"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Ethiopians are gone...

Coptic boys pray in ruined Egyptian church. 

Without the outward signs in the Sacraments we could not know when or with what effect the grace of the Sacraments enters into our souls. - Baltimore Catechism

I've been writing with great joy on how the Ethiopian Orthodox have been 'using' the church across the street from me each Sunday since Divine Mercy Sunday.  (The church is Seventh Day Adventist and they have service on Saturdays, which allowed the Ethiopians to use it.)

I don't know what happened, but they are not there this Sunday.  I'm not sure if they found another church or returned to their original church, since I surmised there had been some sort of rift among them.  Evidently not everyone in their group got the message Liturgy would not be celebrated at the rented church today since a few Ethiopians have come and gone this morning.

From Ethiopian Church of St. George.

I feel sad.

How much I wanted a Catholic church across the street - and I was not at all disappointed that the Orthodox happened to be the Catholics using it each Sunday.  Why is it important they be Catholic?  What is so special about Catholics?  It is precisely this: the Liturgy and the Sacraments - made possible only because of the ordained priesthood.  Other Protestant churches have the 'form' of religion, but not the 'power' - they cannot confect the Eucharist, nor can their ministers absolve a penitent from sin.

A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.  - Baltimore Catechism

The absence of the Ethiopians this morning reminded me of what it must be like in Mosul or Kirkuk now that the Christians have been exiled, and Mass is no longer celebrated there.  It left me with a very deep empty feeling and sadness.

What would I do, what would you do without the Mass?  Without the Sacraments?  Without the Blessed Sacrament?  What would we do without priests?

Even the most unorthodox priest retains the power to confect the Eucharist, to absolve from sin, to anoint and prepare us for heaven.

What if we were deprived of this grace?  What if all of our churches were closed and we had no place to worship?  Not even able to have a clandestine Mass in some hidden place because there were no priests?

The Sacraments have been instituted as a special means through which we are to receive the grace merited for us by Christ. As Christ is the giver of the grace, He has the right to determine the manner in which it shall be given, and one who refuses to make use of the Sacraments will not receive God's grace. - Baltimore Catechism

Never miss Mass on Sundays if you can help it.  Never omit regular-frequent confession.  Never withhold your support from the Church.  Always respect every priest - even when you believe him to be unfaithful - because he can still administer the sacraments.

Be faithful - even when others are not - because God is always faithful.

The effect of the Sacraments does not depend on the worthiness or unworthiness of the one who administers them, but on the merits of Jesus Christ, who instituted them, and on the worthy dispositions of those who receive them. - Baltimore Catechism


  1. This is probably not the same group, but it may give you some clues...


    1. That's unfortunate. I think it has something to do with it.

  2. "What if we were deprived of this grace? What if all of our churches were closed and we had no place to worship? Not even able to have a clandestine Mass in some hidden place because there were no priests?"

    Those days are coming. We may not live to see it and if we do, well, we best get ready now but they are coming. Francis Cardinal George (I hope he's doing well these days) has said it himself.

    I remember him saying "He would die in the comfort of his own bed, his predecessor would suffer for the faith and his predecessor's predecessor, would die martyred in the public square. Not exact words but ver close.

    I am hoping your neighbors are not gone long as it makes me sad too. Lovely picture btw...these little beauties praying give me hope.

    Please, Lord Jesus, save your people!

  3. They're not coming. There are too many Catholics out there for this to happen. Remember that throughout the world there are underground seminaries to ensure that we won't run out of priests. St John Paul was at one. Note also that in times without priests, Catholics still are Catholic. When Kosovo was freed, many put off the veneer of Islam under which they lived and reverted to their Christian status, after 500 years. How many generations is that of people who were raised as clandestine Christians? And the moment they were able to they received the sacraments, being baptized into the Orthodox Church, having marriages regularized, etc.

    1. I'm not worried. The history of Japan's persecuted Catholics, from centuries ago, is another fine example, they survived without a priest for many centuries.
      French priest, Bernard Thadee Petitjean, investigated their underground organizations and discovered that they had kept the rite of baptism and the liturgical years without European priests for nearly 250 years. Petitjean’s report surprised the Christian world; Pope Pius IX called it a miracle.

      So despite no priest, the laity kept the faith. We may well see that again in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    2. Nan - I was also thinking of when parishes close and merge - or what if you lived in a remote area in New Mexico without a regular priest? Or what if you lived in some city but had no access to Mystic Monk coffee? Think woman - think.



    3. Oh, please, if you have an internet connection or the pony express you have access to Mystic Monk coffee. The monks could bring it overland to NM for you. If you dont' have a priest and it's too far to drive to a regular Mass, you can stay home and watch EWTN. It isnt' a sin to miss mass if it's an impossibility. Plus, you can write to the bishop and demand a regular priest instead of a freaky one

      On that note, I'm going to Mass. I expect to find a priest there.

    4. Oh you! You - you - you - - - -

    5. Terry,
      Like Nan said priests will always be present just in many areas of the world they are suppressed. Last Sunday at Mass, Father talked about a group of North Koreans who have not been able to hear many for years due to government suppression but they keep praying. One old lady prays the rosary daily by counting beans. How he knows, who knows but it was inspiring since we are just too fat and spoiled here n the U.S.

      Papa Francis has spoken of this as well where he recounted an area of persecution by not stating the country but stating that he knows an elderly priest who "celebrates Mass in the open" by pretending to drink coffee in a coffee shop "with friends."

      One of the priests in my parish is from South America and he tells us many are the weeks and maybe months too, when they have to leave the city by horseback, and ride into the jungle to try and get to small villages to see the faithful. He says it is dangerous work due to the many gangs and narcotic trafficking but says it is work that he does in a missionary spirit for Christ our Lord since the people only see the priest but a few times a year.

    6. TYPO! ^^


      "a group of North Koreans who have not been able to attend Mass or recieve the sarcaments for many years."

  4. I'm not worried either - but without the priest - no sacraments.

  5. I talked to a family who came to the church today - it wasn't open of course and they stood outside in prayer touching the doors. They asked me if people had been there earlier - I said no - told them what I thought might have happened and asked them about the split - but they weren't able to tell me much - I think they thought I was nuts because I was so enthusiastic. When I told them I knew their priest in St. Paul and that I was Catholic they seemed more at ease.

  6. Love the references to the catechism. We all remember the question Why did God make me? To know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next. African catechism answer: He thought you would like it. Aloha, Fr P

  7. I went to Mass and found a priest.

  8. I went to Mass and found a priest.

    1. So did I. And a deacon too. The deacon came over to me to chat after Mass.


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