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Best Documentary of the Year

Do you need a good movie to watch with the whole family? Or perhaps something edifying for a Date Night?

Mass of the Ages: Episode 1 was just released last Sunday night, and I’m telling you, it’s the best thing I’ve seen all year.

We have been looking forward to its release for awhile now, so we were ready. My husband popped two huge bowls of buttery popcorn, the kids filled up their water bottles, and I ran to the basement for the best spot on the couch.

Cameron O’Hearn knocked it out of the park. This short documentary is stunning. It’s beautiful. It’s worth an hour of your time.

Click HERE for it.

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Cardinal Burke Addresses Traditionis Custodes

Yesterday Raymond Cardinal Burke released a statement on Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes.

This is an historical moment in the Church. I would like to encourage all of you to do three things:

  1. Read Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and it’s accompanying letter HERE. (It’s not long.)
  2. Read Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes and his accompanying letter HERE. (Again, these are not long documents.)
  3. Think about the PNC, The Principle of Noncontradiction.
  4. Read Cardinal Burke’s statement.

It’s important as Catholics to be educated about these things.

Have your older children read these documents too; they are not long. Talk about them. If you need a short historical timeline, Dr. Taylor Marshall put together one HERE a few days ago. I had my children watch it.

Look, this drama isn’t going away. There is a crisis in the Church.

Of course there’s no need for hysteria and despair, but rather, prayer, fasting, and faith. For those of you being evicted from Traditional Latin Mass parishes, righteous anger is a real thing too. (See HERE for a recent Crisis Magazine article.)

Finally, if one is feeling despair, perhaps it’s time for a break from all media this weekend. Enjoy your families. Pray a rosary. Play badminton in the backyard with the children, then enjoy a glass of wine with your spouse.

Jesus has this.

“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” Benedict XVI HERE.

Update: Bishop Schneider of Kazakstan has responded in an interview with Diane Montagna HERE. It’s excellent.

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The Tyranny of Traditionis Custodes

I have been asked repeatedly, if the Latin Masses in the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, have been shut down, as a result of Pope Francis’s latest Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes?

The short answer is, no, we have not been shut down or restricted in any way.

The reading of the Gospel last Sunday

Our bishop, however, has not yet commented publicly. We are hopeful, however, as all local TLMs continued as normal this last weekend. Also, the nearby bishops of Minneapolis/St. Paul (Hebda) and Madison (Hying), have released statements basically saying, “carry on.”

Time will tell for our diocese. Fortunately for us, we have multiple options, should the diocesan TLMs disappear.

I hope they never disappear, though. Not only is this Mass incredibly beautiful, but the formation for the young men serving at the altar is life changing.

Bishop Kagan Kicks Out Local TLM & Tells Them to Find Their Own Location

But I have heard from some of you, namely in the Bismarck diocese, where you don’t have options, that Bishop Kagan has not only kicked you out of your parish, but has also requested your contact information. And apparently, he did not give you his reason for doing so.

It makes one wonder if he’s intending to adhere to Pope Francis’s decree in article 3.1 wherein the local Bishop, “is to determine that these groups do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs.” If this is the case, it’s is astonishing and alarming.

If traditional Catholics are to be submitted to Communist-like examinations for orthodoxy and adherence to Vatican II, why not Novus Ordo Catholics? Perhaps they could be interrogated for their adherence to, say Humanae Vitae?

This is an obvious double standard. Sigh.

So it is. If this happens to be your situation, I am so sorry. I can only encourage you to continue in your labor for Tradition. For as Pope Benedict XVI declared in his 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

Think about that a minute…Benedict XVI in 2007 declares that the Traditional Latin Mass was never abrogated and that it is “great for us too,” while in 2021 Francis snatches it all away, desiring that the bishops of the world treat traditional Catholics as lepers and heretics.

Which is it? They both can’t be right. There is something called the Principle of Noncontradiction. Opposites can’t both be true. Rather, one is true and the other is false.

I would encourage you to read both Benedict’s 2007 Motu Proprio and Francis’s. Compare them for yourself.

July 22, 2021

Update For Diocese of Bismarck: Bishop Kagan Finally Issues a Statement

For those of you interested in my former diocese…

As you know, within 48 hours of Pope Francis issuing Traditionis Custodes, Bishop Kagan cast his local TLM to the breeze with nary a statement while also requesting the personal information of those parishioners. He had the local pastor make this eviction announcement and request of personal information. It was terrible.

Now, after a week wherein the faithful were scrambling for information, Bishop Kagan has finally decided to release a statement which was read at the former Traditional Latin Mass, now Novus Ordo, once again by the local pastor. It’s on the diocesan website HERE.

Essentially, Kagan will not be using their personal information for orthodoxy quizzes, and he has given the TLM community an abandoned oratory located even further in the country than their former location, which is in the middle of nowhere on gravel roads.

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He Made It One More Sunday

It shouldn’t surprise me–the incredible amount of interest in the fate of Fr. Altman–but it does. For those of you who are interested, he made it one more Sunday at our parish. (Remember, this whole process could take awhile.)

Naturally our church was filled with visitors today, making Communion twice as long. Not that we cared. I spoke with one family that drove three hours with their five little children. Two old ladies, from somewhere far away, sat in front of us, asking my daughter to set their missal ribbons and loving every minute of it. I met two other families from California afterwards, and LifeSiteNews filmed it all.

Of course Father’s local, faithful families were there too. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

A Happy Trinity Sunday to all of you!

I’m sorry I don’t have any new photos this week, but as you can imagine, it’s nice to just be and pray at Mass.

P.S. I am going on vacation for a few days. It might be a week or two before I update here.

P.P.S. We’re moving into our Summer Schedule. I hope to write about that soon.

This photo is from a few weeks ago, but today’s vestments were the same for Trinity Sunday.

P.P.P.S. All right, I know this is a ridiculous number of post scripts, but I have to link to my sons’ favorite server video. Likely you’ve already seen it, as it’s a year old, but it’s hysterical. Watch it again for fun HERE.

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Father Altman’s Last Sunday?

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday–a glorious day in honor of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the great liturgical beauty, however, it was also heart-rending, as Father Altman announced that the bishop is requesting his resignation. Apparently there are powerful people out there who do not like Father’s clearcut teaching, and who are applying pressure on the local bishop to silence him.

I understand there is a canonical process to be followed, and things may still turn out favorable for our parish and Father, but we also know from John 15, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” We are not very hopeful.

The whole situation is rather ironic, though. A faithful priest, preaching the Truth, is silenced, while other vocal priests, preaching open heresy, are promoted and adored.

In the very end, Truth will prevail. It just might not be on this earth.

If you’d like more, click HERE for LifeSiteNews.

Photos From Pentecost Sunday

Father Altman silently praying the Sequence while the schola sings the corresponding verses in Latin.

I apologize for the haziness of the photos; it’s all that lovely incense, however.

Father always prays a thanksgiving after Mass with the altar servers. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to witness this. How many priests take the time to pray a thanksgiving? Let alone with the altar servers? (Photo submitted by a reader.)

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Ascension Thursday, Not Sunday

Yesterday marked exactly 40 days since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is known as the feast of the Ascension. Since Easter Sunday is always on a Sunday, then the great feast of the Ascension, is always on a Thursday.

Since Vatican II, however, many dioceses have transferred the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday. I think this does a disservice, however, to the faithful for at least two reasons, if not more.

  1. The original Holy Spirit Novena becomes muddled at best and completely lost at worst. You see, prior to ascending into heaven, Christ commanded the disciples to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which they did for nine days. (From Friday to the Vigil of Pentecost.) After praying for nine days, the Holy Spirit did indeed come. We name this feast Pentecost as it comes exactly 50 days after the Resurrection. (Pentecost meaning 50.) Moving the Ascension to Sunday, corrupts the original plea to pray for nine days. (The word novena comes from the Latin word for nine.)
  2. The Pascal Candle, which symbolizes the Risen Christ, loses significance. On Ascension Thursday, after the Gospel reading, the Pascal candle is extinguished. Remember, the Pascal Candle symbolizes the Risen Christ. Therefore, it should not remain lit once Christ ascends into heaven, which again, happens on a Thursday. This “extinguishing” serves as a reminder to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. If the feast day is moved, however, the candle loses significance.

There are others who have written at length about these things. If you want more, Fr. Z wrote a short bit HERE on the absurdity of Ascension “Thursday Sunday.”

Photos For Fun

I snapped a few shots yesterday of the Ascension Mass at St. James the Less with Fr. Altman. Note the Pascal Candle and remember to begin praying the Holy Spirit Novena today!

Incensing the altar, prior to the Gospel reading.

The reading of the Gospel. Note the Pascal Candle off to the left, which is still lit.

Extinguishing the Pascal Candle* after the Gospel.

The Sanctus.

*The altar boys affectionately nicknamed our Pascal Candle “Terror of Demons,” after noting the prayer that “every evil device of Satan depart” at it’s blessing on Holy Saturday.

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The 8th Day: Low Sunday

Easter is so important that it gets an octave, or eight days, not just one. Easter Sunday, or High Sunday, is the first day of the octave and today, the eighth day, is the last Sunday–Low Sunday.

I love octaves. It’s the only time when “time” is suspended, as one day is drawn out over eight.

To make matters more complicated (or fun!) there are a few other names given to today too–Dominica in Albis and Quasimodo Sunday. The former is so called because the neophytes, or the newly baptized at Easter, would now lay aside their baptismal garments, which were white. The word “Dominica” has refers to the Lord’s Day and “albis” refers to the color white.

The name “Quasimodo” comes from the introit for today which reads, “Quasi modo geniti infants…” This means, “As newborn babes..” It was a common practice to refer to particular Masses by the opening words of the introit.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also Divine Mercy Sunday in the the New Calendar. Deo gratias!

In honor of this glorious day, I snapped a few photos of the Traditional Latin Mass at St. James the Less with Fr. Altman presiding.

The canon of the Mass.
The servers are about to pray the Confiteor before receiving Holy Communion.
The servers line up for the Last Gospel, which Fr. Altman reads in the background.
The Recessional

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Palm Sunday Penitential Procession

As we officially enter Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, I’m offering a quick photo post of our Penitential Procession. It was a bit breezy outside, but beautiful nonetheless.

As the procession turned a corner, I quickly snapped these shots. You can see Fr. Altman near the stop sign. The choir, which you cannot see, is near the turn, followed by the rest of the flock–all holding palm branches.

Check out that smoke from the thurible. During the Mass, which followed, the incense was so thick, I felt veiled in mystery, literally. Father likes to lay it on thick.

The procession ends at the church doors with the choir chanting Gloria Laus et Honor. Then, father strikes the doors with the end of the processional cross, which is a pre-55* liturgical action, and represents Christ breaking open the doors of heaven by the power of the cross.

Truly, if you’ve never attended a Traditional Latin Mass Holy Week, give it a shot. It’s glorious.

May God bless you this coming week!

*Pre-55 refers to the Holy Week that the Church celebrated for hundreds of years until Annibale Bugnini began his liturgical tinkering, ultimately ending with the 1970 Novus Ordo Missae.

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Passion Sunday is Coming

Passion Sunday is only a few days away.  Get your purple cloth ready!

Here’s a shot of our mantel from last year:

IMG_2376.jpg
In our home, I only veil the images where we gather as a family to pray, which happens to be the living room.

Passion Sunday is also Judica Sunday

On Passion Sunday, Psalm 42 is highlighted in the Introit and pleadingly states,

“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art God my strength.”

“Judica” is the latin word for “judge,” which is where we get the name.

If you’ll remember in the TLM, Psalm 42 is also prayed every Sunday during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, but on Passion Sunday these prayers are omitted and will not return until Easter Sunday.  This is something like the Gloria and the Alleluia, which disappeared earlier, however, at the beginning of the “Gesima” Sundays.  All of these are omitted because they are associated with the Paschal joy of the Risen Christ.

In other words, we have this stripping away of Pascal references in order to sharpen our awareness of Christ’s Passion, which is why we refer to these final two weeks of Lent as Passiontide.

It’s beautiful how it all comes together.

Veiling of Images for Passiontide

My children always look forward to Passion Sunday, if only to see the images disappear from our fireplace mantel and the church.

All statuary in St. James the Less are veiled for Passiontide, except those way, way up high on the crossbeam.

This tradition of veiling images began sometime in the ninth century to reflect the readings of the TLM.  For example, the Gospel for Passion Sunday is always John 8 wherein the Jews take up stones to cast at Jesus, but he mysteriously passes through the crowd unseen and then hides.  Therefore, the veiling of images reminds us that Christ’s Divinity was hidden at the time of His Passion and death.

Think about that for a minute.  Again, it’s astounding how all these things come together.  Of course His Divinity was hidden!  Otherwise everyone would have believed, not just that centurion at the foot of the cross.

Secondly, veiling also strips us of visual stimuli.  Throughout the year we may become accustomed to looking at and praying with our crucifixes and icons, and so taking them away for a time helps us paradoxically to become more aware of them.

Seriously, I’m always excited for Easter Sunday for the obvious reasons, but then, how exciting to see these beautiful statues again!

Give It a Try

If you’ve never veiled your images at home before, give it a try.  It’s pretty easy to do.  I just bought a yard of purple cloth at Hobby Lobby and cut it into squares.  I’ve also heard of families using purple tissue paper in a pinch.

And speaking of veiling…

Ah, what a lovely thing to do for love of Jesus. Dear ladies, have you ever tried veiling yourself? We, too, “hide” ourselves to be only visible to Him.

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Kids and Lent

It’s not too late!  Would you like any ideas for your children during this Lenten Season?  If so, read on.  If not, I’ll see you next time.

The Children: Lent 2021

Before you read on, however, I want to remind you that all families are different, and just because the following works for us, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll work for you.  I only offer this with the thought that it may give you an idea or two, if you’d like one.

Without further ado…

The 3 pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  So I’ll break it down for you.

Prayer

The four older children join my husband and me every morning for Lauds.  I’ve written about it here.  Even though we’ve been doing this for years, most mornings the children are in a drowsy stupor.  We’d like for them to be more intentional during this time, if possible.  So we’re working on it.  The Eldest has her own breviary; it’s likely time to invest in books for the boys too.

At breakfast every morning I normally read aloud from the Bible, but during Lent, I’m reading the Mass propers and readings from our 1962 missal, this is especially beautiful because the readings correspond to the Stational Churches, which my husband reads in the evening.

If you’re not familiar with the Roman Stational Churches, you’re missing out!  They are ancient; they are holy.  Click HERE for the particular booklet that I’m talking about, which is available from Biretta Books.  (Or was available.)  NLM, however, does a great job of posting actual pictures of the churches in Rome with commentary.  Click HERE for an example.

We are also praying St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Stations of the Cross in our home every Friday night.  A few years ago my husband had ordered a bunch of those booklets from Tan Publishing.  When Friday night rolls around, the girls and I grab a copy, the boys process with lighted candles, and my husband leads the prayers in front of homemade plaques that a dear friend of mine gave me a few years ago.  It’s lovely.

Fasting

The children are all too young to do any serious fasting, but they’re not too young to begin somewhere.  Since all them are capable of abstaining from desserts and candy for 46 days, they do that.  Of course we don’t eat meat on Fridays, but that’s a given.  We do that all year around anyway.

But the older children can do more.  On Fridays, they eat plain bread for breakfast, and then during Lent, they add a day–Wednesdays.

Almsgiving

As the children don’t earn any money at all, this one’s out.

Let Us Know!

If you have any other great ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

Lastly…Need a boost?  My husband and I greatly enjoyed Patrick Coffin’s interview with Tony Roman, a restaurant owner in California who’s fighting back.  (How I wish more men would follow his example.)  His heroes are Jesus Christ and George Washington.  Watch it now, for I’ll bet it gets censored and disappears.

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Our Lady of Lourdes Today

Happy Feast Day!

Our family will be slipping off to Mass to honor Our Lady of Lourdes this morning in the bitter, bitter cold. Afterwards, we’ll be driving straight to Dunkin’ Donuts. Then later? We’ll probably watch an old movie of St. Bernadette. There was a black and white one done in the 1940s, based off of Franz Werfel’s novel The Song of Bernadette. (Have you ever read that book? It’s worth it.) There was another movie too, done later, that I also enjoy. We’ll see.

In any case, I like Our Lady of Lourdes. I like everything about it–Our Lady beautifully illumined and attired, and yet appearing in a pig sty, humble Bernadette dutifully following her instructions, Bernadette’s rotten home life, her incessant coughing, her drunken father, her sweet brothers–all of it!

If you’ve never watched one of those movies, take a break today. Sit down and enjoy one with your children.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

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Candlemas and Crayon Wreckers

Yesterday was Candlemas, February 2nd, which is sometimes referred to as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even the Presentation of Our Lord (in the Temple). It marks the fortieth day since the birth of Jesus and the end of the Christmas season.

Last night, during the Confiteor, at St. James the Less parish.

Prior to Mass, there was a special blessings of candles. If you’d like a detailed explanation of the great symbolic beauty of this blessing and Candlemas, click HERE for Fr. Z.

Our family loves this holy day. Why? I can think of 6 reasons:

  1. Most of the church’s lights are left off, with only one illuminating the altar.
  2. Every candle the church owns is lit and flickering mysteriously.
  3. Every person, old enough to reasonably hold a candle, gets one.
  4. There’s a procession with innumerable altar boys and acolytes and the rest of us holding our candles in clouds of incense while the choir chants beautiful antiphons in Latin.
  5. Prior to the procession, father blesses, incenses, and sprinkles with holy water everyone’s candles that had been brought from home and placed on or near the St. Joseph altar. (We had a big box blessed for use in our home.)
  6. Did I mention we get to hold lit candles nearly the whole time?
Beginning of the Procession. The rest of the servers and acolytes are already in the aisle. The whole congregation filed after father and processed around the church in candlelight.

Kids naturally love this, but so do adults. If you ever get a chance to attend one, jump at it.

Broken Crayon Syndrome and Crayon Wreckers

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a problem that this household has. It’s called Broken Crayon Syndrome.

Let me explain. The other day the Little Girls brought to my attention the lack of pretty crayon colors. In other words, we only had “ugly” colors left: green yellow, peach, and apricot. All the “pretty” colors were used up and gone. You know, like pink and purple.

Unused, ugly crayon colors. Therefore, these crayons have an especially long lifespan.

Since I’m an attentive and obliging mother, I dutifully bought a new pack of 24 crayons a month or so after the lodged complaint. Naturally the girls were very excited to use the new crayons, and sat right down to color. Now, no coloring books could be found, nor could any clean, white paper, but that didn’t bother them. Undaunted, they just took some cardboard out of the garbage can and hacked away.

Until, SNAP! Broken crayon. SNAP, SNAP! More broken crayons. SNAP, SNAP, SNAP! Broken crayons everywhere! In their race and excitement to color, they just broke the crayons. But what’s worse, they didn’t even care! They could still use them. Ah!

But I cared about those broken crayons–those lovely pinks and purples and blues! What a shame. What if I happened to want to color? It does happen every now and then. (Ok, fine, it doesn’t, but still.)

How long do you suppose that blue lasted? Oh, about 3 seconds for one Crayon Wrecker to smack away at that piece of garbage you can see there. And note the broken purple in the box.

What a bunch of Crayon Wreckers.

I caught one Crayon Wrecker red-handed, coloring on some cardboard. Guess how long that crayon remained intact? Oh, .2 seconds.

Good thing she’s cute.

And willing to use broken crayons because I’m not buying new ones for at least a year. I don’t care if we’re only down to “ugly” colors.