Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Tale of Reconciliation - Ex-schismatic Christ the King Monastery unites with the Church


There was an added joy in the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala., during Lent and the Easter Octave as the members of the formerly schismatic Christ the King Monastery in Cullman were reconciled with the Catholic Church.

After years of discussion between Birmingham's bishops and the monastery, on May 1 Bishop Robert Baker received the two remaining monks' vows as Benedictine hermits.
The road hasn't been without its difficulties.

Christ the King Abbey was founded around 1984 by Benedictine Father Leonard Giardina, formerly a member of the St. Bernard Monastery in Cullman. In the 1980s he had contact with the Society of Saint Pius X but ended the association in late 1989, then explored other avenues, but was never formally linked with the St. Pius X Society.
Bishop Baker describes the schismatic abbey as being sui generis — a community of their own kind.

Now because of the community's reunion with the Church after fulfilling all the requirements expressed by Bishop Baker in consultation with the Vatican, the faithful may have access to worship at the monastery. This community will continue celebrating Mass in the Latin Tridentine form, known since Pope Benedict's 2007 motu propio letter Summorum Pontificum as the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

To Bishop Baker's knowledge, this is one of the first such schismatic groups in the United States to be formally reunited.

"It is somewhat unique as an effort at reconciliation," he explained. "The discussions leading to this reconciliation were very delicate and complex and took place over a number of years with both Bishop (emeritus) David Foley, my predecessor, and myself, aided by a canon lawyer who had worked for the Vatican, Msgr. Anthony La Femina."

"We had much prayer and good will on both sides going into this effort," Bishop Baker reflected. "We all listened to the Holy Spirit, and now we are seeing the fruits of our efforts."
For one, attendance at the traditional Latin Mass celebrated daily at the monastery has nearly tripled, according to one of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius who were invited by Bishop Baker to help with the transition. The Cullman church is in the country, yet now 20 or more faithful attend the daily 7am Mass.

"In the short time we've been there, as word of mouth spreads, we're getting more and more," finds Father James Isaacson of the Canons Regular, who celebrates the Masses for the monks and the people coming to the monastery chapel.

Along with two Canons Regular brothers, he was sent by Father C. Frank Phillips, pastor of St. John Cantius in Chicago, at the request of Bishop Baker, to help the monastery seeking readmission to the Church until something permanent could be established.

"You see how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the Church," Father Phillips said.

"Ten or 20 years ago we wouldn't be having this conversation. Thanks to the generosity of the Holy Father and of the bishops in obedience to the Holy Father, many people are reconciled in the faith."

Brother Sebastian Glentz and Brother Michael Sauntner are the two monks who reconciled with the Church. Both have been at Christ the King over 20 years and for a period of time were functioning as priests. However, since there is a question about the validity of their ordination, they do not presently function as priests and have taken the title of "Brother" as canonical hermits of the diocese.

Ongoing visits to the abbey began with Bishop Foley and then continued with Bishop Baker. In December 2010, seeing the divisions within the community, Abbot Leonard gave Brother Sebastian permission to contact Msgr. La Femina about reconciling with the authority of the Church.

Over the years the abbey grew to a maximum of 11 monks and five sisters. Both sedevacantists and those who believe in valid papal succession were part of the community or among those attending services at the monastery. Sedevacantists believe papal succession stopped after Pius XII's 1958 death or after John XXIII's 1963 death.

"Abbot Leonard was never a sedevacantist," Brother Sebastian Glentz explained. "We did not discuss the issue; we prayed about it. Behind the scenes, our community was divided."

By December 2010 three of six monks had left: two unreconciled sedevacantists and one who chose to reconcile with the Church on his own. There also were three sisters. All three left, one to reconcile with Rome.

Although the monastery is in the Bible Belt and not a hub of sedevacantist activity, most of the 60 to 100-plus people attending the later of the two Sunday Masses were of sedevacantist mindset.

As the abbot approached death, the increasing divisions motivated Brothers Sebastian and Michael to seek reconciliation. But any reconciliation was put on hold because of a sudden decline in his health and his subsequent death in January 2011.

In early March, the two remaining monks closed the church to the public, placing a statement about their intended reconciliation in their last bulletin. Bishop Baker makes special note of "the humility and cooperation of these two men." Father Phillips gives both monks great credit for living out the vow of obedience and also the great humility they have displayed in submitting themselves to the local bishop.

"In an age when everyone wants to do what they want, here is an actual example of an obedient servant, of knowing and living the humility of the saints themselves in making this type of decision," said Father Phillips, who also pointed to the gracious permission given the Canons by Chicago's Cardinal Francis George to help in Alabama.

"That all ties to the idea you can't do anything by yourself, but everyone is subject to higher authority. We were then able to help Bishop Baker," he said. "None of this is by chance. It's by the promptings of the Holy Spirit," he added. "You can boil it down very simply: not my will; thine."

The Vatican requested as a condition of their reconciliation that the two monks return to the canonical status they had before receiving their ordination. They chose to be accepted as canonical hermits under the canon governing hermits in the Code of Canon Law, while the Holy See examines the validity of their ordinations.Msgr. La Femina, who was an official of the Roman Curia for 26 years, began visiting the abbey with Bishop Baker two years ago. He noted the big step these two men took. He added, "We are praying now that the sedevacantist congregation returns."
The monks hope the Vatican eventually recognizes the ordinations, but they are prepared to fully accept whatever the Vatican decides.

Brother Sebastian explained that he and Brother Michael's "whole Lenten season was a real Lent" because they had to cease functioning as priests as they came under Rome. "But because of obedience it makes it easier," he said, looking to the example of Padre Pio. "Not that we are any way near Padre Pio, but he was told not to say public Mass or hear confessions, and he obeyed. We look upon our obedience as the obedience he gave the Church."

Charles Rumore, president of the chapter in the Birmingham Diocese of Una Voce, a lay association promoting the traditional Latin Mass, sees further good growing from this reconciliation. "This is a huge deal because this is tangible fruit of the tree of Summorum Pontificum," he said, referring to Pope Benedict's letter "On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970."
There are only two churches in the diocese that weekly celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass, necessitating long drives for some. Now the reunited monastery church makes a third.
Rumore expressed thanks to Bishop Baker in this regard. "This humble bishop has responded in an authentic and generous way to Pope Benedict's document to re-establish our connection to the traditional liturgy and has removed some of the obstacles."

He also sees this reconciliation as tangible proof of the point Pope Benedict made in the May 13 instruction Universae Ecclesiae on the application of Summorum Pontificum. "What this does is set an example for others to return, whether they be lay or religious," Rumore said.

In fact, the Pope's moves on the liturgy had a constructive bearing on this reconciliation. "We could see he's trying to put a sense of the sacred back into the faith of the people," Brother Sebastian said. "We know that will not happen overnight. We hope our coming over will assist in that."

In fact, Brother Sebastian said he hopes this move will inspire others to consider reconciliation. The monastery has already received some inquiries. Bishop Baker points to the providential timing of the monks' return: They entered the Church in the season of Lent and on Divine Mercy Sunday received their vows — "in the reconciliation pattern of Lent and Mercy Sunday."

Brother Sebastian sees the same significance. In fact, if Divine Mercy Sunday hadn't fallen on May 1, the day would be the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, to whom the monks are very devoted.
He noted that that Sunday's Gospel tells of Our Lord giving the power to forgive sins, and "it was very significant with us coming back into the Church, going to confession." Since it was also the first day of the month of the Blessed Mother, Brother Michael crowned the Blessed Mother at the end of Mass.

"All of it had to be done on that day without electricity because of the tornado," Brother Sebastian noted. "But after the ceremony was over and Mass over, our power came back on." Surely it was heaven lighting up with joy.

Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.
Copyright © 2007 Circle Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Lord's Prayer in Gaelic

MUSIC: A CELTIC Love Song to Jesus !

A Love Song to Jesus by the band IONA :) Enjoy !!!

"The protection of human life [at all its stages] is the "rock solid and inviolable" foundation upon which all other human rights are based." - Benedict XVI

A Love Song to JESUS !

New Evangelization needed

New Evangelization needed to answer crisis of secularism, Pope saysRSSFacebookMay 30, 2011

Meeting on May 30 with the staff of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said that their work is needed in response to "the crisis we are living through."

"The mission hasn't changed," the Holy Father told the members of the newly created Pontifical Council. The Church is always dedicated to spreading the Gospel. But today that mission calls for "a new way of evangelizing," in light of the damage done by secularization, which has "left deep scars on even traditionally Christian countries."

The crisis of secularism, the Pope continued, has produced in many societies "the exclusion of God from people's lives, a general indifference towards the Christian faith, an attempt to marginalize it from public life." In countries once formed on the basis of a Christian heritage, he said, "we are witnessing the tragedy of a fragmentation which no longer allows for a unifying reference point."

To answer the challenge, the Pope said, after long reflection he decided to create the new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, which is now headed by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella. He encouraged the group to recognize the urgency of its work: to "revive the missionary spirit."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Evangelism is constant mission of the Church, Pope tells Sunday audienceRSSFacebookMay 30, 2011

At his midday audience on Sunday, May 29, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Church's mission to evangelize the world, and contrasted that effort with worldly attempts to gain power.

"While the powerful tried to conquer new lands for political and economic reasons, the messengers of Christ went everywhere for the purpose of bringing Christ to people and people to Christ," the Pope said. Pope Benedict was commenting on the day's reading from the Acts of the Apostles, about Philip's arrival in Samaria. "There was great joy in that city," the account relates. Those words, the Pontiff observed, convey the impact of evangelical work, which brings "true joy, because wherever the Gospel reaches, there life flourishes."

Proclaiming the Gospel is always the mission of the faithful, the Pope said. He pointed to different models for evangelical work, including St. Charles Borromeo, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed John Paul II.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.


VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the "Mariä Verkündigung" Marian Congregation of Men of Regensburg, Germany. They had come to the Vatican to celebrate with the Pope the 70th anniversary of his induction in that congregation in the Archbishopric Seminary of St. Michael of Traunstein, Germany.

  The Pope recalled that when he entered the seminary, Europe was going through "a dark age. It was a time of war. One after the other, Hitler had subjugated Poland, Denmark, Benelux, and France. In April of 1941 ... he had occupied Yugoslavia and Greece. It seemed that the continent was in the hands of this power that, at the same time, put the future of Christianity in doubt. We had been admitted to the Congregation but shortly thereafter the war against Russia began. The seminary was dissolved and, before it was able to reassemble, the congregation was scattered to the four winds".

  That is why, the pontiff continued, his entry in the "Mariä Verkündigung" was not "an 'exterior fact', but it stayed with me as 'an interior fact' because it had always been clear that Catholicism could not exist without a Marian character, that being Catholic meant belonging to Mary".

  "Here, through the bishops' ad limina visits", the Holy Father commented, "I constantly sense how people - especially those in Latin America but in other continents as well - can entrust themselves to the Mother; how they can love the Mother and, through the Mother, can then learn to love Christ. I sense how the Mother continues to give birth to Christ; how Mary continues to say 'yes' and to bring Christ to the world".

 "Mary is the great believer. She has taken up Abraham's mission of belief and made Abraham's faith into concrete faith in Jesus Christ,  thus showing us all the way of faith, the courage to entrust ourselves to the God who puts Himself in our hands, the joy of being His witnesses. Then she shows us the determination to remain fast when all others have fled, the courage to remain at the Lord's side when he seems lost and thus to bear the witness that led to His Passion".

  "I am thus very grateful", the Pope concluded, "to know that in Bavaria there are approximately 40,000 congregants; that still today there are men who, together with Mary, love the Lord. Men who, through Mary, are learning to know and to love the Lord and who, like her, bear witness to the Lord in difficult times as well as happy ones; who remain with Him under the Cross and who continue to live the Passion joyfully together with Him. Thank you all for continuing to hold this witness high, so that we might know that there are Catholic Bavarian men and members of the congregation who continue along the path initiated by the Jesuits in the XVI century and who continue to demonstrate that faith doesn't belong to the past but always opens itself to 'today' and especially to 'tomorrow'".

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gaelic psalms at Back Free Church, Isle Of Lewis- 20/21/oct/2003

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

by Todd Burpo
As told by: Lynn Vincent

Thomas Nelson | November 2, 2010 | Trade Paperback

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven. Heaven is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didnt know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how reaaally big God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heavento help us.Told by the father, but often in Coltons own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children,and be ready, there is a coming last battle. - read less

"The protection of human life [at all its stages] is the "rock solid and inviolable" foundation upon which all other human rights are based." - Benedict XVI

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ORTHODOXY: Chapel On Wheels

SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2011

Russian Paratroopers Receive Chapel On Wheels

May 28, 2011
Prokerala News

The Russian Orthodox Church has given the country's Airborne Troops a mobile chapel to accompany them on combat missions, a paratrooper spokesman said.

The chapel is built on the frame of a truck trailer and is equipped with a life-support module, an electric generator and multimedia equipment.

It is serviced on the field by a priest and a five-man support team.

The chapel will be tested during forthcoming airborne exercises.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said last year that Orthodox Church military chaplains will soon appear in the Russian army.

According to the Russian defence ministry, two thirds of the country's servicemen consider themselves religious. Some 83 percent of them are Orthodox Christians, about eight percent are Muslims, and nine percent represent other faiths.

New Zealand Earthquake Aftermath: Our Lady of Christchurch

Our Lady of Christchurch

Our Lady of Christchurch.

Today in Christchurch, New Zealand
there will be a special procession in honour
Our Lady of Christchurch.

While the earth heaved
and all this was happening,
while all that wasn't,
and most of what was,
cemented down
was smashed to the ground,
Our Lady of Christchurch
turned to face Her children.

Our Lady of Christchurch
stood in the left tower...

... and can be seen in this picture
at the window of the upper level
just below the devastation.

While towers and great domes fell about Her
while the earth cracked beneath Her
and glass smashed before Her,
Our Lady stood,
Stabat Mater.
Stabat Mater dolorosa... lacrimosa...
Our Lady of Christchurch, pray for us.

During the calamitous February 22 earthquakes
that blitzed the city
the statue that had been in the bell tower of the Cathedral
remained serenely standing
and turned 180 degrees to face out through
the bell tower's broken window
as the
Comfortress of the Afflicted. 


16 March 2011, 11:30 | Events & people | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 


Lukach_Symeon.jpgSymeon Lukach was born on 7 July, 1893, in the village of Starunia of Solotvyno District, Stanislaviv (now, Ivano-Frankivsk) Region. The curious peasant boy had a great gifting for studying. When he studied in school in his native village and then in Bohorodchany, he covered a three year's program in two years. He studied in the Kolomyia Gymnasia so well that he was popular as a private tutor and was able to pay his tuition fee himself. In 1913, he entered a spiritual seminary where he was a model of a person of prayer. However, he was able to complete the studies in the seminary only in 1919 due to WWI.

Later, as a priest in the village of Liadske Shliakhotske near Tlumach (now, Ivano-Frankivsk Region), in 1920, he was appointed a teacher in his native Stanislaviv Seminary, where he worked until April, 1945.

As Blessed Bishop Hryhorii (Khomyshyn) felt that UGCC was in danger, before his arrest in spring, 1945, he secretly ordained Fr. Symeon and two other persons bishops. As the ordination was absolutely secret, NKVD officers did not know about them and did not arrest the new bishops at once.

Bishop Symeon Lukach became one of the most active leaders of the underground UGCC.

For that active priestly ministry and his refusal to transfer to the "state" Orthodoxy, he was arrested by NKVD in October, 1949. The repressive machine was in a hurry to isolate the dangerous leader as soon as possible without even having time to prepare a legal sanction for the arrest: the warrant was issued later.

The arrest resolution of 27 October, 1949, read: "After the invaders were driven out, as an active supporter of Vatican, in 1945-1946, in the period of reunion of the Greek Catholic Church with the Russian Orthodox Church, he opposed the reunion and went underground."  On 30 December, 1949, the investigation term was extended as the authorities claimed that "recently, information has been received which shows that Semen Lukach as a supporter of Vatikan, was an illegal bishop of the Greek Catholic Church in Stanislaviv Region and led the anti-Soviet activity of the Uniate underground."

In the beginning of 1950, he was sentenced to 10 years. Despite his poor health, he was sent to unbearable labour to the camps of the Krasnoyarsk Region. He worked in tree felling industry. He endured the hardships and after his release on 11 February, 1955, he again began to work as a priest and returned to his daily service to people and God. He did not take steps to improve his health and was not "quiet," as he was recommended to do. As an intellectual, he worked on his book "False Prophets." He also secretly conducted training for intended priests…

In 1962, he was arrested for the second time. After a search and confiscation of all property, the bishop was sent to a prison in Ivano-Frankivsk. There, he met a young boy, Mykhailo Kosylo who was going to be transported to a camp. The bishop used that opportunity in the transit prison to read lectures in moral Theology to him. Later, Mykhailo Kosylo became one of the most active Greek Catholic priests in Galicia.

The accusation against the 69-year old bishop read: "The accused Lukach together with the leadership of the underground activity of Uniate priests in Stanislaviv Region compiled manuscripts of religious character and distributed them among Uniate priests, believers and monks in order to spread Catholicism, which he did not deny during the court session." The reason for his sentence was formulated as follows: "…Both the danger of the committed crime and lack of repentance after the first sentence: he stated that his position remained the same." According to Article 209 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, he was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment. Even the judges were impressed by the will power of that ill but unbreakable person.  

Bishop Symeon (Lukach) served his sentence in the Stanislaviv prison. In prison, the bishop fell seriously ill. The prison doctors diagnosed it as asthma. I reality, it was tuberculosis.  

In March, 1964, due to his bad health condition, Bishop Symeon was transported from prison to his native village Starunia to let him die there. Despite his bad condition, the bishop fulfilled his priestly responsibilities: he served Liturgy daily, heard people's confessions, observed fasts.

On 22 August, 1964, he died in the village of Starunia and was buried there.

In the beginning of the 90-s of the 20th century, the whole Orthodox community of the village of Starunia transferred to UGCC, and in summer, 1991, the community built a monument to Bishop Symeon (Lukach) near the Church. One of the village streets was named after the bishop. The community highly appreciated its pastor who was for it not only a priest but also "the master of morality" as well as in his young years in the seminary.

In June. 2001. Pope John Paul II beatified Bishop Symeon (Lukach).
<a href="">Джерело публікації:</a>