Saturday, November 28, 2015


However, I think the PDF above may be out of date as it does not include the actual EF rubric's for the canon as the photo below indicates the priest kisses the altar after beginning the Te Igitur which is not in the rubrics of the PDF above:


Can any priest celebrate Mass according to
Divine Worship?
No. Public liturgical celebration according to Divine Worship is restricted
to the parishes and communities of the Personal Ordinariates established
under the auspices of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Any priest incardinated in such a Personal Ordinariate may also publicly
celebrate the Mass according to
Divine Worship
outside the parishes of the
Ordinariate with the permission of the rector/pastor of the corresponding
church or parish. Priests of the Ordinariate may always celebrate Mass
without a congregation according to
Divine Worship.
In cases of pastoral necessity or in the absence of a priest incardinated in
an Ordinariate, any Catholic priest in good standing may celebrate the
Holy Eucharist according to Divine Worship for members of the Ordinariate
who request it. For example, since the parishes of the Ordinariate are often
spread out over a large geographic territory, the pastor of an Ordinariate
parish may ask a priest at a nearby diocesan parish to fill in during illness or vacation leave. 
Can any priest concelebrate Mass according to
Divine Worship?
Yes. Any Catholic priest may concelebrate Mass according to
Divine Worship.


"We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be a shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants."--Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, main author of the New Mass, L'Osservatore Roman, March 19, 1965.

But with the advent of the Anglican Ordinariate's new Divine Worship: the Missal, it is clear, very clear that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini and his ideologies are being stripped from the Mass beginning with Protestants in the Anglican Communion who have come into the Full Communion of their Church and have brought their Catholic ethos in Anglican form to our Mass! This is called Gospel "reversal of values!"

Look at this photo of the prayer after the Our Father in the Anglican Ordinariate Divine Worship, the Missal. What do you see, or I should ask, who do you see?
Saints Peter and Paul have been added back (as in the Extraordinary Form)! Wow! Just Wow!

We can say that we are now seeing the end of the Bugnini nightmare of a liturgy and a Mass that is truly what Sacrosanctum Concilium desired for the Church.Bugnini's contrived Mass is being rejected and the EF Mass, albeit in English and with some reforms is being restored. I am amazed that other liturgical blogs do not see the importance of the new Missal and what it means.

This missal was developed with the assistance of two major Congregations at the Vatican, Divine Worship and For the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, this Missal was approved by Pope Francis! Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect for Divine Worship. Cardinal Sarah has already spoken of a reform of the Ordinary Form and what we see in this new Missal is exactly what he was describing!

Please note what you see in this photo which you would not see in a similar photo of the current Ordinary Form Missal:
I've already pointed out that the Introit is now printed in the Missal as it is in the Extraordinary Form, albeit in English. It is called the Introit, contains the refrain, verse, Gloria Patri and refrain--the EF's way of doing the Introit which is not the way it is present in our Ordinary Form Missal. But more importantly another sign of continuity in this new Missal with the EF's Missal, you will note above, is that the Gradual/Alleuia/Tract is printed on this page (although the actual lesson is not). This clearly shows that these are restored to the Liturgy.  Also note that the Offertory Antiphon is included (not so in our Ordinary Form, it was removed!) It's is back.

Do you notice in this photo yet another restoration?
Yes, you should notice that Passiontide is restored. This means that the last two Sundays of Lent have their names restored. The Sunday before Palm Sunday is Passion Sunday and the Second Sunday in Passiontide is Palm Sunday. This is exactly as it is in the Extraordinary Form!

As I have complained before, though, there are those, now aging and dying, but using their last gasp to return us to the Bugnini ways, not  only in Liturgy (they lost that war with this new Missal) but in other ways too.

The 1960's caricature of bishops is being touted as the best recovery since Bugnini himself. Of course it is to laugh. This is a part of the stripping of the Church of all things Catholic and including not only the Mass but Catholic cultural expressions and what the dying generation would like to see return and remain. But they won't succeed!

Take a read of what another aging cleric longing for the 1970's writes recently:

The Pact of the Catacombs is Still Relevant Today

by Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

On November 16, 1965, near the end of the Second Vatican Council, 42 bishops attending the Council met together in the catacombs of St. Domatilla in Rome, celebrated Mass, and signed a covenant committing themselves to lives of simplicity, frugality, and humility. The document is known as “The Pact of the Catacombs.”

Drawn up anonymously, so as to avoid the appearance of grandstanding on the part of the signatories, the Pact was circulated to all the bishops at the Council, and received about 500 co-signatories (where were the other 1,700 bishops?). It was presented eventually to Pope Paul VI, who received it gratefully.

Here are the more notable “lifestyle” paragraphs of the document:

Regarding housing, food, and means of transportation and everything concerning these things, we will seek to live in accordance with the common average level of our people.
We renounce forever wealth and its appearance, especially in clothing (expensive materials and brilliant colors), and insignia of precious metals (such things should in effect be evangelical).
We refuse to be called in speech or writing by names or titles that signify grandeur and power (Your Eminence, Your Excellency, Monsignor . . .). We prefer to be called by the evangelical name of Father.

In our comportment and social relations, we will avoid everything that can appear to confer privileges, priorities (for example, banquets given or received, special places in religious services).
We will not possess either movable or immobile properties or bank accounts in our names. If it is necessary to possess some property we will place it under the name of our diocese or other social or charitable works.

Wherever it is possible we will place the financial and material administration of our diocese to a commission of competent laymen conscious of their apostolic vocation, given that we should be pastors and apostles rather than administrators.

Item 5 was generally found to be too difficult to actualize fully; and item 6 has been effected, at least in part, in perhaps most dioceses of the world.

Retired Bishop Luigi Bettazzi of Ivrea, Italy, now 92, and the last surviving member of the group of bishops who devised the Pact (the names of all signatories eventually became known), said the commitments were personal and individual, not the start of an organized movement.

Bishop Bettazzi said he was “not as strong as Pope Francis” when it came to housing. (He was told by his vicar general that he had to live in the bishop’s residence, and he did so.) But he tried in most areas to follow the Pact successfully, adding that he did not wear the bishop’s ring that all bishops received from Pope Paul VI at the end of Vatican II because it was “ostentatious.”

Bishop Erwin Krautler, ordinary of the impoverished diocese of Xingu in the Amazon basin, and legendary for his simple lifestyle for 35 years, credits the Pact of the Catacombs for the way he conducted his life and ministry.

The approach of the 50th anniversary of the Pact has led to new interest in it, not least because of the way Pope Francis lives so frugally and simply. Bishop Belazzi commented, “God with his grace gave us a pope like Francis, who without having signed the Pact, already led this kind of life and had experience of a simple church, a poor church, a church very close to the poor.”

The Pact of the Catacombs can today inspire clergy to adopt its spirit in ways that are feasible.

Msgr. Mannion is pastor emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Salt Lake City. Reprinted by permission of Catholic News Agency.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Spotlight about The Boston Globe's investigative reporting on Boston's sex abuse scandal is a major, major box office FLOP.

Gross to date after three weeks:  $5,804,495

Estimated final gross: $15,000,000

Compare to The Hunger Games:

After one week: gross--$102,665,981

Estimated final gross: $283,000,000

Despite the reality of this DUD, the press in a narcissistic way continues to portray it as the best thing since Constantine! And Hollywood will nominate it for an academy award. I wonder why? Do you know?


While I cry that we in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite don't get this new Anglican Ordinariate Missal or a facsimile of it for our use in the Ordinary Form, it is a forerunner of what we will eventually get because Divine Worship: The Missal shows the influence of the Extraordinary Form on the Ordinary Form although it has some Anglican influences as well. It is what Pope Benedict desired: Mutual Enrichment and it is the way for us for the Reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass. This new missal shows us the way and is here for part of the Latin Rite, the first Missal revised after Vatican II that is in continuity with the Missal prior to Vatican II. This is groundbreaking to say the least! On top of that they get a "sacral" English with "thees and thous!"
The Ordinariate gets the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar back! We don't! It isn't fair!
Please note how this new Missal which goes into affect this Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, formats the Introit! The Introit is arranged in the Missal itself. Although in English, it is the same, exact same, format for the Introit as in the Extraordinary Form to include the Refrain, Verse, Gloria Patri, and repeat of Refrain and it isn't called the Entrance Antiphon but the Introit! Please not too that they get Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Trinity (Pentecost)! They get most of the rubrics of the EF Mass back, including kissing the altar each time the priest turns away from it! It isn't fair that we don't get this in the Ordinary Form!
And Passiontide explicitly returns to the Missal while the Gloria Patri disappears the last two weeks of Lent as in the 1962 Missal. It makes my heart flutter! Of course it is also omitted in the Requiem Mass!
They get Septuagesima back! It's just not fair!
I want to cry for joy! Rogation Days are explicit in the new Missal! But I cry in sadness for the rest of us who don't get it!
Ember Wednesdays return no less! Why or why them and not us?
Adding insult to injury, it is clear in this new missal that the Gradual and Tract may be used on Sundays and in the Requiem Mass the Dies Irae returns as the Sequence to its proper place (completely expunged in our OF Missal!) It isn't fair, they get it! We don't, at least not yet! Boo Hoo!
They even get the EF Offertory Prayers with the EF Rubrics, but now we in the Ordinary Form are mere step children to this superior Missal. Why them and not us I ask in shaking voice!
The rubrics from the EF Mass are allowed for the Roman Canon. Please note the rubric (He may kiss the altar) after the beginning of the Roman Canon! I ask is this fair that they get it and we don't? I am having a stroke!
See all the glorious unfair pictures HERE and  HERE!

The Ordinariate Missal Is Important For Us All

By: Father James Bradley, Guest Blogger

The First Sunday of Advent will see the introduction of a new missal in the Catholic Church, one that has been in preparation for five hundred years.

Known as Divine Worship: The Missal, it has been handsomely published by the Catholic Truth Society to serve the communities and parishes of the personal ordinariates —structures similar to dioceses, established to provide a home in the Catholic Church for those from the Anglican tradition.

Divine Worship: The Missal obviously didn’t really take five hundred years to prepare, but it is the product of the prayers of almost half a millennium. It represents, in a very real way, the fruit of the sacrifices made by Catholics during the so-called Reformation, and embodies the longed-for unity of Christians articulated by the documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

In his encyclical letter on Christian unity, Ut unum sint, Pope Saint John Paul II said that

“legitimate diversity is no way opposed to the Church’s unity, but rather enhances her splendour and contributes treating to the fulfillment of her mission.”

This principle is at work in Divine Worship. Our distinctive liturgical life in the personal ordinariates is at once a sign of that legitimate diversity, and of a tradition which has been grafted to the vine from which it was so brutally severed—the rock from which it was hewn (Isaiah 51:1).

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, the liturgical life of the personal ordinariates and so Divine Worship: The Missal, may be seen as

“a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the ordinariate and . . . a treasure to be shared.”

This is why Divine Worship: The Missal matters to us all, whether or not we are members of a personal ordinariate; whether or not we are ourselves even former Anglicans. As Archbishop Augustine Di Noia from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently said,

“Divine Worship and the personal ordinariates represent, in many ways, a realized ecumenism.”

That is to say, this new missal is a fruit of our prayer for Christian Unity. It is what Pope Benedict called, “a prophetic gesture … [that] sets our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion.” The introduction of Divine Worship, then, represents a hugely important moment in the life of the communities of the personal ordinariates, as we seek to implement in an authentic way the vision set before us by the Church and for which we have prayed for so long. It is also a moment of historic significance for the whole Church, as the liturgical patrimony of Christians from a community forged in the crucible of the Protestant Reformation is refined and repatriated to the fullness of Catholic communion. All Catholics can rejoice in this work and support us in this task: Visit our communities! Get to know our people! Come and experience our worship! Above all, continue to take up the Lord’s challenge given on the night that he was betrayed, to pray that all may be one in him, that the world might believe (John 17: 21).

Father James Bradley is a Priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and a graduate student of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC.

Thursday, November 26, 2015



The story below is a shocking one of sacrilege. However, the artist-perpetrator also needs prayers. He is certainly "broken" by his life experiences and thus may not be completely culpable for his actions in the sense of "mortal sin." His full consent of the will may have been compromised by mental illness.

By receiving Holy Communion in the hand he took over the course of time more than 250 consecrated Hosts, the glorified Body and Blood of our Risen Lord, and placed these on a sidewalk in the form of an artistic expression which was then photographed.

However, those who are culpable are the bishops of the world who first promoted Holy Communion in the hand and now refuse to see the handwriting on the wall as to what a horrible legacy this has been. (Oddly enough Wednesday's Old Testament reading for Mass was the reading about the "hand writing on the wall!")

Most every priest in Ordinary Form Mass parishes including me and my parishioners knows of the desecration of the Hosts by people who walk off with the Host. Some do so in complete ignorance. They are not Catholic but come forward to receive neither knowing they shouldn't nor understanding the gravity of receiving let alone of taking the Host and discarding it on the floor or elsewhere.  There have been Hosts taken from papal Masses and placed on eBay for sale!

Some are Satan worshipers and know exactly what they are doing and why when they take a Host from the Church! This happened when I was pastor of a downtown parish in Augusta.

When I was at the Vatican and distributed Holy Communion to the periphery of the crowds at a papal outdoor Mass, I realized that many receiving in the hand would pass the Host back to others and then receive again. As I wasn't looking at what was happening trying to keep my bearings with so many wanting to receive in a confined space and people not moving out of the way to allow it, I'm afraid this went on for some time!  God only knows what happens to Hosts at the majority of this gigantic outdoor Masses the pope has either at the Vatican or on pilgrimages!

I doubt that the stealing of Hosts from FSSP parishes or SSPX parishes is a problem although that is not to say that someone intent on stealing a Host couldn't remove it from his mouth. But it is less likely under ordinary circumstances when someone approaches the railing for Holy Communion and kneels and then receives on the tongue.

Here is the sad,sad, shocking story:

SHOCKING: Consecrated Hosts Desecrated in Spanish Art Exhibit

A new low for performance art: In the city of Pamplona, Spain, artist Abel Azcona used consecrated hosts to spell out the word “Pederasty” in Spanish on the sidewalk; the display was photographed, and featured in an exhibit in a city-operated public art gallery.
By AbelAzcona (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By AbelAzcona (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Azcona is a controversial artist whose video performance project “Intimacy” features the artist engaged in raw sexual activity with other males. In the first stage of the project, Azcona explains, he attempts to show the “intimate emotional bonds” with the artist Juan Yuste,
“with whom he had a partner relationship for the last months of 2013…. further stages shall be recorded from now on with different collaborators during the life of the artist.”  
In this latest shocking presentation, part of an exhibit titled “Buried,” photos show Azcona spreading the Body of Christ on the pavement: He uses 242 consecrated hosts which he procured by pretending to receive Holy Communion at Mass. The Hosts themselves were displayed beside the photos, until a private citizen removed them from the exhibit.
An equal opportunity insulter of religion, Azcona also created the controversial “Eating a Koran” video in which he is shown tearing up a Koran and then eating it, page by page. For that presentation, he received death threats.
*     *     *     *     *
Despite Azcona’s belligerent portrayals of anti-religious motifs, one can almost feel sorry for him after reading his bio on the artist’s Vimeo site. It tells of a tragic childhood marred by abandonment and maltreatment by his prostitute mother:
His artistic exploration considered highly biographic looks into his own childhood, scarred experiences of abuse, abandonment, and child maltreatment, being his biological mother a key reference of his experience and therefore of his artistic craft.
The feeling of abandonment experimented for the first time because of his mother, who practiced prostitution, and his pass through multiple child shelters, mental institutions and different foster homes, are determinant to the way Azcona expresses himself.
His life experience, marked by drugs, prostitution, or several suicide attempts during his adolescence, are linked to his creation and so he doesn’t hesitate to share with the viewers through his work. In his works on this intimacy, Azcona is known for experiencing pain and physical stamina, exposing himself to beatings, intoxications, aggressions and various tortures both physical and psychological, and doesn’t cower to confront himself.
Azcona tells us that when inner pain is so intense, outer pain can disappear; uses pain to empathize with his own feelings and own experiences during childhood and teen ages. Also, he assures that when he practices self-harm, it’s his own choice to alter the shape of his body, as opposing to an abused child or woman, without a chance to decide. A resilient Azcona, creator of a cathartic work as a mean of self knowledge and personal construction.
*     *     *     *     *
The Archbishop of Pamplona-Tudela, Archbishop Francisco Perez, has announced that he will celebrate a Mass of Reparation in the cathedral on Wednesday, November 25.  According to the Spanish-language newspaper Noticias de Navarra:
In a statement to the media, the Archbishop said that this “is a serious desecration of the Eucharist, a fact that deeply offends the Catholic faith and feelings, and violates religious freedom.”
Therefore, the Archbishop expressed his “strong condemnation of these painful facts which constitute an attack on the faith of that Catholic community of the faithful of this Archdiocese and of all Catholics.”
*     *     *     *     *
And now, the legality of the offensive exhibit has been challenged. According to a report by Catholic News Agency,
The Christian Lawyers Association has filed a lawsuit against Azcona for violating Spanish law. It has said the city council must pull the display by Thursday or face legal action itself.
Maider Beloki, a councilwoman from the city’s Department for Culture, presented the exhibit, which is titled “Buried.” The Hosts were laid out on display until a private citizen removed them from the art exhibit.
Polonia Catellanos, spokesperson for the Christian Lawyers Association, told CNA that the association has filed a lawsuit against the author of the display for “an offense against religious sentiments and desecration.” The offenses are illegal under Articles 524 and 525 of the Spanish Penal Code.
“We’ve also given the Pamplona City Council until Thursday to close down the art exhibit. If they don’t do it, we’ll expand the lawsuit to include charges of complicity and necessary cooperation,” Castellanos stated.
As of Monday evening, November 23, more than 75,000 individuals had signed a petition asking the Pamplona city council to immediately and totally remove the exhibit.


While it is quite evident that there is "discontinuity" between Popes Benedict and Francis, as I have written recently and all along since the beginning of the papacy of Francis, there is also continuity.

In Pope Francis there is a mixing of old and new, continuity and discontinuity. I firmly believe that most of the discontinuity stuff will have no lasting impact on the Church but will be seen only as a parenthesis as some call it. I call it a blip. So I prefer to emphasize in Pope Francis' papacy that which will have lasting impact and of course it is all that is in continuity with his previous two successors.

As quickly as Pope Francis' dismantled the restorations of Pope Benedict another pope can now do the same with some of the less than prudent decisions of Pope Francis and point to Pope Francis' precedence in doing so.

But let us focus on the continuity issues like John Allen does in a Crux article which I reprint:

Anglican appointment reveals continuity between Pope Francis and Benedict

At the level of style, Pope Francis is obviously a somewhat jarring contrast with his predecessor, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Francis generally comes off as a warm Latin populist, Benedict more a cool German intellectual.

Leaders, however, promote either continuity or rupture not primarily at the level of style but rather policy, and on that front, one can make a case that Francis has a surprising amount in common with Benedict. His reforms on both Vatican finances and the clerical sexual abuse scandals, to take one example, are clearly extensions of Benedict’s legacy.

A new chapter in this largely untold story of continuity came on Tuesday, when the pontiff tapped 40-year-old American Monsignor Steven Lopes as the first-ever bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, one of three jurisdictions created under Pope Benedict in 2012 to welcome former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.
Related: Vatican appoints a new bishop to lead breakaway US Anglicans
The Ordinariate of St. Peter, based in Houston, serves ex-Anglican communities in the United States and Canada. Our Lady of Walsingham is based in the United Kingdom, while Our Lady of the Southern Cross is in Australia.

The Lopes appointment represents continuity with Benedict on multiple levels.

For one thing, Lopes was for many years the personal aide of American Cardinal William Levada, who served from 2005 to 2012 as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Benedict. Levada was, and remains, a close friend and ally of the emeritus pontiff. Lopes himself worked in the CDF from 2005 until his appointment this week.

For another, the creation of new structures for former Anglicans was a signature Benedict move that drew criticism on at least two fronts.

First, critics saw it as an “un-ecumenical,” a violation of the gentleman’s agreement between Catholics and Anglicans not to go fishing in one another’s ponds. Second, given that most Anglican defectors these days tend to be theological conservatives, critics styled it as example of Benedict trying to drive the Catholic Church to the right.

Some may have expected that opening to be played down under Francis, but clearly that’s not the case. As a press release announcing Lopes’ appointment put it, Francis’ move “affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity” and makes the ordinariate “a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church.”

Francis also recently approved a new set of texts for the celebration of Mass by the ordinariates, incorporating distinctive features of Anglican worship (my addition: and elements of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass which could well be inserted into the current Roman Missal as an appendix of options). Those texts will go into use on the first Sunday of Advent on Nov. 29, and Lopes played a key role in producing them.

In a Crux interview Wednesday, Lopes said he sees his new job as all about continuity between the two popes.

“I worked very closely with Pope Benedict in creating the ordinariates, and I know his vision was of allowing diversity in communion,” he said. “Pope Francis embraces that model and is pushing it through to its logical conclusion.”
Francis, Lopes said, is conscious of carrying forward his predecessor’s approach.
“I met with Pope Francis last Wednesday and heard from him on this very point,” Lopes said. “He knows very well what he’s doing.”

Lopes argued that the experience of the last three and a half years has undercut much of the alarm voiced at the beginning about Benedict’s move. For example, he said he hasn’t witnessed the “tension and blowback” observers expected from the Anglican side.

“On the contrary, the Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogue is continuing,” he said, adding that there have been several examples of the Episcopal Church in the United States “being very, very gracious when whole communities have come over.”

He also denied that the former Anglicans he now serves are entirely made up of disgruntled conservatives.

“Anglicanism itself is diverse, so the people coming in are diverse,” he said. “To paint the ordinariates with a brush of just one color may be a handy narrative, but it’s false.”

At the moment, Lopes said, the ordinariate for the United States and Canada has 42 parishes, 64 priests, four deacons, and roughly 20,000 faithful. It’s in an expansion phase, he said, both because other Anglican communities are still requesting entrance, and because his parishes tend to be keenly missionary and are attracting new members.

Looking forward, he said it’s plausible new ordinariates could be created in other parts of the world, perhaps to serve Latin America and the Pacific islands. Although Africa contains the majority of the world’s Anglicans, Lopes said he would be “surprised” if an ordinariate emerges there. Most African Anglicans, he said, are evangelicals, with different understandings of church authority, the sacraments, and so on, from Catholicism.

Taking the long view, Lopes predicted that the basic idea behind these communities – that “unity of faith allows for vibrant diversity in expression … which Benedict believed, and to which Francis is now giving contours” – will stand the test of time.

“We’re about to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation,” he said. “I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that 500 years from now, we’ll look at this idea of Benedict and Francis as what began to heal the rift of division in the Church.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


If I start watching certain movies from the late 1930's, I get hooked and drawn in and before I know it I can't stop watching. It happens when I land on Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights and it also happens with Marie Antoinette which was on last night on Turner Classic Movies, my favorite cable network.

Press here for a full list of 1930's movies, a decade of excellent movie making unlike any since!

Here is Marie Antoinette's trailer. The costumes and sets are unbelievable. The acting is wonderful especially  Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette!


Last night (Tuesday) we had our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Last year it was at St.Joseph Church with the Rabbi preaching, this year it was at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church with the priest preaching and next year it will be at the Jewish Temple with the pastor preaching. Sounds like a joke, but it isn't in fact it is very beautiful and something to look forward to each year.

This Interfaith Service involving the three Macon downtown churches and temple has been going on now for almost 50 years!

I preached last night and here is my homily. I got a few chuckles here and there:

The Scripture I read was from:

Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians (4: 4-9)


One of the things that I love the most about Thanksgiving is that everyone can claim it as a part of their own religious tradition. In fact, even people of no official religion or of no faith can claim Thanksgiving as their own.

For Catholics, we can see elements of the Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist and the ability we have by God’s grace to thank Him for the great sacrifice of His Son on the Cross and the eternal banquet of heaven.

Methodists and other churches of the reformation can see in Thanksgiving the fellowship they understand as so important to their congregations, people coming together in one great fellowship of love, trust and service. 

Jews can see in the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and Indians, the Exodus from the Land of Egypt and the journey in the desert where God fed them with Manna as they made their way to the Promised Land.

And those of no faith can see in Thanksgiving one great orgy of eating and drinking, in fact, all of us Jews, Protestants and Catholics can join our atheist and agnostic friends in that one great day of gluttony and not feel a darn bit guilty about it. 

But apart from gluttony, the great fellowship that Thanksgiving celebrates is sorely needed in our time when political and religious strife and conflict have led to terrorism and the death of so many, Jews, Muslims and Christians alike as well as those who profess no religion at all.  We need to be reminded that the true God is love and not hate. The true God unites us in a fellowship of Love; He does not divide and conquer. The true God makes the sacrifice to save us from our personal sins and the sins of others, He is the God of Mercy who wants to forgive and reconcile not judge and punish. The true God makes a way for us out the land of slavery, whether it is the real historic slavery that Jews experienced in Egypt or Africans experienced in the Americas or the slavery we experience from our passions, our addictions, our habitual sins and our dysfunctions or from the slavery of the paralyzing fear of those who threaten to murder us or take our freedoms.

Immigrants coming to a new Land and being cared for by the indigenous people and the good earth that provides for all is very much connected with the First Thanksgiving and a model for us in our present day with so many immigrants come to us looking for a promised land too.

In his recent Encyclical, Laudato Si on the care of the earth, Pope Francis writes that “The creation accounts in the book of Genesis contain, in their own symbolic and narrative language, profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. This in turn distorted our mandate to “have dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflictual (cf. Gen 3:17-19).  The pope in this encyclical is calling all people of whatever religion or no religion at all to recover the great harmony that God first planned for His creation."

"A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshiping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality."

Pope Francis also speaks of the indigenous peoples of the world, such as our Native Americans who played such an important role in America’s understanding of the First Thanksgiving. Pope Francis writes: "For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best."

The first Thanksgiving story that most of us know and love is actually a wonderful story of restoration between God, humans and our mother earth and the indigenous people of our land, the native Americans or Indians play an extremely important role and help us to see how we can recover the interplay between God, human beings and the earth and all on it. They show us how to welcome the stranger, the immigrant and to care for them.

We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving very well. Even though the pilgrims and Native Americans could have complained about the disharmony that they experienced in life, such as the imposition of this unknown immigrants to the lands of the indigenous people of America, theirs is a story not of complaining but of thanking God. They know they are not God only God is.

The pilgrims were not in good condition.  During the harsh winter, nearly half their number died of exposure or other diseases.  They were in a desperate situation.  Out of their pain and suffering, help came to them in the form of the Indians, the authentic Native Americans, who observed their dire circumstances and rather than being repulsed or fearing of them, they assisted them in their need and thus act as a model of true Americanism for us today as so many want to escape the slavery of poverty, violence, terror and war in their own countries.   

Two Native Americans, in particular, Squanto and Samoset stayed with the Pilgrims for a few months to teach them how to survive in their new place.  They brought deer meat and beaver skins.  They taught them how to cultivate corn and other new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses.  He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicine.  They explained how to dig for and cook clams, how to get sap form the maple trees, use fish for fertilizer and dozens of other skills needed for their survival.  By the time the fall arrived, things were going better for the pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. They had food, lodging and their health had improved.  Born of suffering, they planned to give thanks to God for the blessings they had received with a sumptuous feast. The Pilgrims and Indians had a feast of Thanksgiving that lasted three days.  Their uncomplaining heart enabled them to give thanks despite the hardships they had endured. Together in sacred meals they experienced the restoration of fellowship, health and harmony between them, God and creation. The ability to give thanks is an act of faith in Almighty God and His power to save us.

Our history as Jews, Catholics and Protestants is a mixed history of good and evil. We have not often treated each other well. We have not welcomed all immigrants with open arms or cared for them as we should. We have shown contempt for one another and have beaten, bruised, injured and killed all in the name of God. Like what is going on in the  world today in this regard, we too failed our God and our religion when we used our religion and in the name of God to harm others and even to massacre. In doing so we betrayed our God, we betrayed one another and we betrayed the good earth that sustains all life. We acted like we are God. We are not GOD!

And thus in continuity with the Native Americans and the immigrants to this great land, the pilgrims, we celebrate tonight our own vision of acknowledging God as God and our reliance upon Him and His mercy and the great fellowship He inspires between people of diverse differences. We try to respect the land God has given us to cultivate for our needs and not abuse it and one another.

Yes, for Catholics our time together tonight is reminiscent of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eternal Banquet of Heaven which the Mass is a sign. For Methodists, our time together emphasizes the centrality of fellowship in worshiping God and being united in love with one another.

And for Jews, Thanksgiving is a reminder of the exodus from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land and the experiences in the desert and the manna from heaven which sustained them. 

In a few moments, after our great prayer of Thanksgiving, we will have a reception. It won’t be turkey and all the fixings and in this Methodist Church I lament there won’t be any wine or beer, but there will be food and drink, not quite like what the Indians and Pilgrims had that first Thanksgiving, but our fellowship and breaking bread will be very much in the same spirit.

Thanks be to God and His powerful grace that we are able to do this together! Happy Thanksgiving!