Friday, April 21, 2017


Boston has been closing ethnic city parishes right and left, but now is opening a newly built one downtown which will so be consecrated. Nice, no?
An interior view of the church Our Lady of Good Voyage in Boston.

An interior view of the church Our Lady of Good Voyage in Boston.
Sister Caterina and Sister Veritas were letting people know the Our Lady of Good Voyage exists.
Sister Caterina and Sister Veritas were letting people know the Our Lady of Good Voyage exists.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Consecration of Paschal Baptismal Water:
Beginning of baptisms:
Another baptism (13 in all)
Clothing with white garment:
Giving the sponsor the neophyte's lighted candle:
Preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation:



My previous post on Paul Inwood's concern about an Easter Vigil in America run amuck was startling to me because Praytell usually supports liturgical irregularities while deploring the EF Mass and those who attend it and wholeheartedly call for its expansion.

So I was relieved that Praytell has not abandoned its true reputation and posted a backhanded slap down of Inwood but in a nuanced sort of way, by Rita Ferrone who exerted Praytell's true Liturgical ideology:

Here's her comment on Inwood's post:

  • #7 by Rita Ferrone on April 19, 2017 - 6:54 pm 
    Is it a black parish? I notice all the songs substituted for the psalms are spirituals, and another song later in the liturgy sung by the choir is too. The ad hoc choir is drawn from the Eritrean community… they may be trying to accommodate the elderly who have sung spirituals all their lives? Such songs are actually a very important anchor in the black church, and while it doesn’t conform to liturgical norms for psalms, it’s the stuff people sing even when memory fails — and it’s lived theology. I wouldn’t judge it too harshly without knowing some more about how this came to be. I also note the author says there was an “altar call” which is a borrowed term from the Protestant (often Baptist) background that many black Catholic churches include because their families span the ecumenical gamut too.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


In my questions to those who attend either SSPX or FSSP parishes, I asked the following:

My impression too, was that actual participation in the Mass saw many praying the rosary or simply zoning out, but not all of course. Is actual participation in its two expressions combined, that of the interior/contemplative and that of the verbal/exterior better today that in pre-Vatican II times in these parishes?
So, today in these types of parishes, what does the "time (prayer/and religious formation dedicated to God), talent (what the laity do for the institutional church with  the gifts they have) and treasure (tithing) look like?

What does Father's convert class look like and how does your parish compare in size with the "modern" Catholic parishes, liturgies and actual participation nearby?

Then one of my commenters had a common sense, no nonsense, response that takes the cake.  And her answer betrays the wrong road we have been traveling since Vatican II where the focus is on human activity, right or wrong, during the liturgy and getting everyone to do it the "right" way rather than the "wrong" way as perceived by the intellectual elite in liturgical academia. What has gotten lost, is the true purpose of the Catholic parish and the Sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass--TO GET PEOPLE INTO HEAVEN SO THEY WON'T GO TO HELL. 

In fact, the Fatima Prayer of the Holy Rosary is a brief summary of what Catholic parishes should be praying for and doing:

"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."

 Here's Bee's common sense, no nonsense answer to my post:

Bee here:

While these are good questions Fr. McD, my question would be, what percentage of pre-Vatican II Catholics went to heaven as opposed to the percentage of those Catholics baptized post-Vatican II?

I know we can't know with any certainty, but my guess is even the people praying the rosary during Mass in the pre-Vatican II days stand a better chance of reaching heaven than post-Vatican II Catholics.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. I guess I'll just keep praying.


There was a colossal controversy in my parish for the Easter Vigil, my first one here. I told the choir director and deacon that all the lights of the darkened church should be illuminated at the third "Lumen Christi".

But the custom here has been for these to remain off until the Gloria, necessitating a flash light for the deacon to chant the Exsultet not to mention the readers needed one too.

The other colossal controversy was when to the light the laity's candles after the Easter Candle had been lighted. I recommended that it be done outside as the people processed into the church, but others stated, no, they should be in the church and their candles lighted from the Easter Candle (which would have taken all night if each one did it individually).

I noticed at the London Oratory where John Nolan frequents that the lights were not turned on at the third Lumen Christi, but remained off for the Exsultet and the readings as documented in the photos above.

But our American Roman Missal's rubrics clearly state that the lights are to come on after the third "Lumen Christi" and no mention of them being turned off again "to symbolize as one deacon taught, that we are thrown into darkness again).  The rubrics state only that the altar candles are lighted at the Gloria with the ringing of bells throughout the Gloria.

The rubrics also state that the laity's candles are lighted after they enter the Church, but this is logistically a nightmare, quite literally. 

What did you experience at your Easter Vigil, the correct way or the London Oratory's wrong way?
I ask; you answer.


Believe it or not, Paul Inwood writing for Praytell decries what happened in a "spirit" of Vatican 🇻🇦 II parish at the Easter Vigil this past Holy Saturday.

Given my post on "Deliver Me O Lord From the Easter Vigil" you know that I must disagree with Paul and Praytell for mocking this lovely, timely and oh so necessary reform of the refoermed Easter Vigil! 👅 In cheek folks! 👎👍🙏😇😎🤡

This is from Praytell and not from incredible but true:

Here isa verbatim report of a rather different Vigil that an American friend sent me:
No Service of Light, no blessing of fire or candle, nor Exsultet. The service started in the church with the Liturgy of the Word. The paschal candle was already lit and in place when I arrived.
After the Genesis creation reading, the “responsorial psalm” from the choir: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
2nd reading is Exodus. “Responsorial psalm”: When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land (Let My People Go) (soloist accompanied by choir)
3rd reading is Ezekiel, new heart and new spirit. “Responsorial psalm”: I’ve Got That Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart….
After the epistle the choir sang the song  We Fall Down But We Get Up, a gospel song by contemporary Black Gospel artist Donnie McClurkin. No sung Alleluia.
Then came a “sprinkling rite”. Using the “stainless steel baptismal stock pot with spigot at the bottom”, folks were encouraged to come up and get some holy water from the tap and make the sign of the cross. Those unable to walk forward had a small glass finger bowl of water brought to them. With a towel. A deacon and a nun stood by the spigot to distribute the water. Sister held a little bowl to catch the drips. During this altar call to “come and get you some holy water” we sang This little light of mine.
There had been no blessing of water. Father said “Let us pray” and maybe the prayer was about the water but his accent was sufficiently thick so that I could not discern. He did everything from his chair and didn’t move from it. Gospel followed the water rite.
No baptisms or confirmations, no sung Gloria or Holy, etc., but still a two-hour liturgy.
I should mention that this is a very senior congregation. About 75 in attendance because no one wants to drive in the dark (start time was 8 pm when it was still daylight). Average age over 75: probably only two people in the church under 60. Choir numbered about eight — is also primarily older and included a few singers from the Eritrean Mass community that worships there. They all used their cell phones as lights because the church lights (hanging fluorescent ballasts) were really dim.
Very low ceiling (about 10 foot) and pot of incense being swung about unintentionally by a very “senior” altar server who held the thurible in one hand and his cane in the other. Carpeted, with padded chairs, only about 30 feet from the back of the church to the altar, about six pews deep, in a fan shape. So much incense that I had a coughing fit. The nun came across to me with a handful of cough drops….
Sad, because it used to be a very vibrant, multi-generational parish with a thriving school. Like many parishes, it is a clustered parish — made of three similarly ageing assemblies in nearby churches, now shuttered. So no candle tapers, possibly because they would have incinerated themselves, but lots of shaking (Parkinson’s, arthritis, etc.).
It was definitely a spectacle! But something made me think that maybe it’s the effort of the people, not the words or rites, that matter. Those older folks made an effort to be there. They sang, they greeted each other, and they weebled and wobbled but they did sit and stand.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


If rejecting Vatican II's poorly implemented legacy is the way to go for the Church, I would like to ask those who attend SSPX parishes or FSSP parishes to tell me what their parish life is like and how large their parishes are in the number of households.

My impression of the pre-Vatican II Church is that priests and nuns and just a tiny fraction of the laity did everything in the institutionalized aspect of a parish. The pastor consulted no one but only a handful of cronies or good friends. Apart from the school there weren't too many other ministries and the laity's role usually involved major fundraising extravaganzas. Apart from altar boys and the women who kept the church clean and well ordered, there were no visible liturgical ministries apart from the choir and ushers.

My impression too, was that actual participation in the Mass saw many praying the rosary or simply zoning out, but not all of course. Is actual participation in its two expressions combined, that of the interior/contemplative and that of the verbal/exterior better today that in pre-Vatican II times in these parishes?

So, today in these types of parishes, what does the "time (prayer/and religious formation dedicated to God), talent (what the laity do for the instituional church with  the gifts they have) and treasure (tithing) look like?

What does Father's convert class look like and how does your parish compare in size with the "modern" Catholic parishes, liturgies and actual participation nearby?

I ask; you answer.


I am convinced that Pope Benedict's liturgical legacy will bear fruit in the future. Although Pope Francis does not focus so much on Liturgical renewal in continuity, for his part he does encourages renewal in popular devotions and frequent confessions. This is an important recovery as well because modern anarchist  liturgists of the 1960/70's tried to destroy both, the liturgies of the Church and her popular devotions to include the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary, not to mention the Sacrament of Confession! Of course this iconoclasm destroyed Catholic identity in order to align Catholicism with Protestantism and form a sort of Tower of Babel kind of church of human construction.

Benedict XVI
[Corriere della Sera, April 15, 2017]

Nihil Operi Dei praeponatur - "Let nothing be set before the Divine Worship." With these words, Saint Benedict, in his Rule (43,3), established the absolute priority of Divine Worship in relation with any other task of monastic life. This, even in monastic life, was not necessarily obvious, because for monks the work in agriculture and in knowledge was also an essential task.

In agriculture, as also in crafts, and in the work of formation, there could be temporal emergencies that might appear more important than the liturgy. Faced with all this, Benedict, with the priority given to the liturgy, puts in unequivocal relief the priority of God himself in our life. "At the hour for the Divine Office, as soon as the signal is heard, let them abandon whatever they may have in hand and hasten with the greatest speed." (43, 1)

In the conscience of the men of today, the things of God, and with this the liturgy, do not appear urgent in fact. There is urgency for every possible thing. The things of God do not ever seem urgent. Well, it could be affirmed that monastic life is,  in any event, something different from the lives of men of the world, and that is undoubtedly fair. Nevertheless, the priority of God which we have forgotten is valid for all. If God is no longer important, the criteria to establish what is important are changed. Man, by setting God aside, submits his own self to constraints that render him a slave to material forces and that are therefore opposed to his dignity.

In the years that followed Vatican II, I became once again aware of the priority of God and of the divine liturgy. The misunderstanding of the liturgical reform that has spread widely in the Catholic Church led to putting ever more in first place the aspect of instruction and that of one's own activity and creativity. The action of men led almost to forgetting of the presence of God. In such a situation, it becomes ever clearer that the existence of the Church lives on the just celebration of the liturgy, and that the Church is in danger when the primacy of God does not appear anymore in the liturgy, and therefore in life. The deepest cause of the crisis that has subverted the Church is located in the effacing of the priority of God in the liturgy. All this led me to dedicate myself to the theme of the liturgy more widely than in the past because I knew that the true renewal of the liturgy is a fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church. 

The studies collected in this volume 11 of the Opera Omnia are based on this conviction. But in the end, despite all the differences, the essence of the liturgy in East and West is one and the same. And therefore I hope that this book may aid also the Christians of Russia to understand in a new and better way the great gift that is given to us in the Sacred Liturgy.

Vatican City, on the feast of Saint Benedict
July 11, 2015 - See more at:

Monday, April 17, 2017


Maybe it is a sign that I am on my way to being 64 years old and have almost 37 years of priesthood under my alb, but I am beginning to think that the Easter Vigil needs a make over! Of the three liturgies of the Easter Triduum, my favorite is Holy Thursday; I simply love it.

Good Friday is a bit stark and disjointed to me in terms of its abrupt entrance with prostration, collect without greeting or Let us pray, the long passion, the long intercession and the the unveiling and veneration of the cross, then Holy Communion and simple exit.

But the Easter Vigil takes the cake. Its full celebration is best done in a monastery or intentional community. I have celebrated the vigil with all the readings, but no more, no matter how much my younger parochial vicars will protest.

We had three Old Testament readings and the Epistle and Gospel of course.

But do we have to have all of that???? Can't we have a more family, less liturgical geeks 🤓 oriented Easter Vigil?


1. Allow it to be at the normal Vigil Mass time no matter how bright and sunny!

2. Light a torch in the church near the entrance and have the congregation comfortably turn towards the entrance of the church (as they do, btw, at funeral Masses for the blessing of the body) then bless the fire, the candle and begin a quick procession with the Lumen Christi chant. No candles for the congregation as these are a fire hazard and get wax on your new padded pews!!!!!! These candles should be anathema! Maybe little electric ones would suffice!

3. Use the short version of the Exultet.

4. Have one Old Testament reading with a short Gradual, not a long Psalm with refrain and an infinite number of verses but keep the prayer, followed by the Gloria, Collect and then the Epistle. But by all means maintain the three-fold Alleluia and Gospel!

5. Keep the homily brief or omit it altogether!

6. Only do baptisms, no receptions into the Church, those could be on Easter Sunday.

7. Do away with the double renunciation of Satan and profession of faith, one for those to be baptized and the other for the congregation.

8. Use the 2nd Eucharist prayer but have something in it for the newly baptized and the Roman Canon's acknowledgment of the Easter night/day.

All of this could be accomplished in a hour and a half rather than 2 and half to three hours.

I was psychologically exhausted a 8 PM when we began the Vigil outside and I could not get the taper to light from the fire so that I could light the candle and then get the congregation's candles lighted.



(Photograph from the dedication of the church in February of 2016. Unlike Macon, and with Dr. Buck Melton, a wonderful photographer who took so many photos gratis for me and sent them to me digitally in order for me to post on my blog, I have no Dr. Buck Melton in Richmond Hill, sad 😭 to say!)

I was a bit nervous about the fact that St. Anne's in Richmond Hill only as two Sunday morning Masses at 8:30 AM and 11 AM (a very nice schedule for one priest, by the way.  I knew we would have a ton of visitors and others who come to Mass on at Easter and Christmas.

I wondered if I needed to add a Mass but decided against it since the new parish church can seat 1,200 comfortably. My first experience of it completely full, but no one standing was on Christmas Eve.

Both our 8:30 am and 11 am Masses were filled to capacity with the 8:30 AM having more small children than the 11 am and thus it won the competition for having the most. (Our Easter Vigil at 8 pm Holy Saturday was a little less than 3/4th full, with 13 baptisms and about 15 receptions into the Full Communion of the Church. It took 2 and a half hours!

What impressed me the most about my new parish is how fertile it is. We have so many young families (many are army families) and many have many children. It is wonderful.

While I am disappointed that these families don't come every Sunday, I am glad that they at least respond to God's grace to come at Christmas and Easter. I tried to be very welcoming of them and pray that some will become more engaged in their Catholic faith.

At the announcement time, in my best southern accent I said, "Ya'll come back now, you hear!"

Sunday, April 16, 2017


It starts pouring at the Universal Prayers, which included one for Pope Benedict, and then by the Roman Canon it is sunny.

Mass in Latin, Sistine Choir, marvelous, decorations/flowers the best I've seen for Easter. Pope Francis gives a stunning off-the-cuff homily and earns applause which is not encourage at Mass under this pontiff. The crowds are told, in fact, prior to Mass not to applaud the pope when he enters.