Thomas Aquinas on the Latin Mass

What’s better than either St. Thomas Aquinas or the Latin Mass? St. Thomas Aquinas speaking on the Latin Mass, of course!

Dr. Taylor Marshall is starting a new video series, discussing twelve mystical actions of the Mass (i.e., parts of the Mass most confusing to the newcomers [especially Protestants!]  as covered by the Dominican saint.

A Boy and His Angel

A Boy and His Angel

By Samuel Mitchel, KC*HS 

Paperback, 100 pages

A Boy and His Angel

Preview/Purchase at or or Holy Family Bookstore in Carmel, IN.


This summer, I’m going to be a hero, Philip Connelly thought as he lay under a large maple tree on his parents’ farm. He thought that there had to be something he could do that would be important, and remembered by people everywhere, and for all time. But, what could it be? Would it happen this summer, and how would anyone know when he lived on a farm far from any large city? Philip is a teen growing up on a farm in Indiana. This summer will see him mature in many ways: physically, mentally and spiritually. When he was a small boy, Philip thought he could see an angel. But, that was some time ago, and during this period of change in his life, he’ll once again meet that angel! Join Philip as his angel shows him scenes from the lives of saints that parallel his life such as Augustine, Benedict, Scholastica, Catherine of Siena and others.

About the author: Samuel Mitchel is the secretary/treasurer of Una Voce Carmel, a member of the St. John Bosco Latin Mass Community and parishioner of Holy Rosary (Indianapolis). He is also a knight commander with star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Sam, his wife Anne and children reside on a small farm in central Indiana.

Beautiful photo from Holy Communion

From Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog

St. John Vianney reminds us of the importance of Confession

“He was known for spending more than half of his day in the confessional. The faithful came from afar to the small city of Ars, France, to pour out their hearts and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for their sins.

“But such wasn’t always the life of St. Jean-Marie (John) Vianney, a 19th-century French pastor and the world’s patron saint of priests.”

[Note comments from Fr. Bede Price, rector of the oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine, which celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form solely.]

Complete article.

The Communion rail, in brief

“We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face.” -1 Corinthians 13:12

A mistaken notion is thinking that the Communion rail is intended to separate the priest from the people, as though Europe (Rome) somehow intended to export class differences to America, where we Americans don’t tolerate such elite silliness. As is often the case, the intuitive guess at the symbolism misleads.

The Communion rail is a beautiful symbol in which the sanctuary represents Heaven, the nave (where we-the-congregation pray), earth. The priest acts as alter Christus. He occupies the space representing Heaven, our goal. Passion and fervency being intrinsic to his work, there he prays for us to join him in the heavenly courts.

Now, the nave isn’t a place of mere commoners nor should it be thought of as such. God created the world to be good and human beings have beauty and dignity the kind of which even the angels are said to envy! We are not commoners and we are indeed called to Heaven. We can see past the communion rail, our senses admit to seeing all that symbolizes ultimate beauty and love, but we have much work to do before we are admitted to the heavenly domicile. The rail represents the hurdle we must pass but we are called closer, wonderfully so, when we approach to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Wow! Truly.

Eastern Catholics and Orthodox take all that up a level by their use of the iconostasis, a veritable wall of saints which admits the sense of vision but only through Royal Doors which are open only during celebration of the Divine Liturgy (syn. Mass).

So often we need to set aside uniquely American interpretations of symbolism (some of which, admittedly, we picked up even if we attended Catholic schools) and it is sometimes work to engage in study needed to learn the symbolism intrinsic to our Catholic Faith. Engaging prudent diligence to avoid mis-information, the Internet makes it easy to be an autodidact (self-taught), however, and learning of the beauty of our symbolism ought to prove enjoyable and fruitful.

Restoration of the communion rail in the celebration of the Latin Mass can and should to be embraced for the beauty it genuinely represents and for the reality that accompanies celebration of that which is most beautiful this side of Heaven.

Saturday, Dec. 5.: Ferial Day (education moment)

When the calendar lists a day as a “Ferial” day, it means that no firmly established festival is assigned to that day. The celebrating Priest will be free to say the Mass of the preceeding Sunday, the Mass proper to any Saints normally only commemorated on that day, or he might say a Votive Mass of his own choosing.

A Votive Mass (missa votiva) is a Mass offered for a votum, a special intention; or, a Mass offered in honor of some mystery of the faith, or the Blessed Virgin, or of a saint or all the saints, but not in the liturgical calendar.

Liturgy, Beauty and Truth

Interview with artist David Clayton. (from Zenit)

“Catholic culture should not, in my view, look to secular culture for inspiration. To do so would be to look at art forms that were developed to communicate an anti-Christian worldview.

“If you try to Christianize popular culture, for example, you end up with a form that is trying to communicate values that are good through the medium that was developed to communicate something else. The result is that it loses all its power and it comes across as weak and sentimental.

“There is another reason. There is a saying that all the great art movements began on the altar. Catholic culture is always rooted in the cult that is central to Catholicism, that is, the Mass and the Divine Office.

“If our liturgy is lacking in dignity and beauty, then Catholic culture will be too.

Click here for entire article from Zenit

Understanding “ad orientem”

What does it mean to celebrate the Mass “ad orientem?”

Literally it means to celebrate the Mass with the priest celebrant facing “to the East,” from whence Christ will come in all His glory for the final judgment at the end of time. At one time, most churches were built so that the priest faced “to the east,” which on first glance meant he celebrated Mass with his back to the people; however, that’s a misstatement of both what is actually happening as well as essential symbolism and reality.

In fact the priest celebrating the Mass “ad orientem,” in a beautiful and timeless manner that speaks powerfully of the necessary humility of the priest before the triune God, celebrates the Mass as alter Christus both on behalf of and with the faithful of the congregation.

There is something both beautiful and even reassuring to be gained from a right understanding the “ad orientem” orientation. What sometimes we glean intuitively from what takes place in all liturgy is inevitably colored by our “gut” feelings and a perception that is colored from our culture and even from wrong explanations from some who should know better. Our intuitive feelings can mislead us into misunderstanding.

Consider this excerpt from recent reflections of Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa:

“In the past 40 years, however, this shared orientation [ad orientem -Ed.] was lost; now the priest and the people have become accustomed to facing in opposite directions. The priest faces the people while the people face the priest, even though the Eucharistic Prayer is directed to the Father and not to the people.

“This innovation was introduced after the Vatican Council, partly to help the people understand the liturgical action of the Mass by allowing them to see what was going on, and partly as an accommodation to contemporary culture where people who exercise authority are expected to face directly the people they serve, like a teacher sitting behind her desk.

“Unfortunately this change had a number of unforeseen and largely negative effects. First of all, it was a serious rupture with the Church’s ancient tradition. Secondly, it can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God. Thirdly, it places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage.”

It should be clear that it is far from accurate to see the priest with his “back to the people.” In fact of the 25-or-so liturgies approved for use by the Church, Eastern Catholic liturgies (accounting for about 22 of the 25 aforementioned liturgies) never abandoned the practice of celebrating liturgy “ad orientem.”

A proper understanding of “ad orientem,” in fact, reveals considerable forethought and beauty which in my particular case, inspires a sense of deep reverence for priest-as-symbol of humility that bespeaks of Christ whose humility was an aspect of His infinite love for us; similarly the priest acting in the role of alter Christus, which knows no obsolescence in any age.

Link to the article from the Diocese of Tulsa