Thursday, November 17, 2011

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Preparing for the New Missal - Minor Orders in Nebraska

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

O God, by whose gift Saint Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and revered Christ in the poor, grant, through her intercession, that we may serve with unfailing charity the needy and those afflicted. Through our Lord.

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NEW ROMAN MISSAL (continued)

Why "And with Your Spirit?"

"The Lord be with you" and the response, "and with your spirit", echo St. Paul’s conclusion in his letters to the Galatians and to Timothy (Gal 6:18 and 2 Tim 4:22).

This greeting is used 4 times during Mass. The celebrant bishop or priest uses it at the beginning of Mass, during the Preface Dialogue before the Eucharistic Prayer and at the End of Mass. The deacon uses it (or in his absence the priest) before the Gospel. In the New Missal the response matches the original Latin text "And with your spirit".

This revision conforms the Mass in English with the Mass in French and all other languages that refer to the "spirit". "Spirit" signifies the spirit given to the bishop, priest or deacon at his ordination for service to the Church. St. Paul reminds us "there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone." (1 Cor 12:4-6)

The revised greeting and response help us to remember that the Holy Spirit empowers the celebration of the sacraments in which God blesses, heals, forgives, strengthens and nourishes us. --Reverend Geoffrey Kerslake

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton, NE


Some time back, I was invited to travel to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary (OLGS) outside Lincoln, Nebraska to officiate at the conferral of minor orders for seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). 

Having had good relations with the FSSP priests at Ottawa's St. Clement Parish and having been remotely involved with the vocational discernment of Adrian Lebow from Calgary while he studied in our city, I was open to the suggestion even though I had only rarely celebrated in the Extraordinary Form  (EO), which follows the Missal of John XXIII of 1962, that I had known in my early formation from having served Mass.

So we fixed on the second weekend in November and agreed that the staff and seminarians of OLGS would assist me in coping with the liturgical requirements of a Pontifical High Mass.

On Saturday, I travelled to Lincoln via Chicago-OHare and returned home on Monday evening, having enjoyed the hospitality of a cordial community during my stay. The Seminary Rector, Father Bisig kindly met me at the airport, drove me to visit with the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph nearby and saw me off at the end of my stay. Father John Berg, the Superior General was on hand for the canonical visitation of the seminary, as was Father Flood, the North American Director and many other priests (including even Father Matthew Goddard of St. Clement's following a retreat for younger priests).  During my stay I learned that Ottawa was the first diocese in the world to entrust a parish to the care of the Fraternity!

Sunday was the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost in the EO and the sermon comes before the reading in this ordination ritual (it is posted after the photos, all of which come courtesy of the skilled photography of John Bultmann, FSSP). For other photos go to the OLGS website (Seminary News):

The porter and lector ordinands

Touching the keys to the church entrusted to the door-keepers [porters]

The exorcist and acolyte ordinands touch the ritual book of prayers

A blessing for those ordained exorcist and acolyte

The Seminary Rector and the newly ordained porters and lectors

A group photo with the ordinands, ministers and servers

The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost—November 13, 2011
Conferral of the Minor Orders
of Porter, Lector, Exorcist and Acolyte
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton, NE

[Texts: Philippians 1.6-11; Psalm 132.1-2; 113.11; Matthew 22.15-21]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

My first words are to thank Father Bisig and the seminary staff. I am grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the conferral of minor orders on the seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. You have said yes to Christ’s call, and I rejoice with you!

This ceremony brings back memories of spring, 1968, and Loyola Seminary in New York State. There, in the shadow of West Point, we Jesuits were training for a different kind of engagement. Those days were turbulent in both the world and in the Church. I received tonsure and the four minor orders.

I believe this occasion will strengthen ties of respect and affection for the Fraternity.  I am grateful to have developed a close connection with you since my nomination to Ottawa in 2007. May such bonds of unity and respect continue to develop in our Church.

The readings for today’s Mass—which we will hear after the minor orders are conferred—say a great deal about preparing young men for the priesthood.

Today’s Gospel narrative is drawn from the twilight days of Jesus’ Jerusalem ministry just before his Passion. The Pharisees engage Him in several debates. In this case, Jesus is asked whether it is right to pay the poll tax to Caesar.

The Pharisees, upset that Jesus berated them in several parables, sent their disciples and some Herodians to trip Him up. They start by trying to butter Him up (“We know that you are sincere and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth, and show deference to no one...”), but they actually sought to place Him on the horns of a dilemma to ruin Him, one way or the other.

The hated poll tax, instituted in 6 A.D. when Judea had become a Roman province, inflamed opposition to the occupying power. This gave rise to the Zealot movement, which fomented the Jewish War of AD66-70. That ended in disaster. In principle, the Pharisees resisted the poll tax. On the other hand, the Herodians—bit players in this drama—openly supported the Romans and favoured payment of the tax.

If Jesus supported paying tribute to Caesar, He would be discredited as a prophet. If, however, He argued against paying the tax, this could be used to betray Him to the Romans as a rebel. The conspirators knew that 20 years before, the Romans had executed Judas the Galilean, a pseudo-messiah and Zealot, for opposing the tribute. Jesus saw through their plot, and asked for the Roman coin used to pay the tax. He asked about the image and inscription found on the coin.

Many Jews considered the coin blasphemous. Because it bore a human image, it violated the commandment against graven images. Its inscription (“Tiberius Caesar, the august son of the Divine Augustus, high priest”) made a claim that rivalled God's exclusive sovereignty over Israel. Jews should rightfully have wanted to be rid of this coin. Still, they could produce one, whereas Jesus could not.

Earlier, Jesus had expressed willingness to pay the Temple tax to avoid scandal (Matthew 17.4). He did not forbid the poll tax paid to Caesar (“Give, therefore, to the emperor the things that are the emperor's...”). But Jesus went a step further when He added, “and to God the things that are God's”.

This claim is all-inclusive, because God's image and likeness are found inscribed on all His subjects. Therefore, all of a believer's life should be rendered to God, while only a paltry coin is owed the civil ruler.

Our brothers will surrender all to the Lord, not only by their acceptance of their call in saying Adsum, I am ready and willing to be missioned as a porter and lector, as an exorcist and an acolyte. No, beyond that, they will receive the mandate in these ministries to help restore the image of God. His image may have been disfigured… by wandering away from attendance at the sacred mysteries (symbolized by the bells and keys entrusted to the porter); …or by not heeding God’s Word (which lectors are to meditate on, take into their lives and proclaim to God’s people); …or by being caught up in demonic pursuits (from which the exorcist is to help them be set free by prayer); …or by keeping distant from Holy Mass. Remember that the acolyte must give supreme importance to the Mass by his commitment to the Eucharistic mystery, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe, your seminary’s patron, intercede for you with her Son.  You will need divine graces to keep faithful to the call you are answering today and throughout your formation.

The letter from St. Paul expresses confidence that God Our Lord who has begun this good work in you will see it to fulfilment. I echo the prayer Paul offered up for the Philippians, “I pray that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and all understanding…that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ” [’s return in glory]!

Returning briefly to the Gospel, we know that the role of religion in politics is always a contentious issue. Do not be deterred! Christian citizens—lay and religious—have a legitimate right and duty to participate in the secular realm and its political processes. Remind our civic rulers of the dignity of the human person, who bears God's image and likeness!  God cares about how taxes are collected and spent, and so should you. You can influence, for the good, health care—from the moment of a person's conception to one's natural death—as well as education, corrections, public debt and, indeed, all social policies. I promise to do my part!

One line beyond today’s Gospel reading says “When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away”. I am pleased that men of your quality have not “gone away,” but instead, as Saint Paul wrote, are today “partners in grace.”


  1. How beautiful! How I wish the FSSP had a parish or 20 down east!!

  2. Ah, Capebretoner. How my family and I sympathize with you! Having "gone away" like so many Maritimers to earn my living, we eventually emerged from the liturgical wasteland in the 60s and drifted over to what is now St Clement Parish, Ottawa. Which has obliged us to forego the joys of coming back home to spend our retirement years. There have been incalculable blessings nonetheless, and not the least the appointment of Archbishop Prendergast to the See of Ottawa some five years ago.


  3. Archbishop,

    Pope Paul VI of venerable memory ABOLISHED the minor orders in 1972 upon the wishes of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and in the motu proprio Mysteria Quaedum.

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger helped restore all the Tridentine nonsense when he convinced Pope John Paul Ii to set up the Ecclesia Dei Afflicta Commission.

    And the rest is the sorry history we're now living through.

    Thanks for participating in this farce and flattening out of Vatican II.