All posts by Editor

Saint Stephen

St StephenToday is the feast of Saint Stephen, whose name means “crown,” and the first disciple of Jesus to be a martyr. Saint Stephen was the first deacon of our Church;  the apostles discerned that they needed assistants to look after the care of the widows and the poor. As you know from the Acts of Apostles, seven deacons were selected by prayer and ordained for service.

In fact, sacred Scripture reveals that Stephen’s face looked like the face of an angel as he spoke of Jesus as the promised Savior. His listeners were greatly disturbed at his teaching. Having dragged Stephen outside the city walls of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”  He then fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.

Let us pray for the courage and honesty of Saint Stephen in the face of trial. Let us, too, pray for deacons.

Latin Mass offered on Christmas Day in New Haven

nativityThe Traditional Latin Mass will be offered at 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Day at Saint Stanislaus Church, New Haven. The Saint Gregory Schola will sing the Missa Cantata.

“Iesus Christus, Deus homo: Jesus Christ, God-man. This is one of “the mighty works of God,” which we should reflect upon and thank him for. He has come to bring “peace on earth to men of good Will,” to all men who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God — not just the rich, not just the poor, but everyone: all the brethren. We are all brothers in Jesus, children of God, brothers of Christ. His Mother is our mother” (St. Josemaria Escriva).

Advent Ember Days 2015

The 2015 Winter Ember Days are December 16th, December 18th, December 19th.

DSC_0554What are the Ember Days?

The venerable observance of the Ember Days, Quatuor Tempora, in Latin, ought to be kept today by Catholics for no other reason to remain in the gesture of gratitude before God. Sadly, however, the Ember Days are sort of defunct in the Catholic Church, generally speaking. There are people in small portions of God’s Kingdom who maintain the liturgical and personal remembrance of what God has done through the beauty of His creation.

The Ember Days were days of fast with partial abstaining from meat as a form of penance. Remembering that fasting was always linked to prayer of giving thanks God for the gifts in nature and asking for the grace of being humble and moderate in our stewardship and use of nature. Likewise, fasting and prayer was linked with an act of charity.

The fasts for Ember Days are known as “Jejunia quatuor temporum,” (“the fast of the four seasons,”). The biblical warrant is Jewish practice of fasting four times a year:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love  truth and peace (Zachariah 8:19).

The Jewish sensibility ought to be ours: prayer, fasting and charitable works to be done with joy and gladness. Sour and cynical people go home! Also, someone might quip that that the Ember days came before the post-modern obsession with ecology divorced from the Divine Majesty. True. So let’s bring the integrity of the Jewish and Catholic faith back to its robust nature!

We know historically that, The Didache, a first century text, speaks of the Christians  fasting on Wednesdays (the day on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas) and on Fridays (the day on which Jesus was crucified) to differentiate from the Jewish custom of fasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In time the central tradition of the Church at Rome kept the fast only Fridays as a penitential day except during Eastertide.  Yet, in monasteries you will find to this day the retention of Wednesday, too, as a day of penance. Nevertheless, by the third century the Ember days were born.

The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of Saint Lucy (December 13) ; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday (date varies) and the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday (date varies); and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day (September 14).

Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.

Which means:

Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, are when the quarter holidays follow.

Simply recalled: “Lucy, Ashes, Dove, and Cross.”

An interesting note: by AD 494 Pope Gelasius designated Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. The tradition of the very early Church had the discipline that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3).

Here is a good article to read on the Ember Days.

Latin Mass for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin

IC BVMThe Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8th, is a holy day of obligation. The Traditional Latin Mass will be offered at St Stanislaus Church (New Haven) at 5:30 p.m.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was given to the Latin Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854 in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus.

The patroness of the U.S.A. is Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Come and pray for the wellbeing of our country.

Information on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary may be read here AND here.