March 6, 2023 Column Father De Celles

Thursday Lenten Holy Hour. Every Thursday evening during Lent at 6:30, we will have a Holy Hour which will begin our All Night Adoration. The Holy Hour starts with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and then before the Blessed Sacrament we’ll pray the Rosary (incorporating our on-going “Family Rosary”), followed by the reading of the Gospel of the day (from Mass), a short sermon, private silent prayer and then close with Benediction.

     At the end of the Thursday evening Holy Hours, we will not repose the Blessed Sacrament (i.e., put Our Lord back in the tabernacle), but continue Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, continuously throughout the night until 6:50pm on Friday, just before 7pm Stations of the Cross.

     I’m hoping you will take advantage of this as a great opportunity for Lenten penance and prayer. Sign up if you can on our website (see the pop-up menu).

     My thinking is this: 2000 years ago the Passion of our Lord lasted from the Agony in the Garden on Holy Thursday evening through His death on the Cross on Good Friday. So I encourage all of you to take at least one hour during Lent, if not every week, to spend with our Lord during this Exposition. I think it

could change your life.

Stations of the Cross. Another excellent form of prayer during Lent is the Stations of the Cross (or Via Dolorosa, Via Crucis, Way of Sorrows, Way of the Cross), which can be prayed at home, but is most beneficially prayed in a place where “Stations” are physically erected, as they are in our church, and also along the perimeter of the woods behind our church.

     Historically, this devotion goes back to the earliest days of the Church: tradition tells us that the Blessed Mother used to visit the places of her Son’s Passion every day. By the beginning of the 4th century the route from Pilate’s praetorium up the hill to Calvary was well worn and marked with the key stations of his suffering, and pilgrims came from all over the nascent Christian world to walk the “Via.” By at least the 5th century the devotion spread outside of the Holy Land, as monasteries, chapels and churches erected their own set of Stations. The devotion particularly expanded in popular piety through the work of the Franciscans, and some say St. Francis of Assisi himself, beginning in the 13th century. The erection of Stations of the Cross in churches became widespread in the 18th century.

     Today, virtually every Catholic church has a version of the fourteen Stations. And while the devotion may be fruitfully practiced throughout the year, it is particularly fitting to Lent. So please, consider praying the Stations, especially in the church, either by yourself or with your family, and/or joining other parishioners on Friday evenings in Lent at 7pm.

     There are many different booklets available to guide you in praying the Stations. The one we use here on Friday evenings is found in a small violet covered paperback entitled, “The Way of the Cross: According to the Method of St. Alphonsus Liguori,” which is available for purchase in our gift shop or on Amazon. Of course, copies are available for use on Friday evenings for all participants.

     It should be noted that a plenary indulgence is gained by those who make them before Stations lawfully erected (e.g., in a church), while devoutly meditating upon the passion and death of the Lord, while moving from one Station to the other (at least the leader must move during public Stations), and fulfilling the other usual requirements for a plenary indulgence (i.e., the person must 1) be free of all attachment to sin, even venial, 2) go to confession and receive Communion within several days before or after, and 3) pray for the Pope’s intentions).

FORMED.ORG. Another great tool in Lent is the website FORMED.ORG. The website, run by the Augustine Institute in Denver, describes itself, quite accurately as: “a revolutionary online platform featuring the best Catholic videos, audio talks, eBooks and movies from trusted partners like the Augustine Institute, St. Paul Center, Marian Fathers, Lighthouse Catholic Media, Ignatius Press and Word on Fire. Catechism and Personal Faith Formation are at the fingertips of every parishioner.” There’s something good for the little ones, teens, middle-aged, seniors, neophytes, cradle Catholics, well-educated, not so well educated, families, marrieds, singles, men, women—everyone. It really is great. Go to the site and see for yourself. This is FREE for St. Raymond’s parishioners who are registered with FORMED.ORG. If you have not registered, just go online to

Let’s Be Frank. Many Catholics continue to be confused and even angry about the crazy things some Bishops and Cardinals have been saying lately, especially in relation to the Synod on Synodality. Thanks be to God, some other Bishops and Cardinals, e.g., Cardinals Burke and Mueller, and others, have been steadfastly and boldly defending the Faith and challenging their brothers in the episcopate. Last week the “duro” Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois (the “other Springfield”) wrote a very frank, clear and excellent essay in First Things entitled, “Imagining a Heretical Cardinal.” Bishop Paprocki is a well-respected Canon Law scholar, and was recently elected chairman-elect of the USCCB’s Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. Here’s an excerpt of the essay in which he clearly refers to a troubling article recently published by Cardinal McElroy of San Diego:

     “Imagine if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to publish an article in which he condemned “a theology of eucharistic coherence that multiplies barriers to the grace and gift of the eucharist” and stated that “unworthiness cannot be the prism of accompaniment for disciples of the God of grace and mercy.” Or what if a cardinal of the Catholic Church were to state publicly that homosexual acts are not sinful and same-sex unions should be blessed by the Church?

     “Until recently, it would be hard to imagine any successor of the apostles making such heterodox statements. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon today to hear Catholic leaders affirm unorthodox views that, not too long ago, would have been espoused only by heretics. ….Thus, it is deeply troubling to consider the possibility that prelates holding the office of diocesan bishop in the Catholic Church may be separated or not in full communion because of heresy.

     “Yet both the cases mentioned above would in fact involve heresy, since heresy is defined as “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law)….

     “…[A] cardinal of the Catholic Church, like any other Catholic who denies settled Catholic teaching, embraces heresy, the result of which is automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church. In addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties ….such as …removing “a power, office, function, right, privilege, faculty, favor, title, or insignia, even merely honorary,” [and]  “dismissal from the clerical state.” ….However…[o]nly the pope can remove a cardinal from office….”

     You should read the whole article, available all over the internet.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles