THE OLD ROMAN 08/iii/20

news, views & info



… to this twenty-seventh 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…

Perhaps the first week of Lent is the hardest… as the first pangs and pains of our new Lenten discipline take effect as we attempt to redeem the world by our sacrifice [cf Rom8:22]? Maybe that’s why the collective wisdom of the ages in experience of Lenten observance and the striving after righteousness have helped develop organically the Lenten liturgy so that the Psalms, Prayers and Readings give us hope, help and encouragement? Lent is the only season in the liturgical year to have a set Mass for everyday! Certainly no-one can fail to be inspired and encouraged by the gospel holy Church presents to us at the end of the first whole week and Embertide in Lent; the Transfiguration [Matt17:1-9]!
As surely it was/is heartening as well as awe-inspiring for the ordinandi on Ember Saturday to consider the significance of their gradual ascendancy through the minor and major Orders up the holy mountain of the altar steps as Sacred Ministers to the summit and the altar of transformative sacrifice; so for the catechumen the prospect of their impending Baptism at the Paschal Vigil and for all the faithful the prospect of the glorious Paschal feast! The gospel of the Transfiguration on Ember Saturday in Lent may touch the hearts of all individually as well as severally as all progress through our spiritual journey of Lent and the Christian life together.
The Transfiguration witnesses, SS Peter, James and John were granted to see this vision as a gift of hope for them to remember during Our Lord’s impending passion and death, a foretaste, a glimpse we might say of the Resurrection that would follow, to encourage them. Likewise should we Old Romans “sojourning through this vale of tears” [Salve Regina] while apostasy rages and heresy abounds hold fast to the Resurrection light and remember the Transfiguration that awaits all those who remain steadfast and faithful; when we will be made “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” [Mtt5:48] when His Kingdom comes.
Meanwhile, let us carpe diem and remember the lesson from the First Sunday of Lent that our “salvation is at hand” [2Cor6:2] and that in faithful observance of our Lenten discipline we can realise something now of that transfiguration that will be ours, when “this corruptible will be made incorruptible” [cf 1Cor15:53] by keeping the transformative observances of this holy season. Fasting, alms-giving and prayer will grow the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity [1Cor13:13] within us as we strive to remain faithful to Him Who is faithful always to us [1Cor1:9].
In this edition are articles about the traditional observances and ways to keep a holy Lent. Our holy Mother the Church knows it is not easy and the Primus in his Lenten Catechesis offers a suggestion to keep us motivated when we feel uninspired or our motivation wanes however deliberate our original intentions were for our discipline. Our individual approach to Lent remember, also has a collective effect and this is reflected in the meditations below particularly regarding the seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
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 nos credidimus caritati*… et Caritas Christi urget nos! [2Cor5:14]

*St Thomas Aquinas

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 08 March 2020 Vol. I Issue No. xxvii

Click on the underlined hyperlinked text to information about the Saint/stational church or the Mass Propers for any given day…

S08.03DOMINICA Quadragesima 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
M09.03Feria II Quadragesima II
Com. St Frances of Rome, Widow
Station at San Clemente
(V) Missa “Rédime me”  
s.d2a) St Frances
3a) of Saints
noGl.Pref.of Lent
T10.03Feria III Quadragesima II
Com. The Forty Holy Martyrs
Station at Santa Balbina
(R) Missa “Tibi dixit cor meum”  
s.d2a) Forty Martyrs
3a) of Saints
noGl.Pref.of Lent
W11.03Feria IV Quadragesima II
Station at Santa Cecilia
(V) Missa “Ne derelínquas mé  
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) of living&dead

noGl.Pref.of Lent
T12.03St Gregory the Great of Rome
Com. Feria V Quadragesima II
Station at Santa Maria in Trastevere
(W) Missa “In medio    
d2a) of Lent Feria
noGl.Pref.of Lent

PLG Lent Feria
F13.03Feria VI Quadragesima II
Station at San Vitale
(V) Missa “Ego autem  
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) of living&dead

noGl.Pref.of Lent
S14.03Sabbato Quadragesima II
Station at Santi Marcellino e Pietro
(V) Missa “Lex Domini  
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) of living&dead

noGl.Pref.of Lent
S15.03DOMINICA Quadragesima III
Station at San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
(V) Missa “Oculi mei
s.d2a) of Saints
3a) of living&dead

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.

The Second Sunday of Lent

The Gospel of the Transfiguration is a lesson on the Mass as well as a figure of the Mass. It teaches us the purpose of our Lenten work.
The mystical Christ now fasts forty days and thereby receives strength for a victorious onslaught against the devil. In all things the members follow the Head.
But the Gospels do not merely give instruction: they are spiritual dramas, i.e., they portray in symbol and express in sign what the Holy Sacrifice effects in actuality. In the Mass […], Christ appears, the transfigured Christ who “sits at the right hand of the Father.” To be sure we can see Him only with the eyes of faith… Moses and Elias also have roles, for the Law and the prophets bear witness to the fact that the Holy Sacrifice is the fulfilment of all they prefigured and prophesied. Moses and Elias speak of the Lord’s death, an event that is being realised before our eyes [in the Holy Mass]. Like Peter we stand on the mystic mount of transfiguration and say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
Nevertheless, we are not merely witnesses of the transfiguration, through Holy Communion we are sharers in it. Christ here says to us: I shall lead you to holiness and transfiguration like that in which I Myself stand before you. By means of the Eucharist we are helping to build the tabernacle, heaven’s eternal temple, in which, with Christ, Moses, and Elias we shall dwell forever in unity and bliss.
St. Peter experienced spiritual night on Mt. Olivet, and the radiance of the transfiguration on Tabor. Through the long night of repentance he watched with bitter tears, but he also experienced transfiguration by a martyr’s death. May he pray that we will enjoy Easter spiritually transfigured while yet on earth and then in heaven.

Keeping Lent Holy

Easter, the Day of the Resurrection, has always been the most important celebration of Christ’s Church. From the beginning, the Church observed a period of fasting and preparation before the great feast in order to grow in love of God and neighbour and to acquire a clearer, more joyous vision
of the Risen Christ come Easter Day. This season of fasting was eventually lengthened to forty days to correspond to the forty day fasts in the Bible:
1) the fast of Jesus in the wilderness before he was tempted by the devil (Matt 4:1),
2) the fast of Moses on Mt. Sinai while he was receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28),
3) the fast of Elijah when he fled from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:8).

Guidelines for Lenten Fasting
The Holy Tradition of the Western Church provides us with some general rules for fasting and abstinence: fasting involves lowering the quantity of food, which usually means no more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and another light meal each day. Abstinence deals with lowering the quality of food, which typically means not eating flesh meat. Wednesdays (the day our Lord was condemned to death) and Fridays (the day our Lord died on the cross) in Lent are especially days of abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of complete fasting; no food is eaten at least until sundown.
Desserts and rich foods ought to be reduced, and consumption of alcohol should be eliminated over the course of the several weeks to come. Many of our brethren in Eastern Orthodoxy are more austere and take on fasting whilst abstaining from all animal food products (including dairy) in the interest of squelching animal passions and desires.
Though a bit more moderation than usual may well be appropriate during the season, the Sundays of Lent are not counted as days of fasting since Sundays are always observed as celebrations of the Resurrection.
Prayerfully consider what is both safe and profitable, and which approach will set you on a path that sees your awareness, focus, and dependence on God increase (along with a recovery of self-control) by decreasing the unhelpful habits, indulgences, and idolatrous distractions that will keep you from turning away from yourself and more fully toward God (John 3:30). This is supposed to involve not just food and drinks but indeed all that ought not be in us in order to make room for that which should. Put aside anger, idle talk, gossip, slander, and vulgar language. Can you give up Facebook and other social media, pop music, video games, and at least significantly reduce time spent on your phone, streamed entertainment devices, and television for a while? Of course you can!
As the saying goes, fasting and abstinence without prayer is little more than “dieting with the devil.” During the forty days of Lent, strive to begin and end each day with prayer. Take more time for silence, meditation, and “conversational” prayer, remembering that listening is so often an overlooked component of prayer. Pray unceasingly, making sure to touch upon each and all of the facets of Christian prayer: adoration, confession, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving. Pray the Jesus Prayer often. Do these things in order to become more at one with the mind and will of God, and to experience His power and presence in your life.
Bible Reading
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore, as all Holy Scriptures have been written for our learning, may our Blessed Lord “grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life… given us in our Savior Jesus Christ” (Collect for Advent II). Too often, our thoughts, attitudes, and opinions are formed by the aforementioned things of this world that we ought to be giving up for Lent. To set things aright, read your Bible, looking especially to the daily Mass Propers and particularly the readings.
Lent is a good time for self-assessment, to consider what is hindering you from a closer walk with Christ, and to make way for requisite changes that need to be made. Then, as St. John writes, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Begin by asking God to reveal just how you have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23) before spending some time with the Ten Commandments and perhaps considering the Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Envy, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Sloth and Gluttony). Then confess your sins with an humble and contrite heart. Our Lord Himself gave His Church the power and authority to absolve us of our sins and pronounce the assurance that we are forgiven (John 20:23; Matt 16:19 & 18:18) so that we are free to go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Corporate Worship
Though we are near the end of the list of Lenten disciplines, corporate worship could well have taken its place at the head. There is simply nothing more important that we do over the course of the week than our solemn obligation to worship God every Sunday in his Church. Such has always been a basic duty (Heb 10:25; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2) and should be an absolute joy for those who have received such an inestimable gift of being accounted as righteous unto eternal life by being fed with the grace-filled Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, which is necessary to our salvation (John 6:54; 1 Cor 10:16-17; 1 John 5:11). Offering ourselves in worship quickens our understanding, strengthens our faith, gives us hope, fills us with encouragement, and gives us the first-hand experience of being loved by God.
Make a commitment to not miss a single Sunday in the God’s House this Lenten season; Jesus told us to this do (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:34-25). And if you’re habitually late, get here on time. Or better yet, be present before the Holy Sacrifice begins in order to properly engage in what you are supposed to be doing. Each and every discipline listed above and below emanates from this one and serves as both the source and culmination of lives that belong to God in Christ and through the Holy Ghost.
Works of Mercy
Finally, the result of the renewal of our life in Christ through Lenten disciplines—which should become year round Christian disciplines—is new behaviour, exhibited by “let(ting) your light so shine before all that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16) with “fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8) and “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Motivated by our faith, hope, and charity, we are then enabled to reconcile with those with whom we may have conflicts and minister to others as follows:
Spiritual Works of Mercy: 1) converting the sinner, 2) instructing the ignorant, 3) counselling the doubtful, 4) comforting the sorrowful, 5) bearing wrongs patiently, 6) forgiving injuries, and 7) praying for the living and the dead. Corporal Works of Mercy: 1) feeding the hungry, 2) giving drink to the thirsty, 3) clothing the naked, 4) harbouring the stranger, 5) visiting the sick, 6) ministering to prisoners, and 7) burying the dead.
Lent is a time for renewed response to the spiritual and temporal needs we see around us and to consider how God is calling us to use our gifts in ministry. Responding accordingly is the evidence that God is working in and through us.
Great Lent is an opportunity given to us by the Church to turn again to our Lord and so much more fully experience the joy of Easter. As the hunger created by fasting is directed towards God in Worship, Prayer, Confession, Bible reading, and Acts of Charity, we learn the spiritual truth of John 6:35: “He who comes to me shall never hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”

This week’s Saints…

St John of God (Sun 08/03/20)

Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.
He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Saint John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Saint John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.
He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But, excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.
Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.
John became ill after 10 years of service, but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.

St Frances of Rome, Widow (Mon 09/03/20)

Frances’ life combines aspects of secular and religious life. A devoted and loving wife, she longed for a lifestyle of prayer and service, so she organised a group of women to minister to the needs of Rome’s poor.
Born of wealthy parents, Frances found herself attracted to the religious life during her youth. But her parents objected and a young nobleman was selected to be her husband.
As she became acquainted with her new relatives, Frances soon discovered that the wife of her husband’s brother also wished to live a life of service and prayer. So the two, Frances and Vannozza, set out together—with their husbands’ blessings—to help the poor.
Frances fell ill for a time, but this apparently only deepened her commitment to the suffering people she met. The years passed, and Frances gave birth to two sons and a daughter. With the new responsibilities of family life, the young mother turned her attention more to the needs of her own household.
The family flourished under Frances’ care, but within a few years a great plague began to sweep across Italy. It struck Rome with devastating cruelty and left Frances’ second son dead. In an effort to help alleviate some of the suffering, Frances used all her money and sold her possessions to buy whatever the sick might possibly need. When all the resources had been exhausted, Frances and Vannozza went door to door begging. Later, Frances’ daughter died, and the saint opened a section of her house as a hospital.
Frances became more and more convinced that this way of life was so necessary for the world, and it was not long before she requested and was given permission to found a society of women bound by no vows. They simply offered themselves to God and to the service of the poor. Once the society was established, Frances chose not to live at the community residence, but rather at home with her husband. She did this for seven years, until her husband passed away, and then came to live the remainder of her life with the society—serving the poorest of the poor.

The Oblates of St. Frances of Rome are a monastic community in Rome of women oblates founded by St. Frances of Rome in 1425 to provide for a life of prayer and service among the wealthier women of the city. The group quickly developed a life in common, without monastic vows, committed to prayer and service to the poor of the city. They still continue today in this way of life here at their one and only monastery.

Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste (Tue 10/03/20)

In the year 313 Saint Constantine the Great issued an edict granting Christians religious freedom, and officially recognising Christianity as equal with paganism under the law. But his co-ruler Licinius was a pagan, and he decided to stamp out Christianity in his part of the Empire. As Licinius prepared his army to fight Constantine, he decided to remove Christians from his army, fearing mutiny.
One of the military commanders of that time in the Armenian city of Sebaste was Agricola, a zealous champion of idolatry. Under his command was a company of forty Cappadocians, brave soldiers who had distinguished themselves in many battles. When these Christian soldiers refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, Agricola locked them up in prison. The soldiers occupied themselves with prayer and psalmody, and during the night they heard a voice saying, “Persevere until the end, then you shall be saved.”
On the following morning, the soldiers were again taken to Agricola. This time the pagan tried flattery. He began to praise their valour, their youth and strength, and once more he urged them to renounce Christ and thereby win themselves the respect and favour of their emperor.
Seven days later, the renowned judge Licius arrived at Sebaste and put the soldiers on trial. The saints steadfastly answered, “Take not only our military insignia, but also our lives, since nothing is more precious to us than Christ God.” Licius then ordered his servants to stone the holy martyrs. But the stones missed the saints and returned to strike those who had thrown them. One stone thrown by Licius hit Agricola in the face, smashing his teeth. The torturers realised that the saints were guarded by some invisible power. In prison, the soldiers spent the night in prayer and again they heard the voice of the Lord comforting them: “He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live (John 11:25). Be brave and fear not, for you shall obtain imperishable crowns.”
On the following day the judge repeated the interrogation in front of the torturer, but the soldiers remained unyielding.

It was winter, and there was a severe frost. They lined up the holy soldiers, threw them into a lake near the city, and set a guard to prevent them from coming out of the water. In order to break the will of the martyrs, a warm bath-house was set up on the shore. During the first hour of the night, when the cold had become unbearable, one of the soldiers made a dash for the bath-house, but no sooner had he stepped over the threshold, then he fell down dead.
During the third hour of the night, the Lord sent consolation to the martyrs. Suddenly there was light, the ice melted away, and the water in the lake became warm. All the guards were asleep, except for Aglaius, who was keeping watch. Looking at the lake he saw that a radiant crown had appeared over the head of each martyr. Aglaius counted thirty-nine crowns and realised that the soldier who fled had lost his crown.
Aggias then woke up the other guards, took off his uniform and said to them, “I too am a Christian,” and he joined the martyrs. Standing in the water he prayed, “Lord God, I believe in You, in Whom these soldiers believe. Add me to their number, and make me worthy to suffer with Your servants.” Then a fortieth crown appeared over his head.
In the morning, the torturers saw with surprise that the martyrs were still alive, and their guard Aggias was glorifying Christ together with them. They led the soldiers out of the water and broke their legs. During this horrible execution the mother of the youngest of the soldiers, Meliton, pleaded with her son to persevere until death.
They put the bodies of the martyrs on a cart and committed them to fire. Young Meliton was still breathing, and they left him on the ground. His mother then picked up her son, and on her own shoulders she carried him behind the cart. When Meliton drew his last breath, his mother put him on the cart with the bodies of his fellow sufferers. The bodies of the saints were tossed in the fire, and their charred bones were thrown into the water, so that Christians would not gather them up.
Three days later the martyrs appeared in a dream to Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebaste, and commanded him to bury their remains. The bishop together with several clergy gathered up the relics of the glorious martyrs by night and buried them with honour.
There is a pious custom of baking “skylarks” (pastries shaped like skylarks) on this day, because people believed that birds sing at this time to announce the arrival of spring. Forty “skylarks” are prepared in honour of the Forty Martyrs.
The names of the forty martyrs are: Cyrion (or Quirio), Candidus, Domnus, Hesychius, Heraclius, Smaragdus, Eunocius (Or Eunicus), Valens, Vivianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodulus, Eutychius, John, Xanthius, Helianus, Sisinius, Aggias, Aetius, Flavius, Acacius, Ecdicius, Lysimachus, Alexander, Elias, Gorgonius, Theophilus, Dometian, Gaius, Leontuis, Athanasius, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valerius, Philoctimon, Severian, Chudion, Aglaius, and Meliton.

St Gregory the Great (Thu 12/03/20)

Born in Rome in 540 to a Roman Senator, Pope Saint Gregory the Great began his career following in the footsteps of his father by becoming prefect of Rome from 573-578. After the death of his father, Gregory gave it all up for God. He gave everything he had to an assortment of monasteries, building six monasteries in Sicily and even turned his own palatial home in Rome into a monastery. In 579 Pope Pelagius II ordained Gregory a deacon, sending him as an emissary to Constantinople amid the opulence in the court of the Emperor there. But Gregory disdained these perks, opting to continue living the monastic way of life while still carrying out his duties. In 586 Pope Pelagius recalled him to Rome where Gregory was given the position of abbot of St. Andrew’s Monastery, while performing the full time duties of the Holy Father‘s Secretary. It was an important step in his grooming for four years later he was chosen to succeed Pelagius who had died from the plague on February 7, 590. Seven months later on September 3, 590 Gregory became Pope.
Though his papacy would last only 14 years, it would be one that would leave an indelible mark on Holy Mother Church. This Benedictine was the first monk in the history of the Church to be elevated to pontiff and continued his contemplative ways while still maintaining a busy, active schedule as the leader of his people, calling himself the “Servant of the servants of God.” His first official act was forming penitential processions to the seven churches in Rome to petition God to end the deadly plague ravaging the city. Gregory’s and the people’s prayers were answered as the plague was diminished. Gregory knew this from the vision he received of an angel in a castle at the Vatican which, from that time on, became Castel Sant’Angelo near the river Tiber.
During his fourteen year reign Gregory reaffirmed the civil authority of the pope, thus beginning the “temporal power.” He was a pope who called for great reform within the Church unifying her with disciplinary measures necessary to expand the mission of the Church. That mission included England, France, Spain and Africa where he sent numerous missionaries to evangelise the true faith. Gregory was creative and original in his administration as Pope and his actions became the benchmark for how the Holy Father would rule from the Vatican to the entire world. He became an ideal role model for priests, bishops, religious and lay people throughout the world. Gregory also revised the Sacramentary and the liturgy of the Mass, introducing chants in the Mass which would become the celebrated Gregorian Chant.
The same barbarian ransacking that Saint Augustine of Hippo in the early 400’s revisited in the early 600’s while Pope Saint Gregory the Great was guiding Holy Mother Church as the 64th successor of Saint Peter. Most of Europe was in a state of confusion and peril. The Lombards had claimed much of Italy and were a constant thorn in Rome’s side. The city and surrounding area had been plundered by invasions, pillaging and earthquakes dating back to the late 5th Century. With the Byzantine Emperor situated in the East the forces in Rome were weakened and ripe for a takeover. Gregory, like his predecessor Pope Saint Leo the Great, he prayed for an answer to thwarting the Barbarian quest. Because Gregory had been the prefect under Pope John III, he knew the procedures for dealing in politics and diplomacy. Realising a great sum of money from the income on property throughout Italy and nearby islands that had been donated to the Church, Gregory, being a great statesman knew there was enough in the coffers to bribe, if you will. the Lombard king. Thus Gregory gathered the “ransom” and paid the king an agreed-upon sum. To seal the deal he signed a treaty with the Lombard leader King Agilulf to spare the city. His actions not only diminished the authority of the Byzantine Emperor in Rome, but allowed enough funds left over to repair the Roman walls that had been attacked. Because of Gregory’s saving action he became not only the spiritual ruler of Rome but the temporal one as well, being called upon to recruit and train troops as well as passing fair laws that ensured the proper treatment of slaves.
Pope St. Gregory’s great zeal for helping people, his extreme fairness to all peoples, his leadership abilities, and, above all his holiness and spiritual guidance were factors in Pope Gregory’s great success in such a short time. He is truly the one responsible for establishing Catholicism in western Europe for he was instrumental in the conversion to Catholicism of the Visigoths in Spain who had previously been Arians as well as eliminating all paganism on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. His peace initiative towards the Lombards made great strides in laying the foundation for the conversion of the Lombards who had also been followers of Arianism. He is also known for bringing the True Faith to England. Being a Benedictine himself, when he became Pope he gathered 40 monks from his monastery of St. Andrew’s and placed Saint Augustine of Canterbury in charge of the missionary expedition to England in 597. On their journey there they travelled through Gaul where great horror stories abounded about how cruel the Anglo-Saxons were. Many of the monks became discouraged and were about to turn back, but Gregory sent letters of encouragement which spurred them on. Once they arrived, Ethelbert, the King of Kent met the missionaries and, to their delight, gave them total liberty to preach the Gospel wherever they wanted to on the British Isles. One reason for his leniency was that he was married to a Frankish princess who was already Catholic. The King soon joined her by being baptised along with thousands of his subjects. From there word spread of this new faith and countless conversions took place throughout Britain. In 600 Augustine returned to Gaul and the Bishop of Arles consecrated him a bishop at the Pope’s decree. So pleased was Gregory that he sent a second wave of missionaries in 601 to meet Augustine in Gaul before going on to England. Once there Augustine was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and two other bishops were approved for London and Rochester respectively. Through their efforts and the constant prayers of Catholics everywhere, monasteries became plentiful throughout England planting the seeds of great vocations for centuries to come. From one of these monasteries would come Saint Boniface who would become the “Apostle of Germany” in converting this northern country to the Roman faith. By the time Augustine died in 605 Catholicism was deeply rooted in British soil.
On the Eastern front, the split with the Byzantine Emperor was further magnified when Gregory gained the upper hand, so to speak, on three occasions. The first of course was the great leadership he exhibited in saving Rome from the Lombard invasions and his subsequent study and recourse of how to eliminate the taxes levied on Italians by the Byzantine Emperor. The second event, the Empress of Constantinople had asked for the relics of Saint Peter and Saint Paul to be placed in the great church there. Gregory gave the Empress’ ambassador a cloth that had been touched to the saints’ graves. The imperial ambassador felt short-changed and complained that this was just a token and not worthy of being given to the Empress. Though the ambassador was seething, Gregory invited him to attend a Mass at the Altar of the Apostles. During the Mass the Holy Father requested the ambassador bring him the cloth. The ambassador thrust it at the pontiff in disdain and Gregory pierced the cloth with a knife that had been laying on the altar. Immediately drops of blood poured forth. The ambassador was in awe and humbly asked forgiveness and took the miraculous cloth back to Constantinople to tell of the phenomenon he had witnessed though the event had implanted on his heart and mind that the Pope was truly the leader and the Byzantine rulers were beholden to him. The third occasion occurred when the Patriarch of Constantinople tried to use the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” and Gregory denounced him in defending the supreme authority of the Church as coming from Rome and the Apostolic succession of Peter. Gregory dubbed himself the “Servant of the Servants of God” which to this day the pontiffs still use.
Gregory was given the moniker “Great” seven hundred years later by Pope Boniface VIII and was proclaimed one of the great Doctors of the Church along with Saints Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine…all from the same era of the early centuries.

A catechism on Fast & Abstinence

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert, for the space of forty days; and was tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was hungry.” (Luke 4:1-2)
What is fasting? Fasting means that on certain days, you may eat; one full meal with meat (unless it is also a day of abstinence); two small meals without meat. No food between meals.
A fast day consists of 24 hours, from midnight to midnight. The two small meals may be only enough to maintain strength and are not to exceed the size of the one main meal. Liquids, including milk and fruit juice, may be taken between meals, but tend to violate the spirit of the fast.
Who is obliged to fast? Every Catholic over 21 and not yet 59, who is not sick, pregnant or nursing a baby.
People doing heavy manual labour may be excused from this obligation by their pastor or confessor; also, those who work long hours.
What kind of sin is it not to fast? A mortal sin, unless you are excused.
When must you fast? According to the Old Roman customs: Every day in Lent, except Sundays; Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
When does Lent begin? On Ash Wednesday; it ends 40 days later, on the Saturday before Easter at midnight.
When are the Ember Days? The Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays following September 14, December 13, Pentecost Sunday and the 1st Sunday in Lent. Under the new norms the Ember days are no longer observed.
What is abstinence? Abstinence means that on certain days you may not eat meat.
What is meant by “meat”? The flesh of any warm-blooded animal or bird and the soups or gravies made from such flesh.
Sea foods are allowed (fish, lobster, turtles, crabs, oysters, frogs, scallops, clams, and so on).
Who is obliged to abstain from meat? Traditionally, every Catholic 7 years of age and over.
What kind of sin is it not to abstain? A mortal sin.
On what days are you forbidden to eat meat at all? According to the traditional norms: Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of the year (unless a Holy Day of Obligation falls on Friday).
What is partial abstinence? Traditionally, this means that those who are obliged to abstain may eat meat only once (at the main meal) on the Wednesdays and Saturdays of Ember weeks and on the vigil of Pentecost.

The First Purification, Namely, From Mortal Sin

“An introduction to a devout life” Part I, Chapter 6 by St Francis de Sales

The work of the soul’s purification neither may nor can end save with life itself;–do not then let us be disheartened by our imperfections,–our very perfection lies in diligently contending against them, and it is impossible so to contend without seeing them, or to overcome without meeting them face toe face. Our victory does not consist in being insensible to them, but in not consenting to them. Now to be afflicted by our imperfections is certainly not to consent thereto, and for the furtherance of humility it is needful that we sometimes find ourselves worsted in this spiritual battle, wherein, however, we shall never be conquered until we lose either life or courage. Moreover, imperfections and venial sins cannot destroy our spiritual life, which is only to be lost through mortal sin; consequently we have only need to watch well that they do not imperil our courage. David continually asks the Lord to strengthen his heart against cowardice and discouragement; and it is our privilege in this war that we are certain to vanquish so long as we are willing to fight.
The first purification to be made is from sin;–the means whereby to make it, the sacrament of penance. Seek the best confessor within your reach, use one of the many little books written in order to help the examination of conscience.Read some such book carefully, examining point by point wherein you have sinned, from the first use of your reason to the present time. And if you mistrust your memory, write down the result of your examination. Having thus sought out the evil spots in your conscience, strive to detest them, and to reject them with the greatest abhorrence and contrition of which your heart is capable;–bearing in mind these four things:–that by sin you have lost God’s Grace, rejected your share in Paradise, accepted the pains of Hell, and renounced God’s Eternal Love. You see, my child, that I am now speaking of a general confession of your whole life, which, while I grant it is not always necessary, I yet believe will be found most helpful in the beginning of your pursuit after holiness, and therefore I earnestly advise you to make it. Not unfrequently the ordinary confessions of persons leading an everyday life are full of great faults, and that because they make little or no preparation, and have not the needful contrition. Owing to this deficiency such people go to confession with a tacit intention of returning to their old sins, inasmuch as they will not avoid the occasions of sin, or take the necessary measures for amendment of life, and in all such cases a general confession is required to steady and fix the soul. But, furthermore, a general confession forces us to a clearer selfknowledge, kindles a wholesome shame for our past life, and rouses gratitude for God’s Mercy, Which has so long waited patiently for us;–it comforts the heart, refreshes the spirit, excites good resolutions, affords opportunity to our spiritual Father for giving the most suitable advice, and opens our hearts so as to make future confessions more effectual. Therefore I cannot enter into the subject of a general change of life and entire turning to God, by means of a devout life, without urging upon you to begin with a general confession.

Lenten Catechism “Keeping Lent”

Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey discusses our motivations for observing Lent and what might prompt us to keep our Lenten discipline in times of fatigue or despondency. Why does holy Mother Church encourage us to observe and keep Lent? The answer to this question and a discussion on the Seven Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are in this video.
The Lenten Catechism is broadcast on Saturday mornings LIVE from 10am via Facebook.

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy

The Seven Works of Mercy by Meester Van De Levensbron

In this time of lent it is good to imitate Jesus and the saints by also doing corporal works of mercy.
Jesus and the saints always had great love and compassion for the sinner, possessed, sick and poor. We know that Jesus had a purse with money to give to the poor that Judas stole from. We also see that, in the second coming of Jesus as King in all His glory, He will judge us on if we have given food, drink, clothing and medicine, to first His servants (like priests, nuns and laity that serve God) as well as other who are in need.
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked and you covered me: sick and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” Matthew 25:33-36.
St. Francis is famous for his love of God, the Church and the poor (especially the lepers). We see that he loved God first and then loved others, and in particular the suffering. But he spent most of his life preaching repentance of sin and praying. Then, from this he and his brothers would take care of the poor as well.
St. John of God is another example of helping the sick and poor. He rented a house where he personally provided for and took care of the poor sick in Granada Spain. He cared about widows, orphans, the unemployed, poor students and fallen women. He his the patron saint for hospitals and the dying.
The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy are:
1) Feed the hungry. “Man is not fed by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” says Jesus. Food is very important and sharing it with others and the poor is necessary. But, that bread, needs to be given over and over again. Where as the bread that came down from heaven, The Holy Communion in Holy Latin Mass is what fills the hungry soul as well as healing the human soul and body. “Oh Lord I am not worthy that You should come to me, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Bringing people to the Holy Latin Mass and preparing them to worthily receive the Real Body and Blood of Jesus is the greatest thing we can do for others.
2) Give Drink to the Thirsty. Sharing water and other drinks with our guest and the poor is good. But at the Well of Samaria, Jesus offered life giving water to the woman and to all of us who believe in Him and His Church. Jesus is the crystal clear spring from which flows all that is life giving; the Bible and the Holy Sacraments. Without water, there is no life, human, animal or plant. So we want to share our faith with those who are thirsting for meaning in their lives as well as giving someone something to drink.
3) Clothe the Naked. It is a wonderful thing to take clothes to a homeless shelter. From my years of running St. Francis Catholic Kitchen in Santa Cruz California, what was most needed was men’s clothing. They need socks, underwear, pants and coats (in winter). But as is quite obvious today from the immodest women’s skirts, pants and tops, the real nakedness is the lack of shame and purposely dressing to sexually tempt men. We need to clothe the naked with truth and purity. As almost everyone after adolescence is sexually active or watching pornography, we need to give them back their white baptismal garment of sexual purity and purity from all sins that strip us of our clothes of our Catholic Dignity.
4) Shelter the Homeless. It is very difficult to share our homes with others, but we are called to do that when it is safe. The Benedictine Monks have the rule to give 3 days hospitality to anyone who comes in need. The Abbot comes and greets them and washes their hands or feet. But after 3 days they need to either help out or leave. We want to help others also prepare a home for themselves when they die. How horrible to have a home in this life and then to be homeless in hell for ever. So preparing a person to go to heaven is the greatest thing we can do, because that home is eternal. Jesus says, “I will go to My Father and your Father to prepare a place for you.” Everything we give away in this life, for love of God, will be stored up to build our eternal house in heaven.
5) Visit the Sick. Most of us have been sick at one time or another and know how wonderful it is when someone makes us chicken soup or just visits us in the hospital. Rich and poor get sick and need loving medical care. Hospitals and clinics for poor sick people is one of the greatest things anyone can do. But there is also the terrible virus of sin infecting the masses. We need to go and tell them they are sick and give them the medicine (confession and Holy Communion) that will get them back to normal health. Much depression comes from sin and bad life styles. Only a holy life leads to a healthy happy life.
6) Ransom the Captive (Visit the Imprisoned). Prison ministry is very important. Going and sharing our Catholic faith with those in prison and Juvenile Hall are essential acts of charity. But billions of people are captives of the devil, addictions, false religions and atheism. It takes a great deal of effort and time to set someone free from these enslavements. Before, many people would give up their freedom to set Catholic slaves free from Muslim owners. That would be the most difficult act of charity I could ever imagine doing. They would also pay for their ransom. We also allow ourselves to become imprisoned in our own selfishness. May God help us get free, so as to be able to help others become free.
7) Bury the Dead. Funerals are very expensive. So we want to plan a funeral that is as inexpensive as possible. We also need to plan our own funeral with a Latin Requiem Mass. Then we need to have a burial plot in a Catholic Cemetery that is consecrated land. The coffin should be as cheap as possible, preferably a hand made wooden coffin with handles on the side so as to be able to carry it in and out of Church. But we can also help other families to plan an inexpensive funeral ahead of time too. That will be a good way of helping bury the dead so that when the time comes they do not rush and pay any amount that the morticians want charge them. Never act on emotion at this sad time. Just being present to the family of the dead is a great consolation. But make sure the person who is dying gets to confession and the traditional Last Rites. Offering Holy Mass for the dead is also a great work of charity.
Both the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy make up what it means to practice our Catholic Faith. It can seem that the Church is divided into two groups, those that care about the spiritual things of God and the souls of others and the other is concerned with the social justice issues. Absolutely; the most important acts of mercy have to do with the the eternal soul. But the two can work very well together when we put “the horse (Soul) in front of the buggy (Body)” and help others spiritually and materially. It is so wonderful to be a traditional Catholic and do both.

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

St. Augustine of Hippo

The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy

We are all encouraged by the Lord, especially by reading and meditating on Mt. 25:31-46, to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy — to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to welcome the foreigner, and to visit both the sick and the imprisoned.
In sum, our Final Judgement will be based largely on love of God but manifested on our love for neighbour. Indeed, using the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We must find Jesus present in the distressing disguise of the poor.” St. Vincent de Paul, known for his great love for the poor, actually called the poor “his masters”.
Corporal works of mercy done with the most noble of intentions pleases the Heart of Jesus immensely. However, it is equally important to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Jesus said point blank: “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and loses his soul in the process. What can a man do in exchange for his soul?” It is lamentable that one of the most common and grave neglects is the failure to preach the Word of God to the poor. First, fill their hungry stomachs. But then, fill their souls with the Bread of the Word of God and the Bread of Life, which is Holy Communion.
1. Admonish the Sinner Easier said than done! Doing this can be extremely difficult, but it is exceedingly necessary now more than ever. Why is it so difficult? For the simple reason that we are born proud and do not desire to give up old and ingrained habits, and if they are bad habits they are called “vices”. We often cling to the evil, the dirty, the ugly, the impure, the unhealthy, and the sinful.
A common example merits our attention. Those who cohabit are living in sin and somebody should tell them and give clear reasons why this is wrong? What might be some reasons to explain why it is wrong? Here are some! Premarital sex or fornication is a mortal sin. You deprive yourself of the Sacraments, both of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. You are giving public scandal, even if many are doing it now. Majority does not make right in the eyes of God. You erode your conscience.
God so highly prizes admonishing the sinner and bringing him back on the right path that He promises salvation and the expiation of many of our personal sins by simply bringing back one straying sinner.
Read the words of the Apostle Saint James:

“My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

James 5: 19-20

2. Instruct the Ignorant We all have heard the proverb: “Charity begins at home.” This is true especially in the formation of children and adolescents. By choosing the married state, husband and wife profess to be open to life through procreation. That is just the very first step!
Next, it is incumbent upon parents to teach their children all that refers to God, the Commandments, the Sacraments, prayer, Marian devotion, and much more… The primary responsibility of parents bringing children into this world is to bring these children into heaven.
The school is not the first teacher, nor the catechism teacher, nor even the Pastor or priest. No! The first teachers must be Mum and Dad. This necessarily implies the process of ongoing or permanent formation on the part of the parents. Another proverb is worthy of injecting here: “You cannot give what you do not have.”
One field that parents must master, in the realm of education for themselves as well as their children, is that of sexual morality. Parents must strive to know the Biblical and Church’s teaching on purity, live it out in their own lives and then teach it with the utmost clarity to their children!
3. Counsel the Doubtful Much can be said on this Spiritual work of mercy, but we will briefly mention one: the importance of solid spiritual direction. Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque among many saints were strongly dependent on spiritual direction so as to discern God’s will in their lives. They all are canonised saints and one of the reasons was that they humbly admitted that they were ignorant in many ways, had many doubts and had to submit their judgements, inspirations and thoughts to a higher authority—their Confessors and Spiritual Directors.
Given there is a shortage of priests as well as spiritual directors, still it is incumbent upon us to find some way to have periodic spiritual direction so as to expel the many doubts that can easily cloud our mind and blur our judgement and corrupt our actions. Saint John of the Cross put it wryly: “He who has himself as spiritual director has an idiot as his spiritual directee!” In other words we all have blind spots that can only be enlightened by proper spiritual direction.
4. Comfort the Sorrowful This is extremely important! Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his rules for discernment, outlines the strategy on how to act when we are in a state of desolation.
In desolation we may feel sad, or even exhausted as if nobody really cares for us while life seems useless and without meaning. We all go through this state at times; it is part of being human. However, when you are aware of somebody going through this state, do all you can to be a source of encouragement.
How? First, pray for the person. Second, a warm smile can go a long way! Third, say a word or two of encouragement. Fourth, offer a compliment on some good quality the person has. This is very pleasing to God. We become like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus to carry His cross.
5. Bear Wrongs Patiently Once again, easier said than done. In this we need grace and a lot of grace! Maybe at work we have been wronged by a boss or by a co-worker. Changing jobs is unthinkable due to the economic situation. Both the boss and co-worker are not going anywhere. The most pleasing attitude in the eyes of God is simply to return to work with great humility and trust in Divine Providence.
Trust God! He will be there with you to help you to patiently carry the cross. Of immense help could be to meditate upon Jesus carrying His cross heading towards His crucifixion. Even though Jesus fell three times, He still got up with the weight of the sins of the world on His weary and blood-beaten shoulders.
We should always have Jesus before our eyes as our model and example, Indeed Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
6. Forgive All Injuries May God help us! We have arrived at the heart of mercy in our dealing with others. Mercy is a two-way street! If we want to receive mercy from God, then we must be merciful and forgive those who have done us wrong. Biblical verses on this topic are many, very many…
“Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful…
“Vengeance is mine: I will repay, says the Lord.”
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”(The Our Father)
“I tell you not seven times, but seventy times seven times… you must forgive…”
“Leave your gift and first be reconciled with your brother…”
“Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
“Amen I say to you: today you will be with me in Paradise.”

One hint in the area of forgiveness: Accept the fact that all of your life people will hurt you. The most common place that we are wounded is in the context of our family, with family members. The key is this: forgive immediately! As soon as anybody hurts or wounds you, then pray for that person and forgive immediately. If done, you have won a major victory over self and shown God how much you love Him by practising mercy.
7. Pray for the Living and the Dead Jesus told Saint Faustina that He desires that we practice at least one act of mercy every day. He specified that mercy can be carried out in one of three manners:
1) by kind words
2) by kind deeds
3) by prayer
One of the greatest acts of charity we can do in our lives is to simply pray for others, both the living and the dead.
With respect to the living, there should be a hierarchy of importance. If married and with a family this should be the order: first spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends, co-workers and associates, and we should also pray for those we do not like and even for our enemies!
Then, with respect to the dead, we should pray constantly for the dead. Saint Francis de Sales emphasises the fact that this is one of the greatest acts of charity that we can do. Why? For this simple reason: they are totally dependent on the mercy of God and on our prayers, alms-giving or charity, as well as our sacrifices.
The Gregorian Mass of a month’s consecutive Masses came about because Pope Saint Gregory the Great had to pray thirty consecutive Masses so as to free his deceased friend from the fires of Purgatory. A common error today is in funeral Masses where the deceased person, despite his many moral failures, is being unofficially canonised in the funeral homily as well as in the eulogy. True, we should be compassionate towards those who lose their loved ones. Still, we should not canonise and jump the gun before time. The Bible teaches clearly and unequivocally that only the pure and without blemish can enter the Kingdom of God.
Ask yourself, in humble prayer, which of these Spiritual works of mercy you believe the Holy Spirit is inspiring you to undertake right now. Look at your concrete living condition and surely the Holy Spirit will pinpoint persons and areas where you will be able to implement with great generosity of soul one or more of these spiritual works of mercy. Never forget the inspiring and challenging words of Jesus: “Whatsoever you do the least of my brothers that you do unto me.” (Mt. 25:31-46)

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.

How to Fast – ten suggestions

Jesus said: “Unless you do penance you will all perish,” (Lk. 13:3). In the first preaching of His Public ministry Jesus exhorts us to conversion: “Be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand,”(Mk. 1:15). The Mystical Body of Christ generously offers us a season of grace which has, as its purpose, conversion every year. This is the forty days of Lent.
Moses fasted forty days on the Mountain and Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting. The Church encourages us in the Season of Lent to dig deep into the inner recesses of our hearts and beg for conversion of heart.
This conversion can become a reality by undertaking three traditional practices: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. (Mt. 6: 1-18) In prayer we lift our minds to God; in almsgiving we go out to meet the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters; in fasting we dig deep into our hearts and beg the Lord for the grace to relinquish our attachment to sin!
This being the case, what might be some concrete ways that we can practice fasting? An important note is the following: fasting is not a mere diet, with the simple desire to lose a few extra pounds. Rather, the purpose of fasting is to please God, convert our hearts as well as to beg for the conversion of others. In other words, fasting must have a horizontal or supernatural intention!

  1. Eat less and receive the most Holy Eucharist more.
    By this practice we give more importance to our spiritual life and the salvation of our soul. Jesus said: “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (John. 6:27—Discourse on the Bread of Life)
  2. Control your tongue.
    Saint James says, “We should be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Read James chapter three—one of the best exhortations in the world to work on controlling our tongue!
  3. Heroic Moments.
    The Founder of Opus Dei has coined the phrase, “The Heroic Moment”. By this Saint Jose Maria asserts that as soon as we hear the alarm-clock we should spring from bed, pray and start our day. The devil of laziness encourages us to push the Snooze-button! I do not believe the Snooze-button exists in the vocabulary and practice of the saints. What do you think?
  4. Control those wandering eyes.
    The eyes are the mirror to the soul. The holy King David plunged into sin and more sin leading to murder for the simple reason that he allowed his eyes to wander. His eyes wandered and gazed upon a married woman—Bathsheba. Adulterous thoughts led to physical adultery, to denial of his sin and eventually to killing an innocent man—the husband of Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12). Let us strive to live out the Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5: 8)
  5. Punctuality.
    Jesus says, “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the larger things.” (Mt. 25:23) Being punctual and on time is a sign of order, respect for others, and a means to accomplish tasks well and on time.
  6. Listen to Others.
    It is all too easy to interrupt others when they speak and try to impose our own ideas even before the person has finished his idea. Charity, which means, love for God and for others, teaches us to respect others and allow them to speak without interrupting and imposing our own ideas.
    Listening to others is also an act of humility—putting others before ourselves!“Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like unto yours.” (Mt. 11:28-30—Jesus describes His Heart as meek and humble…)
  7. Be Thankful Rather Than Complain.
    Never allow a day to pass in which you do not thank God. We should constantly be thanking God. Furthermore, we should make it a habit to frequently give thanks to others. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever,” (Psalm 118:1).
  8. Smile, even if you don’t necessarily want to.
    This indeed could be a great penance—to smile at somebody even when you are tired, carrying with you a headache or a cold. This is heroic virtue. A smile is something small, but it is contagious. Indeed a sincere smile can lift those who see it from desolation to a state of consolation. One of the most evident signs of being a follower of Jesus is the smile of joy radiating from the face.“Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
  9. Pray, even when you do not feel like it.
    Many of us unfortunately base our spiritual life on mere feelings which are ephemeral, transitory and passing like the dew that evaporates by the morning sun. Our best example is of course Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39-46). When Jesus was experiencing a mortal agony and desolation that drew huge drops of Blood from His pores, He did not really feel like praying. Nonetheless, Jesus prayed all the more fervently.
    Therefore, let us practice fasting and penance in our lives and have a set time and place to pray and to pray at times even when we do not feel like it. This is penance and true love for God! This is a sign of true maturity in the faith!
  10. Encouragement.
    “Barnabus” actually means “Son of encouragement”(Acts 4:36). Let us get out of our egotistic shell and focus more on God and seeing Jesus in others—in imitation of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10). Let us learn to be a Simon of Cyrene and help our brothers and sisters who are carrying the weight of a very heavy cross. Let us lighten it by encouraging words, motivational gestures and by a heart filled with love and compassion. Remember the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.”(Mt. 7:12) In the difficult storms of the earthly battle, a word of encouragement can indeed be a powerful wind in the sails!

Prayerfully read through these ten suggestions on how to fast—how to deny yourself—and choose at least one or two that you can start to practice right away. May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, encourage us to deny ourselves and say “yes” to the love of God by serving our brothers and sisters with a generous heart! (Lk. 1: 38—Mary’s “Yes” to God).

Old Roman Culture

A weekly look at the cultural heritage of Western Christendom…

Stations of the Cross

1000 GMTThe Brighton Oratory East Sussex, UK
1200 CSTSanta Cruz Mission, Houston TX, USA
1330 PHTSt Isidro Labrador, Santa Rosa, Laguna PH
1800 CSTSt Felix Friary Chicago, IL. USA
1900 PHTDivine Mercy Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
1930 GMT-3Child Jesus Chapel La Florida. Santiago de Chile

See Mass Directory below for full addresses

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, Matt & Bethan, Karen, Ros R, Ralph S, Brenda M,

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), Wendy Lamb (04/03/20)

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
Divine Mercy, Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines

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

NOTA BENE Please be aware that orthodox and authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, bishops and clergy are usually listed with the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory, which the faithful and enquirers are strongly invited to contact if unsure as to the credentials of a cleric presenting himself as “Old Roman Catholic”.

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