Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Here's the music to "Most Pure and Lowly Virgin" which was the processional hymn sung at the Solemn Professions (click to enlarge for a printable size version).

The words are by Fr. W. Becket Soule, O.P., set to the music of "Thaxted", an early 20th century piece by Holst. There is also a SABT setting here, and the music can be heard here as well.

The Dominicans apparently use this regularly for Solemn Vows and Ordinations; it will be appropriate to use it for our professions as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Br. Boniface Willard's solemn vows taken Saturday

I've had the pleasure to be able to attend the solemn vows of Idaho's native son Brother Boniface Willard O.P., professing with Br. Mark Francis Manzano O.P. at St. Albert Priory, Oakland, Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. better pictures were taken by his family, so I put my camera away after the entrance procession and enjoyed a tremendous sung mass (Missa de Angelis) with the priory schola, the highlight being the Ave Maria of Franz Biebl as communion hymn.

Some of our chapter will remember meeting Br. Peter Hanna, on candle at right...

...and here are Brs Boniface and Mark Francis (right and left)...

Here is Br. Boniface's mother, Kathy, with Cardinal Stafford, whom I was led to believe would be participating in the vows, but apparently is here for graduation at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.

and ordinations are next weekend... sigh. frontier living does have its price. but after a flat, I thought briefly about trading in my Nissan for a faster car for the ride home... Certainly temptation abounds here!

But slow is good, too much is too fast already. at St. Bernard, Jordan Valley:

From the Office of Readings, Ascension (St Augustine, Sermo de Ascensione Domini)

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

While Charity is the duty of all children of God, and the charism of feeding those who are literally hungry is the particular charism of many, the particular Dominican charism is the relief of Christ by preaching his word, so that those who persecute him become his friends, and many of these same are hungry for his word, but have never heard it, or have simply rejected it. So in the spiritual works of mercy, the Dominican relieves Christ.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New program to help parents impart morals, human dignity

New program to help parents impart morals, human dignity
By Bishop Robert Vasa

BEND — Besides the usual activities of traveling to parishes for confirmation, such as those at Merrill and Bonanza, the past few weeks have seen a significant amount of activity on the program with which I am very much involved titled, Healthy Families: Safe Children. Most of this article will concern itself with this program but first a couple of comments about my delightful trip to Merrill and Bonanza. Merrill has the distinction of being the southernmost parish of the diocese. As the crow flies it is probably less than 3 miles from California. Its mission at Bonanza has the distinction of being identified with Lost River. Neither Merrill nor Bonanza are “lost.” In fact, I found both of them to be quite vibrant and energetic. Like the other parishes I have visited this year, I found that the children were well instructed and eager to respond to my questions. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and commend them for their persevering fidelity. It was a delightful visit.

Now for some more extensive comments about Healthy Families: Safe Children. Several months ago the Board of Ardor, Inc. made the decision to publish and distribute the program on our own. This was, in itself, a huge leap. Then we decided that we needed to take the accompanying workbook and produce from it two separate works, a presenter’s workbook and a participant’s workbook. This has now been accomplished. The presenter’s workbook is essentially the same as the original workbook with the addition of a significant number of presenter notes, which give suggestions for introducing the various segments of the program. The participant’s workbook has been streamlined just a bit in order to make it more cost effective and thus more suitable for group use.
I mention this because, while there has been a great deal of interest in the program, that interest has not translated into a purchase commitment on the part of those who have shown interest. While I am very appreciative of the interest and the support which that interest provides for me and for those who have worked so hard on the program, the reality is that interest alone, while encouraging, is not ultimately effective. A very rough tally of the viewers on the program clips provided through indicates that the site and the video clips have been accessed more than 1,100 times. If every one of these had translated into an order for the program, and I know that such a hope is completely unrealistic, I would now be in discussion with the Board about the details of our next foray into program production.

Since I am never averse to reusing my own material I went to the workbook and found the foreword that I wrote for the program. I think it provides a very good overview of the program and I reproduce a significant portion of that here: Healthy Families: Safe Children addresses the moral crisis of culture, parenting styles, and child development, especially the development of moral values rooted in the dignity of human relationships. The program integrates the timeless truths of the human person from the perspectives of philosophy and theology with the most recent findings in neurophysiology, social biology, and psychiatry in order to provide parents with effective methods for communicating with their children, for preventing problem behaviors, and for guiding their children along healthy developmental pathways. Every parent can glean insightful information to reinforce, improve, and heal family relationships. While this program is primarily for parents, it will benefit any adult who is in a position of trust, authority, and responsibility for children. It provides adults of any age with a valuable experience for self-reflection and provides a deep understanding of the roots of morality and healthy relationships.

I believe that Healthy Families: Safe Children is an important contribution to the “wider context” of moral renewal recommended by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his pastoral visit to the United States. In his address to the Catholic Bishops on April 16, 2008, Pope Benedict spoke about the issue of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal and the bishops’ response to it. He said: “If the policies and programs to protect children from sexual abuse you have adopted are to achieve their full purpose, they need to be placed in a wider context. Children have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person. We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike. Every member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it. Truly caring about young people and the future of our civilization means recognizing our responsibility to promote and live by the authentic moral values which alone enable the human person to flourish.”

Healthy Families: Safe Children strives to do what Pope Benedict proposes. It is a program to assist parents in promoting the sound moral formation of children while protecting their innocence and guarding them from abuse. It is my prayerful hope that Healthy Families: Safe Children will contribute to the moral renewal of our society and the building of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth — one child at a time.

Several hundred copies of the program have been distributed primarily to those who generously made advance contributions to enable us to move forward with the production of this series. I am very grateful to all who have assisted us financially to produce the program which is now available for all. I invite all recipients of this message to distribute it as a kind of advertising blitz with the hope that the Web site will be flooded with visitors and orders.
I suspect that this article could lead to an accusation of self promotion, but my belief that this program provides a necessary and valuable contribution to the whole area of the protection of children compels me to accept the risk of such an accusation.

© 2009, Catholic Sentinel

Mission report from Fr. Bart de la Torre O.P.

I thought some folks might be interested to read Fr. Bart's reports, so I'll post them as they are received - Mark

Dear Fellow Dominicans,

This is part one of four on my recent trip to Cuba. Were I to send it altogether, you may be discouraged from reading it all.

With much love and prayers,
Fr. Bart, O.P.

To Cuba and Back, 2009, Part I: Indecent Exposure Shocks Nun

Thank you very much for your prayers. My March 9 - April 3 loop through the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Habana, Santiago de Cuba and Cobre (also Cuba), and then back to Mexico City and Mexicali, was one big miracle. There was no way all the good things that happened could have come about without many praying together. "If two or three of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven." (Mt. 18:19) There were those of you who received my request for prayers by personal contact, and when I got back parishioners told me that our pastor, Fr. David Bello, O.P., included my trip in the Prayer of the Faithful of every Mass.

Here is the background. Mother Teresa of Calcutta for many years had Fr. Emmerich Vogt, a priest of the Western Dominican Province, to which I belong, go to India to give her and the Sisters of the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, their annual spiritual retreat. After she died in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity continued inviting Fr. Emmerich. However, in Jan. of 2007, Fr. Emmerich was elected the Prior Provincial, i.e., was put in charge of the Western Dominican Province. He continues to be invited but sends someone else in his stead. This year he sent me, and it was to the annual seminar and retreat for the Missionaries of Charity in Cuba from March 18 to 31.

Thanks to the generous permission of the aforementioned Fr. David, I flew from Mexicali on Mon., March 9, to Guadalajara, Mexico. There my relatives had a family get-together so I could visit many at one time, and it was a very happy occasion. They are a cheerful lot, and because are all degreed in their various careers they are doing well despite the economic recession.

On Thurs., March 12, I flew to Mexico City, where the Missionaries of Charity met me at the airport and drove me to their convent where I was given a warm welcome, a nice, private room, and delicious meals. They are very well organized, and had asked me if I had a special diet. I told them that because of cholesterol I avoided red meat and shell fish, but could eat the white meat of chicken and turkey and fish. From the first day, I was given every part of the chicken cooked in many ingenious ways, but after some 10 days, I was pretty tired of chicken, and they were feeding me the dark meat of the chicken anyway. I even got chicken on Fri., March 13, and reminded Sister it was a Friday in Lent; they didn't repeat that mistake.

The convent's guestroom, in which I stayed, was next to the nursery for abandoned children. One mentally ill 6 y/o girl yelled all night, so I hardly slept.

On Fri., March 13, a lady friend of the Sisters drove me to the Basilica of O.L. of Guadalupe, where I prayed the Rosary before the 477 y/o tilma of St. Juan Diego (1474-1548). During my prayer, 24 priests in black cassock, white surplice and purple stole had a Liturgy of the Word and then processed down into the church and began hearing confessions. All 24 were still busy when my guide and I left the basilica (see, and She then gave me a tour of all the other holy sites in the Guadalupe compound. Though I had visited Our Lady of Guadalupe twice before, there was no way my heart could let me be in Mexico City and not visit the country's most important religious and civic site. Kneeling before the artistic masterpiece painted by heaven to represent Mary as a Latin American mestiza, a race that did not yet exist, I prayed for all of you. Then we went to a pharmacy where I bought earplugs so that the poor little girl's wails would not keep me awake this night.

The next morning, one of the Sister Rita, the guest mistress, wanted me to meet the child, so she called out to her. The little girl came out through the curtain stark naked. The shocked Sister tried to get her to go back, but the innocent orphan was so fascinated by the priest-visitor that she did not want to leave. Eventually Sister Rita's remonstrances intimidated the 9 y/o to disappear back through the curtain.

On Sat., March 14, I visited relatives in Mexico City, and we met at the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies because it is near the home of my 84 y/o first cousin on my father's side, Dolores Ruiz Esparza. This large and very popular shrine houses a small image of Mary from Spain, brought over to invoke Mary's protection by a captain in Hernán Cortez's army of conquest. In the June 30, 1520, in the battle of the Noche Triste (, as he fled with Cortez's army, the captain hid the image on a hillock in a small Aztec shrine. The image was found 20 years later, and the present church ( was finished in 1575 to house the statue, which has turned out to be miraculous.

Happy Feast Day of O.L. of Fatima and of Bl. Imelda, O.P.

Fr. Bartholomew de la Torre, O.P.

Western Dominican Mission, Mexicali, B.C., Mexico

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jesus the Revolutionary

After a week I think I can write about something vexing.

A week ago was the first time I ever had a priest at mass tell me with a straight face in the homily that “Jesus was a revolutionary.” (OK, I lead a sheltered life)

Now the moon is revolutionary because it revolves around the earth, and the earth is revolutionary because it revolves around the sun; but I don’t think that is the construction the average person would put on that statement.

Computers were considered “revolutionary,” as are new cleaning products, but that construction, if it is what he meant, seems to trivialize Jesus to the point of a Mr. Clean. Possible that was what was meant.

However, the characterization of “revolutionary” when applied to Jesus always seems to be in the context of opposition to the power structure in place at his time, and by extension, following this “revolutionary Jesus” is seen as an opposition to the perceived (and often imaginary) power structure in place in our time (usually the bad-old institional church).

The characteristic of this sort of revolution, is always the taking of power by force.

The characteristic of Jesus, is that He already had ALL POWER, and He chose to renounce it all on the cross.

Thus, it seems to me that one who uses power to take power can be said to be against (anti)christ. To apply this construction to the opening statement above, is to make Christ opposed to Christ, and then you might as well call Him Beezlebub. (Lk 11:18)

But if you want to think of Him as the ultimate Mr. Clean, then get to the confessional where he will make you whiter than snow. (Isaiah 1:18)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Truth Be Told - Issue #4

Issue #4 of "Truth Be Told, Bringing Christ to the World," the newsletter of the Laity of the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus, is completed and is online for reading/downloading at:

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Church Considered as a Divine Creation

Excerpted from The Invitation Heeded, (Pg. 109ff) by James Kent Stone (also here).

Part II, Chapter I
The Incarnation and the mission of the Holy Ghost

The loftiest of the ancient philosophers confessed the incompetence of reason to determine spiritual truth, and looked forward, with an instinct of prophetic anticipation, to the advent of a god who might remove uncertainty by the word of divine authority (Plato in Epinomide). It is time for Protestants to ask themselves whether they are any better off that Plato was. For them, a God has come – and gone. The Divine Word walks the earth no more; and for the ascertaining of truth it is as if he had never descended from heaven. Christianity has furnished many new and glorious ideas, so novel indeed and so beautiful that men call it a revelation. But when we come to sift the meaning of this expression, it only signifies that a new domain of speculation has been thrown open, in which the human intellect may wander up and down, and admire – and doubt. The relation of truth to reason, the appeal to which it makes to the mind, is the same now as before. The reception of what are called Christian doctrines is simply the assent of the understanding to propositions the truth of which appears probable (As Chillingworth has not only admitted, but endeavored to prove).

Men have what they call faith. But it is evident that this belief is only a number of opinions, more or less strong, and differing from any other intellectual judgments only in this, that they are of such a nature as to excite emotion, suggest comfort, and inspire hope. The very hope thus awakened in the mind is of a sort which shows the character of the belief from which it springs; for it is a looking anxiously forward – I am speaking, be it remembered, of protestants – to a future state, in which present doubt shall be exchanged for knowledge, and the mists of uncertainty be dissolved in the effulgence of light. This is in effect precisely what Plato did. ‘And exactly what St. Paul did,’ you quickly exclaim. Ah, dear friend, how clearly, if you could only see it, this very appeal of yours shows how utterly you have failed to comprehend the nature of Catholic faith! You quote St. Paul as if he had said, ‘Now I doubt, but then shall I know.’ St. Paul was a Catholic, and he spoke as a Catholic. And his words were: “NOW I KNOW” – I know now, and I shall know then; the assurance is the same, the measure of cognition alone is different; “now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known.”


If the Lord Jesus Christ were to come back to us, in the glory of his majesty, how quickly would we cease our dogmatizing, and hush our disputings. With one accord we would exclaim, ‘the Messsias is come, and he will teach us all things.’ Dear friend, he is here now; he is here today in the midst of us, radiant with the irresistible tokens of divinity, addressing us in awful tones of authority; in the person of his Church he comes and lays his hand upon you, and says, “I that speak unto thee am he.”

This is not a fiction of speech. It is no bold metaphor. The Church is the voice of God, speaking to the world now as it spoke eighteen hundred years ago. The God whose possible coming was dimly conceived by the intuition of the Greek philosopher has actually come. And has the meaning of that advent ever shown in upon your mind? Have you ever apprehended, have you even begun to apprehend, the appalling fact of he Incarnation? The infinite, eternal God brought himself within bounds; he took upon him a reasonable soul and human flesh; he suffered death as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; he created a Church, and built it upon a rock, and said, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;” he chose his representatives, an in words of omnipotence he invested them with their awful commission; to one of them he gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven; to all of them he said: “whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed in heaven;” he breathed upon them, saying, “receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained;” he pronounced upon them those sentences of unutterable import: “as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you:” “he that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me:” “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth: go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

Cabernet is growing

With the longer days, more buds are opening, and starting to grow more vigorously, as this group of Cabernet Franc illustrates. I'm starting to realize I'm going to have a jungle on my hands if I don't get these into the ground!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of St. Joseph









Chaste spouse of the holy Mother of God, by the sorrow with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep joy that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for me from Jesus by the heart of Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety which might trouble the repose of my soul, with that of drawing from the adorable heart of Jesus, the unspeakable peace of which He is the eternal source.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


Foster-father of Jesus, by the bitter sadness which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the joy which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise Men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that my heart, purified by they protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless my homage.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


O thou to whom God confided His only Son, by the sorrow with which they heart was pierced at the sight of the blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus, under the cruel knife of the circumcision, and by the joy that inundated thy soul at they privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious name of Jesus, obtain for me that the merits of this precious blood may be applied to my soul, and that this divine name may be engraved forever in my heart.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


August Minster and Holy Confidant of he Holy Ghost, by the cruel agony by which thy heart was torn when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary should be pierced with the sword of sorrow, and by the joy that thou didst afterward experience when the holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for me the grace to compassionate the sorrows of Mary, and have part in the salvation which Jesus brought on the earth.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


Glorious Ambassador of the Most Holy Trinity, by the extreme affliction laid upon they heart by the order to fly into Egypt, and by they joy in seeing idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that all impressions of sin being destroyed in my heart, the empire of my passions may be likewise annihilated.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


Angel of the earth, glorious St. Joseph, who sawest with admiration the King of Heaven, submitted to thy orders, the consolation that thou dist experience in bringing Him back from Egypt, was soon troubled by the fear of Archelaus. But reassured by the angel of the Lord, thou didst abide with joy at Nazareth in the company of Jesus and Mary; obtain for us by this joy and this sorrow, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience, and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of they salutary assistance at the hour of our death.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.


Faithful Coadjutor of the great council, by the bitter sorrow with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the lively and holy joy which inundated thy soul in recovering thy treasure on entering the temple, I conjure thee not to permit me to lose for a moment my Savior Jesus; yet should this misfortune befall me, grant that I may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for me the grace to find Him again, never to lose Him more.
Pater, Ave, Gloria, etc.

The above was found in "The Invitation Heeded" by James Kent Stone (1870), printed on a yellowed slip that looks the age of the book.