Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Week and the Triduum’

Not a Burden I Should Like to Bear

April 13th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

We received the following email this morning from a parishioner at St. Anne/Our Lady of Lourdes. The woman who sent this in tries not to go to the cluster’s Masses, due to the insipid and illicit preaching of Joan Sobala, SSJ, but found herself out of options for a Good Friday service. She thus went to St. Anne and witnessed the following:

When they all processed in, Joan was, of course, right with the priests. When they got to the altar and went down for the prostration, Joan went right down with them. It was shameful. The priest prostrates himself because he is a priest, an “alter Christus,” an “other Christ,” but what is Sr. Joan? She’s a bitter wannabe. Maybe she’s got good intentions, but intent only goes so far. When the minute had passed, Fr. Tyman rose easily, with dignity befitting the tone of the Mass. However, Sr. Joan could not rise without the help of those around her. She looked like some kind of liberal weevil that had fallen out of a bad loaf of bread or something, wiggling around trying to get herself up again. Maybe that sounds mean, but let’s look at the perspective. This is Good Friday. Of all the days in the Church year when politicking should be left aside, this is it. Our Lord’s death should eclipse everything aside from itself. When you pull a stunt that distracts the congregation (which was pitiful compared to years past), you don’t deserve my compassion. Sure, I’ll pray for you, I’ll smile and be civil, but never presume that you should be the focus over God Himself. When I saw her being helped up I remembered why I started going to St. Boniface and Our Lady of Victory. Fr. Brickler never makes himself the center of attention. Fr. Kennedy says a nice Mass, too. Fr. Antinarelli conducts himself with humility and dignity. Well, not this dame. I feel sorry for her, definitely, but I feel sorrier for the people who have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

Like the woman who emailed us does, I pray for Sr. Joan often. I pray for our entire Diocese. People wonder why we have so few vocations, and then we see things like this, where an aging “progressive” nun upstages Jesus Christ Himself. Our priests look on from the sidelines and can’t do anything because she, and others like her, are the bosses in Rochester. There’s really nothing I can say or add that I haven’t already at some point over the past few years, so I’ll just close with this quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen:

“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Great Thursday Icon

April 5th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

Previously here



“Mystical Supper” by Rolland Luke Dingman


Of thy Mystical Supper,

O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant

for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies,

neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas

but like the thief will I confess thee;

Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom.

Westerners recognize this scene as the Last Supper while in the East it is known as the Mystical Supper. Holy Thursday is known in the Eastern Church (both Catholic and Orthodox) as Great Thursday.

The word mystic in the Eastern title of this icon comes from the Greek word mystikos and signifies sacrament, communicating through the title that Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist at the last supper with His apostles.1

The group is shown all seated on the same side of a semi-circular table, the common arrangement, at the time, utilized for large dinner groups. Servers brought the dishes to the table from the empty side of the table. Sometimes tables were rectangle or “U” shaped with the diners seated to the outside. It was usual for the host or the guest of honor to sit on the left end of the table as seen from the entrance door. Some icons show that arrangement. More commonly, Christ is depicted seated in the center of the group with the twelve apostles evenly flanking Him. St. Peter sits, appropriately, at the right hand of the Lord. St. John, the “beloved apostle” appears to be gesturing toward the bread and wine –the Body and Blood; the Sacrament- and Christ lovingly places His left hand on John’s far shoulder, gently pulling him toward Him. In some icons, St. John is shown reclining his head on the Lord’s breast.

All of the figures, except one, are shown full face; we can see both eyes. Only Judas, the betrayer, is shown in profile with only one eye visible to symbolize his dishonesty.2 In some icons Judas is seated at the table on the side opposite the apostles and Jesus. In others, his face may be darkened by shadow. In still others he is the one reaching for a bag of money.

The long wall and towers in the background are suggestive of the Jerusalem Temple –the show bread of Jerusalem Temple was a type of the Bread of Everlasting Life instituted on Great Thursday3 and the sacrifices of the Temple were a type of Christ’s sacrifice. The curtain is meant to indicate that the supper scene is taking place indoors.

Finally, Christ appears in the traditional pose of Christ Pantokrator (Omnipotent, All Powerful) Ruler of the universe.

The Mystical Supper icon is usually over the royal doors of the iconostasis screen in most Orthodox or Eastern Catholic churches. In front of this icon is where the faithful come to receive the Eucharist at the Divine Liturgy (Mass). Beyond the icon, at the altar, is where the mystery of the Holy Eucharist is celebrated.


1 The Mystical Language of Icons, Solrunn Nes, (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005) p74

2 <>3 Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, Brant Pitre, (New York, Doubleday Religion, 2011)
Picture Sources Mystical Supper Icon:

Christ on the Cross

April 22nd, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

Last in our Lenten series on crosses, crucifixes and crucifixion scenes

Previously here

The Crucifixion (Christ on the Cross)

by Diego Velazquez


Museo Nacional del Prado

Madrid, Spain

Iudas, Mercator Pessimus

April 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Today is Wednesday of Holy Week, also called “Spy Wednesday.” The reason behind this is that this is the day on which Judas first transpired with the chief priests and the elders to hand Jesus over to their desires. He acted deviously and secretly, thus “spy” Wednesday. There is a beautiful motet sung during Holy Week which is called “Iudas, Mercator Pessimus.” The translation and original text are below, along with a video for your viewing pleasure.

Judas, the vile merchant,
required a kiss from the Lord
who, like an innocent lamb,
did not deny the kiss to Judas.
For a large amount of dinarii,
he betrayed Christ to the Jews.
It would have been better for him,
had he not been born.
Iudas mercator pessimus
osculo petiit Dominum
ille ut agnus innocens
non negavit Iudae osculum.
Denariorum numero
Christum Iudaeis tradidit.
Melius illi erat
si natus non fuisset.


A Very Old Letter

April 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

“I Say This Motivated by Christian Charity”

April 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

So began a DoR priest’s Easter Sunday sermon. He continued by saying the following:

“I say this motivated by Christian charity. If you are a Catholic who has come back to the Church . . . Wait, let me rephrase that. If you are a Catholic who chose to walk out on the Church, and is now back at Mass, you are not in a state of grace. You must make a full sacramental confession before you receive Holy Communion.”

What greater gift is there than a priest who will actually say to these twice-a-year Catholics that what they are doing is not okay? While it is excellent that these people are motivated to step into church, they must be motivated to do so Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year. However, they do not see the need to do so when they get the same message every Sunday they show up: “Jesus loves you just the way you are – don’t change a thing.” If that is true, then there’s no need for Mass, is there? Also, when these people come to Mass, they are confronted with “liturgical irregularities,”  trite preaching, horrible music, much of it stuck in the years between 1965 and 1980, and no sense of the sacred. The Mass, for them, is something they “do” a couple times a year to pay-off the Lord of the Universe, the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.

So what can we do to get people coming to Mass with regularity? In the words of Fr. Rego, we must “Preach Hell.” If the people have no sense of sin, there can be no sense of grace. If we return to the sacred at Mass, and have Gregorian Chant in lieu of tambourines and air guitars, and precious metals in place of clay, glass, and wooden  “sacred vessels,” we will begin to see people asking questions like, “Why do we do this? What does it mean?” This is our springboard into proper liturgical catechesis, people. Restore a sense of the sacred, and the people will begin to realize that the Mass is not something casual and free-to-be-manipulated by anyone who chooses to do so. There will be a sense of awe, being at Mass and being completely powerless. The Mass is an experience of God, and for us to feel that there is no mystery, no mystical captivation, is to not fully comprehend the presence of God.

If more priests begin their Christmas and Easter sermons with words like this, I guarantee you, you will see people begin to question their complacency. After the priest made this announcement, at the end of Mass there were people lining up to do two things: 1. Confess their sins and 2. thank the priest for his explanation, because it “made me realize that I was in a state of grievous sin.”

It’s not hard. Get one or two good priests, get a solid group of the faithful, such as us, and coupled together, orthodoxy will once again reign supreme in the Diocese of Rochester. We are merely hibernating, friends. And the winter is almost over.

Resurrexit sicut dixit. Alleluia.

A Blessed Easter To All

April 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

“But the angel spoke and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid. And go quickly, tell his disciples that he has risen; and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you should see him. Behold, I have foretold it to you.” And they departed quickly from the tomb in fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them saying, “Hail!” And they came up and embraced his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go, take the word to my brethren that they are to set out for Galilee; where they shall see me.” (Matthew 28: 5-10)

The word of the Lord!

“He Descended Into Hell”

April 3rd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

The following, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, explains how after His crucifixion and death, our Lord Jesus Christ descended into the realm of dead in order to conquer death and sin. Our Lord entered into death so that He would be raised, and by His rising, He would bring salvation to all those who hear and obey the will of God. The thought of the Son of God descending to hell might be a difficult one to comprehend, but this is how our Lord trampled death for His creation. He would rise from the dead on the third day.




631 Jesus “descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens.”475 The Apostles’ Creed confesses in the same article Christ’s descent into hell and his Resurrection from the dead on the third day, because in his Passover it was precisely out of the depths of death that he made life spring forth:

Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.476

Paragraph 1. Christ Descended into Hell

632 The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection.477 This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.478

633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.479 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:480 “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”481 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.482

634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.”483 The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”484 Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”485 Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”486

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him – He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”487


636 By the expression “He descended into hell”, the Apostles’ Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil “who has the power of death” (Heb 2:14).

637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven’s gates for the just who had gone before him.”

Holy Saturday – the Easter Vigil

April 3rd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen


Consider Well That Bleeding Visage

April 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

This Good Friday, I should like to ask you one simple question for your contemplation.

When you look at the face of Our Lord, bleeding copiously and reigning from the cross, can you honestly see reflected in his suffering the petty politicking we see in our daily lives, our liturgies, our work places? To love Christ Jesus is to find the value of His sufferings, and not bury them in shameful Masses, flawed theological musings, and intolerant speech.

Remember, dear friends, that Our Lord looked at St. John and declared, “Behold thy mother.” In like manner, we must take Mary into our hearts, giving her those chambers once reserved for our callousness and greed. Furnish your soul for sacred things. Do not let it rot in the stew of iniquity. Whenever we are complicit in a Mass in which heinous abuses are perpetrated, we are the ones who jeer at Our Lord crucified. We are the ones shouting out to Pilate. We are the high priests who declared “we have no king but Caesar.”

Look at Our Lord’s bleeding face, and tell me: do you see reflected in His Divine suffering the casual and pompous nature of several of our Masses? Do these Masses actually capture the nature of His supreme sacrifice? They ought to, friends. Do not let the sufferings of Christ Jesus be in vain.

The Reproaches – Good Friday Meditation.

April 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Choir

Taken from the Boston Catholic Journal with music below.

“My People, My People what Have I done to you, how have I offended you, answer me!”

The Sung Reproaches and Veneration of the uplifted Cross on Good Friday are surely the high point of the Good Friday liturgy. The familiar words and the haunting chant seem to penetrate the very marrow of our being as we experience the Suffering Savior saying to each one of us , and directly to our hearts, “My People, My People, what have I done to you, how have I offended you?”

The Reproaches are a set on antiphons and their responses representing the reproaches, the rebukes of Christ to His people.

Christ in the words of the reproaches rebukes us ? by His great love he delivered us out of Egypt, out of our slavery and bondage, and how did we repay Him? We nailed Him to the Cross! We repaid His love with hatred and indifference, we repaid His generosity with meanness and spite, how well deserved we are of the reproaches of our God.

May these ancient words, this ancient liturgy, speak to our very souls, and at the end let us keep silence, for we have no answer, but sin, our sin is the only answer to Christ’s cry, “My people, My people!”
And in the silence let us renew our sorrow and marvel at this God who loves us so much that He bled and died upon a Cross of shame that we would have life, life in Him.

The Reproaches

“My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you answer me!

I led you out of Egypt from slavery to freedom, but you have led your Savior, and nailed Him to a cross.

Hagios OTheos, Hagios ichyros,
Hagios athanatos eleison himas.
Holy is God, Holy and Strong,
Holy Immortal One , have mercy on us.

For forty years in safety, I led you through the desert, I fed you with my manna, I gave you your own land, but you have led your Savior, and nailed Him to a Cross.

Hagios O Theos, Hagios ichyros,
Hagios athanatos eleison himas.
Holy is God, Holy and Strong,
Holy Immortal One , have mercy on us.

O what more would you ask from me? I planted you, my vineyard, but sour grapes you gave me, and vinegar to drink, and you have pierced your Savior and pierced Him with a spear.

Hagios OTheos, Hagios ichyros,
Hagios athanatos eleison himas.
Holy is God, Holy and Strong,
Holy Immortal One , have mercy on us.

For you scourged your captors, their first born sons were taken, but you have taken scourges and brought them down on Me.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me!

From slavery to freedom I led you, drowned your captors. But I am taken captive and handed to your priests.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me !

Your path lay through the waters, I opened them before you, my side you have laid open and bared it with a spear.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me !

I led you, held securely, My fire and cloud before you, but you have led your Savior, hands bound to Pilate’s court.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me!

I bore you up with manna, you bore me down and scourged me. I gave you saving water, but you gave me soured wine.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me !

The kings who reigned in Canaan, I struck way before you. But you have struck my crowned head, and struck it with a reed.

My people, My people what have I done to you, how have I offended you? Answer me !

I gave you a royal scepter but you gave me a thorn crown. I raised you up in power, but you raised me on the Cross.

Hagios OTheos, Hagios ichyros,
Hagios athanatos eleison himas.
Holy is God, Holy and Strong,
Holy Immortal One , have mercy on us.