This evening we attended a beautiful Missa Cantata for All Souls’ Day. It was a Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr. Altman.
If you’ve never attended a traditional Requiem Mass, I promise it’s worth whatever sacrifice one needs to make to get there–time, travel, enduring tired children, etc. The prayers alone are striking and heartrending. I’m thinking in particular of the Sequence, or the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). Tonight, I was struck by verse 14, “Worthless are my prayers and sighing, Yet, good Lord, in grace complying, Rescue me from fires undying.”
For those of you who are interested, I will post a few photos and captions below.
Last January we moved 600 miles to a new home in a new state. Within a day or two, literally, I called the Church’s office and scheduled a home blessing with our priest, Father Altman. He came out within a few days and prayed the traditional blessing for homes and doused the place with Holy Water. And I mean doused every nook, cranny, and closet. Then he celebrated a TLM in the living room.
The place had been thoroughly sanctified.
This Fall, however, I noticed a few “Black Lives Matter” signs showing up in the neighborhood, along with those “We Believe” signs, wherein such slogans as “Science is Real” and “Love is Love” ramble on in rainbow colors. I thought about our 1 acre yard that hadn’t been blessed. It made me uncomfortable.
So, a few weeks ago, I called the Church office again. Would Father mind coming out to bless the yard, our two Mary statues, and a Jesus statue?
He came out on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and blessed an entire canister of salt and a container of Holy Water in Latin, according to the Old Rite with all the sweet exorcisms. Then he prayed from theRituale Romanum, and we processed around the perimeter of the whole yard and sanctified the property. He ended with celebrating another TLM in our living room.
Dear Readers, if you haven’t had your house blessed, you should really get it done while you can. Don’t delay on something so important. And if your priest will do it, ask for the Old Rite. It’s richer. Do the homework and compare the prayers; you’ll be astonished at what was left out in the later Book of Blessings.
If you’d like more information about the use of Latin or English, click HERE for Fr. Z’s explanation. Or, if you’d like to hear Fr. Altman explain the difference in blessing Holy Water according the Old Rite and the New in an interview with Patrick Coffin, click HERE and skip to 1 hour 28 minutes.
We attended, as usual, Fr. Altman’s 11:30 TLM this morning. As we pulled up, a half an hour early because the boys were serving, we noticed the crowds milling about outside–men in suits, ladies in dresses, veils blowing in the wind, and little children running everywhere.
Of course we expected a larger crowd, as the Rosary Rally was later in the afternoon, but this was something! Since moving to the area, today’s Mass was the fullest I’ve ever seen it.
Prior to Mass, I had to take the 2-year-old to the bathroom and was met with a fifteen minute line, which was interesting. A woman from Colorado had driven all night with her family and was apologizing for her red eyes. Moms from Montana were straightening out their dresses. An old lady from northern Wisconsin was chatting with some Minnesotans about stumbling upon Fr. Altman and thanking the Lord for his courage and witness.
Well, anyway, we eventually made it back to our pew for Mass–it was a beautiful High Mass with all the bells and smells and eight altar boys. I thought the Collect was especially striking:
Let Thy continual pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend Thy Church: and because it cannot continue in safety without Thee, may it ever be governed by Thy goodness.
And how was Fr. Altman’s homily, which was not live, due to restrictions put forth by Bishop Callahan?
It was short and surprisingly, nonpolitical. He seemed tired, and my heart went out to him, as I have some idea of how this week went for him. The office was bombarded with phone calls, emails, and letters–most of which, I understand, were positive and encouraging, but the few that weren’t, were vile and disgusting. New measures of safety were taken this last week, and anybody who was paying attention at Mass will have noticed a few gentlemen monitoring the activity of all present.
In any case, after Mass I found myself visiting with a young lady from Chicago. She and her father drove here to support Fr. Altman and were presently on their way to the Rosary Rally, where Fr. Heilman would be leading the community in prayer. We, too, were loading up the van and driving straight to the Cathedral, for what kind of crowd would we find there?
We weren’t disappointed. We parked a few blocks away and followed the dads and moms and teenagers and babies and grandmas and grandpas and you-name-it. The crowd wrapped around the Cathedral block. When Fr. Heilman showed up, cheers and clapping erupted on both sides of the street and everyone attempted to move closer. The local TV/News station filmed it all. I think they were about the only ones wearing masks. And there certainly wasn’t any social distancing. (We’re all family, right?)
Fr. Heilman spoke movingly about watching Fr. Altman’s videos and feeling, sensing in his gut that here was something. This was truth–finally! He knew he had to back Fr. Altman. He compared our whole insane situation in the Catholic Church, with its very few courageous leaders, to those brave men who sacrificed their lives on the beaches of Normandy.
Indeed, he told the story of his sister-in-law’s father, who fought on those beaches and survived. That man found himself in the chapel of a bombed-out palace. As he was crawling to safety, he came across a large crucifix, which was lying on its face. He reached out, turned Jesus over, and something fell out of the skullcap. He thought it might be something important, so he put it in his pocket. Later, back in the States, he found that he had saved a relic of the True Cross.
At that moment, Fr. Heilman unveiled that very relic. We fell to our knees, and then Fr. Heilman began reciting the rosary.
I’d like to say it was a deeply prayerful moment for me, but alas, I have seven children. One was digging in the gutter and another was piling leaves on someone’s car. A drone was humming overhead videoing the whole thing. Others with video equipment were strolling about, filming the crowds. And my knees ached from kneeling on concrete. (I’m such a wimp.)
Nevertheless, I was happy to be there–happy to support Fr. Altman. May more priests find the same courage to speak out.
Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to watch Dr. Taylor Marshall’s recent interview with Fr. Altman, click HERE. It’s excellent and worth your time.
It has been raining here for the last 3 days. This gets to be a bit much for someone unfortunately affected by coldness and wetness and cloudiness. Blech.
Then add to the perpetual dreariness of the weather the state of our culture…ah, not an uplifting combination, especially for those of us following the plight of Fr. James Altman.
Many of you know that he’s our pastor here in Wisconsin. If you think of it, remember him in your prayers, as he’s being harassed with truly vile and despicable emails and phone calls, as he becomes internationally known for his courageous stand against Democrats. (See HERE for his inspiring video.)
Thankfully, not all the publicity is negative, however. Bishop Stickland of Tyler, Texas, has publicly supported him. Praise God. I understand there’s to be a Rosary Rally at the Cathedral in La Crosse this Sunday at 2pm to show support for Father, too. We’ll be there.
Again, may God and His Holy Angels protect St. James the Less Parish, Fr. Altman, and the surrounding area.
So, what am I doing today, in these Dark Times?
Naturally, we’re doing our normal prayers and school work for the day, but then, we just had to take an hour off this morning. We drove in the rain to a local coffee shop and bought cappuccinos, for who doesn’t like something hot on a cold, dreary day? We delivered one to my husband, who greeted us with a big smile. Then, we drove home and blasted Maria Van Trapp (Julie Andrews) singing I Have Confidence. It was an uplifting drive.
Prior to all the rain, we spent a few hours at one of our local apple orchards picking apples, eating apples, and running through the corn maze. Perhaps if the rain clears, we’ll go again this weekend.
I learned how to can tomatoes a few days ago. It was a messy, but fun ordeal. My mom instructed me and my sister-in-law on how to make pasta sauce, salsa, and stewed tomatoes. Thank you, Mom!
Anyone else have any ideas for pleasant outings or doings?
P.S. WordPress changed many settings on me the other day. Please excuse any editing issues, as I work my way through a new system. Ugh! Technology.