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September 2017

Good King Wenceslas Looked Out On the Feast of Stephen


Wenceslas and His Page


...As the lyrics to the well-known Christmas carol go. He saw a poor man gathering firewood and asked his page who the man was. The page identified the man and the king (actually Duke Wenceslas) determined to set out and bring the man food and drink on the First Day of Christmas. 

The storm intensified as the king and the page set out toward the man's dwelling and the page lost heart. The king encouraged him to follow in his footsteps without looking into the wind and he regained spirit for the difficult journey.

Today we celebrate Wenceslas' feast day, who was eventually assassinated by a pagan brother in a struggle for the throne.








St. Lorenzo Ruiz and companions were a group of Christian missionaries canonized by St. Pope John Paul II for their martyrdom under the Towogawa

St. Lorenzo Ruiz at Shrine in Nagasaki, Japan

Shogunate in Japan during the 17th century. Ruiz, a Filipino catechist, is the protomartyr of the Phillipines and their national patron saint.




St. Vincent de Paul

DePaulThis is the statue of St. Vincent dePaul in St. Peter's Basilica. It's not the usual representation of St. Vincent with children on his lap or giving service to the poor. It depicts his determination to serve God and God's people throughout his life, whether he was enslaved or free, in favor at court or ostracized, healthy or sick. His last words were reportedly confido, I trust. It takes a trusting faith for lifelong witness to the gospel. Through St. Vincent's example and intercession, let us ask God for such durable faith.


Do Not Light A Lamp and Place It Under A Bushel Basket

Flame1Jesus' warning in today's gospel about whoever seems to have little it will be taken away, while to those who have, more will be given is understood in the context of the remarks about not lighting a lamp and placing it under a bushel basket or under a bed. It echoes the parable of the talents, wherein the servant who buried his talent had it confiscated upon his master's return. 

Our faith is not meant to be hidden or stashed away for emergencies only. It is to be lived and to shine as brightly as we can burn. If we only have recourse to faith rarely and bury it away, we may find that it is extinguished entirely just when we need it most.


Saint Matthew, Apostle and Martyr

Saint Matthew's conversion must be one of the quickest in Scripture. Jesus invited him to follow and he did. There's no indication that he asked Jesus if he could wait until closing time or give him some time to think about it, or flesh-out the 3 year plan.  That Jesus would call a hated tax-collector to be one of his closest associates was bad enough, but then Jesus attended the party Matthew threw in his home with party-goers who were not exactly on the A list of Pharisaical Society. Quite a lot to pray about in this story about call and conversion.

There seems to be little excuse for not accepting Jesus' invitation to discipleship as Matthew did, don't you think?

Matthew Symbol
Matthew Symbol from Book of Kells


Matthew and Angel


Korean Martyrs

ShrineThe truth about Jesus Christ also reached Korean soil. It came by means of books brought from China. And in a most marvellous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the Risen Savior.

Yearning for an ever greater share in the Christian faith, your ancestors sent one of their own in 1784 to Peking, where he was baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, a community unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact that it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could already boast of some ten thousand martyrs. 

St. Pope John Paul II, homily at canonization of Korean Martyrs.


Sacrament of the Sick

Sacrament of the SickToday's gospel of Jesus healing the centurion's servant reminds us about the treasure we have in the Church's Sacrament of the Sick.

Finally rescued from being viewed as an anointing for heaven, it is now seen as a prayer and anointing for healing, to be called for sooner rather than later in our battle against sickness and disease. 

This new insight bears repeating and constant example by inviting, when appropriate, family members and loved ones to be present at the Sacrament of the Sick. The spiritual peace and strength bestowed by the sacrament is a beautiful ally for physical healing if recovery is hoped for. In hospice care, a peaceful and consoling presence of God can rest on the anointed.


Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Blessed Feast Day Everyone!

With great respect for Pierro della Francesca I've repaired his beautiful fresco of the Proving of the Holy Cross, the portion of his fresco series in Arezzo that most closely mirrors our Holy Cross Window, now in the choir loft.

This weekend would be a great time to read a little about the origin of the feastday and the history of St. Helena's pilgrimages to the Holy Land. 


Photoshopped version of the Death of Adam
An Imaginary "Repaired" Version of the Death of Adam

Certain of the panels have more deterioration than others. In many of them the blue sky has flaked and disappeared, and in the Death of Adam, above, many of the greens have faded and disappeared. Looking at della Francesca's other paintings, it isn't too hard to either copy or modify the trees from his intact paintings to fill in the background of the trees in "Death of Adam." The Tree of Life is taken from a the panel of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. Some have argued that half of the tree was dead and half living. I'm not sure, but here's what it might look like if it were intact. Trees figure prominently in some of his other panels in this series and in his Baptism of Jesus by John, for instance. 

As we pray what kind of art to put in our reredos, it is well to consider the history of the iconography of the "Invention of the True Cross" in art.


Our Lady of Sorrows is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, traditionally numbered as seven. Though paintings and statues of this aspect of Mary's life properly show her sorrowful, we can be assured that Mary was not a sad person. Throughout the sorrows she experienced, there were also joys and blessings. Her faith and trust in Her Son provided the inner peace necessary to sustain her.

Let us pray for the blessing of the inner peace which comes from faith in Jesus' Resurrection from the dead and his promise of eternal rest with Him in heaven.


Exile Can Be Death
St. John Chrysostom in St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. John Chrysostom lived when the Emperors of Constantinople exercised great influence in the Eastern Church. He was exiled from Constantinople, having run afoul of the Emperor and Empress, and since his letters from exile even held great influence, banished to a further city during his second exile. He died on route to the more distant destination.


Our liturgical opening prayer calls him an “illustrious” preacher whose zeal for the truth of the gospel was “invincible.” As you probably know, his name means “golden mouth” for his preaching eloquence.

Social scientists are now discovering the ill effects of loneliness  on our population, including premature death. Though John’s living conditions were undoubtedly harsh, living in exile brings its own burdens.

Let us pray for God to give us the eloquence to defend His truth in this day and for the compassion to console the left-out and lonely.

The Dogma Lives Loudly Within You



Letter from Notre Dame President to Sen. Feinstein

Honorable Dianne Feinstein

United States Senate

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

September 9, 2017

Dear Senator Feinstein:

Considering your questioning of my colleague Amy Coney Barrett during the judicial confirmation hearing of September 6, I write to express my confidence in her competence and character, and deep concern at your line of questioning.

Professor Barrett has been a member of our faculty since 2002, and is a graduate of our law school. Her experience as a clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is of the highest order. So, too, is her scholarship in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law and statutory interpretation. I am not a legal scholar, but I have heard no one seriously challenge her impeccable legal credentials.

Your concern, as you expressed it, is that “dogma lives loudly in [Professor Barrett], and that is a concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.” I am one in whose heart “dogma lives loudly," as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation. Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology.

Professor Barrett has made it clear that she would “follow unflinchingly” all legal precedent and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself. I can assure you that she is a person of integrity who acts in accord with the principles she articulates.

It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge. I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom “dogma lives loudly”—which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.


Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.



Statement from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty has issued the following statement in response to the line of questioning directed at a federal judicial nominee earlier this week.    

Archbishop Lori's full statement follows: 

"America has a strong and venerable tradition of pluralism that respects all religious views. In this context, this week's hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is deeply disappointing. Rather than simply consider the professional achievements of a nominee for the federal judiciary, multiple senators challenged her fitness to serve due to her Catholic faith. 

Such questions are not just contrary to our Constitution and our best national traditions, which protect the free exercise of one's faith and reject religious tests for public office, they are offensive to basic human rights. They also, sadly, harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order. These comments are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against latent bigotries that may still infect our national soul.

Were the comments of the Senators meant as a warning shot to future law students and attorneys, that they should never discuss their faith in a public forum, if they have aspirations to serve in the federal judiciary? In truth, we should be encouraging faithful, ethical attorneys to serve in public office, not discouraging them by subjecting them to inappropriate, unnecessary interrogation based on their religious beliefs.

People of faith—whatever faith they may hold—should not be disqualified because of that faith from serving the public good. Rather than hold people of faith in suspicion, our laws and lawmakers should tolerate, if not celebrate, the role faith has in society and in the lives of individuals. To do otherwise is contrary to the ideals of a healthy, pluralistic society."

Mass For the Opening of the School Year

Thank you to our teachers who took the lead as Liturgical Ministers this morning at our opening mass for the academic year. It was great to see both the returning students and so many new faces as they prayed reverently for the Holy Cross School family which gathered today for the first time in church.

Flowers from a Weekend Wedding Adorned the Church
First Mass_01a
8th Graders and Their 1st Grade Prayer Buddies Head Back to Their Classrooms


First Mass_01a
Students Gather Under Jesus Calming The Storm Statue. We prayed for the intensity of the storms to lessen and for the generosity of those who can help alleviate the storm's impact.

On A Sunny Day You Can See St. Cloud

Saint Cloud in the Cloud
Saint Cloud in the Cloud

There really is a St. Cloud - a grandson of King Clovis. He was one of four brothers whose uncle was determined to eliminate them and clear his own way to the throne and the only one of his brothers who escaped assassination. 

St. Cloud took refuge with a French archbishop and became a hermit, at first living in exile, but later returning to Paris where he was ordained a priest and continued to serve the people as a simple cleric.

He earned a reputation for holiness and prayer, devotion to the Eucharist and charity toward all. He is the patron saint of the Diocese of St. Cloud Minnesota.

Saint Onesiphorus

Modified from Wikipedia
Manuscript Showing Sosthenes, Apollo, Cephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Cæsar and Onesiphorus.

Since Onesiphorus was named by St. Paul in Scripture, you'd think he'd be familiar to more people. When we realize that Onesiphorus was thanked by Paul, not only for embracing the faith, but for being loyal and helpful to Paul imprisoned in Rome, we have an example of true friendship for all ages.

He was apparently a convert to the faith in Ephesus and by one tradition was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus two-by-two. Not only was he helpful to Paul at Ephesus, but traveled to Rome and tracked him down in prison in order to visit. 

Onesiporus was martyred for the Christian faith.

May his witness to Christ and his fidelity to Paul even when it was unpopular be an inspiration for us all today.

Welcome Back to Holy Cross School Students

Welcome back to returning and new students at Holy Cross School. It's hard to believe summer vacation is over but the cooler weather has been giving us hints for the last couple of days. Hopefully the cooler weather will stay with us.

The teachers have been preparing diligently for the arrival of our students and the facilities have been spruced up inside and outside too.

Our opening school liturgy is on Friday. By then, everyone should be settled a bit and ready for formal prayer.


Hurricane Harvey Relief Collection At Today's Masses

Thank you for your generosity to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Collection the bishop has asked us to take up this weekend. If the emergency collection caught you unawares, feel free to bring or send your envelope to the Parish Office over the next week and we will forward the funds to Bishop O'Connell who has promised to forward the funds directly to Cardinal Archbishop DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.