Habemus Papam!

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

The smoke began to pour out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 1:00pm Central Daylight Time.  Just over an hour later, the announcement was made:

HABEMUS PAPAM! We have a pope!

The name that God knows him by is Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

He was the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The name the world will know him by is Pope Francis – the FIRST!

Let us pray for Pope Francis today and all days of his glorious reign!

Advertisements

The Catechismal Crusader : Nunc Coepi

This past weekend, many from our community gathered at the wonderful Wynncliff Manor on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. The weekend was  full of prayer, meditations, and discussions focused on living a life at the foot of the cross amidst the busy world, which tied in perfectly to last week’s Mustard Seed “The Sanctification of Work”.  It is almost like it was planned that way. Almost.  Following Mass on Sunday morning,  everyone was content thinking the retreat was  winding down.  Little did they know that  Brad Frias was about to tie the entire retreat together (much like the way a Scooby Doo episode usually ends with the bad guys tied up) with his talk on perseverance titled Nunc Coepi (Now I begin).  And so in honor of the retreat, we ahve compiled here several catechism paragraphs pertaining to perseverance.  As we reach the last weeks of Lent let us not be discourgared by our failures, each fall let us humbly and bravely say Nunc Coepi, and begin again.

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.”44 To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith;45 it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.46

2728 Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have “great possessions,”15 we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: “‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!'”17

2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.37

EXTRA OMNES! Everybody out!

This morning around 11:30am local time, Msgr. Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies for the papal conclave, intoned the famous words: “Extra omnes!”, which command that everyone who is not a cardinal elector or a conclave secretary to vacate the Sistine Chapel immediately.  As soon as all those “extras” had filed out, Msgr. Marini dramatically closed the Sistine Chapel doors, and the papal conclave officially begun.

About two hours later, black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney.  No pope……YET!

The next time to look for smoke will be between 5-6am Central Time tomorrow when the ballots from the morning votes are burned.

Catechismal Crusader : In the World but not of the World

Tomorrow, Thursday March 7th, Mustard Seed will be highlighted by Juan Landa the founder of Mater Dei Tours, who will be discussing the importance of sanctifying ordinary work. It follows that this week the Crusader should focus on the role of the laity in the Church’s mission of holiness and evangelization. This topic also seems fitting for the Lenten season. Then again, most topics seem fitting for the Lenten season, except smiling. ( Just kidding you can smile on Sunday.) Of course this again is a joke, but Lent does call to mind a certain sense of rolling up the sleeves and getting down to the business of sanctification, even in the monotony that often accompanies everyday life.  Now maybe you are not familiar with the doldrums which creep into our lives from time to time, but if you, like me, sometimes find yourself slipping away from menial tasks like pipetting 3 uL 976 times then I expect this talk will be just what we need to help us become saints!  And I hope these paragraphs set the stage for holiness in the world:

897 “The term ‘laity’ is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World.”430

898 “By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . . It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.”431

899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:

 Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.432

901 “Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives.”434

913 “Thus, every person, through these gifts given to him, is at once the witness and the living instrument of the mission of the Church itself ‘according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal.”‘452

 

This week let us pray that we may give glory to God in all we do and offer any resistance we may have within ourselves for the upcoming conclave!

Sede Vacante.

As of 1:00pm Central Standard Time, the See (seat) of the Diocese of Rome is vacant, and we have no Pope.

Benedict XVI, who will now be known as Supreme Pontiff Emeritus, departed the city of Rome this morning via helicopter for the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, about 30 kilometers southeast of Vatican City.

AP Photo/Michael Sohn

AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Once he arrived at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, he greeted the lay faithful with a few words, and said, “I am simply a pilgrim starting the final stage of his pilgrimage on this earth.  But I would like yet again, with my heart, my love, my prayers, my reflection, with all of my interior strength, to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity . . . let us go forward together with the Lord for the good of the Church and of the world.  I impart to you now my blessing with all of my heart.”

And then, at 8:00pm in Castel Gandolfo, in front of the papal villa, the Swiss Guard departed from their post and ceremonially gave the duty of protecting the pope to the Vatican police, and the Diocese of Rome became sede vacante, a “vacant see (seat)”.  You can watch this changing of the guard in this video (the event happens around minute 8:45 and continues for a few minutes after that).

Perhaps you could offer a prayer in thanksgiving for the holy and beautiful eight-year reign of Benedict XVI, pope emeritus, sometime today?

Saying goodbye: Benedict’s final Wednesday Audience

AP/Gregorio Borgia

AP/Gregorio Borgia

Today the Holy Father said an emotional, moving goodbye to tens of thousands of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, as well as to the one billion Catholics throughout the world who call him shepherd.  The crowd was vibrant and alive, and the Holy Father said so himself, remarking early in his remarks: “La Chiesa è viva!” (“The Church is alive!”)  It was also a remarkably beautiful February morning in Rome, for which the Pope thanked God our Creator.

Some of the more beautiful passages of his audience:

I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit.  I gather everyone and everything in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Colossians 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s Word of Truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life.  The Gospel purifies and renews; it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity.  This is my faith, this is my joy.

When … I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry …the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me?  It is a great weight that you place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord has really guided me.  He has been close to me: daily I could feel his presence.  [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments.  I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat in the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been – and the Lord seemed to sleep.  Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in his barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His – and He shall not let her sink.  It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He destined it to be so.  This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish.  It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord.  I would like that we all entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk everyday, even in times of struggle.  I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love.  I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian.  A beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart, I thank you for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us!  Let us thank God for this everyday, with prayer and a coherent Christian life.  God love us, but He also expects that we love Him!

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church.  I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind.  Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

The “always” is also a “forever” – there is no returning to private life.  My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry does not revoke this.  I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on.  I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord.  I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds.  St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me.  He showed me a way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and power of the Holy Spirit.

In the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love.

Catechismal Crusader : Marriage

As we move forward this week please Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Catholic Church, and the College of Cardinals in your prayers. This week we highlight the Church’s view on marriage, in preparation for the Badger Catholic sponsored event this Thursday, in which Sherif Girgis will present a talk on the secular defence of tradition marriage. As always enjoy! (and please feel free to read the many other paragraphs pertaining to this beautiful topic found here.

 

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.90 Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'”91

1641 “By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God.”147 This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.”148

1642Christ is the source of this grace. “Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony.”149 Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,”150 and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.151

And this just gives a little context.  There is some much more  of the beauty of marriage just waiting to be discovered!

 

The Pope’s Final Angelus Address

Yesterday in St. Peter’s Square, from the window of his apartment in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father led upwards of 200,000 people in the Angelus, a short prayer recited at noon that honors Our Lord’s Incarnation in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as he does on every Sunday that he is in Rome.  At this Angelus, the last of his pontificate, he also shared additional details about his resignation:

The Lord is calling me to “go up the mountain” to dedicate myself to prayer and meditation.  But this does not mean that I will abandon the Church, rather … it is because I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love which which I have sought to do until now, but in a way more suited to my age and my strength.

I thank you for your affection and sharing in this particular moment in my life and for the Church, especially through your prayers.  To all I wish a good day and a good week.  In prayer we are always close to each other.  Thank you all!

The Holy Father’s reign as pope will conclude at 1:00pm Central Time (8:00pm Rome Time) on Thursday, February 28th.  When the See of Peter is vacant (sede vacante), the Cardinals will gather and determine a start date for the conclave to elect Benedict’s successor.  The Church needs our prayers in this time!  Why not say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be today for Pope Benedict, his successor, and the cardinal electors in the conclave?

The Catechismal Crusader : The Bishop of Rome

This week we find our hero tarrying deep with the paragraphs of Church hierarchy.  It seems only fitting that was we enter the last week of  Pope Benedict’s reign we pause to review those paragraphs directly tied to the institution of the “Holy Catholic Church” and her mission.  Enjoy!

874 Christ is himself the source of ministry in the Church. He instituted the Church. He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal:

In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body. The holders of office, who are invested with a sacred power, are, in fact, dedicated to promoting the interests of their brethren, so that all who belong to the People of God . . . may attain to salvation.389
880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them.”398 Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.”399
882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”402“For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”403
883 “The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head.” As such, this college has “supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.”404
The governing office
896 The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and “form” of the bishop’s pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, “the bishop . . . can have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children. . . . The faithful . . . should be closely attached to the bishop as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father”:428
Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God’s law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop.429
Please take an opportunity this week to pray for our Holy Father and the Church.  We will continue to pray a rosary in the chapel each Monday at 8:40 until the election of the next successor of Peter!  All are welcome!

Papal Resignation Roundup

Well, folks, it’s been quite the week.  Besides our annual entrance into Lent on Wednesday, Monday also saw the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – the first pope to do this in centuries.  As we look to the end of Benedict’s pontificate, the “interregnum” (literally, between reigns), the conclave, and, finally, the election of a new pope, it promises to be an exciting month for the Church and for the world.

We’ll do what we can to keep you updated on news as it develops.  To start, here are a few great articles, videos, and general quotes to consider if you’re in need of playing catch-up on resignation news:

In Benedict’s Own Words:

Reaction from bishops in the United States:

Remembering Benedict’s Legacy

What’s next?  
The Church awaits word on a conclave date, which is to be determined by the cardinals who will elect the next pope.

What should I do? 
This is a unique time in the life of the Church.  The best thing any of us can do is to pray very much for the Holy Father, the cardinal electors who will participate in the conclave, and the next man who will be Successor to St. Peter, known, at this moment, only to God.  If you are interested, join us for a rosary in the St. Paul’s Chapel at 8:40PM on Monday nights, starting on February 18th and ending upon the election of a new pope.  

Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us and pray for the Pope!