Friday, November 27, 2015

Divine Worship: The Missal and the STM Mass Booklet

Houston - Ready to launch.

Nine Lessons and Carols with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament - December 22

Pope Francis has called for International action to stop anti-Christian persecution - What is Canada doing?

The Federal Government of Canada is quoted in CBC reports that it will focus on "mothers, children and families" as it welcomes 25,000 refugees from Syria.
The reports continue, paradoxically, that single men will not be included but the LGBT 'community' will be given priority as well (single men?) -- no mention, however, of the severely persecuted Christians of Syria and the Middle East generally.
The following report on Pope Francis' statements about refugees appeared in the Catholic Herald some weeks ago before the Canadian election.  Little seems to have changed.

“Do something to put a stop to the violence and oppression,” Pope Francis asked the international community after calling attention once again to the fate of persecuted Christians, especially in the Middle East.
Pope Francis told thousands of people in St Peter’s Square [in September] that, the previous evening in Lebanon,martyred Syriac Bishop Flavien-Michel Malke was beatified.
“In the context of a tremendous persecution of Christians, he was an untiring defender of the rights of his people, exhorting all of them to remain firm in their faith,” the Pope said.
“Today as well, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted,” the Pope said. “May the beatification of this bishop and martyr fill them with consolation, courage and hope.”
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis told people in the square, “There are more martyrs (today) than there were in the first centuries” of Christianity.
He prayed that the beatification would “also be a stimulus for legislators and those who govern so that religious freedom would be guaranteed everywhere. And I ask the international community to do something to put a stop to the violence and oppression.”
The beatification liturgy for Bishop Malke was celebrated in Harissa, Lebanon, on August 29, the 100th anniversary of his death. Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan presided at the liturgy; Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes was present.
In his homily, Patriarch Younan pointed out that the Catholic Church commemorates the beheading of St John the Baptist. Referring to the 1915 Armenian genocide and what is happening today, especially in Syria and Iraq, the patriarch asked, “Why?”
“The secret of suffering one does not understand. It accepts the spirit of Christ,” the patriarch said.
Last summer thousands of Christians in Mosul and the Ninevah Plain in Iraq, including nearly 40,000 Syriac Catholics, were driven out by ISIS militants. The militants have posted multiple videos of beheadings.
Patriarch Younan denounced the passivity of world powers “that boast defending freedoms and abandon to their fate the people” who took the risk of staying in their homelands.
He stressed that not only Syriac Catholics are under threat, but all the Christians of the East — Chaldean, Assyrians, Maronites, Melkites, Armenians and that “when the persecution is not physical it is moral.”
“Where is the conscience of the world?” he asked.

Advent and Christmas 2015 at St Thomas More, Toronto

November 29 at 4:00 pm

Sing-along  ‘SOUND OF MUSIC’  
with Pot-luck Supper
Sunday, December 6 at 5:30 pm

Lessons and Carols with Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament 
Tuesday, December 22 at 7:00 pm

Sung Mass of the Nativity of our Lord – Christmas Eve
Thursday, December 24 at 4:00 p.m.
Sung Mass and Holy Baptism: Holy Family Sunday
Sunday, December 27 at 4:00 p.m.
Sung Mass: Mary, Mother of God  (Day of Obligation)
Thursday, December 31 at 4:00 pm

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Bishop-elect Steven Lopes meets Pope Francis

Pope Francis and other enjoy the "launching of the Ordinariate Missal."

HOUSTON — Pope Francis has named the Rev. Monsignor Steven J. Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict on Jan. 1, 2012, with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas. Founded to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America.

The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.
Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate since 2012, will introduce Bishop-elect Lopes at a live news conference at 10:30 a.m. CST at the Chancery Offices of the Ordinariate, 7730 Westview, Houston, Texas. A telephone news conference for media will also be held at 12 p.m. CST.

With this appointment, Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church. By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese — one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.

Bishop Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015. 
Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship; since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts.

The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

Pope Benedict's vision for Christian unity and the concrete ways that Pope Francis is implementing that vision demonstrate that unity in faith allows for a vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith. The Ordinariate is a key ecumenical venture for the Catholic Church and a concrete example of this unity in diversity.


Steven Joseph Lopes, 40, is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. As the bishop-elect of the Ordinariate, he will reside in Houston, Texas.

Bishop-elect Lopes was born and raised in Fremont, Calif. The only child of Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes (deceased) and Barbara Jane Lopes, he attended Catholic schools in the Golden State, including the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in June 2001 and spent the first several years of his priesthood as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Background to "Missal Launch"

Deb Gyapong has an excellent article in the CATHOLIC REGISTER about the "Missal Launch"

Here are some excerpts:

Pope Francis with Archbishop Di Noia and Msgr Steven Lopes of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Mr Pierpaolo Finaldi (holding the missal) from The Catholic Truth Society, the publisher.
On the first Sunday of Advent, former Anglicans who are now Catholics belonging to the three personal ordinariates will celebrate according to their own new liturgical book, "Divine Worship: The Missal."

"It is a new moment in history," said Father Timothy Perkins, the liturgy director for North America's Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP) in an interview from Arlington, Tex. "Never before has there been a document from the Vatican that allowed for inclusion of elements from separated ecclesial communities, incorporated into the Eucharistic celebration of the Church."

"It really is unique, and it clarifies in some sense the seriousness of the desire of Holy Church to welcome those who've been in separation into the fullness of communion within the Catholic Church," he said.

The missal will unify the liturgy in all three ordinariates, including the POCSP, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom, and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

"This missal is now recognized by the Church as standing side by side with the Roman Missal," said POCSP Ordinary Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson in a Q&A posted on the ordinariate's website. Msgr. Steenson, a former Episcopalian bishop, stressed the missal "fits firmly and squarely in the Latin rite."

"It is not a Protestant service dressed up as a Catholic Mass," Msgr. Steenson said. "It is the Catholic Mass of the western rite, filtered through the Anglican experience, corrected and expressed in an Anglican voice."

[Father Perkins, Pastor of a large Ordinariate parish in Alington TX] . . .  also sees a missionary dimension. "I think one of the aspects of the mission that we've been given by Mother Church is to be a beacon for others of our separated brothers and sisters," he said. That mission includes being "able to reach out to them in a way that says, 'Yes, I understand the values of your practice of Christianity. I look upon you as beloved in the Lord and Holy Mother Church desires that all her children dwell in unity."

"You cannot underestimate the missionary dimension of the liturgy in general and especially of this beautiful liturgy of the ordinariate," said Professor Hans-Jurgen Feulner, an author and professor of liturgics at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Feulner was a member of the Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, an international group of experts, including Catholic bishops, scholars, representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and former Anglican clergy who, over the past five years, advised CDF and the Congregation for Divine Worship on the development of the missal.

Feulner's interest in Anglican liturgy happened by accident while he was studying in Munich in the late 1980s, he said. He was late to a seminar on ordination rites and all the topics had been handed out except for the Anglican one. "I was very unhappy," he said. "I had no clue." But he found the subject fascinating, and turned in a paper of 80 pages.

Feulner said the commission decided the Anglican Use liturgy already approved by Rome would be its starting point for building the new liturgy. The missal includes appendices so Anglicans of a more traditional bent can use options such as the prayers at the foot of the altar "to give more flexibility," he said. The commission also decided to use the high sacral language of the Book of Common Prayer instead of contemporary English.

"It was not easy," he said. "It involved a lot of meetings, a lot of travelling around. I met a lot of parishes and clergy, asked people in person, what would you like to have? What are your liturgical needs?"

The basic form of the Mass has been in use in North America for two years, so those in the pews will not experience much that is new on the First Sunday of Advent. What the missal does is gather all the propers, the parts of the Mass that change according to the day and the season.

As a professor of liturgy, Feulner said, he has also voluntarily sought feedback from people. So many have told him, "We are so thankful and grateful for this beautiful liturgy," he said. They see how "wonderful" it is "to have a space with the Catholic Church" where they keep their own traditions and the sense of Pope Benedict's XVI's view of the liturgy as a "mirror of the beauty of heaven here on earth."

. . . . Liturgy was a big concern for Norm Freeman, a member of the ordinariate's Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Ottawa. "To me, and I know many others, patrimony is, in large part, defined by the Book of Common Prayer."

Freeman said he is pleased with the Mass they have been celebrating, and hopes "the new missal continues to include a great deal of the Prayer Book liturgy and language."

He said he recalled Pope Benedict saying something along the lines of, "We don't need a group who simply sing better than their Catholic brethren, and who stay in Church for the entire service, we want the reverence that was imparted in traditional Anglican liturgy."

Father Doug Hayman, rector of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, said he is happy with the ordinariate form of the Mass. "It has taken some growing into, but it is full and rich: fully Catholic, yet certainly bearing the Anglican flavour."

"Years ago in the Anglican context, someone had remarked that, the Book of Alternative Services was easy to access, but then there really wasn't anything more to grow into; whereas the Book of Common Prayer took a little more work to enter into, but thereafter one might spend a lifetime seeking to exhaust its riches," Father Hayman said. "Divine Worship feels like the latter: something into which one may spend a fruitful lifetime growing."

Read the whole article at:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

OUTREACH - Aid to the Church in Need

STM gives 10% of offerings to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for mission and outreach. We do not take up second collections for various other good works but we do call people’s attention to Catholic charities from time to time.  

Through the new year, beginning in Advent, we will be encouraging donations to ACN, a worthy charity which is supporting Christians in the Middle East who are being systematically brutalized, killed and forced out as refugees. There has been very limited press coverage of their suffering. 

It is our hope that many of the 25,000 Syrians reportedly coming to Canada will be from this persecuted minority – our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in great need.

Here is a recent article describing the situation in one Syrian community. 
Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs - Praying for Peace - ACN photo

Thousands of Syrian Christians are fleeing  ISIS assault

Friday, November 6, 2015

"We are afraid that ISIS - - which God will hopefully prevent - - will conquer the town. We would lose the center of Christianity in our diocese."

By Oliver Maksan

NEW YORK—Thousands of Syrian Christians are fleeing after fierce attacks by ISIS on the town of Sadad and its surroundings, reported Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs. Sadad is some 35 miles south of Homs and 65 miles north east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. The region has been under attack by ISIS since late last month.

The prelate told international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that Maheen, a town just four miles from Sadad, has already fallen to the jihadists. He also said that the inhabitants of Sadad and Al-Hafar had fled out of fear that ISIS would advance even further and to escape the heavy fire. 

According to the archbishop, almost 15,000 people have since left their homes and sought refuge in Homs, Zaidal and Fairouzeh. He reported that Sadad is still endangered, despite the presence of Syrian government forces. “We are afraid that ISIS—which God will hopefully prevent—will conquer the town. We would lose the center of Christianity in our diocese,” Archbishop Selwanos said. Two years ago jihadist held the town for a brief spell, killing at least 45 Christians, and destroying churches and homes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Purgatory - Encouragement on the Journey

Homily                                          STM, Toronto - November 8, 2015

“. . . how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” John 14

Today we celebrate Mass as a Requiem for all souls and especially for those who have died in the service of our country. It is the culmination of what was once referred to as the “second Triduum” in the liturgical calendar, the Triduum of All Saints, which includes the Vigil of All Saints, the Solemnity of All Saints, and the Commemoration of All Souls. This is now extended, by custom in the Commonwealth, to Remembrance Day and the preceding week.

This deeply spiritual tradition traces its roots to the Israelites, as we can see in a passage from the 2nd Book of Maccabees in which we are told that Judas Maccabeus, having discovered amulets on his dead soldiers after a battle, “took up a collection, man by man, to the  amount  of  two thousand drachmas of  silver,  and sent  it  to  Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. ”

Christians from the earliest days have had a strong sense of solidarity, not only with the dead who are now saints in heaven, but also with the dead who are still in need of a final purification (most of us) before they enter the glory of heaven, the vision of God.

In fact, praying for the dead clearly reveals  what heaven truly is — intimate union with God —and consequently the purification that is necessary for this divine union. We are not simply destined to be with God, but to live within the life of God, the Holy Trinity.  That is why Jesus taught us that we must be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. It is impossible to see how the soul that is not perfect in virtue, and purity of heart, could possibly enter into the most intimate union and vision of Almighty God.
And yet, how many people leave this world in such a state of perfection?  We think of soldiers and others killed suddenly without the opportunity to be in a state of grace.

The Church has always taught that there is an intermediary condition between the total imperfection and ultimate isolation that is not the place but the state of hell, and the total perfection that heaven requires. This is because the Church believes and proclaims both the justice and the mercy of God.
To assume that sinners who are sorry for their sins, but who escape the justice of this world for their sins, would simply be immediately purified by God’s merciful forgiveness, without a process of accounting and purification, surely undermines not only belief in the reality of divine justice, but any rationale for justice in this world as well.

How could it be that soldiers and others who underwent tremendous suffering for family and nation, and those innocents who endured suffering caused by the injustice and the evil of this world, would be blessed less than those who have escaped both the justice of this world and, by God’s mercy, the justice and purification in the world to come?

So it is that the Church definitively teaches that baptized souls who have not apostatized and do not undergo perfect purification for their sins in this world may receive purification in the intermediate state the Church has traditionally named Purgatory (a politically incorrect term in our day).
The Church further teaches that, because of the communion of saints, which all Christians share in, the spiritual merits of all the saints in heaven may be shared with us who are still on the journey. This is a great assistance and comfort for us on earth and for those who have gone before us but are not yet in the state of perfection necessary to enter into the divine embrace and perfect communion of God, the Holy Trinity.

We share these merits through our prayers and sacrifices, masses and requiems not only at this time but throughout the year.

Purgatory, then, is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, and praying for the dead is taught by the Church to be a spiritual practice in keeping with that doctrine, and with the mutual love and communion of the faithful.

In a culture in which funerals are often virtual canonizations of the deceased, declaring that the dead person is already an angel in heaven and implying that we are praying TO that deceased person rather than for that person’s soul, the Church’s teaching about the last things: Sin, Death, Heaven and Hell along with the encouraging doctrine of Purgatory are even more important.
Catholic and Orthodox Christians who regularly pray for their dead will almost certainly remain more mindful of, and so closer to their deceased loved ones than others who assume these dead are immediately in Heaven after death. This remembrance of love also strengthens our own faith and hope on the earthly pilgrimage.

Finally, praying for the dead keeps our focus on eternity, on the goal of human existence. Praying for the departed keeps our mortality before our minds in a spiritually healthy way.  In so doing we are helped to be mentally focused on what really matters in this life.
May we who pray for the dead today be blessed with devout friends and relatives who will perform this spiritual duty for us when we finally pass from this world.

“. . . how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” John 14


Celebrant:   Death has been conquered in Jesus Christ. As the Redeemed People of God, we therefore intercede confidently for the living and the dead saying: Lord, have mercy.

Reading of the names of those commemorated.

Jesus Christ is Risen! May the Church proclaim his victory over death with confidence, fidelity, and joy; we pray to the Lord ...

The eternal banquet of life has been prepared! May God, the Holy Spirit continually inspire us to pray for all those who have given their lives for the freedom of our country and the world; we pray to the Lord...

For all souls in Purgatory; we pray to the Lord...

May all children who have died by miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion be carried to the joys of heaven, we pray to the Lord...

The souls of the just are in the hand of God. May all who have died in the peace of Christ find eternal life through the resurrection of our Lord in the communion of saints, we pray to the Lord...


Eternal God
Who frees the human family
From the dominion of the grave.
Hear our prayers,
Fill us with joy
And with the hope of life eternal.
We ask this through Christ our Risen Lord. Amen.

Penitential Rite follows.