Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fr. Benedict Groeschel visits Mater Ecclesiae

Today we had a special blessing at Mater Ecclesiae. Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. visited us and delivered the homily.

As might be expected, Fr. Groeschel brought his usual candor and wit to his delivery. In the context of today's Gospel (healing the paralytic), he discussed the advent of the historical-critical method of Biblical interpretation. He asked the congregation whether they'd ever been told in church that Jesus did not perform any miracles. When only a small number raised their hands, he said, "Oh yes you were, you were just asleep." :) Father went on to recommend Pope Benedict's new book, Jesus of Nazareth, which gets out the guns in defense of Christianity against the modernism that fuels the historical-critical method. He also mentioned a fellow named Albert Einstein, who, though a Jew, wanted nothing to do with the rationalist take on Jesus.

Fr. Benedict spoke highly of the liturgical apostolate at Mater Ecclesiae, and he also spoke hopefully about the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. He in addition pointed out that Mater Ecclesiae, having a wonderful community steeped in tradition in every way, also has a lot of responsibility. I think this statement has wide implications for all of us. Anyone who has a gift also has a responsibility.

After Mass, the procession went outside to unveil and bless the new memorial to the unborn. Our rector, Fr. Pasley, read the Gospel story of the Holy Innocents and read the De profundis. It was a moving sight to see Fr. Groeschel, sitting slightly off to the side, reciting this great Psalm from memory. I suspect that he has lived the meaning of these words, having been arrested once for protesting at an abortion mill. It is worth noting that Mater Ecclesiae has an active and strong pro-life apostolate. It is one of the ways that this parish takes part in the life of the Church at large. The blessing of this monument was timely, as only this past week an abortion clinic in nearby Atlantic City, NJ was shut down.

Finally, everyone retired to the parish hall for one of Mater Ecclesiae's signature receptions. I shall say it again: I have never been part of any other parish that has such lively fellowship after Mass. I left at 3pm, and there were signs that the party might well have continued until dinner.

Here is the Ordo Musicae for the day:

Introit: Da pacem (i, with organum)
Kyrie et Gloria: Mass VIII
Gradual: Laetatus sum (vii)
Alleluia: Timebunt gentes (i)

Credo III

Offertory: Sanctificavit Moyses altare Domino (v)
Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria (soprano solo)

Sanctus: four-voice polyphony (composer unknown)
Agnus Dei: Mass VIII

Communion: Tollite hostias (iv)
Russell Woolen: Tantum Ergo (this is a wonderful piece, btw)
Arcadelt: Ave Maria (three-voice arr.)
Victoria: O Sacrum Convivium

Recessional: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (sung mit Inbrust, as well it should be)

Postlude: Louis Vierne: Final from Symphonie Nr. 1

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