APOSTLE PRIESTS

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APOSTLE PRIESTS

The priest! Have you ever considered the difficulty of conceiving what is a priest? Have you ever explained to yourself, not how there have always been priests, and how there is still so great a number, but how there is even one? He who can meditate upon the priest, and not be struck by his existence, I pity that man! What, then, is a priest? Is he a man who promotes morality —an officer of morality, as the 18th century said? But, external to Christianity, where is the morality of the priest? What was the morality of the pontiffs of Greece and Rome? The priest, is he a philosopher? But philosophy combats the priest. Is he a public functionary of any kind? But if all the sovereigns of Europe and of the world combined to make a priest, they would only end by bringing on a man ridicule and disgrace…. The priest, the man who exists neither by morality, nor by philosophy, nor by the state, nor by the world! The man impossible to create, and who, nevertheless, exists always and everywhere! What is he, in fine? The priest is a man anointed by tradition to shed blood, not as the soldier, through courage, not as the magistrate, through justice, but as Jesus Christ, through love. The priest is a man of sacrifice; by it, each day, reconciling heaven and earth, and by it, each day, announcing to every soul the primordial truths of life, of death, and of resurrection.

-Fr. Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, O.P.

Portrait: Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade, S.M.(Périgueux, 8 April 1761 – Bordeaux, 22 January 1850)

Pope Gregory X

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Pope Gregory X

Born 1210; died 10 January, 1276. The death of Pope Clement IV (29 November, 1268) left the Holy See vacant for almost three years. The cardinals assembled at Viterbo were divided into two camps, the one French and the other Italian. Neither of these parties could poll the two-thirds majority vote, nor was either willing to give way to the other for the election of a candidate to the papacy. In the summer of 1270 the head and burgesses of the town of Viterbo, hoping to force a vote, resorted to the expedient of confining the cardinals within the episcopal palace, where even their daily allowance of food was later on curtailed. A compromise was finally arrived at through the combined efforts of the French and Sicilian kings. The Sacred College, which then consisted of fifteen cardinals, designated six of their body to agree upon and cast a final vote in the matter. These six delegates met, and on 1 September, 1271, united their ballots in choice of Teobaldo Visconti, archdeacon of Liège, who, however, was not a cardinal himself nor even a priest. The new pontiff was a native of Piacenza and had been at one time in the service of Cardinal Jacopo of Palestrina, had become archdeacon of Liège, and accompanied Cardinal Ottoboni on his mission to England, and at the time of his election happened to be in Ptolemais (Acre), with Prince Edward of England, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Receiving a summons from the cardinals to return immediately, he began his homeward journey on 19 November, 1271, and arrived at Viterbo on 12 February, 1272. He declared his acceptance of the dignity and took the name of Gregory X. On 13 March he made his entry into Rome, where on the nineteenth of the same month he was ordained to the priesthood. His consecration as pope took place on 27 March. He plunged at once with all his energies into the task of solving the weighty problems which then required his attention: the restoration of peace between Christian nations and princes, the settlement of affairs in the German empire, the amendment of the mode of life among clergy and people, the union of the Greek Church with Rome, the deliverance of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. As early as the fourth day after his coronation he summoned a general council, which was to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274 (see COUNCILS OF LYONS). In Italy the pope sought to make peace between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, whose factional war raged chiefly in Tuscany and Lombardy. Against the city of Florence, the burgesses of which resisted these efforts to bring about a reconciliation, he issued a decree of excommunication.
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INSTRUCTIONS FOR SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

In the Introit of this day’s Mass, the Church brings before us one who seeks to be loosed from his sins, and calls on God for help and assistance. Arise, why sleepest thou , O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end: why turnest thou thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? Our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. O God, we have heard with our ears; our Fathers have declared to us. (Ps. XLIII. 23. 25.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
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Sexagesima Sunday

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Sexagesima Sunday

This Sunday’s title refers to the time until Easter – but the liturgy repeats the term in relation to how much we should increase faith.

Seated on the side of a boat, our Lord preached on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and the seed which He scattered fell into hearts more or less favourably disposed to receive it. St. Matthew (XIII, 18) and St. Mark (IV, 13) tell us that, so to speak, three of the resulting crops failed in different ways according as the good seed fell on ground which was rocky (hearts hardened by pride), barren (dried up by self-interest), or full of thorns (where sins of sensuality flourish); while three produced excellent results, the word of God in the good ground bringing forth fruit thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. Furthermore, the Church reminds us of the name of this Sunday, Sexagesima, for among the names which she uses, she lingers over this one: “Some seed fell upon good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, sexagesimum.”

Here is a plan for us to follow. In our spiritual life, let us at least produce sixty-fold, that is, receiving the word of God in a good and perfect heart, let us cause it to bear fruit by our patience so that He, who spent His life scattering His holy teaching among souls, sparso verbi semine (Pange Lingua) and who carries on the same work by his apostles and His Church, may bestow upon us the reward promised to those who persevere in the generous practice of their faith.

It was through the Word that God made the world in the beginning (last Gospel), and it is by the preaching of His Gospel that our Lord came to bring men to a new birth. “Being born again,” says St. Peter, “not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and reigneth forever” (I Peter I, 23).

Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.

Saint Conrad of Piacenza

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Saint Conrad of Piacenza

Hermit
(† 1351)

Saint Conrad was living peacefully as a nobleman of Piacenza. He had married when quite young and led a virtuous and God-fearing life. One day, when engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood where game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated was accused of being the author; he was imprisoned, tried and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, declared the man innocent and confessed his own guilt openly. In order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, as he then volunteered to do, he was obliged to sell all his possessions. He repaid his neighbors for all the losses they had suffered, then retired to a distant region where he took the Third Order habit of Saint Francis, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.

After visiting the holy places in Rome, he went to Sicily and dwelt for forty years in strict penance, sleeping on the bare ground with a stone for pillow, and with dry bread and raw herbs for food. God rewarded his great virtue by the gift of prophecy and the grace of miracles. He died while praying on his knees in 1351, surrounded by a bright light, in the presence of his confessor, who was unaware for some time of his death because of his position. He is invoked especially for the cure of hernias.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).