On Tuesday, September 29, the Church celebrates with great solemnity the dedication of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel on Monte Sant’Angelo in Apulia in southern Italy. The building of this church goes back to a miracle in the 5th century, in which St. Michael revealed that Monte Gargano was under his special protection and that he wished a church to be built there in his honor and in honor of all the holy angels. The local bishop piously complied, and the dedication of the construction of the basilica became a great feast in the Roman Church. We rejoice today with the holy angels!
The feast of St. Michael’s church today is a celebration of the whole structure of reality, in which God governs His creation through the ministry of the celestial beings, the angels. We know from Sacred Scripture, expounded especially by St. Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Gregory the Great, that there exist nine choirs of spiritual beings, divided into three hierarchies. These beings, called “angels” after the lowest of the choirs, are marvelous spiritual creatures, intellectual beings of great power and majesty. They are far greater than us in the order of nature and yet they remain creatures all the same, subject like us to the Sovereign Majesty of God.
For the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14, 2015), and the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (Sept. 17, 2015) this year the faithful at the Institute apostolate of St. Margaret Mary’s was blessed to have venerated the relics of the True Cross after the Low Mass was celebrated by Canon Meney. We currently have possession of this very important relic which we were pleased to have loaned to the apostolate on those two days. Click on the photo for the photo gallery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Click on the photo for the photo gallery of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated last September 8, 2015, at the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest’s apostolate at St. Margaret Mary’s (Oakland, CA).
On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week, the Church commemorates the “Ember Days” of autumn, which are held traditionally each year after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Ember Days, called “The Four Times” in Latin, are ancient liturgical commemorations of the changing of the seasons. They are penitential days, in which the Christian does extra penance like fasting and abstaining from meat. On the Ember Days, we are invited to enter more deeply into the mystery of Jesus’s Cross (September 14), following beautifully the example of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15) and St. Francis of Assisi in his Stigmata (September 17).
Ember Days are a wonderful synecdoche of the Church’s nuanced relationship to creation. On the one hand, these celebrations affirm deeply the goodness of creation. The presence of these celebrations of the changing seasons in the Roman Liturgy from ancient times witnesses to the deep connection of the Christian soul to the cosmos and the marvels of nature. Together with the direction of liturgical prayer “ad orientem,” facing the rising sun, the Church’s Ember Days tell us that nature is good and is part of our connection to God’s Uncreated Goodness. These practices of our worship teach us that Jesus is Lord of all creation.
We are pleased to share with you some photos taken from the Low Mass of the Feast of Pope St. Pius X last September 3, 2015, at St. Edward’s Church, Newark, CA, celebrated by Canon Olivier Meney (Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest). The Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form continues to be celebrated here every Thursdays, 5:30pm.
On it’s 25th anniversary, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest apostolate parish of St. Margaret Mary’s (Oakland, CA), celebrated this special event with a Requiem Low Mass followed by the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, last September 1, 2015. Canon Meney cited two reasons in choosing a requiem mass: First, as thanksgiving to the numerous clergy (specially deceased cardinals, bishops, priests) and faithful who have helped the Institute throughout the years, despite being marginalized by some of their confreres prior to the release of the Motu Propio “Summorum Pontificum” by the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Secondly, the gospel chosen for the mass of the dead fittingly summarizes what the Institute is about: all dedicated to the liturgy; and to the Holy Eucharist: “If you do not eat his flesh and drink his blood, you will not have life everlasting”. Click on the photo above for the photo gallery of this requiem low mass.
On Monday, we celebrate the great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and, on Tuesday, the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These feasts form the heart of our September devotion. In this month, we raise our eyes in faith and love to Christ Crucified and worship Him and His Holy Cross, singing with the Church, adoring the Cross: “Dear Cross, best hope o’er all beside,/That cheers the solemn passion-tide:/Give to the just increase of grace,/Give to each contrite sinner peace.” We beg His Holy Mother, whose name is holy, to pray for us that we may suffer with Him as she did.
There is a profound intimacy between Jesus Christ and His Holy Cross and between the Holy Cross and the Blessed Mother. It is said that Our Lady would spend most of her time while in Jerusalem tracing the path of the Via Crucis and re-living the Passion in her Sorrowful Heart, wounded by our sins. We learn from her to meditate often on the Passion of Jesus. We also learn from her to worship the Holy Cross.