Why piety is essential to apostolate

At the dawn of the age of Modernism in whose darkness and confusion we are now plunged, Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, a Trappist, saw clearly the eternal pitfalls awaiting would-be servants of God who subordinated their interior lives to the spirit of activism. His The Soul of the Apostolate, first published a century ago, proclaims to Christians of all times the need to be formed in the interior life — at the heart of which must be the Holy Mass — before setting out to reform the world around us.

Dom Chautard notes, with uncanny prescience, that not everyone is convinced or edified by activist clerics, religious, and laity.

A well-known enemy of the Church dared to say that he was unable to believe in the fidelity of certain persons to their vows and obligations, since they were forced by their works to mix freely in the life of the world. “They are walking a tightrope,” he said, “they are bound to fall.” We must answer this insult to God and His Church by replying, without hesitation, these falls can be most certainly avoided when one knows how to use the precious balancing pole of the interior life. It is only the abandonment of this infallible instrument that brings dizziness and the fatal false step into space.

That admirable Jesuit, Fr. Lallemont, takes us right back to the first cause of these disasters when he says: “There are many apostolic workers who never do anything purely for God. In all things, they seek themselves, and they are always secretly mingling their own interests with the glory of God in the best of their work. And so they spend their life in this intermingling of nature and grace. Finally death comes along, and then alone do they open their eyes, behold their deception, and tremble at the approach of the formidable judgment of God.”

Fr. Carr to offer Traditional Mass this Monday morning

The Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) for the Feast of St. Pantaleon will be offered at 7:00 am on Monday of this week by Reverend Father Richard Carr at St. Michael Church, 7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale.

Please note that this Mass is scheduled at the discretion of the celebrant, and is not part of the parish’s published Mass calendar. This Mass has been added to our seven-day schedule.

Who’s in charge here?

Whether denied by Protestant or by sedevacantist, the answer to that question in matters spiritual (which should pervade our daily lives, public and private) is still: the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, currently Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

This applies whether he be liked or disliked. It applies whether he be ascetic or libertine. (All indications are that Pope Francis is the former. For truly horrid anecdotes of the latter, see some of the popes around the turn of the eleventh century, which the Church survived, as She always does, by the grace of the Holy Ghost.) And it applies whether he speak about faith, fables, or football (on only the first of which he can pronounce with infallible authority). It even applies if, in modesty, the Holy Father himself avers, as Pope Francis did early in his reign, that “no one is the most important person in the Church.”

Should we be in doubt, or be asked to explain the Church’s position to a non-Catholic, let us keep the following from the Acts of the Council of Ephesus (ad 431) in mind:

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (ἔξαρχος) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (θεμέλιος) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope [later Saint] Cœlestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc.

Agree or disagree with the Pope, but do either in a spirit of truth in charity, and often (as at the end of the Holy Rosary) pray a Pater, Ave, and Gloria for his protection. The shoes of the fisherman are tough ones to fill.

Fr. Spiering to offer Missa Cantata at Silver Spring

A Missa Cantata with schola will be offered July 26 at the Traditional Latin Mass Congregation of Silver Spring, Maryland.  The celebrant of the Mass of the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost will be Reverend Father Samuel Spiering, parish priest of St. Leo the Great Church in Lewistown, Montana.

Holy Mass will begin at 8:00 am.  Confessions will be heard from 7:30 to 7:55 am.

Silver Spring TLM Congregation meets at the Historic Church of St. John the Evangelist, 9700 Rosensteel Avenue, Forest Glen.

A novena prayer in honor of St. Alphonsus Liguori

On Sunday, August 2, the feast of St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, patron saint of confessors, is celebrated in the traditional calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. Author of many beloved devotional works, the saint founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (“Redemptorists”).

A visit on the patronal feast day to a church such as the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Baltimore, accompanied by the recitation of one Our Father and the Creed, is enriched with a plenary indulgence. Note that all plenary indulgences require sacramental confession, Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, and the absence of any attachment to sin whether mortal or venial.

Another commendable practice would be the recitation of this novena prayer, formerly indulgenced, on each of the nine days up to and including the feast day on August 2:

O glorious Saint Alphonsus, my most beloved protector, thou who hast laboured and suffered so much to secure to men the fruits of Redemption, behold the miseries of my poor soul, and have pity on me. Through thy powerful intercession with Jesus and Mary, obtain for me true repentance, together with the pardon of my past faults, a great horror of sin, and strength always to resist temptation. Impart to me, I pray thee, a spark of that ardent charity with which thy heart was ever inflamed; and grant that, imitating thee, I may make the good pleasure of God the only rule of my life. Obtain for me, moreover, a fervent and constant love for Jesus Christ, and a tender and filial devotion to his Mother Mary, together with the grace to pray always, and to persevere in the service of God until my death; so that I may at length join with thee in praising God, and the most Blessed Virgin Mary, for all eternity. Amen.

Our Lady’s Center schedules Tuesday evening TLM, potluck

On Tuesday, July 28, at 6:30 pm, a Low Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady’s Center, 3301 Rogers Avenue, Ellicott City, Maryland. A potluck dinner will follow in the Center’s conference room.

Reverend Father Canisius Tah, associate pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, will be the celebrant. This Mass is being added to our seven-day schedule.

Fr. Carr to offer Traditional Mass this Wednesday, Saturday

The Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) will be offered at 7:00 am on Wednesday and Saturday mornings of this week by Reverend Father Richard Carr at St. Michael Church, 7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale.

On Wednesday morning, July 22, Low Mass of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen will be offered. Low Mass of the Feast of St. James the Greater with commemoration of St. Christopher will be offered on Saturday morning, July 25.

Please note that these Masses are scheduled at the discretion of the celebrant, and are not part of the parish’s published Mass calendar. These Masses have been added to our seven-day schedule.

Solemn Vespers to mark St. Philip Neri quincentenary Wednesday

The Oratorian Fathers of the Community of St. Philip Neri, currently in formation at Washington’s St. Thomas Apostle Church, will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Oratory founder St. Philip Neri with Solemn Vespers and Benediction in the Extraordinary Form this Wednesday, July 22, at 7:00 pm.


The liturgy will be conducted by the Oratorian Fathers and secular associate clergy led by community Moderator Reverend Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, with the assistance of the Brothers of the Little Oratory led by Brother Rector Jeff Bedia. Choral accompaniment will be provided by the Vespers schola of St. Thomas Apostle Church (Dr. Candy Bartoldus, director), along with the men’s schola of Washington’s St. Mary Mother of God Church directed by David Sullivan. The public is encouraged to attend and to join in the singing of the traditional evening prayer of the Church’s Divine Office. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

St. Thomas Apostle Church is located at 2665 Woodley Road in Woodley Park, one block up from the Woodley Road Metrorail and Metrobus stops at Connecticut Avenue.

The laws of matter do not have the final say

From the 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi by Pope Benedict XVI:

5. . . . The First Letter to the Corinthians (1:18-31) tells us that many of the early Christians belonged to the lower social strata, and precisely for this reason were open to the experience of new hope, as we saw in the example of Bakhita. Yet from the beginning there were also conversions in the aristocratic and cultured circles, since they too were living “without hope and without God in the world”. Myth had lost its credibility; the Roman State religion had become fossilized into simple ceremony which was scrupulously carried out, but by then it was merely “political religion”. Philosophical rationalism had confined the gods within the realm of unreality. The Divine was seen in various ways in cosmic forces, but a God to whom one could pray did not exist. Paul illustrates the essential problem of the religion of that time quite accurately when he contrasts life “according to Christ” with life under the dominion of the “elemental spirits of the universe” (Col 2:8). In this regard a text by Saint Gregory Nazianzen is enlightening. He says that at the very moment when the Magi, guided by the star, adored Christ the new king, astrology came to an end, because the stars were now moving in the orbit determined by Christ [cf. Dogmatic Poems, V, 53-64; Patrologia Graeca 37, 428-429]. This scene, in fact, overturns the world-view of that time, which in a different way has become fashionable once again today. It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love — a Person. And if we know this Person and he knows us, then truly the inexorable power of material elements no longer has the last word; we are not slaves of the universe and of its laws, we are free. In ancient times, honest enquiring minds were aware of this. Heaven is not empty. Life is not a simple product of laws and the randomness of matter, but within everything and at the same time above everything, there is a personal will, there is a Spirit who in Jesus has revealed himself as Love [cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1817-1821].

Fr. Czarnota to offer TLM Sunday at Silver Spring

A Low Mass will be offered Sunday, July 19, at the Traditional Latin Mass Congregation of Silver Spring, Maryland.  The celebrant of the Mass of the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost will be Reverend Father Paul Czarnota of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Holy Mass will begin at 8:00 am.  Confessions will be heard from 7:30 to 7:55 am.

Silver Spring TLM Congregation meets at the Historic Church of St. John the Evangelist, 9700 Rosensteel Avenue, Forest Glen.