Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Vocation and the Universal Call to Holiness

Pope Francis chose to begin his Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on the 50th Anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council (December 8th, 1965).   In doing so he clearly wished to link the course of his Papacy to the legacy of that ecumenical Council.   Pope Francis, it may be noted, is the first Pope who was ordained to the priesthood after Vatican II.   His own personal chronology crosses the divide of the before-and-after, the pre-conciliar and the post-conciliar Church.

Broadly speaking, two “schools of thought” have emerged from within the Church over the past half-century on the meaning of that Council.   One school argues for the “hermeneutic (i.e., the interpretation) of continuity” with regard to the Council.   However much Catholicism seems to have changed, it continues on as before, Vatican II having been a catalyst for legitimate reforms.   The turmoil in the Church is blamed on abuses of the conciliar reforms, and on the influence of secularism which undermines all religious belief.

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, who was one of the theological advisers present at the Second Vatican Council, was a proponent of the “hermeneutic of continuity”.   We may see in his 2007 Motu Propio “Summorum Pontificum an example of this.   He granted liberty to the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass in the Church—the “Extraordinary Form”—while still maintaining the liturgical reforms of Pope Paul VI as the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite.

The other school of thought, the so-called “Bologna School”, has the opposite view of the legacy of the Second Vatican Council.   They see not continuity in the Roman Catholic Church, but rupture—and they think of that as a good thing.   A very good thing.   The three year event of that 1960s Council freed the Church, as they see it, from the hide-bound attachment to Tradition which had been “stifling the Spirit” for so long and turning the Catholic Church into a Fortress instead of allowing it to move out into the world, the better to engage it.   For the advocates of the “Bologna School”, Pope Francis is their man.

The Angelus
The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet

One of the chief themes of the Second Vatican Council, perhaps the chief theme, however, was the “universal call to holiness”.   This was explicitly addressed in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, approved by the Council Fathers in 1964:

“The Church, whose mystery is set forth by this sacred Council, is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy.   This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as His Bride, giving Himself up for her so as to sanctify her (cf. Eph. 5:25-26); He joined her to Himself as His body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.   Therefore all in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness, according to the Apostle’s saying: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification’ (I Thess. 4:3; cf Ep. 1:4) (LG 39)”

“It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society. (LG 40)”

This therefore is the primary and necessary vocation for every Christian person: the “universal call to holiness”, which is another way of saying the fulfillment of our baptismal vows.   All other vocations and courses in life must follow from it and draw refreshment for it as water from a deep and inexhaustible well.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for January 3, 2016

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for November 1, 2015

The Feast of All Saints – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of November 1, 2015
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of November 1, 2015

MaryImmaculate-2015-11-01.pdf

Front cover: The tapestry of Saints Zelie and Louis Martin, displayed in St. Peter’s Square at their Mass of Canonization on October 18th, 2015.  They are the first married couple canonized together in the history of the Church.  They were the parents of nine children, the youngest of whom became St. Therese of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.”

Pastor’s Note:  ALL SAINTS DAY AND SAINTS OF MATRIMONY

Weekly Scripture Study on Luke 23:44-56; Parish Fellowship; Parish Religious Education; Ladies Sodality Retreat this coming weekend; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses and more.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are currently available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for October 11, 2015

20th Sunday after Pentecost/28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of October 11, 2015
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of October 11, 2015

MaryImmaculate10112015.pdf

Includes Pastor’s Note on The Rosary and the Power of Prayer; Pastoral Associate’s article on his trip to Philadelphia during Pope Francis‘ papal visit, Weekly Bible Study, Music Program, Mass Propers for Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Parish groups and activities, Calendar of Masses and more.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for October 4, 2015

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the 27th of the year – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of October 4, 2015
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of October 4, 2015

Mary-Immaculate-of-Lourdes-Bulletin-2015-10-04

Front cover is banner of a newly canonized saint. Pastor’s Note on Pope Francis‘ visit to the United States; Weekly Scripture Study on Luke 23:1-12; Adult Education Formation course; Parish Announcements; Music Program; Mass Propers; Calendar of Masses and more.

Please visit the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes website and
facebook page for more information.

Mary Immaculate bulletins are available at www.maryimmaculatenewton.com.

The Holy Shroud of Turin: Icon of Christ

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish Bulletin for April 26, 2015)

On my 16th birthday (April 13th, 1977) my parents gave me a “Lifting the Veil” Face of Christ, a picture of the Holy Face from the image on the Shroud of Turin which, when you lifted a thin piece of cardboard from inside the plastic, revealed a second image of Christ as He would have appeared in His living likeness. It was from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

Icon of Christ

The instructions on the back were to use this as a home shrine to unite with daily Mass.  As I read it today, I quote: “The Mass is two things: a meeting and a memory, points out Orate Fratres [a liturgical magazine], 1: it commemorates the Death of Christ…2.: we meet Christ in person. It is necessary to keep the two well distinct, if the essence of the Mass is to be seen clearly. Your ‘Lifting the Veil’ Face of Christ enables you to see these two things clearly as you unite with Mass daily (1) by contemplating the True Face of the Dead Christ… and (2) meeting with Christ in Person, as His Living Likeness appears through the ‘Veil’.

I found this image very compelling as a youth, and it has indeed been a stimulus to prayer and thoughts of the encounter with Christ in person.  (I have kept this “Lifting the Veil” image with me all these years, and it has added poignancy now as a memento of my deceased parents.)

The image of the Holy Shroud as the True Face of Christ is a great gift of God to His Church: to affirm our faith, without taking away either the necessity for it or the merit of it.  For nearly 20 centuries the real facts about this Shroud-relic were unknown, because the scientific means to discover and measure them were unknown.  It is very good for us to inform ourselves about some of the scientific discoveries surrounding the Shroud in recent times.  Do not be deterred by dismissive and irreverent coverage in the media.

At present, the Holy Shroud is being shown to the public in the city of Turin, Italy, through June.  The occasion is the bicentennial of the birth of St. John Bosco, “Don Bosco”, in 1815, who was from that region of Italy, the Piedmont. Pope Francis—whose grandparents emigrated from Piedmont to Argentina—is scheduled to make pilgrimage to the Shroud exhibition on June 21st.

In 2010, during the last public exhibition of the Shroud, Pope Benedict XVI made pilgrimage.  It was the Fourth Sunday after Easter, May 2nd. In his remarks there, describing himself as a pilgrim, he said:

How does the Shroud speak? It speaks with blood, and blood is life! The Shroud is an Icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced. The Image impressed upon the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of blood speaks of love and of life. Especially that huge stain near his rib, made by the blood and water that flowed copiously from a great wound inflicted by the tip of a Roman spear. That blood and that water speak of life. It is like a spring that murmurs in the silence, and we can hear it, we can listen to it in the silence of Holy Saturday. Dear friends, let us always praise the Lord for his faithful and merciful love. When we leave this holy place, may we carry in our eyes the image of the Shroud, may we carry in our hearts this word of love and praise God with a life full of faith, hope and charity.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)