FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, JUNE 14, 2020 ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, JUNE 14, 2020 ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

The Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires (1996)

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One of the most important teachings of the Catholic Church is one of the most difficult teachings we are asked to believe that Jesus is really physically present in the Bread and Wine consecrated by the priest during the Holy Mass. In fact, even some priests through the ages struggled with this Catholic belief but God recognizes that many of us need help to believe and from time to time has provided for us clear proof – miracles to help us with our faith in the Real Presence of His Son in the Eucharist.

Some of these miracles happened long ago. Some happened in recent times. One of these is a Eucharistic Miracle that took place in 1996 in a church in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the diocese of Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio who would become our current Pope Francis. This is what happened.

At 7’o clock in the evening of August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host at the back of the church. Someone had dropped it and had not wished to consume the dirty host. Fr. Alejandro went and retrieved the unconsumed Eucharist. As the practice in these situations, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the Tabernacle to sit so that it could dissolve. Fr. Alejandro knew that in several days the Eucharist would dissolve that he would be able to respectfully dispose of it by watering a plant with the water.

On Monday, August 26th upon opening the Tabernacle, Pezet saw to his amazement that the Host has not dissolved but rather it had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Bergoglio who gave him instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6th. It clearly showed that the Host which had become a fragment of bloody flesh had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the Tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, the now Archbishop Bergoglio decided it to be scientifically analyzed.

On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Archbishop’s representatives, Prof. Dr. Ricardo Castañon, a neuro-psychophysiologist was given permission to take a sample of the bloody fragment for testing and he brought it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of where the sample came from. One of these scientists was Dr. Frederick Zugibe, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist.

Zugibe determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. As he looked down at his microscope, he said: “I can tell you exactly what this is. This flesh is part of the muscle of the heart found on the wall of the left ventricle. It’s the muscle that gives the heart its beat and the body its life. I can see infiltrated in this tissue white blood cells and that tells me two things: 1) that this heart was alive at the moment that the sample was taken because white blood cells die outside of a living organism and also 2) these white blood cells address injury. So this heart has suffered. This is the sort of thing I see in patients that have been beaten about the chest.”

Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, involved in the investigations also witnessed these tests. Knowing where the sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s testimony. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they come from a piece of human tissue which had been kept in water. “They would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes,” Dr. Zugiba replied. The journalist then told the doctor that the source of the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water. Only then had the sample been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugibe was at a loss to account for this fact. There was no way of explaining it scientifically he stated. Only then did Mike Willesee informed Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host, white unleavened bread that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh.

Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied: “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science, a mystery totally beyond recompetence.

Then Dr. Ricardo Castañon arranged to have the lab reports from the Buenos Aires miracle compared to the lab reports on a relic from a simpler miracle that took place in Lanciano, Italy over 1,200 years ago. Again, without revealing the origin of the test samples, the experts making the comparison concluded that the two lab reports must have originated from test samples obtained from the same person. They further reported that both samples reveal an AB+ blood type. They are all characteristic of the man who was born and lived in the Middle East region.

How can the events of the miracle of Buenos Aires be explained? Only faith in the extraordinary action of a God provides a reasonable answer. Faith in a God who wants to make us aware that He is truly present in the Mystery of the Eucharist.

As a result of his investigation of this and other miracles, Dr. Ricardo Castañon, who was a staunch atheist most of his life, converted to Catholicism.

Whenever you receive Communion, may the miracle of Buenos Aires help to remind you of the awesome miracle and sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist. Allow Him to nourish you with His Presence!

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MAY 3, 2020

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MAY 3, 2020

The “Mary” Month of May

May, the month in which the earth springs into bloom (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and we start thinking about planting gardens, family picnics, and making vacation plans.

It’s also the month of Mary! My early childhood memories include honoring Mary during May.  I know a number of Catholics who see May as the Month of Mary and we all get the same question from time to time: Why is May Mary’s month?

For centuries, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of May to honor Mary, Mother of God. Not just a day in May but the entire month! The custom spans both centuries and cultures, with roots going back as far as the Ancient Greeks. In early Greece, May was dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity. In Ancient Rome, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of blooms or blossoms. They celebrated ludi florales or floral games at the end of April and asked the intercession of Flora for all that blooms. In medieval times, similar customs abounded, all centering around the practice of expelling winter, as May 1st was considered the start of new growth. During this period, the tradition of Tricesimum, or “30-Day Devotion to Mary,” came into being. Also called, “Lady Month,” the event was held from August 15-September 14 and is still observed in some areas.

The idea of a month dedicated specifically to Mary can be traced back to Baroque times. Although it wasn’t always held during May, Mary month included thirty daily spiritual exercises honoring Mary. It was in this era that Mary’s month and May were combined, making May the month of Mary with special devotions organized on each day throughout the month. This custom became especially widespread during the 19th century and remains in practice until today.

The ways Mary is honored in May are as varied as the people who honor her. It’s common for parishes to have a daily recitation of the Rosary during May and many erect a special May altar with a statue or picture of Mary. Additionally, it’s a long-standing tradition to crown the statue of Mary during May – a custom known as May Crowning. Often, the crown is made of beautiful blossoms representing Mary’s beauty and virtue. It’s also a reminder to the faithful to strive to imitate our Blessed Mother’s virtues. May Crowning, in some areas, is a huge celebration and is usually done outside of Mass, although Mass may be celebrated before or after the actual crowning.

But May altars and crownings aren’t just “church” things. We can and should be doing the same in our homes. When we echo the customs and traditions of the Church in our homes – our domestic churches – we participate more fully in the life of the Church.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to erect a prayer corner in your home. No matter how fancy or simple it is. The main point is that it’s a place designated for God, and more specifically, for spending time with him. Just as you need proper atmosphere to sleep, you also need proper atmosphere to pray.

For May, give Mary a special spot in your prayer corner, especially Our Lady of Fatima whose feast we celebrate on the 13th. And this year 2017 is the centenary of her apparitions in Portugal. Plus, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta, two of the three shepherd children seers, will be canonized on the same date. Sister Lucia dos Santos, the eldest of the three, passed on February 13th (again 13!) in 2005 at age 98. She is now in the process of beatification.

Make your prayer corner appealing and a real tribute to her beauty and virtue. Then, crown Mary. You can give her an actual or spiritual crown and you can make it a subtle gesture or ornate ceremony of your own device. The meaning is far more important than the action. You can do it in the beginning, at the end of May or anywhere in between.

Why? Not just because it’s a long-standing tradition in the Church, although it is. Not because there are any special graces connected to it, although there is.

No, do it because Mary is Mother – your mother, my mother, everyone’s mother – and because she cares for all of us day-in-and-day-out without fail, interceding for us in even the tiniest matters. For that, she deserves an entire month in her honor. 

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, APRIL 26, 2020  ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, APRIL 26, 2020 ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK CA

EXCERPTS FROM LITURGICAL GUIDELINES

FOR THE YEAR 2020 DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

(Updated: April 19, 2020)

In order to help Priests perform their ministry with faith, prudence, and wise judgment, the Archbishop in consultation with the Auxiliary Bishops and the Council of Priests has established the following revised liturgical guidelines. These guidelines are to be followed until further notice.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

• Parish churches, chapels, centers, and missions are to remain closed to the public until May 15, 2020, or until further notice.

• Church offices are to be closed to the public. Pastors may allow a minimal number of parish staff members (less than 10) to continue working in the office provided that social distancing is observed. For example, while the office is closed to the public, staff members can still answer telephones, answer emails, process payroll. If these functions can be performed remotely from home, this would obviously be ideal and diminish the risk of contagion.

• Social distancing requires separation of individuals at least six feet apart. Also, practice good hygiene by washing hands with soap and water frequently or using hand sanitizing products with at least 60% alcohol. Pastors should be vigilant in reminding parishioners and staff members to stay home if they are sick, especially having symptoms of fever or cough. Lastly, encourage frequent cleaning and sanitizing of premises.

MASS

• Archbishop José H. Gomez dispenses all the Catholic Faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and all Catholics currently in the Archdiocese from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass for the weekends of April 25-26, May 2-3, and May 9-10.

• The public celebration of Mass has been suspended in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles until May 15, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice. Priests are encouraged to continue celebrating Mass for their Faithful, but should take the form of a “Private Mass” (i.e. without a congregation) in their church or chapel and be livestreamed. One or two ministers may assist the Priest.

• Priests are to encourage the Faithful to keep the Lord’s Day holy. Some ways to do this include: reading the Gospels, praying with your families, and to join yourself to the sacrifice of the Mass by making an act of spiritual communion.

• Parishes are invited to inform their parishioners of opportunities to view Mass or other services via livestream.

• For more information on additional Mass broadcasts on TV and radio visit, lacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound.

EXPOSITION/ADORATION

• If a Priest wishes to expose the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration he should do so for the Faithful via livestream and in the presence of at least two people, namely the Priest who exposes the Blessed Sacrament and another minister who may assist the Priest (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, n. 86). Please be sure to observe physical distancing.

RECONCILIATION/CONFESSION

• Parishes are to suspend all regularly scheduled confession times.

• Priests may offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation only in danger of death or extremely extraordinary situations. Please observe social distancing, while at the same time ensuring privacy for the Penitent. There are no confessions by telephone, electronic means, or by “drive-up.”

• As Pope Francis reminded us in his homily on March 20, 2020, Priests are encouraged to remind the Faithful who are physically unable to attend individual Reconciliation of the Church’s teaching on Perfect Contrition. Such contrition arises when the penitent expresses a love of God above all else, the sincere desire for forgiveness, and firm resolution to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as soon as possible when available. Perfect contrition obtains the forgiveness of sins, both venial and mortal. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1452).

ANOINTING OF THE SICK

• Priests attending to the needs of the sick are to observe all proper sanitary protocols. If in a hospital setting, check-in with proper medical personnel and follow their directions before entering and upon leaving the room of the patient. For home visits, this includes but may not be limited to handwashing before and after the visit, wearing gloves, a facemask, and a gown to cover clothes.

• If you find out that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, immediately contact your health care provider. As a result, you may be required to quarantine yourself.

• Priests must clean and refresh their oil stocks before visiting each sick person.

BAPTISMS

• Unless an emergency, the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism is to be postponed until further notice. This includes those baptisms which customarily take place at the Easter Vigil.

CONFIRMATIONS

• The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is postponed until May 15, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice.

• All other parishes not affected by the postponement of their Confirmation Mass will proceed with their originally scheduled date, time, and Confirming Bishop.

WEDDINGS

• The celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony from now until May 15, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice, are to be postponed. • A Priest may not assist at a wedding without a valid civil marriage license.

FUNERALS

• Funerals may take place only in the form of “The Rite of Committal with Final Commendation” (also known as the “graveside service”) at the Cemetery. If desired by the family, a memorial Mass can be scheduled appropriately at a later date.

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

20 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LENT

I find this article fascinating and would like to share this with all of you. It’s from https://www.thefactsite.com/lent-facts/  I edited some of it to be consistent with Catholic teaching. – FR. ADRIAN

Here we’re going to look at 20 interesting facts about Lent!

  1. Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting. Sundays aren’t included in the 40-day count.

  2. Since Sundays aren’t included, Lent technically lasts 46 days.
  3. When Lent started, it was only 36 days. Later, it was changed to 40 days.
  4. Why is Lent 40 days? The number 40 is a significant number for Christians. Jesus spent 40 days in a desert. Noahhad to wait 40 days for his ark to float. And Moses, along with his followers, traveled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
  5. Catholics started the tradition of Lent around the year 325, during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread through other Christian denominations.
  6. Lent comes from the Middle English word “lencten,” which means springtime.
  7. Lent starts on what’s known as Ash Wednesday. This is when followers spread ashes on their forehead to signal their repentance. The ashes come from burning last year’s palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday.
  8. One of Lent’s central components is fasting. New Orleans throws a huge party called Mardi Gras on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, aka “Fat Tuesday”. People party in the streets and get fat since they should be fasting and abstaining during Lent.
  9. In the Catholic tradition, no eating meat from any warm-blooded animal during Lent.
  10. You CAN eat fish or other cold-blooded animals, which is why you see fast-food restaurants have sales for their fish sandwiches during Lent.
  11. Besides not eating meat, Christians also abstain themselves from certain vices, whether it’s chocolate or TV or video games or other pleasurable activities. In a sort of paradoxes, some even abstain from sex for 40 days, even though Christians are told to “go forth and multiply.”
  12. Prayer (a deeper one such as retreats and days of prayer) is another common practice for those practicing Lent. This, along with fasting, helps Christians stay centered in Christ.
  13. Purple is the official color of Lent, as this represents mourning for Jesus dying on the cross while also celebrating his resurrection with the colors of royalty.
  14. Lent doesn’t actually end on Easter; it ends on Holy Thursday, the day Jesus had the Last Supper where He instituted Priesthood and the Eucharist (The Mass). Good Friday is when Jesus died on the cross, and on Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead.
  15. All Catholics aged 18 to 59 FAST ONLY TWICE during Lent – on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics aged 14 and above ABSTAIN FROM MEAT (pork, chicken, beef) every Friday of Lent and all Fridays of the whole year. Outside Lent, however, one may substitute other formsof penance, especiallyworks of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast. (Cf. Canon Law 1249-1253)

  16. This is also a time for more charity. Catholics have given more than $250 million to feed the hungry during Lent.
  17. The date for Easter has been set for thousands of years. It all has to do with the full moon of the Paschal or Passover full moon. Easter will fall between March 22 and April 25. There are mathematical formulas used to determine when Easter will fall in any year.
  18. Because we know the date for every Easter from now until the end of time, we also know the date Lent starts. Just count 46 days (include Sundays) or 40 days (excluding Sundays) from Easter, and you know when Ash Wednesday is.
  19. Medieval Lenten rules were harder including black fasts; no food at all on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No animal meat or fats. Fish was allowed. No eggs. No dairy products. Wine and beer were allowed. Medieval Catholics subsisted on bread, vegetables and salt. No sexual intercourse and no Sundays off from fasting and abstinence.
  20. 20. In a study done in 2014, 72% of adults knew what Lent was, and 88% of those participating in Lent were giving up some item of food for 40 days. Chocolate was the number one food most people were willing to give up during Lent.
FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MARCH 8, 2020 – CORONAVIRUS ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MARCH 8, 2020 – CORONAVIRUS ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK CA

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE OFFICE OF WORSHIP
ABOUT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

February 27, 2020

To date it has been decided not to put any restrictions on celebration of the Mass. However, we encourage the exercise of vigilance and discretion at the local level.

Winter Cold and Flu Season. You are reminded to use common sense in your participation at Mass and the reception of Holy Communion during the annual cold and flu season. If you are feeling ill or think you may have been exposed to a virus, you should refrain from offering your hand to others at the sign of peace or during the recitation of the Lord’s prayer. A smile and a heartfelt, “Peace be with you,” should suffice. During the recitation of the Lord’s prayer you are invited to assume the orans position. That is the raising of the hands and eyes toward heaven as a gesture acknowledging our sole reliance on God. Likewise, if you are not comfortable or receiving Holy Communion on the tongue or from the communal chalice for fear of infection, you should feel no pressure to do so. We understand that some will refrain from participation in the liturgy or the sign of peace and the communal chalice out of care for our wellbeing and not out of unkindness or a lack of piety.

What Pastors, Principals, Directors of Religious Education and other Ministries Can Do to Prevent the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus

  1. Staff members, teachers, maintenance staff should stay home when sick and not return until they have received permission from the attending healthcare professional. Inform parents of sick students and/or infected adult staff to expect follow up communication on all absentees to determine nature of illness. Keep an eye out for sick individuals and send them home for further evaluation. If they are infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus, they should stay home until a healthcare professional recommends they return.
  2. Move individuals who become sick at your site to a separate room until they can be sent home. Limit the number of staff who take care of the sick person and provide a surgical mask for the sick person to wear if they can tolerate it.
  3. Remind staff and students to practice good hand hygiene and provide the time and supplies (easy access to running water and soap or alcohol-based hand cleaners) for them to wash their hands as often as necessary.
  4. Educate and encourage staff and students to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Also, provide them with easy access to tissues. Remind them to cover coughs or sneezes using their elbow instead of their hand when a tissue is not available. Be a good role model by practicing good hand hygiene and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  5. Clean surfaces and items that are more likely to have frequent hand contact such as desks, doorknobs, keyboards, or pens, with cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas.
  6. All parishes and other locations should develop a plan to cover key responsibilities in the event multiple staff members are out sick. If staff members have young children, ask them to plan ahead for childcare if a child gets sick or his or her school is dismissed.
  7. Programs involving youth ministry should revise their policies and incentives to avoid unknowingly penalizing students who stay home when they are sick. Arrange for a way for students who stay home to make up program requirements. Maintain good communication with parents at all times.
FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MARCH 1, 2020  ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, MARCH 1, 2020 ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

Lent: A “Turning Point” of Christian Life

  1. There is a rhythm to life. Lent is an important part of that rhythm in the spiritual life of one who seeks God. Lent is about holding life in perspective. It is a time for fasting to focus our whole being. It is a time for silence to sharpen and sensitize our consciousness. It is a time to depend on God and not our own arrogance.
  1. Lent is about profound change at our inmost being. It is about achieving freedom and passing from death to life, as did Jesus, but the process may be painful. Lent is a holy time for community. It is a time to renew and strengthen the religious center of gravity that holds us as community in the common search for God. The desert experience will bring us to that authentic “listening” that is a mark of our spirituality. This deep listening makes us vulnerable. We will see with sharp focus the almost imperceptible signs of God’s reign breaking in our world. We associate a sense of solitude with the desert. Solitude can be terrifying in this culture of noise and crowded rooms.
  1. Lent is God’s call to us to recognize the truth of our lives, to get in touch with the ways in which we have lost our truth, our ideals and our connection with community. This is a spiritual journey searching the innermost corners of our heart.
  1. Lent is not a sad time but a silent time. It is a time to go deep within the interior desert of our soul. It can put us in touch with our real hunger. It can stir in us the courage to confront what keeps us from following the Christ to Jerusalem.
  1. Lent makes room in our life for God and frees us for the fasting that fills our hearts with compassion. Fasting is an ancient tradition in monastic life. It is an asceticism to discover our real hunger. Our Lenten fasting is rooted in experiencing hunger for food, but that is only a metaphor. We are hungry so that we might discover what we truly need. Can we fast from our own selfish pursuits and create a greater concern for others?
  1. Lent is a call to holiness (wholeness). Let this Lent be an honest time in which we use the season to ponder and make new decisions that will bring us to wholeness. The capacity to forgive and ask for forgiveness is acknowledgement that we have broken bonds and the rupture diminishes us as persons. It is an opportunity for putting back together the world that we have damaged by our actions.
  1. Lent is a time of repentance, of rending our hearts, opening them to God’s mercy and forgiveness and opening them to our sisters and brothers. Forgiveness presumes a horizon larger than self. It is a decision for freedom. If the essence of freedom is choice, then the object of freedom is commitment. “Repentance is an absolute, spiritual decision made in truthfulness. Its motivations are remorse for the past and responsibility for the future.” Lent is a time to take back the pieces of our lives that have been given over to what is not of God. Each of us knows what is not right in our life.