Saturday, January 30, 2016

From Archbishop Sample's Last Diocese - Michigan Bishop Inaugurates Program to have Chant at all Parishes.

This story was suggested by a VOCAL reader.

Catholic World News

January 29, 2016

Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette, Michigan, has issued directions for all parishes in the diocese to institute programs that will lead to the congregation chanting the Ordinary parts of the Mass.
Following up on the work of his predecessor in Marquette, then-Bishop Alexander Sample (who is now Archbishop of Portland, Oregon), Bishop Doerfler has called for the action to carry out the vision of Vatican II, which encouraged the use of Gregorian chant and congregational involvement in the singing.

In a pastoral letter released in 2013, Bishop Sample had also called attention to the Council's directives on liturgical music, as well as similar directives from post-conciliar Pontiffs and from the US episcopal conference. "Given all of this strong teaching from the Popes, the Second Vatican Council, and the US bishops, how is it that this ideal concerning Gregorian chant has not been realized?" he asked. Bishop Doerfler said that he was taking action to realize his predecessor's ideal.
Therefore, the bishop said, all parishes in the Marquette diocese will be expected to teach chant to the faithful, and introduce the regular chanting of the Ordinary parts of the Mass. These steps, Bishop Doerfler said, "can be taken by the smallest parishes in the diocese." He ordered that all parishes have chant programs in place by the end of the year 2020.

Bishop Doerfler also announced that the diocese would prepare its own hymnal, and only music from that hymnal will be approved for use at Mass in the diocese. He said that a diocesan director of sacred music will be appointed, to help parishes instruct the faithful and prepare for the new programs.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Archdiocese Now Serving Only Fair Trade Coffee.

Years agos, before Archbishop Sample's arrival, the second floor of the Pastoral Center had a coffee cart filled with air-pots of Starbucks coffee. (Starbucks is across the street as is Whole Foods).  There were different flavors of syrup for the coffee as well as Lindor candies wrapped in colorful paper.  Extra-sized cookies were also available.  

This was observed twice and months apart.  Others noticed the same thing so it seemed to be the norm. 

Having "Fair-trade" coffee that is more expensive, probably, shows more of a mentality of wealth and doesn't seem to put  "collection plate money" to good use.  In fact, bringing a thermos of coffee from home is more "Catholic" than using Fair trade coffee and might be more appropriate to put on the front page.   But this might be just a matter of opinion. 

Here are some links on the subject.

                                   Archdiocese Serving Fair Trade Coffee

Employees at the Archdiocese of Portland pastoral center stop for a coffee break.

The Archdiocese of Portland will serve only fair trade coffee at the Pastoral Center in Northeast Portland. The move is meant to help the archdiocese live consistently with Catholic social teaching, since fair trade coffee benefits the poor and vulnerable instead of large corporations.

“Fair trade coffee supports farmers in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized,” says Matt Cato director of the archdiocese’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace. “Fair trade guarantees that small-scale coffee bean farmers in Third-World countries achieve a fair price for their beans.”

Cato says fair trade promotes the dignity of workers by ensuring fair wages and by helping vulnerable producers maintain their livelihoods when traditional economic structures shut them out.

“Fair trade is Catholic,” Cato says. “Fair trade coffee costs a little but more, but it is the right thing to do.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Angel of Dachau: Pope Francis declares concentration camp priest a martyr

.- Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, a young priest with Czech roots serving in Germany and Austria, was arrested by the Nazis on April 21, 1941.
His crime? Preaching against the Third Reich from his pulpit, particularly against their treatment of the Jewish people. He encouraged his congregation to be faithful to God and to resist the lies of the Nazi regime.

As punishment, Fr. Unzeitig was sent to what has been called the “largest monastery in the world”: Dachau concentration camp, which became renowned for the number of ministers and priests within its walls.

Venerable Engelmar Unzeitig, CMM, whom Pope Francis declared a martyr last week. 
The camp housed some 2,700 clergy, roughly 95 percent of whom were Catholic priests from Poland, making it one of the largest residences for priests in the history of the Church – hence the name.
Father Unzeitig was just 30 years old, and two years ordained, when he was sent to Dachau. Born in Greifendorf, in what is now the Czech Republic, in 1911, Fr. Unzeitig joined the seminary at the age of 18 and became a priest for the Mariannhill Mission Society, whose motto is: “If no one else will go: I will go!”

While imprisoned at the camp, Father studied Russian in order to be able to help the influx of prisoners from Eastern Europe, and had a reputation at the camp as a holy man.

Treatment of the priests and ministers at Dachau was unpredictable – sometimes they were allowed to worship, at others they were severely treated. On one particular Good Friday, dozens of priests were selected for torture to mark the occasion.

For several years, Fr. Unzeitig was able to remain in relatively stable health despite the poor treatment he received. However, when a wave of the often-fatal typhoid fever swept through the camp in 1945, he and 19 other priests volunteered to do what no one else wanted to – care for the sick and dying in the typhoid barracks, an almost-certain death sentence in and of itself. He and his companions spent their days bathing and caring for the sick, praying with them and offering last rites.

Despite his bleak circumstances, Fr. Unzeitig found his hope and joy in his faith, as evidenced in letters to his sister from the camp:

“Whatever we do, whatever we want, is surely simply the grace that carries us and guides us. God’s almighty grace helps us overcome obstacles … love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, makes us feel content and inwardly free. If people would only realize what God has in store for those who love him!” he wrote.

In another letter he wrote:

"Even behind the hardest sacrifices and worst suffering stands God with his Fatherly love, who is satisfied with the good will of his children and gives them and others happiness."

Eventually, on March 2, 1945, Fr. Unzeitig succumbed to typhoid fever himself, along with all but two of the other priest volunteers. Dachau was liberated by American soldiers just a few weeks later, on April 29.

In recognition of his heroic virtue, Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig was declared venerable by Benedict XVI on July 3, 2009.

On January 21, Pope Francis officially acknowledged Fr. Unzeitig as a martyr, killed in hatred of the faith, which opens the path for his beatification, the next step in becoming a canonized saint.

Friday, January 22, 2016

From 2011. Oregon Catholic Priest and Evangelical Minister: "Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, why does the Archdiocese of Portland belong to this?"

2016 VOCAL. We cannot be blind to the fact that all "Ecumenical and Inter-religious" activities are with progressive churches.  There is no connection with protestant churches that support family values and not same-sex relationships.  There are no Christian churches that are pro-life included in EMO. 

With Matt Cato, our Office of Life, Justice and Peace on the steering committee of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, which is our "outreach" to other churches,  what are we afraid of to include Oregon Family Council churches that are very confused about the Catholics in Oregon.

Below are letters, one from a Catholic priest and one from a prominent Protestant minister from a few years ago, but things have not changed. 

Dear Father and Pastor... Thank you for giving me your observations of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.   You represent true ecumenism.  Maybe by your words Oregon Catholics will now understand the problem.......God Bless, VOCAL

 "To Whom it may concern, (from anonymous Oregon Catholic priest),
While it would be tough for me to weigh in on an internal Catholic issue, I can have a personal opinion overall.  The biggest problem I have is that if you believe what you claim to believe, why would you put time and energy into an Organization that actively works against that belief?  EMO, clearly and unequivocally, has the position that gays and lesbians are not engaged in unnatural sexual relations, essentially they hold homosexual behavior to be OK.
Last time I looked, the Catholic Church still, and rightly so under the bible, believe homosexual behavior to be unnatural and immoral.  While many of their programs for social justice are great, the Catholic Church doesn’t need to belong to advance those noble causes they do promote.
  It is one thing to love and tolerate all sinners, it is quite another to say their sin is ok and free of consequences.  By belonging to EMO the Catholic Church is compromising their own values, for what benefit?  Whatever benefits they believe come from membership can easily be obtained other ways without giving tacit approval to the homosexual lifestyle.
 I am all for having a loving and open dialogue with other Christians about our different interpretations of scripture, but why do I have to join their organization?  Of the five (5) largest denominations in Oregon (by number of members in the State), (Catholic, Mormon, Assemblies of God and Evangelical Lutheran and Foursquare), the Catholic Church is the only one who chooses to be a member.  In looking at the statistics, the EMO, absent the Catholic Church, represents a very small minority of Oregon Church goers, about 10%.  Here is the link to that info, 
Paul and Peter: Icon of True Ecumenism
 The bottom line is, they have an important belief that runs counter to Church doctrine; and without the Catholic Church, they really represent a very small number of Oregon church goers.  So why get involved?"

Thank you for this forum to speak. VOCAL.

True Ecumenism in Action: A leading Evangelical Ministry leader that works across denominational lines in both Oregon, Washington and nationally made these remarks regarding Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO)

"My observations about EMO are very, very bad. They represent everything the Evangelical Church disdains, are not true followers of the Scriptures, and use them only as a useful garment to cover their truly humanistic and misguided perception of 'truth.'

They misconstrue true Biblical Theology to serve their preconceived ideas about what is right and wind up twisting and interpreting the Scriptures to agree with their humanist religious views.

They represent only a small fraction of 'Churches' in Oregon and the Evangelical Church considers them 'apostate.' We do not agree in the least with their support of 'domestic partnerships' nor granting rights to any class of people based on their sexual behavior, which EMO clearly does. 

In fact, we are appalled that Catholic Leadership, after what they have gone through in Oregon and throughout the nation, is even willing to align themselves with any group that supports the homosexual agenda. It sends the signal to any and everyone that the Catholic Church leadership has still not walked away from this sordid relationship.

For the Catholic Church to align with the EMO and in support of homosexual behavior is to deny everything that the Catholic Church teaches, and to alienate many, many Catholics from Catholic Church leadership.

It is actually to be out of step with the Pope and the Vatican, and it castes a long shadow of distrust and alienation from the Evangelical Christian world in working together on other areas of mutual interest."  

From the Holy Father's Own Words.....

Pope Benedict XVI has declared his commitment to the Second Vatican Council's Ecumenism, but has stressed a hermeneutic of continuity in Catholic doctrine so that Ecumenism never really becomes a break from the bi-millennial Church tradition.

St Peter's Square on 7 June 2006

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


World Youth Day in Poland brings this to mind.  We don't know if the kids would be close to this area, but it's a good history lesson about our Pope Saint John Paul II's homeland.

Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe .
For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique.
Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.

From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that
hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred
meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral
and underground lake.



Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded
in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just
that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of
their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created
their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral
they left behind for posterity.


It may feel like you are in the middle of a Jules Verne adventure as you descend in to the depths of the world.
After a one hundred and fifty meter climb down wooden stairs the visitor to the salt mine will see some
amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga.
The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more than just a long term
hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship.

Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn from the ground
and then thrown together; however, the process is rather more painstaking for the lighting. After extraction
the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it
achieved a glass-like finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will
be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock
salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like ) ...

Still, that doesn’t stop well over one million visitors (mainly from Poland and its eastern European neighbours )
from visiting the mine to see, amongst other things, how salt was mined in the past.

For safety reasons less than one percent of the mine is open to visitors, but even that is still almost four
kilometres in length – more than enough to weary the average tourist after an hour or two. The mine was
closed for two reasons – the low price of salt on the world market made it too expensive to extract here.
Also, the mine was slowly flooding – another reason why visitors are restricted to certain areas only.

The religious carvings are, in reality, what draw many to this mine – as much for their amazing verisimilitude
as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the crucifixion. He
shows the doubter, Saint Thomas , the wounds on his wrists. 

Another remarkable carving, this time a take on The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have
gone into the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought
of their work going on general display? They came to be quite used to it, in fact, even during the mine’s
busiest period in the nineteenth century. The cream of Europe ’s thinkers visited the site – you can still see
many of their names in the old visitor’s books on display.

These reliefs are perhaps among some of the most iconographic works of Christian folk art in the world and
really do deserve to be shown. It comes as little surprise to learn that the mine was placed on the original list
of UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978.

Not all of the work is relief-based. There are many life sized statues that must have taken a considerable
amount of time – months, years – to create. Within the confines of the mine there is also much to be learned
about the miners from the machinery and tools that they used – many of which are on display and are
centuries old. A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now
the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine – and then
evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would
soon become flooded once again.

Not all of the statues have a religious or symbolic imagery attached to them. The miners had a sense of humour,
after all! Here can be seen their own take on the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The intricately
carved dwarves must have seemed to some of the miners a kind of ironic depiction of their own work.

The miners even threw in a dragon for good measure! Certainly, they may have whistled while they did it but
the conditions in the salt mine were far from comfortable and the hours were long – the fact that it was
subterranean could hardly have added to the excitement of going to work each morning.

To cap it all there is even an underground lake, lit by subdued electricity and candles. This is perhaps where
the old legends of lakes to the underworld and Catholic imagery of the saints work together to best leave a
lasting impression of the mine.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Chalking the Door: An Epiphany House Blessing 2016

Every year the Carmelite Pre-novitiate Community at Carith House in Chicago on the Feast of the Epiphany blesses their home.

We invite you to adopt this custom in your family. The family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 16. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2016 is the year.

Blessing the Chalk (VOCAL says, any chalk will do, preferably white)

V. Our help is the name of the Lord:
R. The maker of heaven and earth.
V. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
R. From this time forth for evermore.

Let us pray.
Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Instructions for Blessing the Home

Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 16 while saying:
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and fifteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.”

Daryl Moresco, OCarm.
Daryl Moresco, OCarm.
Br. Daryl Moresco OCarm. is the Director of Vocations and the Pre-Novitiate formation program for the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (Chicago) Province.