THE OLD ROMAN 01/iii/20

news, views & info


… to this twenty-sixth edition of “The Old Roman” a weekly dissemination of news, views and information for and from around the world reflecting the experience and life of 21C “Old Romans” i.e. western Orthodox Catholics across the globe.
CONTRIBUTIONS… news items, magazine, devotional or theological articles, prayer requests, features about apostolates and parish mission life are ALL welcome and may be submitted via email. Submissions should be sent by Friday for publication the following Sunday.

The Old Roman View…

Last Sunday, Quinquagesima, holy Mother Church reminded us that the correct and only approach to Lent for the devout and sincere Christian to have, is one of absolute love for God. Meaning that all our sacrifices, our penances, fasting, abstinence and prayer will only have meaning and benefit for us if we genuinely offer them for and in love of God.
Old Romans cannot fail to observe that many of our contemporaries so rarely keep a “proper” Lent, certainly not by our standards, let alone those of times past! Even so, while we may generally observe this discrepancy, nonetheless it is not our place either to castigate individuals nor pride ourselves on our own seemingly higher endeavour! Instead we should keep counsel and our opinions to ourselves, praying like the publican rather than the haughty pharisee, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” [Cf Luke 18:9-14]
We would do well to remember as Old Romans that many of our contemporaries appear lax in their devotion in part through genuine ignorance. Generations of Catholics today have not been taught the customs and traditions of the Church, the poor quality and paucity of catechesis is such that many contemporary Catholics are surprised when confronted with authentic orthodox devotion and praxis! But here then is an opportunity for us as Old Romans to lead by example, remembering Our Lord’s warning about judging [cf Matthew 7:1-3].
So many of our Old Roman chapels and missions are attended by those who realised through their experience of contemporary Catholicism that “something was missing”, that they weren’t quite getting “the real deal”. This often happens when enthusiastic converts begin researching the history of our Faith, they discover its traditions, customs and cultural practices and begin to see the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the contemporary Church. It is vitally important then that our own witness within our congregations conveys an authentic presentation and experience of Catholic Tradition. But in order for that to be realised, its necessary that we practice true charity in all that we do and say.
Remembering then the lessons of Quinquagesima and indeed the first three days of Lent beginning with Ash Wednesday about penance, Thursday about prayer and Friday about fasting and alms-giving, we should as Old Romans be careful to ensure that our praxis is motivated by charity, true love of God. Credidimus Caritati (we have believed in Love), in the love of God for us, otherwise why are we Christians? Lent is our opportunity to demonstrate to God, through our sacrifices, token expressions of our love and fidelity to Him, and if we offer these genuinely, not only will they be of benefit spiritually for ourselves, but for others around us too. The economy of the Divine Charity requires the love of God to be shared, to be lived, to be experienced; that which we have received through faith, hope and charity we must share with others.
Through our alms-giving, through our acts of charity, through our prayers, even through our fasting, others should benefit. By offering our discipline and observances for the intentions of others, by our actions positively impacting others, by our giving and by praying for others, we can share our experience of the love of and for God. This is how Old Romans should witness to Tradition, not by the petty scruples of tick-boxing religion, but by the genuine living out of sacrificial love in our communities, both within and without the Church.
Remember that we exist as Old Romans deliberately to perpetuate and continue that which we in our turn received from the generations of faithful Catholic Christians that went before us. Let us help Old Romans and others, everywhere, experience a truly awe-inspiring and life-changing Lent this year for credidimus caritati… et Caritas Christi urget nos! [2Cor5:14]

Why not offer your Lenten discipline for the gift of Faith and conversion for a loved or dear one… Offer your fasting, abstinence, alms or prayers for the salvation of a relative, friend, colleague or acquaintance…

ORDO w/c Sunday 01 March 2020 Vol. I Issue No. xxvi

S01.03Quadragesima I
Com. St David of Wales
Station at St John Lateran
(V) Missa “Invocabit me”
In Wales, UK
St David, Patron of Wales
Com. Sunday Lent I
(W) Missa “Statuit ei Dominus”

2a) of St David
3a) of Saints

2a) of Lent I

PLG of Lent I
M02.03Feria II Quadragesima I
Station at St Peter’s Chains
(V) Missa “Sicut óculi”  
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) Pro.Eccles
noGl.Pref.of Lent
T03.03Feria III Quadragesima I
Station at St Anastasia’s
(R) Missa “Dómine, refúgium”  
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) Pro.Eccles
noGl.Pref.of Lent
W04.03Feria IV EMBER
Com. St Casimir, Confessor
Station at St Mary Major
(V) Missa “Reminíscere”  
s.d2a) S. Casimir
3a) of Saints
noGl.Pref.of Lent
T05.03Feria V Quadragesima I
Station at St Laurence in Panispera
(V) Missa “Conféssio”    
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) living&dead
noGl.Pref.of Lent
F06.03Feria VI EMBER
Com. SS. Perpetua & Felicitas, Mm
Station at The Twelve Apostles
(V) Missa “De necessitátibus”  
s.d2a) of the Martyrs
3a) of Saints
noGl.Pref.of Lent
Com. St Thomas Aquinas, Doctor
Station at St Peter’s
(V) Missa “Intret oratio”  
s.d2a) St Thomas
3a) of Saints
noGl.Pref.of Lent

PLG of Doctors
S08.03Quadragesima II
Com. St John of God
Station at St Mary’s in Dominica
(V) Missa “Reminiscere
s.d2a) S. John of God
3a) of Saints

KEY: A=Abbot A cunctis=of the Saints B=Bishop BD=Benedicamus Domino BVM=Blessed Virgin Mary C=Confessor Com=Commemoration Cr=Creed D=Doctor d=double d.i/ii=double of the 1st/2nd Class E=Evangelist F=Feria Gl=Gloria gr.d=greater-double (G)=Green H=Holy K=King M=Martyr mpal=missae pro aliquibus locis Mm=Martyrs Pent=Pentecost P=Priest PP/PostPent=Post Pentecost PLG=Proper Last Gospel Pref=Preface ProEccl=for the Church (R)=Red s=simple s-d=semi-double Co=Companions V1=1st Vespers V=Virgin v=votive (V)=violet W=Widow (W)=white *Ob.=Obligation 2a=second oration 3a=third oration

Ritual Notes

From Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described by Fr Adrian Fortesque

  • The time from Septuagesima Sunday to Ash Wednesday partakes in many ways, but not in all, in the character of Lent. The colour of the season is purple from Septuagesima to Easter.
  • The Te Deum is not said at matins, nor the Gloria in excelsis at Mass, except on feasts.
  • At the end of Mass the deacon (or celebrant) says Benedicamus Domino instead of Ite missa est.
  • In no case is the word Alleluia used at all from Septuagesima till it returns at the first Easter Mass on Holy Saturday. On all days, even feasts, a tract (tractus) takes the place of the Alleluia and its verse after the gradual.
  • In the office, at the end of the response to Deus in adiutorium, Laus tibi Domine, rex aeternae gloriae is said instead of Alleluia.
  • But from Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, although purple is the colour, the ministers use dalmatic and tunicle. The organ may be played then, as during the rest of the year.
  • From Ash Wednesday to Easter the ministers wear folded chasubles; the organ is silent till the Mass of Holy Saturday (except on mid-Lent).
  • On Ash Wednesday and the three following days the office is said as on other ferias of the year, though they have special collects, antiphons at the Magnificat and Benedictus, and ferial “preces.” The Lenten order of the office does not begin till the first Sunday of Lent.
  • On mid-Lent Sunday, the fourth of Lent (Laetare) rosy-coloured vestments are used, the altar is decorated as for feasts, the organ is played.

The liturgy in Lent itself reflects the season in various ways aside from the penitential colour of violet and the absence of the Gloria etc. Tradition assigns a particular Mass for every day of Lent i.e. an individually tailored Mass with its own readings and prayers. Each Mass is also assigned a “stational church” in Rome where the faithful and the Bishop of Rome gathered for the Mass – the history of these stational churches will be posted every day on this website. Additionally every Mass concludes with an extra prayer of blessing for the faithful to remain constant in their observance. Most feasts of Saints become commemorated only to keep our focus on the season and even when they are celebrated, it is muted and the Lenten Feria commemorated with it’s prayers and Gospel.

Topsy turvydom in Lent

One of the aspects of the perennial Latin Rite that so few appreciate today, was the movement of the Hours of the daily Office from their usual timing to an offsetting e.g. Vespers would be said at midday instead of at eventide; Mattins would then be said at eventide as opposed to early morning. Those familiar with the office of Tenebrae in Holy Week in the evening, will remember that the service is in fact Mattins anticipated of the next day!
The excuse often given for this practice has been to suggest that the offsetting represents the chaos of the world, expressing the need for restoration that Christ will bring by His victory over death. The truth however, is far more practical; Dom Prosper Guéranger, Abbot of Solesmes (19C) writes “… it had been the custom not to celebrate Mass, on days of Fasting, until the Office of None had been sung, (which was about three o’clock in the afternoon) and, also, not to sing Vespers till sun-set. When the discipline regarding Fasting began to relax, the Church still retained the order of her Offices, which had been handed down from the earliest times. The only change she made, was to anticipate the hour for Vespers; and this entailed the celebrating of Mass and None much earlier in the day. But even the fasting till None, (i.e. three o’clock,) was found too severe; and a still further relaxation was considered to be necessary.
At the close of the 13th century, we have the celebrated Franciscan, Richard of Middleton, teaching, that they who break their fast at the Hour of Sext, (i.e. mid-day,) are not to be considered as transgressing the precept of the Church; and the reason he gives, is this: that the custom of doing so had already prevailed in many places, and that fasting does not consist so much in the lateness of the hour at which the faithful take their refreshment, as in their taking but one meal during the twenty-four hours [In iv. Dist. xv., art. 3., quaest. 8]. This praxis developed because the religious found it extremely difficult to retain energy throughout the day to sing the Offices without sustenance, but also too, those labouring in the fields were fit for nothing by the afternoon after the heat of midday!
“The 14th century gave weight, both by universal custom and theological authority, to the opinion held by Richard of Middleton. It will, perhaps, suffice if we quote the learned Dominican, Durandus (Guillaume Durand 1230-1296), Bishop of Mende, who says, that there can be no doubt as to the lawfulness of taking one’s repast at mid-day; and he adds, that such was then the custom observed by the Pope, and Cardinals, and even the Religious Orders [In iv. Dist. xv., Quaest. 9., art 7].”
Durandus also wrote concerning the anticipation of Vespers on ferial days “… it must be noted that the season of Lent is a time of mourning and penance; but while the penitents are converted to Christ, they pass from darkness to light. Now the evening, because of the failing of the light and the (ensuing) darkness, signifies imperfection. Therefore, because the penitents are pressing forward, not towards imperfection and failure, but rather towards perfection and the light of truth, in regard to Vespers the aforementioned time of light is appropriately anticipated, according to a decree of the Council of Chalon. (Cited by Gratian, de consecr., dist. 1, 50) Vespers are thus said immediately after Mass, though they are otherwise wont to be said close to the night-time.”
It was from the supremely practical “Rule” of St Benedict that then a practise developed of eating a “Collation” i.e. a small snack-like meal taken later in the day to counteract the otherwise extended period eating at midday brought ref the rule of only eating one meal a day whilst fasting.
So we see that for all the wonderful and spiritual explanations we can find to describe the notion of Lent’s topsy-turvydom expressed in the strange yet traditional times of the Offices and Liturgies in Lent and particularly Holy Week, it was for supremely practical reasons that the praxis developed!

“Let My Prayer Rise as Incense” by Dmitry Bortniansky – Byzantine Music for Lent

The First Sunday of Lent

Immediately after His baptism, our Lord began to prepare for His public life by a fast of forty days in the mountainous desert which stretches between Jericho and the mountains of Judea.
It was there that He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether the son of Mary was in reality the Son of God (Gospel).
As in the case of Adam, he addresses his first attack to the senses. Our Lord is hungry and the tempter suggests to Him that He should turn stones into bread. In the same way he tries, during these forty days, to make us give up our fasting and mortification. This is the concupiscence of the flesh.
The devil had promised our first parent that he should be as God. Now he takes our Lord to the pinnacle of the Temple and tries to induce Him to let Himself be carried by the angels through the air amidst the applause of the crowds below. Satan tempts us by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and meditation on God’s word. This is the pride of life.
Finally, just as he had promised Adam a knowledge which like that of God Himself, should enable him to know all things, so Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him ruler over all created things if He will fall at his feet and worship him. In the same way the devil seeks to attach us to temporal goods, when we ought, by alms and works of charity, to be doing good to our neighbour. This is the concupiscence of the eyes or avarice.
In this “acceptable time” and in these “days of salvation” let us purify ourselves with the Church (Collect), “in fastings, in chastity,” by zeal in hearing and meditating on the word of God and by charity unfeigned (Epistle).

Lenten Embertide

The term “Ember” is derived from the Latin term Quatuor Tempora, which means four times. So the Ember days occur in the four seasons: spring, summer, winter and autumn.
Aside from the general purpose of praying and fasting, which are meritorious in itself, the Church found itself contending with the pagan practices of the Roman pagans in the early centuries and looked for a way to sanctify these pagan holidays. And so the Ember Days were instituted.
”The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding;” New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
The Lenten Ember Days are always in the first week of Lent (the week after Ash Wednesday). They are on Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. The Jews fasted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Christians chose to fast on Wednesdays (the day Christ was betrayed), Fridays (the day he was crucified), and Saturday (the day he was buried).
When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal, meat may be included in one meal, except as noted below. If you are already observing the traditional Lenten fast, you are already fasting and if you’ve given up meat for Lent, you are not adding any extra obligations. But traditionally on Ember days specific rules for fasting are observed the fasting rules apply to everyone who is 18 years of age through 59 years of age:

  • Wednesday of Lenten Embertide – Fasting & Partial Abstinence Partial abstinence: meat is allowed during the main meal of the day.
  • Friday of Lenten Embertide: Fasting & Abstinence Full Abstinence: No meat is allowed for Latin Rite Catholics. Fish, eggs and cheese are allowed.
  • Saturday of Lenten Embertide – Fasting & Abstinence Full Abstinence: No meat is allowed for Latin Rite Catholics. Fish, eggs and cheese are allowed.

The sick, the infirm, convalescents, delicate women, persons sixty years old and over, families whose members cannot have the necessaries for a full meal at the same time, or who have nothing but bread, vegetables or such like viands, those to whom fasting brings loss of sleep or severe headaches, wives whose fasting incurs their husband’s indignation, children whose fasting arouses parent’s wrath; in a word, all those who can not comply with the obligation of fasting without undergoing more than ordinary hardship are excused on account of their inability to fulfil the obligation.
Priests charged with the care of souls may dispense individuals for good reason. Superiors of religious communities may dispense individual members of their respective communities provided sufficient reasons exist. Confessors are not qualified to grant these dispensations unless they have been explicitly delegated thereunto.
Ember Days are days favoured for priestly ordinations, prayer for priests, first Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts, and prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Note that medieval lore says that during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly to those on earth who pray for them. Because of the days’ focus on nature, they are also traditional times for women to pray for children and safe deliveries.
No student of ecclesiastical discipline can fail to perceive that the obligation of fasting is rarely observed in its integrity nowadays. Conscious of the conditions of our age, the Church is ever shaping the requirements of this obligation to meet the best interests of her children. At the same time no measure of leniency in this respect can eliminate the natural and divine positive law imposing mortification and penance on man on account of sin and its consequences. (Council of Trent, Sess. VI. Can. xx)

Saints’ Days in Lent

To maintain the integrity of the holy season and to encourage the faithful to piety and sacrifice, it is traditional for the feast days of Saints that occur in Lent to be “commemorated” rather than celebrated. At Mass this means that after the Orations (Prayers) of the Lenten Feria, those appointed to be said for the Saint are prayed. At the end of the Mass, the Gospel that would normally be read for the Saint is read as a “Proper Last Gospel” in the place of the usual Last Gospel, i.e. the Prologue from St John.
Similarly, the observance of a Saint’s Day in Lent is also muted i.e. the disciplines and penances adopted for the season are still observed. Unless the local custom suggests otherwise, for example in Wales on St David’s Day or in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, their feasts take precedence over the Lenten Feria; in which case the commemorations described above are reversed. There may be Saints and other feasts that the local Bishop may order to be observed similarly in Lent, though this is applied very sparingly for the sake of the integrity of the whole Lenten season; remembering that holy mother Church over centuries of Tradition has carefully themed the daily Masses of Lent for the edification of her children, this should not be discarded lightly.

Saints commemorated this week

St David of Wales

David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints.
It is known that he became a priest, engaged in missionary work and founded many monasteries, including his principal abbey in southwestern Wales. Many stories and legends sprang up about David and his Welsh monks. Their austerity was extreme. They worked in silence without the help of animals to till the soil. Their food was limited to bread, vegetables and water.
In about the year 550, David attended a synod where his eloquence impressed his fellow monks to such a degree that he was elected primate of the region. The episcopal see was moved to Mynyw, where he had his monastery (now called St. David’s). He ruled his diocese until he had reached a very old age. His last words to his monks and subjects were: “Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.”
St. David is pictured standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. The legend is that once while he was preaching a dove descended to his shoulder and the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to him in pre-Reformation days.

St Casimir

Casimir, born of kings and in line to be a king himself, was filled with exceptional values and learning by a great teacher, John Dlugosz. Even his critics could not say that his conscientious objection indicated softness. As a teenager, Casimir lived a highly disciplined, even severe life, sleeping on the ground, spending a great part of the night in prayer and dedicating himself to lifelong celibacy.
When nobles in Hungary became dissatisfied with their king, they prevailed upon Casimir’s father, the king of Poland, to send his son to take over the country. Casimir obeyed his father, as many young men over the centuries have obeyed their governments. The army he was supposed to lead was clearly outnumbered by the “enemy”; some of his troops were deserting because they were not paid. At the advice of his officers, Casimir decided to return home.
His father was irked at the failure of his plans, and confined his 15-year-old son for three months. The lad made up his mind never again to become involved in the wars of his day, and no amount of persuasion could change his mind. He returned to prayer and study, maintaining his decision to remain celibate even under pressure to marry the emperor’s daughter.
He reigned briefly as king of Poland during his father’s absence. He died of lung trouble at 25 while visiting Lithuania, of which he was also Grand Duke. He was buried in Vilnius, Lithuania.

SS Perpetua & Felicitas

“When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’”
So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus. Perpetua’s mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.
In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: “What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby…. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”
Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity–a slavewoman and expectant mother–and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheatre. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts. Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.
Perpetua’s record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. “Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will.” The diary was finished by an eyewitness.

St Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who, when St. Thomas was five years old, placed him under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino. His teachers were surprised at the progress he made, for he surpassed all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.
When he became of age to choose his state of life, St. Thomas renounced the things of this world and resolved to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to all manner of means over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send an impure woman to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation. As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited for him the title of the “Angelic Doctor”.
After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was really a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.
At Paris he was honoured with the friendship of the King, St. Louis, with whom he frequently dined. In 1261, Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach, but he positively declined to accept any ecclesiastical dignity. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterised by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but he preached often and with greatest fruit. Clement IV offered him the archbishopric of Naples which he also refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the “Summa Theologica”, unfinished, for on his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Gregory X, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.
St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonised in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.

St John of God

It is now five centuries since the birth of St. John of God. The example of his life is still inspiring people, his work has spread throughout the world. What was it about this man that led so many people to want to help him in his ministry in Granada in the 1540’s? What is it that still inspires the thousands of people who comprise the family of St. John of God today?
St. John of God was born John Ciudad in 1495 in a small village in the south of Portugal called Montemor-o-Novo. At the age of eight, in circumstances that are still a mystery, John left home. He was reared by a Spanish family in Oropesa. The greater part of his life was spent as a rootless wanderer, working as a shepherd, soldier, bookseller and labourer and covering in his travel the countries of Europe and North Africa.
When St. John of God finally settled in Granada around the age of forty he underwent a conversion experience so dramatic in its intensity that he was placed in a psychiatric hospital. His brief experience of the kind of treatment meted out to the afflicted gave him an insight into, and understanding of, the real needs of the sick. He decided to devote the rest of his life to caring for those in need.
John’s motivation was his great love of God and Our Blessed Lady. “Whatsoever you do to one of these the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to Me.” This was the yard stick by which John measured his service to others. His love encompassed everyone, the sick, orphans, widows, prisoners and the poor.
John was a warm and human person. In his hospital he created an atmosphere of welcome, peace and hospitality. When a patient was admitted he would first wash him and feed him and then pray with him. He was a great listener and had empathy with people which encouraged many to come to him with their problems. Even when he could not help, he would listen and give words of encouragement.
People were impressed by John’s sincerity and by the worth of his service to others. He was able, therefore, to tap their generosity and involve them in his work. They gave him food, they gave him money and many volunteered to help him with his work. They called him John of God.
John created an equal partnership between benefactors and those in need, each helping one another. To the benefactors he would say, “…who wants to do well for the love of God?” and he would ask the poor to “pray to the Lord for those who have been good to you”.
Because he believed that everyone was equal in the sight of God, John moved effortlessly across the social divide. He was as much at ease in the presence of the Duchess of Sessa as he was with the sick and poor in his hospital. He created a family of St. John of God which compromised the nobility, the middle-class, the poor, his volunteers and his paid staff, all with the one purpose of serving God by serving those in need.
John was a great advocate of those who had no influence. He used his contacts with the nobility and those in power to educate them about the conditions of the poor. He had an inquiring mind which was always searching for new ideas and better ways of doing things. He had a missionary spirit, travelling to beg for alms and then using what was collected to serve the people of the local area. Above all, John taught by example.
By faithfully following his example, the Order of Brothers formed after the death of St. John of God has passed on John’s way of serving those in need. It is called ‘Hospitality’ and after five centuries it remains the charism of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God.

© 1996 The Brothers of St. John of God

Ash Wednesday Homily

The homily of Metropolitan Cristián of Santiago for Ash Wednesday
La homilía del metropolitano Cristián de Santiago para el miércoles de ceniza

Keeping Lent

Lent is a season of spiritual preparation in which we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering, and death. Lent is a traditional time for Christians to draw closer to Jesus through prayer, reflection, fasting, and repentance. Here are a few simple ideas for keeping this ancient Christian observance.
Historically, the church has celebrated Lent as a forty day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding the day before Easter. The climax of Lent is Holy Week, which is the week immediately preceding Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. It is observed in many Christian churches as a time to commemorate the last week of Jesus’ life, his suffering (Passion), and his death, through various observances and services of worship.
Many Christians use the forty days of Lent as time to draw closer to the Lord through prayer, fasting, repentance, and self-denial. “What are you doing for Lent?” is a common question among Christians this time of the year. The wise tenet of Alcoholics Anonymous is applicable to Lent. Don’t look at all forty days at once. Instead, look only at the day in front of you, and focus on your promise for that day only. It’s very important to approach Lent not as some period of “religious intensity” as opposed to some other period that is not so “religious.” In a real sense, the whole Christian life at all times is naturally “Lenten” because the whole Christian life is a preparation for death, resurrection, and judgement. In a way, all Christians are monks and pilgrims. Lent only serves to focus and intensify this basic element of Christian life.

Self-examination and Repentance

Reflect daily on the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the meaning of his death on the cross, and the greatness of God’s love for you. Make time every day to read your Bible during Lent. One idea is to read the entire Gospel of Mark, which has a special focus on the cross.
The word repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia, literally “a change in direction”. Christian self- examination and repentance are not about wallowing in guilt over past choices, but about seeing new choices we can make and finding the support we need to make those choices daily. A father apologises sincerely to his teenage daughter. A young girl decides not to participate the next time her friends are teasing the unpopular newcomer. A woman decides to change jobs rather than continue making a product she doesn’t respect. All these people are choosing repentance: they are changing the direction of their lives.

Prayer, Fasting and Self-denial

The Church links these together as another way to remind us that prayer is not just a set of words we say, but a life we live. Set aside some extra time each day during the season of Lent for personal prayer in the morning and evening.
In other times, fasting might have meant only one meal per day, taken after sundown. If your fasting isn’t going so well, stop and consider why you are fasting. Does it have more to do with your spiritual growth than with a desire to reduce your waistline? While fitness can be a welcome byproduct of fasting, the spirit of your decision to fast should be to bring you into a greater solidarity with the suffering of Jesus. Growing up, many of us might have given up candy for Lent. In our own day, it might be time that we need to deny ourselves in order to give to others. This is a great time to detox from things that may have a stronghold in your life like technology, social media, sweets, coffee, alcohol, etc. One person might choose to cut back the time she spends on the computer in order to be more present to her family. Another person might choose to give up television one night in order to help out at his local soup kitchen.
Lent is a perfect time to impress on children a certain critical attitude toward life and cultural values. The whole spirit of Lent is opposed to the steady diet of hedonism, sexual ambiguity and self-love that is continuously dished out to us via TV, the schools, and so on. Lent is the opportune time to teach children to think for themselves and to understand that – all claims and promises to the contrary – unhappiness, disillusion, and sadness are inherent in a “fallen” state and nothing is going to solve that except Christ and the resurrection.
In addition to giving something up, try doing something good this Lent. Are you a pessimist? Try to be more positive. Are you critical by nature? Make an effort to be more encouraging. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Keeping a journal of your thoughts, prayers, and reflections during Lent can be a helpful aid to your Lenten journey. If your attendance at Sunday morning Mass had been spotty before Lent, commit to showing up for the six Sundays leading up to Easter. Mass offers an opportunity to recharge. When you’re at Mass, be present in such a way that you are open to what God may need you to hear during that Mass.
During Lent, give a little more money to your local church or consider your favourite charity or mission agency. During Lent, give of your time by volunteering in your church or local community. Service can focus our prayer outside of our own needs, helping us to see our struggles within the context of the larger society. Lent is a time to make things right in your life and relationships. Is there a person in your life you need to forgive? Don’t hold that resentment any longer. Pray about it and ask God to help you forgive them.

“In these days, let us add something beyond the usual measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him, offer God something of his freewill in the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

The Rule, St Benedict of Nursia

A sermon for the First Sunday of Lent

The Temptation of Christ in the wilderness comes after his baptism, but before his Galilean ministry. John the Baptist had foretold the coming of one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire. At his baptism Jesus was marked out by the voice of the Father as himself this coming one. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3: 17). The reference to the Son refers to Psalm 2, one of the so called “enthronement” psalms for a king. It was a Psalm about sovereignty that was later seen as foreshadowing the future messianic leader. The second part of the statement refers to Isaiah 42, one of the so called Servant passages in Isaiah. It is a message about service. In drawing together these two passages the message is proclaimed that the Messiah is not a warrior and a conqueror but a servant. His sovereignty is exercised through service.
In the temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness after his baptism he was on each of the three occasions tempted to follow a course that was contrary to his vocation to be the Servant-Son of the baptismal voice. On each of the three occasions he replies to Satan with words from the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy portrays Moses addressing the children of Israel before their entry into the promised land. He looks back retrospectively on the period of the wilderness wanderings. The Israelites had not obeyed what had been commanded of them by God in the wilderness. They had been tempted to fall away from God, and they had succumbed to temptation. “When your fathers tempted me, proved me and saw my works” as Psalm 95 which we say at Mattins has it.
But where the children of Israel failed, Jesus succeeded and thereby embodied in his own person the vocation of the true Israel of God, the Servant Son of the baptismal voice. As God’s Servant-Son he gave the responses to the Tempter that the old Israel should have given, but failed to give. As John Henry Newman wrote, “O wisest love! That flesh and blood, Which did in Adam fail, should strive afresh against their foe, should strive and should prevail.”
The first temptation was “If thou be the Son of God, command these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3). Jesus replied from Deuteronomy “Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” While the Israelites disobeyed God by complaining about the food in the wilderness, Jesus refused to actin a manner contrary to the nature of God.
The second temptation was to perform a spectacular miracle for the world to see a conclusive proof of his nature. Jesus again replied from Deuteronomy “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”. He later refused the request for a sign precisely because it involved putting God to the test.

The last and greatest temptation is that of apostasy by worshipping Satan rather than God. Jesus, the true Israel of God, again gives the answer that Israel in the wilderness had failed to give. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve”. To win the world by the world’s own methods was the way of Satan rather than God. At the climax of his later Galilean ministry after the Feeding of the Five Thousand the people tried to make him king by force, but Jesus dismissed the crowd and withdrew by himself (John 6:15). His kingdom was not of this world, and he sought to educate his disciples into the way of the Cross. When Peter acclaimed him Messiah at Caesarea Philippi he was still thinking in triumphalist terms but Jesus responded “Get thee behind me Satan, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew: 16:23). Peter was still thinking in terms of a conqueror and ruler, but the true Messiah was a servant. His future enthronement and rule could only come through reversal, repudiation, suffering and death. The world could not be defeated by the world’s own methods. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul” (Matthew: 16:26).
We are called to become by grace what he is by nature. This work of sanctification is an ongoing process. After St. Paul’s conversion he still had to endure many struggles, inward tensions and outward conflicts. He refers to these trials and tribulations in the Epistle to the Corinthians. We all fail in this process as we all succumb to temptations, but the good news is that the battle that we face is one that has already been won on our behalf, so we can rejoice even in our infirmities “as unknown and yet well known: as dying, and behold we live” (2 Corinthians 6:9).
The world promises a way that is not the way of the Cross (a way in which there is no need for Lent), and every day we are tempted to follow the way of the world rather than the way of God. The gate is narrow and the way is hard. In the last century perhaps the greatest challenge to the Christian faith came from the regimes of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. These regimes eventually collapsed under the weight of their own contradictions. The Devil today tempts us in a more subtle form through the false gospel of the advertising industry that dominates twenty first century western societies. The advertising industry is constantly trying to persuade people to buy things that they do not need with money that they do not have in order to impress people who are not worth impressing. It presents a world in which everyone is young, everyone is successful, no one ever falls ill or dies, and everyone is encouraged to be competing against everyone else. What was once denounced as the sin of covetousness is now upheld as an essential part of the capitalist system. In the world of public relations looking good is more important than actually doing good. Much of modern Western Christianity has sought to accommodate itself to this false gospel of image and public relations, and seeks to downplay the need for us to resist sin, the world and the devil.
However, the Gospel and the season of Lent teaches us that this is not the way of Christ. The spirit of the age is very different from that of the Holy Spirit. What matters is not what is fashionable, but what is true. C. S. Lewis put it in these words “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Dr Robert Wilson is an ordained and licensed Lector in the Metropolitinate of Selsey serving the Bristol Oratory and is a Divinity graduate of Cambridge University, UK.

Lenten Catechism “Lent… Why?”

Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey explores the reason and purpose for our observance of Lent, so much more than just recalling Our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness! Why was Christ tempted? What was His purpose? How was He tempted and was it significant? His Grace answers these questions and more, giving an overview of redemption and the part our observance of Lent can contribute to the salvation of the world.

Lent Study Course

Broadcasting LIVE via The Brighton Oratory on Facebook every Wednesday in Lent from this week, Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey explores and explains from the Scriptures the Messianic prophecies and their fulfilment in Christ. Continuing in a similar vein to that of last year’s Lent Study, “Turn to the Lord” which explained the Old Testament Temple theology in relation to the Crucifixion and our salvation; this year’s conferences will remind Christians of the need for a Messiah, how He was prophesied, what/who the Jews expected and who/what some rejected and others received. The conferences will air from 7pm GMT and will be recorded and available to watch again on Youtube via
A Facebook LIVE broadcast 7pm GMT; 8pm CET; 12pm PST; 1pm CST; 2pm EST; 4pm CLST; 3am PHT
Interactive Q&A online at the end of the lecture.

Stations of the Cross

Fridays1000 GMTThe Brighton Oratory East Sussex, UK
Fridays1200 CSTSanta Cruz Mission, Houston TX, USA
Fridays1800 CSTSt Felix Friary Chicago, IL. USA
Fridays1900 PHTDivine Mercy Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
Fridays1930 GMT-3Child Jesus Chapel La Florida. Santiago de Chile

See Mass Directory below for full addresses

The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christian faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian churches.
Commonly, a series of fourteen images will be arranged in numbered order along a path and the faithful travel from image to image, in order, stopping at each station to say the selected prayers and reflections. This will be done individually or in a procession most commonly during Lent, especially on Good Friday, in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during his passion.
The Parish of Jesus of the Divine Mercy in Bacoor, Cavite in keeping with many other Christians elsewhere in the world, takes the Stations of the Cross into the local streets. Members of the faithful gather with the parish priest to walk the Way of the Cross through the local community, bearing witness to Christ and providing local Christians living locally an opportunity to worship.

Christians in Brighton, UK at the convergence of three Cross processions through the city from the north, east and west on Good Friday

Old Roman Culture

A weekly look at the cultural heritage of Western Christendom…

By Pieter Bruegel the Elder – Unknown, Public Domain,

Pieter Bruegel was born at a time of extensive change in Western Europe. Humanist ideals from the previous century influenced artists and scholars. Italy was at the end of its High Renaissance of arts and culture, when artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci painted their masterpieces. In 1517, about eight years before Bruegel’s birth, Martin Luther created his Ninety-five Theses and began the Protestant Reformation in neighboring Germany. Reformation was accompanied by iconoclasm and widespread destruction of art, including in the Low Countries. The Catholic Church viewed Protestantism and its iconoclasm as a threat to the Church. The Council of Trent, which concluded in 1563, determined that religious art should be more focused on religious subject-matter and less on material things and decorative qualities.
At this time, the Low Countries were divided into Seventeen Provinces, some of which wanted separation from the Habsburg rule based in Spain. The Reformation meanwhile produced a number of Protestant denominations that gained followers in the Seventeen Provinces, influenced by the newly Lutheran German states to the east and the newly Anglican England to the west. The Habsburg monarchs of Spain attempted a policy of strict religious uniformity for the Catholic Church within their domains and enforced it with the Inquisition. Increasing religious antagonisms and riots, political manoeuvrings, and executions eventually resulted in the outbreak of Eighty Years’ War.
In this atmosphere Bruegel reached the height of his career as a painter. Two years before his death, the Eighty Years’ War began between the United Provinces and Spain. Although Bruegel did not live to see it, seven provinces became independent and formed the Dutch Republic, while the other ten remained under Habsburg control at the end of the war.
Pieter Bruegel specialized in genre paintings populated by peasants, often with a landscape element, though he also painted religious works. Making the life and manners of peasants the main focus of a work was rare in painting in Bruegel’s time, and he was a pioneer of the genre painting. Many of his peasant paintings fall into two groups in terms of scale and composition, both of which were original and influential on later painting. His earlier style shows dozens of small figures, seen from a high viewpoint, and spread fairly evenly across the central picture space. The setting is typically an urban space surrounded by buildings, within which the figures have a “fundamentally disconnected manner of portrayal”, with individuals or small groups engaged in their own distinct activity, while ignoring all the others.

Of your charity…

For health & well-being…

Christopher, Lyn B, Simon G, Dagmar B, Karen, Debbie G, Fr Graham F, Fr Stephen D, Heather & Susanna L-D, Finley G, Diane C, Pat, Paul, +Rommel B, Penny E, Colin R, John, Ronald, Fr Gerard H, Lilian & family, Ruth L, David G, David P, Patrick H, Debbie G, Karen K, Fr Graham F, S&A, Dave G, +Charles of Wisconsin, +Tissier, Fr Terrence M, +Guo Xijin, +John P, Karl R-W, Fr Antonio Benedetto OSB, Fr Kristopher M & family, Mark Coggan, Fr Nicholas P, Ounissa, Ronald Buczek, Rik C, Adrian & Joan Kelly, Juanita Alaniz & family, Fr A Cekada, Shirley & Selwyn V, Trayanka K, Amanda A, Evelyn B, Nicolas+ P,

For those vocationally discerning…

James, Breandán, Manuel, Vincent, Darren, Akos, Roger, Criostoir, James, Adrian, Carlos, Thomas, Yordanis, Nicholas, Tyler, Micha, Michael,

For the recently departed…

Lauretta (21.01.19), Clive Reed (23.01.19), Fr John Wright (24.01.19), Shelley Luben (11.12.18), Mick Howells (13.12.18), Daniel Callaghan (13.02.19), Alfie (Hub guest), Père Pierre Fournier (08.02.19), Jill Lewis (24.02.19), Cynthia Sharpe Conger (28.02.19), Richard (Ricky) Belmonte (10/03/19), Fr Leo Cameron OSA (29.03.19), Fr John Corbett (30.03.19), Deacon Richard Mulholland (Easter Day), Peter, Bernard Brown (27.06.19), Peter Ellis (01.08.19), Petronila Antonio (10.09.19), Fr Mark Spring (13.09.19), Jean Marchant (15.09.19), Mary Kelly (15.10.19), John Pender (23.10.19), Fr David Cole (17/12/20), Fr Graham Francis (03.01.20), Pauline Sheila White (06/01/20)

For those who mourn…

Barbara R & family, Brenda W & family, Joseph S, Catherine L & family, Rev George C & family, Jean C, Margaret & Bonita C, Debbie M & family, Phil E & Family, Adrian Kelly & family, Fr Nicholas Pnematicatos & family, Fr Andrew White & family, Richard Cole & family, the Francis Family, the White family,

For those defending the Faith…

Aid to the Church in Need (supporting persecuted Christians)
Association of Christian Teachers (Christians who work in – or care about – education)
Centre for Bio-ethical Research (pro-life) UK / USA
Christian Hacking (pro-life)
Christian Legal Centre (safeguarding the legal freedom of Christians)
Barnabus Fund (supporting persecuted Christians)
Jerusalem Merit (supporting the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan)
40 Days for Life (pro-life)

Daily Missal

To accompany your worship why not invest in a St Andrew’s Daily Missal that contains ALL the Propers for ALL the Masses offered throughout the year?
The St Andrew’s Daily Missal also contains historical commentary and footnotes on the Feast days, devotions, prayers of preparation for before and after Mass as well as the Ordinary of the Mass and Propers for Vespers for Sundays and major Feast days throughout the year in Latin and in English. It also contains forms for Morning and Evening Prayer, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Compline. It really is a treasury of devotion!

To order directly from the publishers, visit here $68 = £52.50 approx


If you would like your mission’s Mass times and other activities included here just submit details via email.


PHILIPPINESBacoor Parish of Jesus the Divine Mercy, Copper St. Platinum Ville, San Nicolas III, Bacoor, Province of Cavite

1030Mass & Children’s Catechesis
Wednesdays1800Mass (1st Weds’ Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Devotions)
Fridays1800Mass (1st Fri’ Sacred Heart Devotions)
Saturdays1800Holy Hour

PHILIPPINES, Lagunas Parish of San Isidro Labrador, Dita, Sta. Rosa

1st Wednesday1800Mass & O.L. Perpetual Succour Devotions
1st Friday1800Mass & Sacred Heart Devotions
San Isidro, Labrador, Philippines


UK, Brighton The Brighton Oratory of SS Cuthman & Wilfrid, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton BN2 3HD Telephone +44 7423 074517

Sundays0830Mass & homily
Mass & homily
Compline & Benediction
Wednesdays1730Holy Hour & Benediction
Saturdays0830Mass & homily
1000Catechism Conference

Full schedule of services for Lent & Easter at

UK, Bristol The Little Oratory of Our Lady of Walsingham with Saint Francis, 11 The Primroses, Hartcliffe, Bristol, BS13 0BG

Sundays1030Sermon & Holy Communion


USA, Brooklyn, NY Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, Mustard Residence 440 Lenox Road, Apt 3H Brooklyn, New York 11226

USA, Chicago IL Parish Mission of St Anne, Church of the Atonement, 5749 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 Telephone: (773) 817 – 5818

Sundays1800Mass & homily (2nd of the month)
Wednesdays1930Catechism & Reception Class

USA, Chicago IL Missionary Franciscans of Christ the King, The Friary

St Felix Friary, Chicago

USA, Glendale AZ St. Joseph’s Mission Contact address: 7800 N 55th Ave Unit 102162 Glendale AZ 85301 Telephone +1 310 995 3126


USA, Houston, TX Santa Cruz Mission address: 13747 Eastex FRWY, Houston, TX 77039

Confessions 1015-1045
1st Sunday, Adoration 0945-1045
Fridays1200Via Crucis devotions

USA, Las Vegas, NV Christ the King 4775 Happy Valley Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89121 Telephone 702 379 4320 or 702-215-3930

Sundays0800Mass (Spanish)
0945First Communion and Confirmation Catechesis / English and Spanish
1100Mass (Bilingual)
1300Mass (English)
1700Mass (Spanish)
Thursdays1900Holy Hour

USA, Phoenix, AZ Santo Niño Catholic Community address: 3206 W. Melvin St., Phoenix, AZ 85009 Telephone +1 623 332 3999

Sundays1000Mass (English)
1100Escuela para Primera Comunion y Confirmaccion
1130Misa en Espanol
1700Misa en Espanol

Child Jesus Chapel, La Florida. Santiago de Chile

CHILE, Santiago Child Jesus Chapel Tegualda #321, La Florida. Santiago de Chile

Fridays1930Stations of the Cross & Mass

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