Saint Antoine de Padoue

Aujourd’hui, c’est la fête de saint Antoine de Padoue, le patron de la paroisse où je vis. J’aimerais partager une part de sa biographie.

Saint Antoine est né à Lisbonne au Portugal. À l’âge de 15 ans, il est entré au monastère augustinien de Sao Vicente à Lisbonne. Lorsqu’il a entendu parlé des martyrs franciscains du Maroc, il est devenu un franciscain à Coimbra. À sa demande, il a été envoyé en tant que missionnaire au Maroc, mais il est devenu malade et fut renvoyé en Europe. Durant le voyage du retour, son bateau dériva de sa trajectoire et arriva en Sicile. Il est devenu prédicateur par accident lorsqu’un prédicateur ne s’est pas présenté à une cérémonie d’ordination à Forli et que le supérieur franciscain lui a dit de le faire. Son éloquence a impressionné tout le monde et il a été assigné à prêcher dans tout le Nord de l’Italie. En tant que théologien et prédicateur populaire, il s’est vivement opposé aux hérésies. Sa prédication était inspirée par l’amour de Dieu et des âmes et il avait un pouvoir de conviction extraordinaire, rempli du pouvoir pénétrant de la Bible. D’ailleurs, il était connu pour avoir du succès à convertir les hérétiques et il a été surnommé le “marteau des hérétiques”. Saint François lui-même l’a nommé professeur de théologie. Lorsqu’il se rendait dans les villes pour prêcher, il déplaçait les foules.

Le pape Grégoire IX, qui l’avait entendu prêcher, l’a appelé, de son vivant, l’Arca Testamenti, c’est-à-dire le “répertoire vivant des Saintes Écritures”. De son côté, le pape Pie XII l’a proclamé docteur de l’Église, déclarant qu’il basait tout ce qu’il disait sur les textes des Évangiles et qu’il pouvait, en toute justice, être appelé “docteur évangélique”. Saint Antoine a vécu, pendant un temps, en France, mais il a surtout vécu en Italie. Il mourut à Padoue en 1231 à l’âge de 36 ans et avait acquis une réputation de grande sainteté. À partir du jour de son décès, des miracles innombrables ont fait que de nombreux fidèles l’invoque pour sa grande bénévolence.

Saint Antoine est l’un des saints les plus populaires de l’Église. Il est le patron des objets perdus, des pauvres et de bien d’autres causes. Entre autres, au Brésil, il est considéré comme étant le général de l’armée. De plus, il est le patron contre les naufrages, la famine et la faim.

Il y a une coutume de réciter une neuvaine à saint Antoine durant treize mardis consécutifs, puisque le mardi est le jour de son décès.

 

Advertisements

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Corpus Christi procession in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2005
Corpus Christi procession in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2005

Today is Corpus Christi Sunday (Corpus Christi is Latin for Body of Christ), the solemn commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist. It s an act of homage and gratitude to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave to the Church her greatest treasure. Holy Thursday, assuredly, marks the anniversary of the institution, but the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion that very night suppresses the rejoicing proper to the occasion. Today’s observance, therefore, accents the joyous aspect of Holy Thursday.

Note that the feast is liturgically celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (which was last Thursday), but where it isn’t observed as a holy day, like in Canada and USA, it is assigned to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. A lot of communities hold Eucharistic processions on this feast. A notable Eucharistic procession is the one presided by the Pope each year in Rome where it begins at the Archbasilica of St John Lateran and makes its way to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where it concludes with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The liturgical solemnity of Corpus Christi celebrates the tradition and belief in the Body and Blood of Christ and his Real Presence in the Euchrist.

Sources:

Easter octave

The first eight days of the Easter season form the Easter octave and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord. Each day is another little Easter. The Alleluia verse is repeated throughout the octave: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!”

The Gospel continues to relate the story of Christ’s resurrection — how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus. Jesus tells them “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

During the Easter Season, first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. Today is Acts 2:36-41. Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost to the Jews: “The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ….You must repent and….be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” They repented, and 3000 were baptized that day.

Our Easter joy should be overflowing. A wonderful Ukrainian (and Polish and Slovakian) custom is the greeting of one another with the words: Khrystos Voskres(Christ is risen). The answer to this greeting is Voistynu Voskres (He is risen, indeed or He is truly risen). Let us adopt this custom to our English language and show our Easter joy to all.

Source: CatholicCulture.org

Easter time

The celebration of Easter is prolonged throughout the Easter season. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated as one feast day, the “great Sunday.”

The Sundays of this season are regarded as Sundays of Easter and are so termed; they have precedence over all feasts of the Lord and over all solemnities. Solemnities that fall on one of these Sundays are anticipated on the Saturday. Celebrations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the saints that fall during the week may not be transferred to one of these Sundays.

Intercession should be made in the Eucharistic Prayer for the newly baptized. It is also appropriate that children receive their first communion on one or other of the Sundays of Easter.

This sacred period of fifty days concludes with Pentecost Sunday, when the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, the beginnings of the Church, and the start of its mission to all tongues and peoples and nations are commemorated.

“It is proper to the paschal festivity that the whole Church rejoices at the forgiveness of sins, which is not only for those who are reborn in Holy Baptism, but also for those who have long been numbered among the adopted children.” By means of a more intensive pastoral care and a deeper spiritual effort, all who celebrate the Easter feasts will, by the Lord’s grace, experience their effect in their daily lives.

Source: The Catholic Liturgical Library

Holy Saturday

"Le Christ mort couché sur son linceul" by Philippe de Champaigne
“Le Christ mort couché sur son linceul” by Philippe de Champaigne

On Holy Saturday (Sabbatum Sanctum), the Church is, as it were, at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his passion and death and on his descent into hell, awaiting his resurrection with prayer and fasting. Holy Saturday is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest; it has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering…The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible….Jesus’ enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander.

The image of Christ crucified or lying in the tomb or the descent into hell, which mystery Holy Saturday recalls, as also an image of the sorrowful Virgin Mary, can be placed in the church for the veneration of the faithful. Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.

The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated and Holy Communion may only be given in the form of Viaticum. Celebration of other sacraments, other than penance and anointing of the sick, is also forbidden.

Today we remember Christ in the tomb. It is not Easter yet, so it’s not time for celebration. Festive customs and traditions associated with this day because of the former practice of anticipating the celebration of Easter on Holy Saturday should be reserved for Easter night and the day that follows. There is a tradition of blessing food baskets that will be eaten on Easter. If there is no blessing for the Easter foods in the parish, the father of the family can pray the Blessing over the Easter foods. Another tradition, is also the blessing of the family home.

It is during the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday that the Easter Vigil is celebrated. The service begins around ten o’clock, in order that the solemn vigil Mass may start at midnight.

Virgin Mary

"The Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon" by Enguerrand Quarton
“The Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon” by Enguerrand Quarton

Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart. When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed.

According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary: she is the “credentium collectio universa” (Congregation for Divine Worship,Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73). Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of his resurrection.

The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church: while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and his soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to his ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death.

Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

"Saint Isidor of Sevilla" by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
“Saint Isidor of Sevilla” by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

St Isidore

Outside Holy Week, today is also the Feast of St Isidore of Seville, , who succeeded his brother St. Leander as Archbishop of Seville and was one of the great bishops of the seventh century. He was proficient in all branches of knowledge and was regarded as one of the most learned men of his time; with Cassiodorus and Boethius he was one of the thinkers whose writings were most studied in the Middle Ages, St. Isidore died in 636. Pope Innocent XIII canonized him in 1722 and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church.

Sources

Good Friday: It is accomplished

"The Crucifixion of Christ" by Titian
“The Crucifixion of Christ” by Titian

“It is accomplished; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.” (Jn 19:30)

Today the whole Church mourns the death of our Savior. This is traditionally a day of sadness, spent in fasting and prayer. On this day, when “Christ our passover was sacrificed,” the Church mediates on the passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

Liturgy

According to the Church’s ancient tradition, the sacraments, including the Eucharist but with the exception of the sacrements of penance and anointing of the sick, are not celebrated on Good Friday nor Holy Saturday. “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion,” traditionally known as the “Mass of the Presanctified,” (although it is not a mass) is usually celebrated around three o’clock in the afternoon.

The altar is completely bare, with no cloths, candles nor cross. The service is divided into three parts: Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. The priest and deacons wear red or black vestments. The liturgy starts with the priests and deacons going to the altar in silence and prostrating themselves for a few moments in silent prayer. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed for it signifies both the abasement of “earthly man,” and also the grief and sorrow of the Church. As the ministers enter, the faithful should be standing, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer. Then an introductory prayer is prayed.

In part one, the Liturgy of the Word, we hear the most famous of the Suffering Servant passages from Isaiah (52:13-53:12), a pre-figurement of Christ on Good Friday. Psalm 30 is the Responsorial Psalm “Father, I put my life in your hands.” The Second Reading, or Epistle, is from the letter to the Hebrews, 4:14-16; 5:7-9. The Gospel Reading is the Passion of St. John.

Part two is the Veneration of the Cross. A cross, either veiled or unveiled, is processed through the Church, and then venerated by the congregation. The cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration, since the personal adoration of the cross is a most important feature in this celebration. We joyfully venerate and kiss the wooden cross “on which hung the Savior of the world.” In the cross we see that Jesus Christ is the victorious Lord. During this time the “Reproaches” are usually sung or recited.

Part three, Holy Communion, concludes the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. The altar is covered with a cloth and the ciboriums containing the Blessed Sacrament are brought to the altar from the place of reposition. The Our Father and the Ecce Agnus Dei (“This is the Lamb of God”) are recited. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The congregation receives Holy Communion, there is a “Prayer After Communion,” and then a “Prayer Over the People,” and everyone departs in silence. It should be the only time during Good Friday where Holy Communion is distributed, other than distribution to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration. When communion has been distributed, the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside of the church.

After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains, however with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it and spend some time in meditation.

Things to do on Good Friday

This is a day of mourning. We should try to take time off from work and school to participate in the devotions and liturgy of the day as much as possible. In addition, we should refrain from extraneous conversation. Some families leave the curtains drawn, and maintain silence during the 3 hours (noon — 3p.m.), and keep from loud conversation or activities throughout the remainder of the day. We should also restrict ourselves from any TV, music or computer—these are all types of technology that can distract us from the spirit of the day.

Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as an obligation in the whole Church, and indeed, through abstinence and fasting. Although throughout Lent we have tried to mortify ourselves, it is appropriate to try some practicing extra mortifications today. These can be very simple, such as eating less at the small meals of fasting, or eating standing up. Some people just eat bread and soup, or just bread and water while standing at the table. Ireland, they practice the “black fast,” which is to consume nothing but black tea and water.

Sources:

Holy Thursday

With the celebration of Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday, “the Church begins the Easter Triduum and recalls the Last Supper in which the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, showing his love for those who were his own in the world, he gave his body and blood under the species of bread and wine offering to his Father and giving them to the Apostles so that they might partake of them, and he commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate this offering.”

Careful attention should be given to the mysteries that are commemorated in this Mass: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and Christ’s command of brotherly love.

Holy Thursday is also known as “Maundy Thursday.” The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum(commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet. We should imitate Christ’s humility in the washing of the feet.

By meditating on the Gospels (cf. Matt 26:1 ff.; Mark 14:1 ff.; Luke 22:1 ff.; John 13:1 ff.), we can recall to mind Jesus’ actions of that day. Father Bernard Strasser summarizes all the events of that first Holy Thursday:

…They included: (1) the eating of the Easter lamb or the paschal meal; (2) the washing of the disciple’s feet; (3) the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist (the first Mass at which Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, is the celebrant; the first Communion of the apostles; the first conferring of Holy Orders); (4) the foretelling of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denials; (5) the farewell discourse and priestly prayer of Jesus; (6) the agony and capture of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. — Father Bernard Strasser, With Christ Through the Year

Chrism Mass

There are only two Masses allowed on Holy Thursday — the Chrism Mass and the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In each diocese there is a Chrism Mass or Mass of the Holy Oils, usually said in the morning at the cathedral of the diocese. Catholics should make an effort to participate at the Mass at least once in their lives, to experience the communion of priests with their bishop. All the priests of the diocese are invited to concelebrate with the bishop. The holy oils to be used throughout the diocese for the following year in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick are blessed by the bishop at this Mass. This Mass also celebrates the institution of the priesthood.

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, all Masses without the participation of the people are forbidden on this day.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

The tabernacle should be completely empty before the celebration. Hosts for the communion of the faithful should be consecrated during that celebration. A sufficient amount of bread should be consecrated to provide also for communion the following day.

During the evening of Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. It is celebrated in the evening because the Passover began at sundown. There is only one Mass, at which the whole community and priests of the parish participate. This is a very joyful Mass, as we recall the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. The priests wear white vestments, the altar is filled with flowers, the “Gloria in excelsis” is sung and the bells are rung.

After the “Gloria in excelsis,” we shall not hear organ music and the bells until the “Gloria in excelsis” of the Easter Vigil. The Liturgy of the Mass recalls the Passover, the Last Supper, which includes the Washing of the Feet of chosen men which represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” The hymn Ubi Caritas” or Where Charity and Love Prevail” is usually sung at this time or during the offertory procession where gifts to the poor, especially those collected during Lent as the fruit of penance, may be presented.

After the postcommunion Prayer, there is no final blessing. The Holy Eucharist is carried in procession through church with the crossbearer at its head and accompanied by lighted candles and incense, and then transferred into a place of reposition, usually a side chapel. The hymn Pange Lingua is also usually sung at this time.

When the tabernacle is in a chapel separated from the central part of the church, it is appropriate to prepare the place of repose and adoration there. The Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a closed tabernacle or pyx. Under no circumstances may it be exposed in a monstrance. The place where the tabernacle or pyx is situated must not be made to resemble a tomb, and the expression tomb is to be avoided: for the chapel of repose is not prepared so as to represent the Lord’s burial but for the custody of the eucharistic bread that will be distributed in communion on Good Friday.

After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the faithful should be encouraged to spend a suitable period of time during the night in the church in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament that has been solemnly reserved to answer Christ’s invitation “Could you not, then, watch one hour with me?” (Matt 26:40). Where appropriate, this prolonged eucharistic adoration may be accompanied by the reading of some part of the gospel of Saint John (ch. 13-17). There is a tradition, particularly in big cities with many parishes, to try and visit seven churches and their altar of repose during this evening.

From midnight onward, however, the adoration should be made and conclude without external solemnity, for the day of the Lord’s passion has begun.

After Mass, we recall the Agony in the Garden, and the arrest and imprisonment of Jesus. The altar is stripped bare and any crosses in the church are removed or covered with a red or purple veil, unless they have already been veiled on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent. Lamps should not be lit before the images of saints.

Sources: