Much confusion regarding the status of the Medjugorje phenomenon has been the result of a Vatican letter that, ironically, was allegedly intended to “avoid confusion.”
On November 7th, 2013, it was reported that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops received a letter from Apostolic Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano which stated that upon the request of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the American Bishops were to be reminded that “The Congregation has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the ‘apparitions’ [of Medjugorje], all should accept the declaration, dated 10 April 1991, from the Bishops of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, which asserts: ’On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.’ It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted.” Continue Reading
By Jayson M. Brunelle
Among the vast treasury of prayers and pious practices that comprise our heritage as Catholic Christians, one of the most significant, salutary and sanctifying of all holy practices consists in making a complete offering of all the prayers, works, joys and especially the sufferings of one’s entire day to the Eternal Father, through, with and in Christ, as the first action of one’s day. This practice, owing its origin to Fr. Francois Xavier Gaulrelet, of ”The Apostleship of Prayer,” is commonly referred to as the “Morning Offering.”
Each morning, as we emerge from a state of unconsciousness to wakefulness and full awareness, we become cognizant that, once again, God, in His infinite goodness, has granted us the tremendous gift of yet another glorious, undeserved and unmerited day on this earth, to deepen our relationship with Him, to atone for the sins of our past life, to continue to preach the Good News – the Gospel – of Christ, chiefly through our lived example, and to revel in the glory of His marvelous creation.
What better way to thank and glorify Him for this gift of our continued earthly existence than to offer Him, through the Immaculate Heart of His Mother Mary, all the prayers, works, joys and especially the sufferings of our entire day, as an act of gratitude for the countless graces He has so freely and lovingly bestowed upon us; as an act of adoration and glorification, thereby rendering unto God that praise and worship that is His due as our Lord, Creator and Redeemer; as an act of reparation and expiation, to participate in the atonement of our own sins, as well as those of all humanity, in union with Christ as co-redeemers; and finally, as an act of supplication, in calling down the mercy of the Lord upon humanity, which has, in large measure, rejected the Lord and His Law of Love. Continue Reading
A glory of new stars, downward flung And forged into seven swords, has stung The heart of the Woman whom I pass On my way to the altar for morning Mass. There is no shrill crowd, there are no hoarse cries, But I meet One bearing a cross in her eyes. - JOHN SEXTON KENNEDY
Those people who twenty centuries ago were present on Calvary because they hated Jesus Christ paid more attention to the sacrifice of the cross than do most of us who are Sunday after Sunday present at Mass because we love Jesus Christ. This is a fact at once startling and sobering. At the beginning of each week we and many, many like us take our places before a thousand altars, and, as the great Action wherein Christ intended that we should, each of us, intensively participate, proceeds, we stand, kneel, sit absently. For us the Mass remains the measured movements, the mystifying mumblings of a remote, brightly clad figure. And so we are paupers in the midst of plenty, drought-ruined in a land of living waters; we miss the full worth of this unique means of best paying our debts to God, this unique means too of best building up and improving our poor, uncertain lives. What are we to do? Methods of hearing Mass well are numerous. Some have been explained to us. We have found them involved, almost baffling. What is most difficult is to keep well focused the basic truth that the Sacrifice of the Mass is really the same sacrifice as that of Calvary. In the absence of glittering spears, strained and distorted faces, hideous cries, a grim cross we utterly forget that we attend the crucifixion of Christ. Could we but sufficiently appreciate the fact, our problem of keeping attentive, devout at Mass would be solved. As a means to this end, a means not indeed perfect but if earnestly tried quite effective, we are suggesting the effort to hear Mass with Mary. The lessons which we can learn from Our Blessed Lady are quite beyond numbering; none of them is simpler or of greater value than that of worthy assistance at holy Mass. Herein we shall consider first the thorough excellence of Mary’s following of the first Mass, and then the value to us of her exceptional example. Continue Reading
By Jay Brunelle
What follows is a reprint of a Facebook exchange/debate I recently had with a dear old friend who, many years ago, was quite devout in the practice of his Catholic faith. Yet, not unlike countless other adolescent Catholics of Gen X, his ultimate rejection of, and departure from, the Catholic Church is, in this author’s estimation, not so much the fault of my dear friend as it is the fault of a serious crisis of catechesis within the countless parishes and Dioceses throughout America.
Going a step further, this catechetical crisis of which I speak and of which I have been a first-hand witness, as a volunteer middle-school CCD instructor, is but one of a multiplicity of symptoms that have sprung from this widespread, ubiquitous crisis of faith that we are now witnessing , the magnitude and severity of which would justify a socio-religious diagnosis of full-blown apostasy. For, as I have witnessed in various parishes, countless religious educators themselves are gravely ignorant of many of the most fundamental tenets of Magisterial teaching and the essentials of Catholic theology. Yet, what is far worse, said “educators,” instead of being encouraged by their parish DRE to become better informed and more knowledgeable regarding the faith by taking courses in theology and Religious Education, are instead re-assured that they know much more than they think they do, and are encouraged to simply “share their own personal experiences of having encountered or experienced the presence of God in their own lives.” Certainly, this suggestion would be quite appropriate if the CCD teacher’s main function was to give a one-time public witness – one that included a miraculous, supernatural healing or conversion. Yet, the Christian faith that we are called to hand on consists of the public, Divine Revelation of God to humanity, as recorded in Sacred Scripture and safeguarded by Sacred Tradition. It is precisely of these latter two that a religious educator must possess a fundamental knowledge and understanding. Ideally, the effective religious educator conveys the Sacred Truths contained within the deposit of faith, which have been publicly revealed by God; a Revelation which took place throughout the course of ancient Israel’s history, and which was brought to its completion and perfection in the person, words and works of Christ Jesus, the Eternally Begotten Son of the Father. Continue Reading