of the population. Look no farther than iTunes and see how many CDs are available of classical Church music. There is something inherently compelling to this music that attracts people and draws their minds and spirits upwards... oh well, I'll get off my soap-box. Suffice it to say that full, active, and conscious participation was clearly evidenced.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And you thought YOUR Ordination class was large...

The class one year ahead of me for the archdiocese was an unusually large one for us: six guys. It had been some thirty years since so large a class had been ordained for Louisville. Things returned to normal the following year, as I was the sole priest ordained that year. Thankfully, with vocations on the rise across the country, nowadays it is not all that unusual for several priests to be Ordained at once. Still, four or five at a time is a good number in most dioceses.

Well, try this one on for size: in 1952, in connection with the 35th International Eucharistic Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 842 priests were ordained at ONCE! Now THAT is a large Ordination class! Check out the story HERE from the NLM.

Ordaining ONE at a time:

Ordaining 842 at a time:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fr. Anthony Perez, SS

The suddenness of death always leaves a stinging emptiness in the heart. This has certainly been the case this week. I am just returning from St. Mary's Seminary - Baltimore and the memorial Mass of a great professor, spiritual director, liturgist, and friend: Fr. Anthony Perez, SS. Fr. Tony went to his reward suddenly this past weekend.

He was completely devoted to his ministry - the formation of seminarians - and touched the lives of a great number of us who have gone on to the priesthood. He was a man of quiet humility, who possessed a great love of the Church's liturgy, and above all, possessed a "priestly heart." I experienced this personally: he was my spiritual director through four years of major seminary. His life was marked by a great zeal and joy in being a priest. He died, somewhat appropriately, surrounded by seminarians on Saturday morning of a massive heart attack. A native of Guam, he had been in the United States teaching since the early nineties: first at St. Patrick's in Menlo Park, and then in Baltimore, at St. Mary's. A Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul today in the seminary chapel, after which his body was taken to Guam for burial. The sheer number of those in attendance - roughly seventy to eighty priest alumni of the seminary along with many others - was a testament to the effectiveness of his ministry and the powerful example he set.

I was fortunate to have had him as a friend after Ordination as well, and to have the fond memories of having travelled together with him to Italy on several occasions. Archbishop O'Brien, celebrant of the Mass, made a nice comment: "while he has passed from us, Fr. Tony's influence extends throughout the Church in the ministry of those of us who were so influenced by his witness to what it is to be a priest of Jesus Christ." May he receive the reward of his goodness to us. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

Read Fr. Barre's Homily for the Mass HERE.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Doing some more searching through that old lap-top's hard drive and came across a bunch of photos/videos collected from over the course of three trips to Ireland. These come from the time period 2003-2007.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nuptial Mass in the Extraordinary Form...

Recently, while rummaging around the hard-drive of my old lap-top, I came across some pictures that were taken of a Nuptial Mass I celebrated during the summer of '08. Credit it to me (ok, I doubt it...) that they are still happily married!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CUA: Mass Beginning the New Semester...

A special Mass was celebrated yesterday in the Shrine for the beginning of the new semester here at Catholic University. Turn-out was impressive, as the upper church was pretty full. LOTS of students showed-up (voluntarily), along with a good number of priests-concelebrants (both faculty and graduate students, such as yours truly). It's yet another little sign of spiritual life and vitality: of the Church in general, and the University in particular. Check out the story HERE.

Back at the Gunpowder...

A new semester means I'm back at the Gunpowder River in Maryland, doing some fishing on Fridays, when no classes are in session. Today was a beautiful day on the river: mid-70's and mostly sunny. Got the new year started off right too: four fish caught, all good size trout in the 10-12 inch range, with one real "whopper" - a 16 inch brown. Easily the biggest fish I've caught on this river.

Here he is:

He is living (still - it's catch and release...) in this nice deep pool at the tail end of a small rapids:

Homily on the web...

I was just notified by a former parishioner of mine that he has been making audio recordings of the weekend homilies and posting them to the parish website (he used to just post the text). Having returned for a weekend of fill-in help before I returned to Washington for the new semester, he wanted to let me know that my homily had been posted as well. It's always humbling to actually hear what you sound like. I didn't realize I had such a "twang"... Check it out HERE.

Getting off to a good start...

It's been a while since I've posted anything on here, due in large part to the upheaval of moving back to Washington, DC for the start of another semester (my third now - time flies...). A nine hour drive last Tuesday (nine hours and ten minutes, to be exact); played host to my sister Katie, who came along for the drive and several days' visit to Washington (see the picture below: as a librarian, she was WAY too excited about visiting the Library of Congress... sheesh); and now two days of classes are in the history books.

I'm convincing myself that the class schedule for this semester is a good one: basically all day Monday and Wednesday - 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM with an hour or so break for lunch - and one class on Tuesday and Thursday (Latin - 5:45 to 7:00 PM translating Rotal decisions and other exciting things...). Fridays, again this year, are "reading days" (ok, who am I kidding... I will be going fishing on most Fridays until the workload of the semester forbids it!). There are some new faces this year - seventeen new people in the JCL program: a bumper crop of potential canon lawyers for CUA. Tomorrow is our opening of the year BBQ for the Canon Law School, and Thursday is the opening of the year Mass for the University at the Shrine. So, we're getting off to a good start...