Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our Relics

In the Middle Ages, so many churches claimed to have a piece of the True Cross that John Calvin is famously said to have remarked:

"There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it."

In Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion, Charles Rohault de Fleury responded with this 1870 study of these relics. He drew up a catalog of all known relics of the True Cross and measured them. He also calculated the volume of the True Cross as 0.178 cubic meters. So when he put it together, he had only 0.004 cubic meters, leaving a volume of .0174 cubic meters unaccounted for.

Still, when Fr Damian found a relic said to be of the True Cross locked in our library, he was skeptical. Deacon David Krueger offered to check it out. The rest of this blog is in Dcn Krueger's words:

I took the piece to Tom Koley to examine it.

Tom is the owner of Koley's, a family business that has made church metalware and altarware since 1919. I explained that St. Columbkille has this, piece and I'd like to open it up and get a better sense of it.

Tom said, "So you want me to open this?"

"Yes," I replied.

Tom turned it over in his hands as he examined it. Looking up he asked, "So you want me to open it?"

"Yes," I answered.

Tom continued to examine it. Then he looked at me tensely and asked, "So you would like me to open this up?"

"Yes," I replied a third time and wondered if he would continue to ask.

As he popped the back open, Tom sighed and visibly relaxed as he said, "There was no red string." Without explaining that statement, he removed the cotton backing and took out a much smalled container.

He said, this looks much more like it should. While the large container looks very new, the container inside looks much older. He explained that the loop on the top shows that this was originally made to be on a chain and worn around the neck.

As Tom looked at the back he saw "820" stamped on the back. First of all, that means that the holder was made of 820 parts per thousand of sterling silver. Secondly, that tells us that it was made in Europe where that is the standard. (900 parts per thousand is the standard in the United States.)

Tom removed the back of that to show the wax seal and the "red strings."

The wax is sealed by the Cardinal who acknowledged the authenticity of this relic. It also covers some delicate red strings. Because they are delicate, if any of them are broken, the Church would no longer attest that it really is authentic.

I brought the relic to the next Pastoral Council meeting and told them what I had discovered. The Pastoral Council has recommended that this relic of the True Cross, as well as a relic of St. Columbkille, be placed in a display box and installed in the Adoration Chapel. We'll be looking to do that sometime after the parish completes our Source and Summit Campaign.

Happy Easter

 As always, the Easter Vigil began outside with fire.

 The church was lit by candlelight and became brighter ...

 ... as the Exultent was sung.

We had baptisms.

 We had Confirmations.

Welcome and congratulations
 to our newest members.

Happy Easter to Everyone.
He is Risen!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Making an Easter Candle

Since 1982, each year Deacon Eldon Lauber has prepared the new Easter Candle for our parish. It starts in the kitchen as he melts beeswax.

After drilling holes for the wooden nails, he place a piece of incense inside, them pours in a few drops of wax.

After each nail is inserted, he seals it with wax.

The candle is placed on it's end and wax is dripped down. Then the candle is flipped as more wax is dripped upon it.

The drippings give the effect of a
 sunburst when it is finished.

Right now the candle is in a cabinet, waiting for its first lighting at the Easter Vigil, tonight at 8:30 p.m. in the courtyard.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Thursday

The oils that were consecrated by Archbishop Lucas at the Chrism Mass Monday at St. Cecilia's Cathedral were presented to the parish at the start of Mass.

It is tradition in our parish to wash the feet of those who wash the feet of others throughout the year. This year it was those who serve funeral lunches who had their feet washed.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Living Holy Week

It is not enough to observe Holy Week. We are called to live it.

The mysterious events of Holy Week are timeless, or at least outside of time. We can insert our 21st Century lives into ancient times to meet Jesus on the road to Calvary. Here are some suggestions for how to accomplish that:

1. Make the Gospel accounts personal. “One way to approach Holy Week to live it like no other of the year is to unite yourself with one of the holy people who accompany Jesus in His Passion,” writes the Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P., in the prayer devotional Magificat.
“So perhaps you might identify with one of the disciples sent to prepare the Upper Room, looking at everything in your life in the light of the Eucharist . . . or the woman who anoints Jesus in Bethany, begging for the grace of special compassion . . . or Simon Peter, weeping with true repentance over your sins . . . or Simon of Cyrene, eager to take up Christ’s cross no matter how it may appear . . . or the Good Thief, bursting with hope that Jesus wants us to be with Him in paradise . . . or John, daring to remain with Jesus on Calvary and accepting the gift of Mary to be our Mother . . . or the centurion, letting our profession of faith transform our life for ever: This man is the Son of God!”

2. Join in the sacrifice of the Mass, spend some time in Eucharistic adoration. Though Jesus died once and for all 2,000 years, He renews His sacrifice and makes it present to us daily in the Blessed Sacrament. Father Mark Kirby, OSB, expresses this beautifully though a poem on his blog, Vultus Christi. Here is a portion of the poem:

“There is not a single moment of My sufferings
that is not present in this the Sacrament of My Love for you.
Here you will find Me in every detail of My Passion,
for nothing of My Passion has passed away.
All remains actual and efficacious
in the mysteries of My Body and Blood given up for you.

“If you would be with Me in My sufferings,
come to Me in the Sacrament of My Love.
If you would keep watch with Me in Gethsemane,
come to My altar, and abide there with Me.
If you would accompany Me in My imprisonment,
in My trial, in My condemnation,
and in My being mocked, scourged, and crowned with thorns,
seek Me out in this Sacrament
where I wait for a little compassion from those who profess to be My friends.” …

“Would that My friends knew this:
that all of My Passion is contained in the Most Holy Sacrament,
not as something lost to a past that can never be recovered,
but as My perfect and all-sufficient oblation to the Father,
renewed here and now in every detail,
although sacramentally, and without a new shedding of blood.

“This all my saints understood:
the presence of My Passion in this Sacrament,
and this Sacrament as the memorial of My Passion.
This the Holy Spirit teaches even to the little and to the poor
who open their hearts to My mysteries made present at the altar.
This is the great reality that, today, so many have forgotten.
For this reason do I ask you to come to Me here
in the Sacrament where I wait for you,
and to offer Me the consolation in My sufferings
that only you can give Me,
and for which I have waited so long.”

From In Sinu Iesu, the Journal of a Priest

3. “Step outside.” This is Pope Francis’ advice for living Holy Week, taken from his first Wednesday audience address:

“Living Holy Week means increasingly entering into God's logic, the logic of the Cross, which is not first of all that of pain and death, but of love and of self-giving that brings life. It means entering into the logic of the Gospel. Following, accompanying Christ, remaining
with Him requires a ‘stepping outside,’ a stepping beyond. Stepping outside of ourselves, of a tired and routine way of living the faith, of the temptation to withdraw into pre-established patterns that end up closing our horizon to the creative action of God. God stepped outside of Himself to come among us, He pitched His tent among us to bring the mercy of God that saves and gives hope. Even if we want to follow Him and stay with Him, we must not be content to remain in the enclosure of the ninety-nine sheep, we have to ‘step outside,’ to search for the lost sheep together with Him, the one furthest away. Remember well: stepping outside of ourselves, like Jesus, like God has stepped outside of Himself in Jesus and Jesus stepped outside of Himself for all of us.”

May we all follow Jesus in His Passion so we can join in His Easter glory! Live Holy Week!

Inspired by this Year of Faith we will be posting columns like this from Susan Szalewski about exploring and/or deepening our faith. Watch for it on Thursdays.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Feeding those in need on Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday we will collect food and items for the Tri-City Pantry. The collection will also go to the Tri-City Pantry. The items they are in most in need of are:

•Pork & Beans (15-16 oz. size, please)
•Tuna Helper
•Canned chicken
•Saltine Crackers
•Cake or Brownie Mix
•Jello or Pudding Mix
•Dish detergent (Dawn,etc.)
•Brown grocery bags in good condition