Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 5)

February 17, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Andrew, we find James.  In fact, we find James twice in the Roman Canon, but it’s not the same James.  The James listed first in the Canon is James the Greater (Major), and is a brother of St. John.

Peter, James (the Greater), and John were distinguished and privileged by the lord above the other Apostles, because these three alone Jesus took with Him when he raised the daughter of Jairus to life again.  It was these same three Apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and it was these three who were with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

After the Resurrection of Jesus, James preached in Judea and Samaria, then going to Spain.  James the Greater was the first of the Apostles to be Martyred, only a few years after the Resurrection, and his remains were carried to, and still rest at Santiago de Compostella in Spain.  A great many pilgrims make the long walking journey to visit every year.

St. James, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,

Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 4)

February 10, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Peter and Paul are mentioned, we find Andrew.

Andrew was the first to recognize the Messiah through St. John the Baptist, and full of joy he at once led his brother Simon Peter to the Lord. His arduous and successful missionary labors were among the Greeks, ending in Achaia, where he suffered an heroic martyrdom (Nov. 30, 62).

When the governor Aegeas interrogated him, the Apostle made a solemn profession of the Sacrifice of the Cross and of the Altar, whereupon he was condemned to die fastened to the Cross. St. Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. He salutes the Cross thusly: “Hail, precious Cross, Thou hast been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with His limbs as with rich jewels. How long have I yearned for thee! At length thou art granted to my desires! Receive the disciple of the Master who hung upon thee; take me from among men, and present me to Him, who through thee redeemed me!”

St. Andrew, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 3)

February 3, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Joseph is mentioned, we find the Apostles. It was to the Apostles that Jesus granted full power and authority as teachers, Priests, and pastors who would continue our Lord’s mission of redemption. It was the Apostles who, as the first Bishops in the Church, took the Christian message to the furthest reaches of the known world. They established local churches, and ordained others to watch over those local churches, and to carry on the mission in those localities.

The first Apostles named are Peter and Paul, who are inseparable in the liturgy. It was to Peter that Jesus explicitly gave the Keys to the Kingdom of God. For this reason Peter is first among the Apostles. He is charged by his three-fold profession of Love for Christ to feed and tend the sheep – to be the head of the Church after Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension in to Heaven. Flowing from this primacy among Apostles and leadership of the Church Universal, Peter is the first Pope.

Following closely on the heels of St. Peter is St. Paul. St. Paul is known as “the Apostle to the Gentiles”, and he took the Christian message of salvation to all those outside of the Jewish faith. Paul, formerly named Saul, was the chief persecutor of Christians in the early days of the Church, and his conversion story is well documented in the Scriptures (Acts 9:1-31). After his healing by Ananias, Paul becomes one of the greatest proponents of the Christian Faith.

Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 2)

January 27, 2019

In the Roman Canon, after Mary is mentioned, we find St. Joseph. Although what is written about Joseph in the Gospels is fairly slim, we know Joseph. He is the spouse of the Ever Virgin Mary. He is the one who was betrothed to Mary when She was found to be with child. He intended to divorce Her quietly, when God sent an Angel in a dream to change his mind. And not only did Joseph not divorce Mary, he believed the Angel, loved Mary even more, and showed that love by fleeing into Egypt to avoid Herod’s henchmen. Joseph is the quiet husband, the head of the Holy Family, and a model of patience and virtue for every father of every family.

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Souls Crying Out for Justice

January 20, 2019

We find ourselves today staring in the face the 46th anniversary of the historic Roe vs Wade decision. This decision by the Supreme Court of the United States has been an unqualified disaster for our nation. Aside from the global horror story, since January of 1973 there have been over 61 million abortions in the USA, including 20,000 just in Ohio. And while there were fewer than 20 in Champaign County last year, even one is one too many.

We’re not talking here about medical necessity (e.g. ectopic pregnancy), or rape, or incest, or any of the favorite defenses that are frequently brought up in defense of this barbaric reality. We are talking about the wanton destruction of millions of innocent, defenseless children over the past four decades.

The teaching of the Church is crystal clear on these matters, because the science is crystal clear on these matters. The old arguments about “a blob of tissue”, “a clump of cells”, and “a woman has a right to her own body” have long been disproven. These arguments are meant to soften the reality of what elective abortion really is: the deliberate killing of an innocent, defenseless human being for the sake of convenience.

There is no doubt whatsoever that once conception occurs, a unique human life exists. There is no doubt whatsoever that this new human being has unique DNA that is not the mother’s body and not the father’s body. There is no doubt whatsoever that this human being is innocent and defenseless. It has never been licit, good, or right in any human society to kill an innocent, defenseless human being… and yet we tolerate it under the disguise of “health care.”

Many who turn to abortion are seeking to solve a problem, but abortion doesn’t solve a problem – it creates years of pain, regret, depression, and bonding issues. This is why organizations like Priests for Life, Sycamore House, Elizabeth’s New Life Center, Rachel’s Vineyard, and countless others strive every day to give women a better option.

We cannot call ourselves good Catholic Christians if we sit idly by and allow this tragedy to continue. Contact Champaign County Right to Life and ask how you can help. Volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Women and men everywhere and right here are hurting from the after effects of abortion, and those millions of tiny souls are crying out for the mercy of God. It is perhaps reminiscent of Someone Else’s prayer, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Saints in the Roman Canon (Part 1)

January 13, 2019

The Roman Canon, commonly known in recent decades as Eucharistic Prayer I, has been central to the Mass for a thousand years. For most of those years, it was the only Eucharistic Prayer. It is the second-longest Eucharistic Prayer in the Third Roman Missal, and this is because it has two lists of Saints mentioned by name, all of whom hold special places among the Communion of Saints who are with us at every Mass. Over the next few weeks I will endeavor to go through those lists so that we can all get an idea of who those Saints are.

First of all and, therefore, more than all, we honor the memory of the “glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Mary is rightly named in the first place; She is Queen not merely of the Apostles amid Martyrs, but of all the Saints. Her name is not mentioned simply, but with honorable qualifications, that proclaim Her grandeur and dignity. She is called “the glorious”; for as Queen of Heaven and of earth, She is elevated above all the choirs of Angels and Saints in eternal bliss and glory. She was taken up to Heaven in body and soul in glory; there She wears the most beautiful crown of honor. As on earth She excelled all creatures by the fullness of grace, the wealth of virtues, so in the next life She surpasses all the citizens of Heaven by the splendor and magnificence of Her glory. Because She was on earth the most humble, the most pure, the most devout, the most loving, the most sorrowful, therefore, She is now in Heaven the most glorious amid the most happy. For all these reasons and more, Mary is rightly named first in the Canon.

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

The Epiphany of the Lord

January 6, 2019

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, the eighth day in the Octave of Christmas. An Epiphany is an experience in which one sees something in a new way, in a way that has not been perceived before. In the Gospel today the Magi perceive that the King of Kings has been born, and they follow a star – a light shining in the darkness – to the newborn Light of the World. God appears in a way never before conceived, a new chapter of Salvation History opens, and the dawn of Eternal Life is made available to us all. God puts a divine exclamation point on His Incarnate Word, and the world will never be the same. It is no different for us. As we encounter the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we are strengthened and emboldened to bring the Light into the darkness of a sinful world, and in doing so, we just might have an epiphany of our own.

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Holy Family, Pray for Us!

December 30, 2018

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, is perhaps perhaps the most well-known family of all time. Of course there have been many families made popular in the news or entertainment industries over the years, but it’s not every day that we find a family wherein God has taken up residence with a Virgin Mother, and perfectly chaste father, and an abundance of angels, dreams, and visions. And it’s not just a matter of fairytale, either. This is exactly what happened in Bethlehem so long ago. This is the family that fled to Egypt to avoid Herod, and settled in Nazareth to live outside of the limelight. This is the family that shows us how to live with God in our midst. The Holy Family is about the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus growing with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph. That’s a powerful trio of intercessors who know what family struggles are all about. Families today have no shortage of struggles, and the family as an institution has been under attack from popular culture for decades. In the midst of our struggles it is critical that we remain connected in prayer with the Holy Family, asking for their intercession in our lives.

Holy Family, pray for us!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Merry Christmas to All!

December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas, indeed! With another calendar year coming to a close and a new liturgical year just begun, St. Nicholas has done his handiwork, and we, the Catholics of Champaign County, take stock of the many blessings and graces we have received. Immense are the graces God has bestowed upon us, and verily, how shall we make a return to God for all the good He has done for us? In this new Year of Grace, we should all strive to know God better, to love God more, and to do everything in our power to grow closer to Him. That’s a sure-fire recipe for peace on earth, and goodwill toward men.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let Earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing!

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt

Come Lord Jesus!

December 17, 2018

Come, Lord Jesus!

Tomorrow is December 17th, and the Church enters into the octave of proximate preparation for Christmas. What does all that mean? Well, aside from the fact there are only 8 days until Christmas, the liturgies of the Church change to relate a more urgent sense of anticipation and preparation for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the commercial realm it is a frenzied time of people rushing to and fro to find just the right gift, but we need not be rushed or frenzied. We already have the perfect gift for God in honor of the Incarnation of His only Son: souls oriented toward eternal life, hearts afire with love for Christ, benevolent spirits mirroring God’s care for humanity. As we make our way through these last days leading up to Christmas, may we all take time to pause and thank God for the Gift of His Son, for His divine inspiration, for His graciousness to us. And may the attitude of Mary imbue all that we think, say, and do: “My soul magnifies the Lord; My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior; Let it be done according to Your Will.”

For the Greater Glory of God,
Fr. Matt