Solemn High Mass

February 20, 2007

Solemn High Mass to be celebrated at the magnificent Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica.

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Mmmm, pancakes

February 20, 2007

Shrove Tuesday heralds the beginning of fasting in Lent. On this day (so the historians say) there were feasts of pancakes to use up the supplies of fat, butter and eggs – foods that were forbidden during austere Lent.

In England the Pancake Day Race has been held since 1445. The race came about when a woman cooking pancakes heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. She ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan, and thus without knowing it, started a tradition that has lasted for over five hundred years.

In France the main ceremonial day for pancake eating is Candlemas on the 2nd of February. This holy day is six weeks after Christmas and is the day that Christ was presented at the temple by his mother. During this festival, French children wear masks and demand pancakes and fritters.

Pancakes are the traditional treat of the Jewish Hanukkah festival. They are fried in oil to commemorate the oil found by the Maccabeans when they recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrians. The one day’s supply of oil for the temple lamps burned miraculously for one week. And, tradition says, the wives of the soldiers hurriedly cooked pancakes behind the lines for their warring husbands.

Large or small, fat or wafer thin and made with a wide range of flours, pancakes are given different names by different peoples. There are Hungarian palacsinta, Chinese egg rolls, Jewish blintzes, Russian blini, Italian cannelloni, Swedish plattar, Mexican tortillas, American hotcakes, German pfannkucken, Norwegian lefser, Austrian nockerin, Welsh crempog and Australian pikelets: but undoubtedly the most famous of them all is the great French crepe.

Liturgical reform needed

February 20, 2007

Shawn Tribe’s “A Few Thoughts…” on his February 19 post offers an insightful commentary on Father John Farfaglia’s recent article, Catholic Liturgy in ‘State of Emergency. Go to The New Liturgical Movement for Shawn’s comments, and Renew America for Father’s article.

Give Confession top priority, Pope asks priests

Vatican, Feb. 19, 2007 (CWNews.com) – At a February 19 meeting with confessors, Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news) remarked on how the “limitless renovating power of divine love” is realized in the sacrament of Penance.

The Holy Father was speaking to the father-confessors of the Roman basilica and the officials of the Apostolic Penitentiary, led by Cardinal James Stafford. He told them that the priest, as confessor, is an “active instrument of divine mercy.”

The task of the confessor, the Pope said, is to help the penitent “recognize the gravity of sin,” and resolve to avoid sin in the future, while provide “the comfort and consolation of Christ.”

“How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long!” the Pope said. He encouraged priests to help the faithful use the sacrament properly. To do so, he said, confessors must learn as much as possible about the background of their people, the problems they face, and the spiritual problems they encounter.

Above all, the Pope continued, “We cannot preach forgiveness and reconciliation to others if we do not experience these things personally.” He encouraged confessors to make frequent use of the sacrament themselves, so that they too have a fuller appreciation for the forgiveness offered by Christ through his priestly ministers.

The sacrament of Penance, the Pontiff concluded, “is a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority.”