Catholic Tradition Newsletter A11: Second Sunday in Lent, Confirmation, Saint Patrick

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Vol 12 Issue 11 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward KrierMarch 16, 2019 ~ Ember Saturday

1.      What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2.      Second Sunday in Lent
3.      Saint Patrick
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

Continuing the reflection on Saint Joseph, one could imagine the pain Joseph felt when, arriving in Bethlehem, there was no place to lodge Mary. It seemed the census was set for a certain time period and the number coming to be enrolled was overwhelming for the little village. The night air would be cold and so Joseph did what he could and when no other shelter was to be found he took his wife to a stable which provided  an accommodation from the inclemency of the weather and some privacy respecting her condition. He was entrusted to care for Mary and the Child, but in the circumstance he must have seen the divine providence that gave testimony that the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood. (Isaias 1:3). Joseph witnessed the shepherds adoring the Child as Luke describes the event: And they [the shepherds] came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. (Luke 2:16-17) The Nativity scene, with the Christ Child in a manger, the ox and donkey nearby, the shepherds adoring with Mary and Joseph beside the child.

And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21) The local Rabbi of Bethlehem would be called to where Mary and Joseph were living—maybe by this time in a house (cf. Matt. 2:11)—performing the ritual that all Israelite boys were subjected to. Joseph would be the one who would bestow the name of Jesus on the Child, acknowledging his right as the father—but Luke insinuates that this name was already bestowed by His heavenly Father: which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. A joy to Joseph, but filled with pain, as the blood flowed from the cutting of the Child. The Promised One of Abraham, which circumcision was a sign of faith in, now lived with His people, Israel. Luke continues:

And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord  (cf. Exod. 13:2): And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (cf. Lev. 12:6; Luke 2:22-24)

Joseph, fulfilling his religious obligations, but accepting his destitution, he purchases the two turtle doves, even though he knows his Son is the Creator of heaven and earth, Lord of Lords, and King of kings. Joseph doesn’t attempt to hide his poverty. Joseph and Mary would go up the Temple steps, knowing that God made His presence known here, but in Mary’s arms was God Himself. and as enter the Temple itself, they are met by Simeon:

And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:25-32)

The Shepherds had come and told them what the Angels announced, and now Simeon also recognizes that their Child is the Redeemer. And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them . . . (2:33, 34)

Joseph, since he would participate in the flight to Egypt and the loss in the Temple, probably heard the words Simeon said to his wife:

And Simeon . . . said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. (2:34-35)

Did Joseph know that he would not live to see his Son’s ministry? Perhaps he understood this as the words were not directed to himself. Perhaps he would be instructed by His Son later in the prophecies and the fulfillment of them, of the New Adam and the New Eve. Surely, though, Joseph saw hope for his people when he heard that even the holy woman, Anna, announced the Saviour had come:

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. (Luke 2:36-38)

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



by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier



By John J Morris (1955)

Lesson 7         What the Sacrament Does for You

50.       What does Confirmation do for me?

The Sacrament of Confirmation gives me:

•           An increase of grace.

•           A strengthening of my faith.

•           The gifts of the Holy Ghost.

•           A spiritual mark on my soul that cannot be erased.

51.       What do you mean by an increase of grace?

By an increase of grace I mean that there is a greater sharing in the life of God.  I receive more ability and a greater right to share in His happiness of heaven.

52.       What do you mean by “a strengthening of my faith”? 

By “a strengthening of my faith” I mean”

•           I grow up spiritually; I am spiritually more mature.

•           I receive a deeper understanding of God’s teachings.

•           I want to serve God more than ever before.

•           I receive help to stay away from sin.

•           I am strengthened so that I will not be ashamed of my religion.

53.       Name and explain the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

Wisdom helps me to know God better and to see how lovable He is.

Understanding helps me to know more clearly the teachings of my religion.

Counsel enables me to make good judgments, so as not to be fooled by the temptations of the devil.

Knowledge helps me to know better what God wants me to do.

Fortitude enables me to suffer patiently the trials of this life.

Piety inspires me to love God and obey Him because I love Him.

Fear of the Lord fills me with a dread of sin which is the greatest of evils.

54.       Do these gifts of the Holy Ghost always remain with me?

I keep these gifts as long as I commit no mortal sin after I have received Confirmation.

55.       Is it true that I received these gifts in Baptism?

I did receive these gifts in Baptism.  Now this Sacrament of Confirmation helps me to make better use of these gifts of the Holy Ghost.

56.       Explain the indelible mark or character that is imprinted on the soul.

This mark is a spiritual brand, which cannot be erased.  It will remain on my soul forever.  This mark is a sign of my duty to defend my religion.

57.       Can the Sacrament of Confirmation be received more than once?

This sacrament can be received only once.

58.       Was it the intention of Our Lord that all should receive the Holy Ghost as the Apostles did?

It was Our Lord’s intention that the other members of the Church should receive the Holy Ghost through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

59.       Do you receive in Confirmation the same unusual gifts that the Apostles received when the Holy Ghost came upon them?

I receive the same general gifts that the Apostles received, but the Sacrament of Confirmation does not give me all the miraculous powers given to the Apostles, such as that of speaking different languages.

Lesson 8         Who Gives Confirmation

60.       Who usually gives Confirmation?

The Bishop usually gives Confirmation.

61.       Who gives Confirmation in the case of necessity?

In the case of emergency, a priest who has received the power gives Confirmation by special permission from the Pope.

62.       When may Confirmation be given?

Confirmation may be given on any day of the year, at any time of the day or evening.

63.       May a bishop or priest give Confirmation outside of Church?

Ordinarily the ceremony of Confirmation takes place in church.  For a good reason, it may be given in any suitable place.

64.       Name some of the vestments that the Bishop wears at Confirmation.

Zucchetto [tsook-ket-to].  The small round colored skullcap that the Bishops wear on top of his head.

Rochet (roch’et).  This is a garment like a surplice, but larger and having narrow sleeves.  It is made of white linen, trimmed in lace and reaching to the knees.

Miter.  A pontifical hat consisting of two flat pieces ending in a point.

Crozier.   The gold or silver staff, symbolic of authority and jurisdiction, which is given to all bishops and abbots.

Cope.  A long white capelike vestment that reaches to the ankles.

Lesson 9         How the Sacrament of Confirmation Is Given

65.       How does the Bishop give Confirmation?

The Bishop stands on the platform of the altar facing those to be confirmed.  While extending both hands over them, he prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost.

66.       Does the Bishop usually give the Sacrament while he is standing?

If the number to be confirmed is small the Bishop is seated; if there is a large number, the Bishop will pass along the communion rail, and those to be confirmed kneel before him.

67.       What does the Bishop do in anointing each person?

After dipping his thumb in Holy Chrism, he places his hand on the head of each and traces on the forehead with his thumb the sign of the cross.

68.       What does the Bishop say while anointing each person?

The Bishop mentions the name that the person is taking in Confirmation, then continues.

“I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

69.       When the Bishop says, “Peace be with you”—“Pax tecum,” what does he do?

As the Bishop says these words, he slaps the one confirmed lightly on the cheek.

70.       What does the laying on of the Bishop’s hand mean?

The laying on of the Bishop’s hand means that the power from God is given through this sacrament.  It has been recognized in the Bible as a sign of giving divine strength.

71.       Why the anointing is made in the form of a cross?

The anointing is made in the form of a cross because it is the sign of Christ, to whose service the one confirmed is now more completely dedicated.

72.       Why is the sign of the cross made on the forehead?

The sign of the cross is made on the forehead to show that the person after receiving Confirmation must not be ashamed to profess his faith in Christ before the whole world.

73.       What is Holy Chrism?

Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm which is blessed by the Bishop at the solemn mass on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.

74.       Why is olive oil used?

Just as the athletes of ancient history used olive oil to strengthen their muscles, so, too, is olive oil used in Confirmation to signify the strengthening the soul receives from the Sacrament—to fight for Christ.

75.       What is Balm and why is it used?

Balm is oil that gives off a very pleasant odor, and is used to preserve from spoiling.  It signifies the grace of the Holy Ghost, which preserves us from being spoiled by sin, and helps us to spread the “good odor of Jesus Christ”. 

76.       Why does the Bishop make the sign of the cross three times over your head, after he has anointed you?

He does this to remind you that you are being strengthened by the power of the three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity working together: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

77.       Why does the Bishop give you a slap on the cheek?

The Bishop gives you a light slap on the cheek to remind you that you should be willing and ready to suffer anything, even insults and death, in defense of your faith, out of love for Christ.

78.       If the Apostles confirmed simply by the imposition of hands, why is the anointing with chrism necessary?

The anointing has been added to the ceremony by the Church.  It has not been substituted for the ceremony used in the early Church, because the imposition of hands is still a necessary part of the ceremony.

79.       When Christ instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation did He say what was to be done?

Christ in instituting the Sacrament did not say in detail the ceremony that was to be followed, but gave permission to the Apostles to choose whatever particulars they thought suitable.

80.       How should you dress for Confirmation?

•           You should dress modestly and neatly.

•           You should walk to the altar with reverence, and with your hands joined in front of you.

•           Ladies should wear a narrow-brimmed hat, tilted back, or veil, and should arrange their hair so their forehead may be easily anointed.

81.       What should you do when you are about to be confirmed?

•           You should realize that you are about to receive the Holy Ghost in a special way.

•           You should thank God for this privilege of becoming a militant defender of your faith.

•           You should be present from the beginning of the ceremony, and remain until the Bishop has given Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

82.       What do you hand the Bishop’s assistant as you kneel to receive the Sacrament?

You hand him a small card which contains on one side the name of the patron saint that you have chosen for Confirmation; on the other side is your baptismal and family name, and the name of your sponsor.

83.       What should you do after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation?

After receiving the Sacrament you should;

•           Return to your place and silently thank God the Holy Ghost for the graces given to you.

•           Promise Him that you will practice your religion faithfully.

•           Promise Him that you will try by your prayers and example to bring non-Catholics to learn about the one true Church.

84.       What penance does the Bishop give you after you have been confirmed?

He asks you to recite out loud the Apostles’ Creed, the Out Father, and the Hail Mary.

 (To be continued)


The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal


MATTHEW xvii. 1-9

At that time Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.


V. 1. And after six days . . . (Matt. xvii. 1-9).

REMIGIUS: The glory of the vision of Himself which He had promised His Disciples, He here fulfilled in this Transfiguration, which took place six days later, upon a mountain; hence is it said: And after six days. JEROME: It may be asked how it is that He took them up after six days, when Luke speaks of eight? But the answer is simple: for here the six intervening days are counted, there the previous day and the last are added.

CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 57 in Matthew: Therefore it was not immediately following on the promise that He leads them upwards, but after six days: that the other disciples might not suffer what was but human, that is, any impulse of envy. Or, that being filled during the space of these days, they who were to be taken up, with a more fervid desire, they would approach it with a more earnest mind. RHABANUS: Rightly did he reveal this glory after six days; for the resurrection to come will be after the six ages. ORIGEN: Or, because in six days was the whole visible world created. He who rises above the things of this world, can ascend the high mountain, and look upon the glory of the Word of God.

CHRYSOSTOM: He therefore took those three: since they were greater than the others. Observe how Matthew does not suppress the names of those that were preferred before him; neither also does John, who speaks with great praise of Peter; for the band of the Apostles was free of all envy and vainglory. HILARY on Matt. XVII: Three being taken up who were by descent from three: Sem, Cham, and Japhet, the future choice of the people is shown. RHABANUS: Or, He took but three Disciples with Him, since many are called but few are chosen; or, because they who now in a pure heart hold fast to faith in the Blessed Trinity shall then rejoice in its eternal vision.

REMIGIUS: The Lord, being about to reveal the splendour of His glory to His Disciples, brought them to a high mountain; hence there follows: and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart; in which event He teaches us that it is necessary for all who desire to look upon the glory of God that they lie not down amid base pleasures, but that they be uplifted to heavenly things; and that He might show His Disciples that they must not seek the light of His glory in the dark of this world, but in the Kingdom of heavenly blessedness. They are taken upwards apart; because men that are holy are separated with their whole heart and by the eagerness of their faith from evildoers; and they shall be completely separated from them in the future; Or, because many are called but few are chosen.

V. 2. And He was transfigured before them . . .

JEROME: Such as He shall be in the judgement to come, so did He appear to His Apostles. But let no one think that He put off His earthly form and outward appearance, or that He lost the reality of His Body, and that He took on a spiritual one. How He was transformed the Evangelist describes, saying: His face did shine as the sun: and his garments became as white as snow. When the brightness of His Face is spoken of, and the whiteness of His garments described, His substance is not made to disappear, but becomes transformed by glory. Without doubt the Lord was transfigured into the likeness of that glory in which He shall afterwards come into His Kingdom. The transfiguration added splendour; it did not take away His outward appearance. Should it be the case that the body became spiritual, were the garments then also changed, which were white, as another Evangelist says, as no fuller on earth can make white? But it was corporeal, and subject to touch, and not a spiritual and ethereal substance, which deceives the senses and is seen only in an unreal appearance.

REMIGIUS: If the face of the Lord shone as the sun, and if the just shall shine as the sun (Mt. xiii. 43), is the glory of the servants then equal to the glory of the Master? By no means. But as there is nothing shines so splendidly as the sun, to give us a figure of the resurrection that is to come, the face of the Lord, and the countenance of the just are both said to have the brightness of the sun.

ORIGEN: Mystically, when one has passed beyond the six days, as we explained, he shall see the transfigured Christ before the eyes of his soul. For the Word of God has various forms, and appears to each one according to the manner He knows is best suited to the one who sees; and to no one does He show Himself in a manner above their comprehension. Here he does not simply say: He was transformed; but, He was transformed before them. For in the Gospels Jesus is simply seen by those who do not, by the practise of virtue, ascend to the sacred mountain of wisdom; but to those who do ascend there He is no longer known as man, but is understood as God the Word.

Jesus therefore is transfigured before them; and not before those who are down below, following an earthly manner of life. But they before whom He is transfigured have been made children of God, and to them He is revealed as the sun of justice; and His garments become white as light: which are the words and sayings in which Jesus is clothed, according to what the Apostles tell us of Him. Gloss (apud Anselm): Or the garments of Christ mean the saints, of whom Isaias says: Thou shalt be clothed with all these as with an ornament (Is. xlix. 18). And they are compared to snow because they are shining white with virtue, and purified of all fever of vice.

V. 3. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with them.

CHRYSOSTOM: And this happened for many reasons; of which this is the first: because the multitude had been saying He was Elias or Jeremias or one of the prophets He here took to Himself the chief persons among the prophets, so that from this also they might see what difference lay between the Master and His servants. Another reason is: the Jews continually accused Jesus of being a violator of the Law, and a blasphemer, and of taking to Himself the glory of the Father. That He may be shown guiltless of these accusations He brings before them two persons who had been preeminent in regard to both those things. For Moses had given the Law, and Elias had been filled with zeal for the glory of the Father.

Another reason was that they might learn that He had power over life and death, and for this He brought Moses before them: who had departed this life by way of death, and Elias who had not yet suffered death. The Evangelist reveals another reason, namely: to manifest the glory of the Cross, and to comfort Peter and the other Disciples who were fearful of the Passion. For they spoke, as another Evangelist says, of his decease that he should accomplish in Jerusalem (Lk. ix. 13). And so He brings before them these two who had challenged death for the things that were pleasing to God, and on behalf of the people who believed in Him. For both of their own will had faced tyrants; Moses confronting Pharao, and Elias Achab. And lastly He brings them before them so that the Disciples might be emulous of their special qualities: that they might become gentle, like Moses, and zealous for the glory of God, like Elias.

HILARY: That only Moses and Elias are present from all the multitude of the saints means that Christ in His Kingdom will stand between the Law and the Prophets; for He shall judge Israel in the presence of those by whom He was made known to the people of Israel. ORIGEN: For where any one discerns a spiritual significance in the Law, or Christ’s wisdom hidden in the prophets, such a one sees Moses and Elias in glory with Jesus.

JEROME: Let us note that He refused to give a sign from heaven to the Scribes and Pharisees asking Him for one; but here He gives a sign from heaven so that He may increase the Apostles’ faith: Elias descending whither he had ascended, and Moses rising from the dead; just as Achaz was bidden by Isaias to seek a sign from on high, or from hell (Is. vii).

V. 4. And Peter answering said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here.

ORIGEN: What the fervent Peter said follows: Lord etc. Because he had heard that the Lord must go to Jerusalem he was still fearful for Christ. But since his reproof he does not again dare to say: Be merciful to Thyself, but indirectly he conveys the same state of mind by other means. For when he sees this place of solitude and quiet he thinks that, from its situation, here would be a suitable place to remain. He desires even to remain there always, and so he speaks of dwelling places, saying: Let us make here three tabernacles. For he thought that if they did this the Lord would not go to Jerusalem; and if He did not go up to Jerusalem He would not die. There, he knew, the Scribes lay in wait for Him. And He thought also to himself how they had Elias with them: he that had caused fire to descend upon the mountain (IV Kings i); and Moses, who had entered the midst of the cloud, and spoken with God (Ex. xxiv. 33). They would be well hidden here, so that none of the persecutors would know where they were.

REMIGIUS: Or again; having seen the majesty of the Lord, and the glory of His two servants, Peter was so overjoyed that he became oblivious of earthly things, and desired to remain there for ever. If Peter was so enraptured then, what delight, what sweetness, shall we taste beholding the King in His beauty, and dwelling amid the choirs of the angels and saints? Yet, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, Peter reveals the obedience of a humble and devoted servant.

JEROME: You err, Peter, and as another Evangelist says, you know not what you say (Lk. ix. 3 3). Do not seek for three tabernacles, since one is the dwelling place of the Gospel: in which are summed up both the Law and the Prophets. But if you do seek for three tabernacles, do not place the servants on the same level with their Master. But make three tabernacles; rather, make but one, for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: so that as one is their Divinity, so let one be their tabernacle, and let that one be in thy own breast.

REMIGIUS: He erred also in that he wished that the Kingdom of the Elect, which the Lord had promised to bestow in heaven, might be established on earth. He erred again, forgetting that both he and his companions were mortal, and without tasting death he sought to mount to eternal glory. RHADANUS: And in this—that he thought dwellings should be erected in the celestial life, in which no house was necessary since it was written: And I saw no temple therein (Apoc. xxi. 22).


March 17.

—ST. PATRICK, Bishop, Apostle of Ireland.

IF the virtue of children reflects an honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the Church of Ireland shone during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, in a village called Bonaven Taberniæ, which seems to be the town of Kilpatrick, on the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighboring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours.

In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snow, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to Him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master, St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. The Saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went; but the sailors, though pagans, called him back and took him on board. After three days’ sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often spoken to the company on the infinite power of God; they therefore asked him why he did not pray for relief. Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came info a country that was cultivated and inhabited.

Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relatives and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations threw the Saint into great perplexities; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and_ such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. He gave freely of his own, however, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings, judging that necessary for the progress of the Gospel, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained up to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions.

A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. This tyrant, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where St. Patrick had been just conferring confirmation on a great number of neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after Baptism. Corotick massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. The next day the Saint sent the barbarian a letter entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want, but was only answered by railleries. The Saint, therefore, wrote with his own hand a letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; he declares, nevertheless, that he is established Bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, Whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us that Corotick was overtaken by the divine vengeance.

St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the Church which he had planted. St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his Council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a country of Saints.

Many particulars are related of the labors of St. Patrick, which we pass over. ‘in the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Tara, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids, or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher; however, Patrick converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized the Icings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greatest part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick’s Church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig; and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning, the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. He died and was buried at Down in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.

Ireland is the nursery whence St. Patrick sent forth his missionaries and teachers. Glastonbury and Lindisfarne, Ripon and Malmesbury, bear testimony to the labors of Irish priests and bishops for the conversion of England. Iona is to this day the most venerated spot in Scotland. Columban, Fiacre, Gall, and many others evangelized the “rough places” of France and Switzerland. America and Australia, in modern times, owe their Christianity to the faith and zeal of the sons and daughters of St. Patrick.

Reflection.—By the instrumentality of St. Patrick the Faith is now as fresh in Ireland, even in this cold nineteenth century, as when it was first planted. Ask him to obtain for you the special grace of his children—to prefer the loss of every earthly good to the least compromise in matters of faith.

(Butler’s Lives of the Saints)


The Catholic Marriage Manual

Reverend George A. Kelly

Random House, New York 1958


Your Privilege

of Parenthood

The large family: Most of us who were born into large families, and poor families at that, are rather proud of our parents for the work they did on our behalf and are quite happy with our many brothers and sisters. All available evidence proves what we know from personal experience that large families those of five or more children—are generally happier than small families. They are better for parents, better for the children, better for society.

Because the parents always lived by the conviction that their main job was parenthood, they were never distracted by outside interests which often destroy the unity of marriage. The typical parents in a large family are dedicated and selfless people, and most often deeply religious. As the family increases they become tolerant and broad-minded in their treatment of their children. They are not bothered by annoying but transient habits of children which often disconcert parents who have no one else with whom to compare their only child. These fathers and mothers learn to concentrate on important things; they lack the time to worry needlessly over their children. Because they often must forego material possessions, they tend to develop spiritual values instead. As one father commented, “The formula for maintaining a large family on a small income is to learn how to do without things that don’t really matter.” Thus parents of large families are encouraged to focus sharply on the true, lasting values of life. And as they grow old they are unquestionably gratified by the love, affection, companionship and, when needed, care they receive from their many children. It is a wonderful thing to see how many children keep up the practice of having anniversary and memorial Masses said for their parents, sometimes thirty and forty years after they departed this earth, a prospect which is not equally to be expected by the parents of an only child.

The benefits to a child in a large family are undeniable. He learns how to live amicably with other people—a lesson many youngsters without brothers or sisters never learn until they painfully try to adjust to a partner in marriage. He is trained to work, play and pray with others. He learns to share. He must listen as well as talk. He must respect others’ property and rights; if he does not do so, his brothers and sisters have proper ways of dealing with him. He learns quickly that he must give in order to take.

Because his parents are too busy to worry over all his little problems, he soon learns to accept responsibility for his own actions—probably the most important factor in making a mature person. He has more freedom to develop in his own way. But he also learns that rules must be made and observed without favoritism. In teaching him to accept regulations for the common good and to live with both sexes and assorted ages and personalities, the large-family system provides the perfect background to help him take his place as a respectable, law-abiding and well-adjusted member of society.

Parents of large families ought, perhaps, be cautioned to safeguard against certain dangers. They must not place excessive responsibility upon their first-born children and, by exploiting them, deny them the normal pleasures of youth. All the children must learn to share in the responsibilities of the home. Favoritism by one or both parents may create enduring resentment on the part of the overworked ones. Parents should also carefully instill the knowledge that the sacrifices necessary in a large family are made from choice. When children realize that their parents forego material luxuries to support a new life, they regard their poverty as a badge of honor and not of shame.

While death, unemployment, or prolonged illness of the father may provoke an economic crisis and cause serious hardships for the large family, this danger is not so great as it once was. Health and unemployment insurance and other systems of aid to the needy have become so well-established that few families now can be said to live in actual want.

Disadvantages that may exist in large families are by no means as damaging as those in the small family of from one to three children. When parents consciously choose the small family as their way of life, they are often expressing their ambition for material luxury as opposed to the spiritual pleasures which child rearing can give. Mothers of an only child are traditionally those who give him no opportunity to develop under his own power. They follow him about, constantly warning him about getting hurt on the playground, worrying unduly about the influence of his companions, checking every activity of his school and teacher. Every crisis of the child becomes a crisis for the parent. It is no coincidence that the “spoiled little brat”—the selfish monster of popular fiction and newspaper comic strips—is usually an only child.

What do your children need? A child does not ask much from you. First, of course, he depends upon you to satisfy his physical needs-to keep him fed, clothed and sheltered and to obtain medical treatment in his illnesses. He asks only for simple care; he does not require fancy foods, elaborate cribs, lace underclothes.

His basic spiritual and emotional needs are equally simple. Billions of words have been written to advise parents how to rear their children. Much of this advice is helpful. Some, however, is confusing—and parents who conscientiously read the material available on this subject may become overwhelmed by the seeming demands of their job. Relax! For thousands of years, children have been taught to lead good and holy lives without benefit of minutely detailed professional advice. Evidence strongly suggests that parents with a clear understanding of their basic obligations and their children’s basic needs can do a thoroughly successful job.

Let us consider what your child requires to lead a happy life of service to God and his fellow-men. You will find that his needs fall into three classifications.

He needs recognition. As we noted earlier, many important elements in your child’s personality are determined at the moment of conception. Neither the mother nor father has anything to say about the child’s sex; whether your offspring will be a boy or girl is completely beyond human control. Perhaps you wished for a boy but had a girl. Like some parents in similar situations, you could seek to prevent her from developing feminine qualities. You could try to force her to develop athletic skills—to run as fast as a boy, climb trees, dive from the high board. In doing so, you would be refusing to accept her for what she is; you would be denying her her rightful recognition as a female.

A prematurely gray, prematurely bent young man of thirty shuffles along Skid Row in Chicago because of his parents’ failure to value him for himself. His father, a lawyer, had built a highly profitable practice which he was determined to pass on to his son. The boy early displayed an ability in art, but had no interest in following his father’s steps. The determined father nevertheless forced the boy to attend schools unsuited to his basic interests. The son finally rebelled, left college and enrolled in art school, where he was thoroughly happy. The father disinherited the boy in a rage and refused to have anything further to do with him. Unable to pay for further schooling and untrained to work, the young man became a derelict. His life was literally ruined by his father’s refusal to recognize him as an individual entitled to his own honest aspirations.

Of course, this is an extreme case. Few fathers—certainly no father with a Christian concept of charity—would act in such a way. Yet, if you analyze your actions, you may find that you try to impress your own ambitions upon your child in less obvious ways. In one family, the first child is an excellent scholar. He has a high native intelligence. The second child is less bright, simply because he received less intelligence from God. These youngsters’ parents are highly intelligent themselves and have high ambitions for their children. They constantly applaud the one child’s high scholastic achievements and berate the other for pulling down the family’s average. They do not realize that they are refusing their less bright child recognition as an individual, and are imposing unfair standards upon him. They are trying to make him into something nature has not intended him to be.

To give your child recognition, remember that he has specific inborn traits. You may be justly proud of your scholarship winner, and perhaps you have helped him develop his ability to study. But in most cases, his scholarship results from his native intelligence—an accident of birth. He might also have been born with subnormal intelligence. Many of a child’s qualities are more a part of him than his height and weight. One is naturally sociable and enjoys companionship and affection. Another is active, aggressive and dominating. A third is shy, oversensitive and restrained. To a certain extent you can control these characteristics; in fact, you must do so when they show signs of leading to antisocial habits. For example, the child who is dominating by nature must not be permitted to push around youngsters smaller or more submissive than he. But your chances of changing a dominating child into a passive one are nil—unless you destroy the child’s personality as well. You must accept your youngster for what he is.

When you give your child this acceptance as an individual, your home can be freed of many tensions. You realize that you cannot stand over him and dictate every action. You permit him to develop in his own ways—to do what comes naturally and thus to grow as an individual. By developing his God-given talents and qualities of personality, he will achieve greater happiness in life. He will be himself—the person God intended him to be-and not a pallid carbon copy of his mother or father.

(To be continued)


Father Krier will be in Eureka March 28. He will be in Los Angeles April 2. On April 11 he will be offering Mass in Pahrump, Nevada.


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Ginger Snaps <>Sat, Mar 16, 8:45 AM (2 days ago)

The laying on of the Bishop’s hand means that the power from God is given through this sacrament.  It has been recognized in the Bible as a sign of giving divine strength.

71.       Why the anointing is made in the form of a cross?

The anointing is made in the form of a cross because it is the sign of Christ, to whose service the one confirmed is now more completely dedicated.

72.       Why is the sign of the cross made on the forehead?

The sign of the cross is made on the forehead to show that the person after receiving Confirmation must not be ashamed to profess his faith in Christ before the whole world.

73.       What is Holy Chrism?

Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm which is blessed by the Bishop at the solemn mass on the Thursday before Easter Sunday….

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