Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost: Veni Sancte Spiritus

Today is Pentecost Sunday -- the novena from the Ascension is now complete, and we are Fifty Days from Easter Sunday!

File:Jean II Restout - Pentecôte.jpg
Pentecost (1732AD), by Jean Restout (+1768AD)

We read in Sacred Scripture, Acts Chapter 2, about this day:
 And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

This Feast, also known as Whitsunday, is rich with meaning and custom, and some more details may be found here:
Fisheaters: Pentecost

For more information: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Pentecost

On this day, a plenary indulgence can be received for the recitation of the Veni, Creator Spiritus in either a church or oratory:

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
Preces Veni Creator

Nota bene: "§ 1. Plenaria indulgentia conceditur christifideli qui, in ecclesia vel oratorio, devote interfuerit sollemni cantui vel recitationi: 

1° hymni Veni, Creator, vel prima anni die ad divinam opem pro totius anni decursu implorandam; vel in sollemnitate Pentecostes;"

Cf., Enchiridion indulgentiarum

The original location of this event -- the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Our Lady -- is the Cenacle on Mount Zion.  It sits just outside the walls of Jerusalem to the south, and was the same location as the Last Supper.

You can read more about the modern site here:
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum: Cenacle.

Today also happens to be the patronal feast of the school of this blogger:
Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta, Georgia

Finally, enjoy the chant of the Sequence of Pentecost, Veni Sancte Spiritus:

I leave you with a couple thoughts on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and a link to the question of St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae on these great Gifts: STh, I-II, question 68

The Gifts are remarkable and deserve to be better know!  The Catechism notes that,
"1830 The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations."
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Virtues and Gifts

Veni Sancte Spiritus!  Come Holy Spirit!

Happy Pentecost!

Live Well!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Feast of St. Peter Celestine

St. Celestine V (1294)

Today, 19 May, is the feast day of Pope St. Celestine V -- listed in many missals as St. Peter Celestine.  He is famous as one of the few popes prior to Pope Benedict XVI to have abdicated.

His in 1294AD was the previous resignation case before Pope Gregory XII in the 15th century, and is, perhaps, more similar to that of 2013 than Gregory XII.

The death of Nicholas IV (1288-1292), a Franciscan and patron of the arts, led to a very long conclave (the earlier strict rules of conclave had been suspended, so the cardinals could come and go).  Nicholas IV having died in 1292, the conclave to elect his successor only included 12 cardinals, of which 8 were required for the required majority.  The rival Orsini and Colonna families each controlled 3, France had 2, and there were 4 “independent” Italians, including Cardinal Gaetani, the future Boniface VIII.  The deadlocked cardinals finally selected Peter of Moroni, a hermit and certainly politically non-aligned, in 1294.  He took the name Celestine V.  Unfortunately, he would be under the domination of King Charles II (1285-1309) in Naples throughout his short pontificate and would be taken advantage of by unscrupulous types.

"The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the pope and to his discontented cardinals,... whom he rarely consulted. That the idea originated with Cardinal Gaetani the latter vigorously denied, and maintained that he originally opposed it. But the serious canonical doubt arose: Can a pope resign? As he has no superior on earth, who is authorized to accept his resignation? The solution of the question was reserved to the trained canonist, Cardinal Gaetani, who, basing his conclusion on common sense and the Church's right to self-preservation, decided affirmatively." Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Celestine V

The man who convinced the otherworldly pontiff to resign, Boniface VIII (1294-1303), became pope, then, in 1294.  He is famous for being put in Hell by Dante (some think St. Celestine V, too, is there, as being the "one who made the great refusal."), his disputes with the kings of his day, and for his hard-hitting papal bull, Unam Sanctam of 1302: Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

You might also check this site for information on Pope St. Celestine V and Benedict XVI's recent visit to his tomb: Benedict XVI honors St. Celestine V

As always, for a short summary of his life, you might note:
Catholic Saints Info: St. Celestine V

Live well.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Feast of King Saint Eric of Sweden

Today is the feast day of King St. Eric IX of Sweden (+1161AD), martyr and patron of Sweden.

St. Eric was known as a just and noble ruler of the Kingdom of Sweden, who was responsible for the establishment of a code of laws -- King Eric's Law.  For this he is sometimes known as "the Lawgiver."  He also defeated the his realm against the attacks of the pagan Finns.

As far as religion was concerned, he worked with St. Henry, Bishop of Uppsala, and of English origin, and built the first great church of Sweden at Uppsala.

Nevertheless, pagan opposition to his support of the Church finally led, on 18 May 1161, to his marytrdom at the hands of noble opposition as he was leaving Mass.  It is said that his reply, when told during Mass of the coming of the conspirators, was: "Let us at least finish the sacrifice; the rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere."

The claim is made that this martyrdom occurred either in 1160 or 1161, and on either the day after the Ascension (which is today in 2012AD), or the actual day of Ascension itself, though these claims don't seem to fit with the date of the Ascension in those years.  What is agreed by all is that he died on 18 May.

Here is his brief page at the Patron Saint index:
Catholic Saints Info: St. Eric of Sweden

He is buried in the Cathedral at Uppsala, Sweden, north of Stockholm, the modern capital city.

The casket of St. Eric at Uppsala -- Sanctus Ericus Rex et Martyr

Last year, the tomb of St. Eric was opened, as this article describes:
The Scientists to open the Tomb of St. Eric

The Catholic Cathedral of Stockholm bears the name of St. Eric:
Official website of the Cathedral (Swedish Language)

Live well!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ascension Thursday

Ascension of Christ by Garofalo (1520AD)

Today marks forty days from the great feast of Easter Sunday!

Forty days after the Resurrection of Our Divine Lord, He Ascended into Heaven, we read in the Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11:

The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. 

They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem...

For more details and customs associated with this great and high feast of Ascension Thursday, you can't do much better than this site:
Fisheaters: Ascension

Always worth a read, too, is the Old Catholic Encyclopedia:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Ascension

Of course, the site of this event is the great Mount of Olives just across the valley from the old city of Jerusalem.  Most specifically, the Chapel of the Ascension: Chapel of the Ascension, Jerusalem

In most of the United States, the obligation and observation of this great feast is transferred to the following Sunday -- except those in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston (MA, ME, NH, VT), Hartford (CT, RI), New York City (NY), Newark (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), and Omaha (NE).  Sadly, in my own Atlanta Province (GA, SC, NC), Ascension Thursday will come on Sunday.

Still, happy Feast!  Live well!

Feast of St. Antoninus of Florence

Today is the traditional feast day of the great 15th century Archbishop of Florence and Dominican, St. Antoninus of Florence (+1459).  This too-little-known saint is buried in the convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy.  This blogger's family has a particular devotion to St. Antoninus...

St. Antoninus of Florence, OP.  Archbishop of Florence (1446-1459AD)

His details, in brief, are to be found here: Catholic Saints Info: St. Antoninus of Florence

Here is a link to the Dominican Convent of San Marco in Florence, where St. Antoninus is buried:Museo di San Marco, Firenze

Here is a short biography of the great saint from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, with link to follow:

"Saint Antoninus Archbishop of Florence, born at Florence, 1 March, 1389; died 2 May, 1459; known also by his baptismal name Antoninus (Anthony), which is found in his autographs, in some manuscripts, in printed editions of his works, and in the Bull of canonization, but which has been finally rejected for the diminutive form given him by his affectionate fellow-citizens. His parents, Niccolò and Thomasina Pierozzi, were in high standing, Niccolò beinga notary of the Florentine Republic. At the age of fifteen (1404) Antoninus applied to Blessed John Dominic, the great Italian religious reformer of the period, then at the Convent of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, for admission to the Dominican Order. It was not until a year later that he was accepted, and he was the first to receive the habit for the Convent of Fiesole about to be constructed by Blessed John Dominic. With Fra Angelico and Fra Bartolommeo, the one to become famous as a painter, the other as a miniaturist, he was sent to Cortona to make his novitiate under Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta. Upon the completion of his year in the novitiate, he returned to Fiesole, where he remained until 1409, when with his brethren, all faithful adherents of Pope Gregory XII, he was constrained by the Florentines, who had refused obedience, to take shelter in the Convent of Foligno. A few years later he began his career as a zealous promoter of the reforms inaugurated by Blessed John Dominic. In 1414 he was vicar of the convent of Foligno, then in turn sub-prior and prior of the convent of Cortona, and later prior of the convents of Rome (Minerva), Naples (Saint Peter Martyr), Gaeta, Sienna,and Fiesole (several times). From 1433 to 1446 he was vicar of the Tuscan Congregation formed by Blessed John Dominic of convents embracing a more rigorous discipline. During this period he established (1436) the famous convent of Saint Mark in Florence, where he formed a remarkable community from the brethren of the convent of Fiesole. It was at this time also that he built with the munificent aid of Cosimo de' Medici, the adjoining church, at the consecration of which Pope Eugene IV assisted (Epiphany, 1441). As a theologian he took part in the Council of Florence (1439) and gave hospitality in Saint Mark's to the Dominican theologians called to the council by Eugene IV.

Despite all the efforts of Saint Antoninus to escape ecclesiastical dignities, he was forced by Eugene IV, who had personal knowledge of his saintly character and administrative ability, to accept the Archbishopric of Florence. He was consecrated in the convent of Fiesole, 13 March, 1446, and immediately took possession of the see over which he ruled until his death. As he had laboured in the past for the upbuilding of the religious life throughout his Order, so he henceforth laboured for it in his diocese, devoting himself to the visitation of parishes and religious communities, the remedy ofabuses, the strengthening of discipline, the preaching of the Gospel, the amelioration of the condition of the poor, and the writing of books for clergy and laity. These labours were interrupted several times that he might act as ambassador for the Florentine Republic. Ill health prevented him from taking part in an embassy to the emperor in 1451, but in 1455 and again in 1458 he was at the head of embassies sent by the government to the Supreme Pontiff. He was called by Eugene IV to assist him in his dying hours. He was frequently consulted by Nicholas V on questions of Church and State, and was charged by Pius II to undertake, with several cardinals, the reform of the Roman Court. When his death occurred, 2 May, 1459, Pius II gave instructions for the funeral, and presided at it eight days later. He was canonized by Adrian VI, 31 May, 1523.

The literary productions of Saint Antoninus, while giving evidence of the eminently practical turn of his mind, show that he was a profound student of history and theology. His principal work is the Summa Theologica Moralis, partibus IV distincta, written shortly before his death, which marked a new and very considerable development in moral theology. It also contains a fund of matter for the student of the history of the fifteenth century. Sowell developed are its juridical elements that it has been published under the title of Juris Pontificii et Caesarei Summa. An attempt was lately made by Crohns (Die Summa theologica des Antonin von Florenz und die Schätzung des Weibes im Hexenhammer, Helsingfors, 1903) to trace the fundamentals principles of misogony, so manifest in the Witchammer of the German Inquisitors, to this work of Antoninus. But Paulus (Die Verachtung der Frau beim hl. Antonin, in Historisch-Politische Blätter, 1904, pp. 812-830) has shown more clearly than several others, especially the Italian writers, that this hypothesis is untenable, because based on a reading of only a part of the Summa of Antoninus. Within fifty years after the first appearance of the work (Venice, 1477), fifteen editions were printed at Venice, Spires, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Lyons, and Basle. Other editions appeared in the following century. In 1740 it was published at Verona in 4 folio volumes edited by P. Ballerini; and in 1841, at Florence by Mamachi and Remedelli, O.P.

Of considerable importance are the manuals for confessors and penitents containing abridgments, reproductions, and translations from the Summa and frequently published in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries under the name of Saint Antoninus. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to show that he was not the author of the Italian editions. At the most it should be granted that he committed to others the task of editing one or two. The various editions and titles of the manuals have caused confusion, and made it appear that there were more than four distinct works. A careful distinction and classification is given by Mandonnet in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. Of value as throwing light upon the home life of his time are his treatises on Christian life written for women of the Medici family and first published in the last century under the titles: (1) Opera a ben vivere...Con altri ammaestramenti, edited by Father Palermo, one volume (Florence, 1858) (2) Regola di vita cristiana, one volume (Florence, 1866). His letters (Lettere) were collected and edited, some for the first time by Tommaso Corsetto, O.P., and published in one volume, at Florence, 1859.

Under the title, "Chronicon partibus tribus distincta ab initio mundi ad MCCCLX" (published also under the titles "Chronicorum opus" and "Historiarum opus"), he wrote a general history of the world with the purpose of presenting to his readers a view of the workings of divine providence. While he did not give way to his imagination or colour facts, he often fell into the error, so common among the chroniclers of his period, of accepting much that should historical criticism has since rejected as untrue or doubtful. But this can be said only of those parts in which he treated of early history. When writing of the events and politics of his own age he exercised a judgment that has been of the greatest value to later historians. The history was published at Venice, 1474-1479, in four volumes of his "Opera Omnia" (Venice, 1480; Nuremberg, 1484; Basle, 1491; Lyons, 1517, 1527, 1585, 1586,1587). A work on preaching (De arte et vero modo praedicandi) ran through four editions at the close of the fifteenth century. The volume of sermons (Opus quadragesimalium et de sanctis sermonum, sive flos florum) is the work of another, although published under the name of Saint Antoninus."

Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907; A L McMahaon; Unedited chronicles of the convents of Saint Mark, Florence and Saint Dominic, Fiesole: Quétif and Echard, SS. Ord. Praed.; Touron, Histoire des hommes illustres de l'ordre de San Dominique; Maccarani, Vita di San Antonino (Florence, 1708); Bartoli, Istoria dell' arcivescovo San Antonino e de suoi più illustri discepoli (Florence, 1782); Moro, Di San Antonino in relazione alla riforma cattolica nel sec. XV (Florence, 1899); Schaube, Die Quellen der Weltchronik des heiligen Antoninus (Hirschberg, 1880)

Live well.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor and Virgin

St. Catherine of Siena, by Giovanni di Paolo, c. 1475AD.

Today is the traditional feast of St. Catherine of Siena; her feast being celebrated yesterday on the revised calendar.

St. Catherine of Siena (+1380), a Dominican Tertiary and Doctor of the Church, is certainly one of the greatest lady saints of the history of the Church.  She, who led a tremendous life of penance, was the individual that prevailed upon the Pope of her day, Gregory XI, to return the papacy to Rome from Avignon.  She actually received the stigmata, but, at her own urgent pleading, it was not outwardly visible.  She is a co-patroness of both Italy and of Europe.  Her feast traditionally falls on this day, 30 April, but was moved to the previous day, 29 April, in the revised calendar.

For more on St. Catherine, you should note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Catherine of Siena

Catholic Saints Info: St. Catherine of Siena

File:Catherine of Siena.jpg
A 19th century image of St. Catherine of Siena.

Today, the relics of St. Catherine are housed in the Roman Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, while her head is in the Church of San Dominico in her home city of Siena in Tuscany.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.  St. Catherine of Siena is buried in the high altar.

Here is the website of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome: Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

File:San Domenico Siena Apr 2008 (20) detail.JPG
Basilica of San Domenico in Siena.  St. Catherine's head is housed here.

This is the site of the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena: Official Site of the Basilica of San Domenico

As a side note, this blogger was received into the Roman Catholic Church at a parish with the title of St. Catherine of Siena.

Live well!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Surrender at Bennett Place & Confederate Memorial Day

Bennett Place, Durham, NC.

On this day, 26 April, in the year of Our Lord 1865, the Confederate forces of CS General Joseph Johnston surrendered to US Major General William T. Sherman at Bennett Place, Durham, North Carolina.  This day had, for over a century, been marked as Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia, as it marked the end of hostilities in that state.

Left: CS Gen. Joseph Johnston; Right: US Gen. William Sherman

This momentous surrender marked the definitive end of the Confederate Army of Tennessee and formally ended the resistance of Southern troops in the the State of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  It came a couple of weeks after the surrender of CS General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on 9 April 1865.  The Army of the Tennessee was the primary Confederate field army in the Western Theatre; its surrender, with that of the Army of Northern Virginia, meant that the two chief field armies of the South were defeated.

Joseph Johnston had accepted terms -- the second offered by Sherman, as his first offer had actually been rejected by Washington, DC as too generous -- that resembled those given to Lee by Grant.

This surrender would be the largest of any of Confederate forces, as nearly 90,000 men laid down their arms, not just at Durham with the Army of Tennessee itself (that was about 30,000 of the total), but all Southern forces in Johnston's Department (NC, SC, GA, FL).

For more on Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina, you should note:
Bennett Place Historic Site office webpage

Historical Marker Database: Bennett Place

Civil War Daily Gazette: 26 April 1865

Confederate Rebel Flag.svg
Battle Flag of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  That of the Army of Northern Virginia had the same pattern, but a square, rather than rectangular, shape.

So ended the history and campaigns of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, famous for its actions at Murfreesboro (Stone's River), Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and the Atlanta campaign, among others.

For more, you might note: Civil War Home: Confederate Army of Tennessee

So, too, was the American Civil War, and the cause of Southern Independence, near its end.

Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg First National flag of the Confederate States of America
Above: State flag of Georgia; Below: First National Flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars."


This anniversary has long been associated with a commemoration recalling those deceased that served the cause of their states and the Confederate States of America.  Indeed, the practice of remembering the Southern fallen ultimately helped contribute to our wider observance of a Memorial Day.

Thousands of Georgia citizens served their own state and the short-lived Confederacy with diligence and honor, even if they had initially opposed the motion to secede.  Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens of Georgia was once such opponent of secession that remained loyal to his own state and eventually held that high office of the South.

These men fought to oppose an invasion, and uphold a belief well expressed by Confederate General, and later Governor of Georgia, John B. Gordon:
"The South maintained with the depth of religious conviction that the Union formed under the Constitution was a Union of consent and not of force; that the original States were not the creatures but the creators of the Union; that these States had gained their independence, their freedom, and their sovereignty from the mother country, and had not surrendered these on entering the Union; that by the express terms of the Constitution all rights and powers not delegated were reserved to the States; and the South challenged the North to find one trace of authority in that Constitution for invading and coercing a sovereign State."
cf., General Gordon's Reminiscences

Men like this blogger's great-great grandfather, Thomas J. Cole, who hadn't even worn shoes prior to his service, gave limbs (my ancestor, a solider of the 3rd Georgia Reserve, lost a leg) and lives when their home state called.  In his case, he was a lad of just 16 years old that, with his father, served honorably.

The merits of secession as it occurred can certainly be debated.  The respective attitudes and actions of the Cotton States (seceding before Lincoln was inaugurated) and the Tobacco States (seceding only after Lincoln demanded they contribute troops to invade the Deep South -- Virginia having earlier voted against secession) certainly present two different paths to an attempted separation from the United States.  All of these states sought, in part, to defend legal slavery as it had been protected under the United States Constitution, and all of these states sought to depart the Union through elected conventions and in an orderly and legal fashion.

It was the decision of an American President to coerce member states to remain a part of the United States that inaugurated Civil War.  The citizens of Georgia, having voted in convention to secede from the United States, sought to defend their home from the invasion that followed.  They ultimately failed.  A free union preserved through coercion, it would be, and at the cost of 600,000 lives.

Today, however, we recall, in gratitude, the sacrifices of those that responded to their state's call, even if we can not accept the failings of the cause to which they gave so much.

Let us pray for their peaceful repose.

Last Monday, 23 April, was a "state holiday" in the State of Georgia, and was formerly labelled as Confederate Memorial Day.  While the official name may have been expunged owing to contemporary sensibilities, "A holy and wholesome thought it is to pray for the dead, for their guilt’s undoing." (2 Mac. 12:46)

Deo vindice.

Live well.