Today we explore some of the early Church Fathers sayings about the Eucharist. Many of our mainline Protestant brothers and sisters, who know their history, will agree who these early Church Fathers were. Catholic brothers and sisters, though not a Holy Day of Obligation, Holy Thursday has rich and historical significance for each of us: for before departing the Upper Room to begin his Passion, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, giving thanks to his Father, and commanding his Apostles to love one another, as He has loved them (cf Jn 13:34); and he commanded them, "Do this in memory of me" (Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; 1 Cor 10:16; Jn 6:53-57, 1 Cor 11:23-30). For more on this great Mystery of Faith, from the Church Fathers in their own words, please click on the image. Peace be with you!
In 1580, the Jesuit mission to England began. His mission was to strengthen Catholics wavering under government pressure and win converts among the Protestants. He was eventually hunted down and was sentenced to death as a traitor. During his trial he answered: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.” After spending his last days in prayer he was led with two companions to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quartered on December 1, 1581, aged 41. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Six years ago today, Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was assassinated at the foot of the altar as he was celebrating Mass with his parishioners. On the morning of July 26, 2016, two 19-year old Islamic State radicals stormed Father Hamel's church. Just before having his throat cut, witnesses recount Father Hamel told one of his assailants, "Be gone, Satan!" Minutes later the 85-year old Catholic priest whose throat was slit before the altar died at the scene. For more about this Catholic priest, martyr for the Faith, please click on the image. Peace be with you!
On this Father's Day we explore the Catholic understanding of the Priesthood, where priests are called father. Catholics defend that this title is scriptural and consistent with a biblical understanding of Christianity. That view, however, is a source of confusion for some men and women of goodwill, especially for many of our Evangelical Protestant brothers and sisters. If pressed about the point even well-intentioned Catholics, lacking a clear understanding of the biblical evidence, have a hard time explaining why we call our parish priest by such a name. In fact, Jesus’ words are quite clear, as found in Matthew’s Gospel account, when he says, "Call no one on earth your father ..." (Mt 23:9). So why is it that the Catholic Church has continued the practice, highlighting by name and title, that priests are appropriately called father? The reason may surprise; and a deeper exploration of Holy Scripture reveals the answer to make one thing clear: It’s scriptural and is deeply rooted in biblical religion. For more about this post and the Catholic understanding of the priesthood as "fathers" please click on the image. Happy Father's Day. Peace be with you!
[More than three quarters of a Century] after the Allied invasion of Normandy, we remember and honor those who served during the largest seaborne invasion in history. On that one day, over 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded or declared missing in action. In the course of the Normandy campaign, which lasted through August 21, 1944, Allied forces landed more than two million men in northern France and suffered more than 226,000 casualties. Chaplains and Catholic priests played an important role in providing essential spiritual and psychological guidance during the days and weeks that followed. Unarmed, they courageously put themselves on the front lines to say Mass, offer pastoral care for active and wounded soldiers, and provide last rites for the dying and prayers for those killed. (Excerpt from "D-Day, 74 years later: Remembering the heroic chaplains and priests of Normandy," by Katherine Ruddy, Aleteia). For images and more about these heroic military chaplains and priests, please click on the image. Peace be with you!