Catholic Tradition Newsletter A37: Holy Eucharist, Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Seven Sorrows of Mary

Vol 12 Issue 37 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
September 14, 2019 ~ Exaltation of the Holy Cross

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
3.      Seven Sorrows of the B. V. M.
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

Next week are Ember Days and the Church invites us to pray for the young men who are preparing for the priesthood and will receive the various orders, minor and major, on Ember Saturday. In, How Christ Said the First Mass, by Rev James Meagher (1906), one reads about types of the orders in the Israelite religion at the time of Christ:

The next personage was the chazzan, called to-day by Jews hassan; “minister,” in Greek diakonos, “worker,” in Hebrew shemash. The word is mentioned in the account of Christ in the synagogue. “And when he had folded the book he restored it to the minister,”—the hassan. He thus fulfilled the duties of the deacon and sub-deacon when waiting on the Rabbi. The same rules were followed in his selection as for the Rabbi. He opened the synagogue doors, prepared things for the service, often acted as the school-teacher, sang the services and responded to the Rabbi during divine worship. . . . With the Rabbi he was ordained in the time of Christ with a long ceremony, and the laying on of the hands of the Rabbis and hassans on his head. This gave rise to the custom of imposing the hands of the clergy with the bishop on the head of the clergyman the day of his ordination.

Besides these officials, in every congregation were ten men, called batlanim “men of leisure.” They were not obliged to labor for their living, and could therefore attend, not only the Sabbath, but the Monday and Thursday services. No congregation was complete, nor could any service be held without them. At one synagogue the writer attended, they had to wait before beginning the service till ten men were present, the women not being considered, as they cannot take part in any religious function. Seven of these men, called Stationarii, or viri Stationis in the synagogue of the Roman empire, collected the synagogue alms for the poor, read the Law during the services, and gave rise to the church clergy in minor orders. They are sometimes called shepherds, in Hebrew hassans, in Greek hiepeus “priest” while the Rabbi was  sometimes named apostolos “sent,” “legate ” of the congregation. These words are found in decrees of later Roman emperors regarding the Jews after the destruction of the Temple.

Each synagogue had either five or seven Gabai Zedakah. “Charity Collectors,” who took up the collection during the service. The people offered either money or victuals. This took place after reading the Law and Prophets. The custom was continued in the early Church when the people brought their offerings and placed them on a table in the sanctuary and that part of the Mass is called the Offertory.

Two Jews took up the collection, and four or five distributed them. They were the leading men of the congregation and took care of the widows and orphans. We trace the collectors in the Church back to the synagogue. Some writers think the apostles had these seven men in mind when they ordained the seven deacons.

The Jews of the time of Christ had an order of exorcists: “Who went about and attempted to invoke over them that had evil spirits.” When Christ gave power over unclean spirits he followed the synagogue regulations.

The reader will see in these four officials of the synagogue the minor orders of the Church coming down from the apostolic days. They are mentioned in the most ancient records and are found in all the apostolic Liturgies. The priests who prepared the bread and wine in the Temple imaged the acolytes, the men who read the Scriptures the readers, the chassans who opened doors of Temple and synagogue the porters, and the men who drove out demons, the exorcists. (256-57)

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor



By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

Evolution and Modernism

The following excerpts from Lamentabili express the direction of the Modernists’ theology whether called ressourcement, Nouvelle Théologieaggiornamento or just plain Modernism. The errors condemned are, for the most part, a rejection of Scripture both as being inspired and in being understood in the sense the Church interprets (explains) Sacred Writings in teaching the faithful. This means that what was in the Scripture is not even the words of Christ or written by the Apostles. It also means that what was taught previously is not necessarily the understanding today since the early Christians saw things one way in their day and age and we see things differently today in our day and age. The root of the error by the Modernists is a consequence of the Protestant error of private interpretation and private inspiration. This error stemmed from naturalism (Pelagianism) and has led to Deism, Agnosticism and Atheism. The result is that the basis for the Holy Eucharist as taught by the Church since the Apostles is undermined. Secondly, as it opens the door to different interpretations it means that all interpretations are acceptable. This may be seen in the following errors mentioned in Lamentabili:

1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books dealing with the Divine Scriptures be submitted to a previous censorship does not extend to critical scholars, or to scholars of the scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testaments. (Cf. DB 2001)

2. The Church’s interpretation of the Sacred Books is not indeed to be spurned, but it is subject to the more accurate judgment and the correction of exegetes. (Cf. DB 2002)

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more learned exegesis, it can be gathered that the faith proposed by the Church contradicts history, and that Catholic teachings cannot in fact be reconciled with the truer origins of the Christian religion. (Cf. DB 2003)

4. The magisterium of the Church, even by dogmatic definitions, cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures. (Cf. DB 2004)

5. Since in the deposit of faith only revealed truths are contained, in no respect does it pertain to the Church to pass judgment on the assertions of human disciplines. (Cf. DB 2005)

6. In defining truths the learning Church and the teaching Church so collaborate that there is nothing left for the teaching Church but to sanction the common opinions of the learning Church.(Cf. DB 2006)

7. When the Church proscribes errors, she cannot exact any internal assent of the faithful, by which the judgments published by her are embraced. (Cf. DB 2007)

8. They are to be considered free of all blame who consider of no account the reprobations published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, or by other Sacred Roman Congregations. (Cf. DB 2008)

They display excessive simplicity or ignorance, who believe that God is truly the author of the Sacred Scripture. (Cf. DB 2009)

14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers. (Cf. DB 2014)

15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ. (Cf. DB 2015)

16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation. (Cf. DB 2016)

17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word Incarnate. (Cf. DB 2017)

Since Scripture is stripped of any truth, it follows that everything the Church teaches is devoid of truth and why Church doctrine is capable of change and re-interpreted in the so-called “continuity of hermeneutics” the Modernists uphold. The following errors, which pertain to the Sacraments, provide evidence:

39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity. (Cf. DB 2039)

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ. (Cf. DB 2040)

41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man’s mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator. (Cf. DB 2041)

And, specifically concerning the Holy Eucharist:

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically. (Cf. DB 2045)

As Pope Saint Pius X warned, the priests were being taught in the Catholic Universities to understand Theology according to modern Philosophical models:

That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man. (Pascendi Dominici gregis, §2)

The following is an example of the teaching of a neo-Modernist whose theology is according to the Phenomenological re-interpretation of Catholic theology. In a paper by Mike Drummond, The Sacramental Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx  From Neo-Scholasticism to Existentialism, the author examines the writings of a prominent theologian during Vatican II. In introducing the theology of Edward Schillebeekx, O.P., Drummond writes: One of the most significant elements of his [Schillebeekx] approach is the methodological shift from traditional neo-scholastic categories to those of phenomenology and modern existentialism.  This translation of theological terms is on full display in his defense of newly conceived accounts of the Eucharistic change. As many of the others, Schillebeeckx studied Husserl and Heidegger, went to Louvain University and taught there later. He studied at the Saulchoir with Marie‐Dominique Chenu, O.P. (1895‐1990) and under Yves Congar, O.P. Both of these were known as Modernists and their works condemned under Pius XI and Pius XII.

Drummond demonstrates Schillebeeckx’s teaching regarding the Sacraments as follows:

Thus, Schillebeeckx can amplify his description of the sacraments: “In the sacraments we encounter Christ, though he be bodily absent, in a tangible, bodily way….Thus we see immediately that the so-called sacramenta separata (separated sacraments) are not things, but rather personal encounters with the glorified man Jesus and in him with the living God.”      

The nature of the sacraments of the Church also, for Schillebeeckx, relies on the sacramental nature of the Church.  Analogous to Christ being the visible, historical manifestation of God, and therefore a “sacrament,” the Church is also the visible, historical reality that mediates an encounter with Christ.  He writes, “When we spoke of the sacraments as that which makes present in the world in earthly garb the saving action of Christ in glory, we meant first of all, the sacramental Church herself.”   Indeed, he also refers to the Church as a “primordial sacrament,” the “sacrament of the humanity of Christ.”   Hence, Schillebeeckx regards the Church as an essential element in the sacramental economy, since the sacraments are actions of the Church, the sacrament of Christ.  “It is precisely this visible contact with the Church through the reception of her sacraments in faith that is the encounter with Christ.”

On this point, also, turns his conception of the sacraments insofar as they are instituted by Christ.  He seems to suggest the sufficiency here of an implicit institution of the individual sacraments: “Thus, Christ’s founding of his Church as primordial sacrament…is basically also the institution of the seven sacraments.  What the sacraments do is nothing more than make concretely present here and now what the Church herself is in her essence.”*

Of particular importance for our discussion is Schillebeeckx’s theology of presence in the sacraments.  There is an aspect of the events of the Paschal mystery, precisely as historical events, that necessarily passes away into an unrepeatable past.  Yet, since the actions were those of a divine Person, there is also an eternal aspect, and is therefore, accessible to all times.  He explains:

The man Jesus is in a glorified state and is for that reason (to us) invisible.  We, on the other hand, find ourselves in an untransfigured earthly condition.  Consequently, the eternally-present redemptive act of the sacrifice of the Cross indeed can have a direct influence on us, but it can no longer be made present to us “in Christ’s own body.”  The eternally-present divine redemption consummated in human nature can be rendered present now, as has been shown, only though sacramental, earthly symbols, especially those of the Eucharist.  From this it automatically follows that here is inescapably a “presence in mystery” in the seven sacraments – and in a very special way for the Eucharist.** [Emphasis is mine here and below]


* “The Sacraments: An Encounter with God.”  In Christianity Divided: Protestant and Roman Catholic Theological Issues, edited by Daniel J. Callahan, Heiko A. Oberman, and Daniel J. O’Hanhon, 245-275.  New York: Sheed and Ward, 1961, 257

** Ibid., 260-61.


The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal


MATTHEW vi. 24-33

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor do they reap nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment  why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And, if the grass of the field, which is today and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe; how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying: What shall we eat; or, What shall we drink; or, Wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God and his justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.


CHRYSOSTOM, Opus imperfectum, Homily 16: In a preceding verse (22), the Lord had said that he who has a spiritual mind, he can keep his body without sin; but he who has not, cannot do this. Here He gives the reason, saying:

V.24. No man can serve two masters.

Gloss: Or, because earlier it had been said that good actions become bad when done for a temporal motive; against this some could say, I do good works for earthly as well as for heavenly reasons. And against this the Lord says: No man can serve two masters.

CHRYSOSTOM, Homily 22 in Matthew: Or again: In the preceding verses He had rebuked the tyranny of avarice for many and grave reasons. Now He puts forward others still graver. Wealth injures us not only because it arms robbers against us, and because it darkens the mind, but also because it drives us away from God’s service. And this He proves from common notions, saying: No man can serve two masters. He means two [masters] imposing contrary commands: for concord makes many one. And this is shown by what He adds: For either he will hate the one. He speaks of two, to show it is easy to change to what is better. For if one says: ‘I have become the slave of money, because I love it,’ He shows it is easy to return to a better state; that is, by not enduring its servitude, by despising it.

GLOSS: Or: He seems to speak here of two different kinds of servants. For some will serve freely out of love, others servilely from fear. If therefore anyone out of love serves one of two contrary masters, it must follow he will hate the other; but if he serves from fear, it must follow that while he bears with one, he will not have any regard for the other. Therefore, as God or earthly things rule a man’s heart, in each case he will be drawn towards contrary things: for God draws His servants  to the higher things; earthly things draw us to the lower. And so as it were concluding, He says: You cannot serve God and mammon.

JEROME: Mammon is a Syrian word for riches. Let the covetous, who calls himself a Christian, pay heed to this; that he cannot at the same time serve both Christ and riches. Yet He did not say: He who has riches, but: He who is the servant of riches. For he who is the servant of riches, guards money like a servant; but whoever has shaken off the yoke of servitude to money, bestows it as a master.

GLOSS: Mammon also means the devil, who has command over riches; not that he may dispose of them, unless when God permits; but because by means of them he deceives men.

AUGUSTINE, Sermon on Matt. II, 14, 4 7: For he who serves mammon, that is, riches, truly serves him who placed, because of his perversity, over these earthly things is referred to by the Lord as, the prince of this world. Or again: Who the two masters are is shown when He says: You cannot serve God and mammon; that is, you cannot serve both God and the devil at the same time. A man will therefore either hate the one, that is, the devil and love the other; that is, God; or sustain the one and despise the other. He who serves mammon must put up with a hard master. For when, caught by his own greed, he becomes the slave of the devil, he does not love him. As one wedded through great desire to the maidservant of another, must put up with harsh servitude, though having no love for the one whose maidservant he loves. He said: He will despise the one, not: He will hate the other. For no one can with a true conscience hate God. But he will despise Him; that is, he will not fear Him when he feels secure because of God’s goodness.

AUGUSTINE, as above: Because the Lord teaches above that he who wishes to serve God and is careful not to offend Him must not think he can serve two masters, has need to be careful for fear that, though not seeking for superfluous things, his heart nevertheless should become divided in two about necessary things or become taken up with concern for them. And so He says:

V.25. Therefore, I say to you, be not solicitous for your life (anima, soul), what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on.

CHRYSOSTOM, as above: He does not say this, that the soul needs food; for it is incorporeal; but he is here speaking according to common usage: but it cannot remain in the body, unless the body be fed. AUGUSTINE, as above: Or, soul may here mean the animal life of man.

JEROME: In some codices is added: Nor what you shall drink. Therefore we are not wholly free of concern for what nature bestows on all, beasts of burthen, irrational and rational creatures alike. But we are bidden not to be solicitous as to what we shall eat; for it is in the sweat of our brow we shall eat bread: we must face toil, put away solicitude. The words: Be not solicitous, are to be taken as relating to corporal food and clothing: for we must be ever solicitous for our spiritual food and clothing.

AUGUSTINE, On Heresies, c. 57: There are certain heretics called Euchites, who hold that a monk may not work even for his own sustenance; and who proclaim themselves monks in order to be free of all need to work. AUGUSTINE, The Work of Monks, c. 1: For they say that when the Apostle said: If any man will not work, neither let him eat (II Thess. iii. 10), he did not impose work of a bodily nature, such as that of tillers of the soil or artisans. For he could not be contrary to the Gospel, where the Lord Himself says: Therefore, I say to you, be not solicitous etc. We must therefore accept these words of the Apostle as referring to spiritual works, of which he says elsewhere: I have planted, Apollo watered (I Cor. iii. 6). And they accordingly think they are conforming to Apostolic and Evangelical teaching, when they believe that the Gospel lays down, that we are not to be concerned with the corporal needs of this life, and that the Apostle spoke only of spiritual food and labour when he said: If any man will not work, neither let him eat.

Let us then first show that the Apostle wished that the servants of God should also labour at corporal works. For he had begun by saying: For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; for we were not disorderly among you. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing; but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. Not as if we had not power; but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. For also, when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat (II Thess. iii. 7-10). What can be said to this, seeing that he confirmed what he taught by his own example, that is by labouring bodily? For that he laboured bodily is shown in the Acts of the Apostles, where it is said that he remained with Aquila and his wife Priscilla because he was of the same trade, and laboured with them (now they were tentmakers by trade, xviii. 3); and yet the Lord had laid it down, that as a Preacher of the Gospel, as a soldier of Christ, as a planter in the Vineyard, as a shepherd of the Flock, he should live by the Gospel. But he did not ask for the wage that was due to him: to give an example to those who began to demand what was not due to them.

Let those hear this who have not this power which he had: namely; that working only in the spirit, they should eat their bread without bodily labouring for it. But if they are Evangelists, if they are ministers of the altar, if they are dispensers of the Sacraments, they have this power. Or if in the world they had the means to sustain life without labouring, and, turning to God, had distributed this to the poor, then their weakness must be believed, and borne with. And it does not matter where they distributed their goods to the poor, since among Christians there is but one commonwealth. But they who come to the service of God from simple country living, or from following some craft or trade or from humble toil, if they do not work, there is no excuse for them. For it is in no way fitting that in a life where senators become labourers, labourers should become idlers; or that where the masters of great lands renounce the comforts of life, rustic labourers should live in luxury. And when the Lord says: Be not solicitous, He does not say they should not procure these things, as they are needed, where they may do so honestly. but that they should not have their mind on these things; nor do whatever they are bidden to do in the preaching of the Gospel for the sake of them. And a little earlier He had spoken of this intention of mind, as thy eye.

CHRYSOSTOM, as above: Or, it can be comprehended in another way. For since the Lord had taught us to think little of money, lest someone should say: but how are we to live, if we throw everything away? He adds: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life. GLOSS (interl.): That is: do not be held back from eternal things, by earthly anxiety.

JEROME: We are therefore bidden, not to be solicitous as to what we shall eat, for it is already laid down that in the sweat of our brow shall we eat bread. So labour is laid upon us; anxiety is to be put aside.

CHRYSOSTOM, Op. Imp. Hom. 16: Bread is not to be acquired through solicitude of the spirit, but by the labour of the body. And to those who labour well it abounds, as a reward for their industry; but it is withheld from the idle, as a punishment from God. But the Lord confirms our hope; and first He descends from the greater to the less, He says: Is not the life more than the food, and the body more than the raiment?

JEROME: He Who has bestowed the greater things, will also give us the less. CHRYSOSTOM, as above: For unless He had willed to preserve what is, He would not have willed to create it. To what He so made that it must live by food, He must give food as long as it is His will that it should live.

HILARY: Or again: Because the mind of the unbelieving is corrupted concerning the care of those who will live in the life after death, they are unnecessarily concerned about the future appearance of our bodies at the resurrection of the dead, and as to what their food shall be in eternity, so He goes on to say: Is not the life more than the food? He will not suffer our hope of resurrection to be troubled with anxiety over food and drink and clothing, lest through concern over trifling things, we should affront Him Who has given us more precious things; namely, soul as well as body.



The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows found its way into the Church in the thirteenth century, chiefly through the influence of the Order of Servites. The fifth general of the Order, St. Philip Benizi, extended the wearing of the scapular of the Sorrows of Mary to people in the world. Since the seventeenth century there have been two feasts of the Seven Sorrows, one on the Friday after Passion Sunday and the other on September 15. The former was established by Pope Benedict XIII in 1724, the latter by Pope Pius VII in 1814 to commemorate Napoleon’s return from imprisonment. The seven sorrows are: 1) the prophecy of Simeon at the presentation of the Child in the Temple, 2) the flight into Egypt, 3) the loss of the Child in the Temple, 4) the meeting of Mary with her divine Son on the road to Calvary, 5) the Crucifixion, 6) the removal of the Body from the Cross, and 7) the burial of Christ.

2. “Woman, this is thy Son” (Gospel). Our Lord had arrived at the goal of His earthly mission and was about to accomplish the reconciliation of man with God. In this, the great, the decisive moment of mankind’s history, Mary stood erect at the side of her Son’s Cross. She was renewing the offering she first made at the presentation in the Temple. She was offering to the Father, as ransom for the world, the blessed fruit of her womb. Jesus would expire in a few moments; then the sacrifice would be completed, the salvation of man accomplished. “This is my mother.” Jesus gave Mary to us as our mother in the realm of grace. When he told John she was his mother he was addressing also us, giving us his mother at the moment of his death. His words to her “woman this is thy son” engendered in her heart a most intimate motherly love for us who are the brothers and sisters of Christ through grace. Surely at that moment, as once in Nazareth, Mary pronounced a fiat (be it done) and thus by a consent prompted by love for us she granted the last wish of her Son. It was in this hour of her deepest sorrow that she became our mother. We are the children of her sorrows, given to her to replace Jesus so that she might extend her love of Him to us.

“Joseph of Arimathea took his body down from the cross. Catholic piety has imagined Joseph as laying the sacred Body into the arms of Mary as she sat near the cross. It was a moment of fresh sorrow for the loving mother. We attempt to enter into the depths of her sorrow, for we recognize in the “Pieta” an expression of the intimate communion of hearts between Jesus and Mary. Formerly she had carried Him beneath her warm heart then in her arms—that child so dear so lovely. And now she had Him in her arms again no longer a child but the powerful conqueror of sin and Satan, the Redeemer of mankind—dead. At that moment the entire treasure of redemption lay in her hands. Never has she been so rich before: rich for us, for she had just been bequeathed to us as our mother. She had given her all; now at the foot of the cross she had gained all by her participation in the sufferings of Christ. With sympathetic grateful hearts we look on her: “This is thy mother.”

3. Let us ponder some stanzas of the “Stabat Mater,” one of the few sequences left in the Missal:

Is there one who would not weep

Whelmed in miseries so deep

Christ’s dear mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain

From partaking in her pain,

In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,

She beheld her tender child,

All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation

Saw him hang in desolation

Till his spirit forth he sent.

O thou mother! fount of love!

Touch my spirit from above,

Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;

Make my soul to glow and melt

With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Virgin of all virgins blest!

Listen to my fond request:

Let me share your grief divine:

Christ, when you shall call me hence,

Be thy Mother my defense,

Be your Cross my victory.

Collect: O God, in whose suffering, as Simeon foretold, a sword of sorrow pierced the sweet soul of Mary, Thy august virgin-mother, grant us this boon: that we, who reverently call to mind her anguish, may secure the happiness which Thy own sufferings have gained for us. Amen.

(Benedict Baur)



Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons

By Mary Reed Newland (1956)




Our family’s Hallowe’en parties are now planned around the custom of begging for soul cakes. Among the neighborhood children who attend, Catholics together with non-Catholics, there is no one who is not intrigued to learn the stories of these customs and join in the prayers and the fun.

Frying doughnuts is a big undertaking, but this one time of the year we have a doughnut session—the day before Hallowe’en. Soul cakes need not be doughnuts, but we like to tell Mrs. Berger’s story; and this, of course, leads to much tasting to see if one does think of eternity at every bite. Other refreshments for the party are natural sweets—apples, nuts, popcorn—all perfect companions to the soul cakes.

Next, costumes. Saint costumes have been much in vogue in our circle since the rediscovery of Christian Hallowe’en. These are lots of fun to make, but if you are having non-Catholic children who do not know about patron saints, a full course on the subject is not possible before the party. You might suggest that these come as some departed soul, one of those from eternity who come to warn the living to mend their ways. This gives much leeway and justifies the inevitable cowboys and space cadets. Cowboys do eventually depart, I am confident, and space cadets look as though they already have.

A rhymed invitation tells everybody that this is a real party and also keeps enough of the familiar Hallowe’en ghostliness to enhance the rest, which sounds a little unfamiliar. Our invitation goes like this:

Come to keep vigil on All Hallows’ Even, With Monica, Jamie, Peter and Stephen,

With John, Philip, Christopher, dressed up like souls;

Bring berries of red to help warn off the ghouls.

Come knock at the doors and beg for soul cakes,

Pray hard for the souls, for the prayers that it takes

To speed them to Heav’n go too often unsaid,

And who prays for poor souls will ne’er want for bread.

This hints at what is going to happen. Followed by a telephone call or a note to the mothers of the guests, it gives everyone time to get the “feel of it.” This is important. If it isn’t clearly explained how they will beg at the door and say a prayer for the dead, the party will disintegrate right there with the “gimmes.”

The berries of red and their use have their origin ‘way back when holly and evergreens bearing red berries were used to remind the Christians of the blood of Christ and the burning love of Mary for her Child. It is not hard for country children to find a spray of red berries, but even in the city there is bittersweet on sale at the street corner; or if you live near a barberry hedge, you might prevail on the owner to let you have a sprig—and to show your good will tell him that it is a wise way to ward off witches.

An old witch patrols the lawn at our house this night, riding a broomstick and fleeing in fright from the groups of guests, terrified at the sight of the berries. Barred from the house by these berries (some of which are combined with autumn leaves and fastened to the front door in a swag), she has to be content to hoot and screech, pop out from behind trees; and when the time comes, bade by what she knows is the truth, she gives directions for begging at the door.

“I am forced to tell ye this, miserable dearies, whether I would or no; so mark it well. If ye pray for the dead, they are released sooner from their torment of waiting in Purgatory and sped on the wings of light to their eternal reward. So go and knock and the woman will open to your knock, and sing as loud as ye can: ‘A soul cake, a soul cake, a prayer for a soul cake!’ She will bear on her arm a basket of cakes and tell ye for whom ye are to pray. And may ye all choke on every crumb and find praying and eating at one and the same time as miserable as the torment I endure forever riding hungry on my broomstick!”

Everyone is delighted by her useless malice, and finds that simultaneous praying and eating is not difficult. Better yet, bade by the woman of the house, they pray before they eat (much more respectful). They pray for grandfathers and grandmothers and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and all the souls in Purgatory. The Catholic children and the non-Catholic children say together for their dead the one prayer they share in common, the Our Father; and after the voices of the Catholic children have died away, the rest continue with “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” This, incidentally, was appended to the Our Father long before the so-called Reformation; it is one of those liturgical additions that was eventually dropped for the sake of purity. Knowing this helps eliminate some of the irritation Catholics feel when hearing it. It is not something the Protestants dreamed up just to be difficult.

Around the house to the various doors (because we live in the country we must confine our party to one house), and then inside for the celebration. In the city, children could go to several houses close together, or to several apartment doors. The old witch, spying one door without red berries, makes a last appearance cackling and greeting the guests from behind the puppet show. She shakes the children’s hands with a wet glove and presses an ice cube in each unsuspecting palm, whereupon they shriek and scream and pile through the door into the living room to duck for apples, chase them on strings, eat popcorn and soul cakes, and drink cider.

If there are many small children, plan the party for them—and let the older children help give it. If there are more older children, it is best to plan the party for them. Sometimes it will work both ways, but more often than not, widely divergent age groups do not combine successfully for parties because the same games and entertainments do not appeal to both. If you have both small fry and older children, you might plan with the mothers of the neighborhood to hold two parties—one for little children at one house, one for older children at another.

For very small children, ducking for apples, apples on strings, refreshments, the chance to make noise and antics in their costumes, can be nicely gathered up and rounded off by reading one or two stories. If they have come in saint costumes, the outstanding game can be telling your saint’s story-after the others have guessed who you are.

For older children or even adults, “A Trayful of Saints” is a good game. On a tray place a dozen or more objects that symbolize familiar saints. For example: key—St. Peter; flower—Little Flower; rose—St. Rose of Lima; dog—St. Dominic; bird—St. Francis of Assisi; cross—St. Helena; crown—St. Elizabeth of Hungary; eagle—St. John the Evangelist; shell—St. James; Sacred Heart—St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; kitchen utensil—St. Martha; half coat (paper cut-out)—St. Martin of Tours. Go slowly from one guest to another, giving them time to memorize what is on the tray. Then pass out paper and pencils and have them list what they remember, and what saint they think they symbolize.

Charades depicting outstanding events in the lives of the saints are always fun at such a party, and ghost stories are in order when the apple ducking is done and people are sitting around the fire.

Here is one for the little ones who may not be quite ready for those of the grimmer sort. This one is told by Granny Newland and it is true, about a Jack Doyle who lived with his grandmother in Antrim, which is where St. Kevin’s well is with the two hollows in the stone from where he rested his elbows at prayer, and they were forever after filled with water. Many’s the time she went as a child and tried to dry them out but the water was back in a wink.

Anyway, Jack lived with his grandmother, who was always growling because he came in so late at night. This night he was late again and hurrying home past the Blind Piers, where it was said there was always a ghost with blinking lights (but that’s another story). So he began to get nervous. He started to run and when he started to run he heard a noise right behind him. He ran faster and the faster he ran, the louder the noise behind him, until finally he reached his grandmother’s house in such a sweat it was rolling off him in great drops, and he fell in the kitchen over the half-door. His grandmother was sitting on a low stool in front of the fire saying her beads and she began to cross herself and call on all the saints and angels and the Blessed Mother of God to come to her protection. When Jack explained why he was in such a fit she gave a look and thought a thought. What do you think it was?

The stiff buckram lining in his brand-new coat.


FYI: There is talk about the Amazon Synod being nothing more then further distancing the Conciliar Church from the Roman Catholic Church and it is true (Faithful Catholics must insist they are Roman Catholics and members of the Roman Catholic Church, not members of the post-Conciliar Church of Vatican II—and the hierarchy of the post-Conciliar Church are not Roman Catholics and not the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church). The following articles by members of the Conciliar Church now under Bergoglio point that there is nothing Catholic about the Synod.


Father Krier will be in Eureka, Nevada, on September 19. He will be in Los Angeles October 1. From October 8-11 he will be in Spokane, Washington, for the annual Fatima Conference.


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