‘Peter and Paul Not Only Shine in the Sky of Rome, But in the Heart of All Believers’

Pope Benedict XVI on a universal and ecumenical feast:

(Vatican Radio) In reflections before the midday Angelus prayer, marking the feast of Saints Peter and Paul this Friday, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the universal and ecumenical value of the liturgical feast. From the window of his study high above a sun drenched St. Peter’s Square the Pope drew the attention of the thousands of pilgrims and visitors to the statues of the two great Saints, who are also Protectors of Rome. Emer McCarthy reports:

Rome, he said “bears inscriptions in its history of the life and glorious death of the humble fisherman of Galilee and the Apostle to the Gentiles, whom she has rightly chosen as her Protectors. Recalling their luminous witness, we remember the venerable beginnings of the Church that in Rome that believes, prays and proclaims, Christ the Redeemer”.

But he continued “the Saints Peter and Paul not only shine in the sky of Rome, but in the heart of all believers who, enlightened by their teaching and by their example, all over the world walk the path of faith, hope and charity. On this road to salvation the Christian community, supported by the presence of the Spirit of the living God, feels encouraged to continue strong and serene on the path of fidelity to Christ and proclamation of his Gospel to men of all time”.

Taking part in Friday’s celebrations, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and an Anglican choir from Westminster Abbey, who joined the Sistine Chapel choir in Mass Friday morning during which the Pope bestowed the pallium on 40 new Metropolitan Archbishops from across the universal Church…

And the Westminster Abbey Choir with the Sistine Chapel Choir at St Peter’s:



Recovered: Priest’s $6,000 Stolen Chalice

But in so many ways, it’s not something you can put a price on.

Details, from the St. Louis Review:

When he was ordained to the priesthood four years ago, Father Noah Waldman took some of the money he had saved over the years and bought himself his first chalice. The handmade vessel was commissioned by Church supplier Adrian Hamers of New York and modeled after a chalice [shown on the left] used by St. Philip Neri, a 16th century Italian priest and Father Waldman’s personal patron saint.

He paid about $6,000 for the silver- and gold-plated chalice, depleting half of his savings. And earlier this month, right before he was to leave for a new parish assignment, Father Waldman’s chalice was stolen from the sacristy of Sts. Joachim and Ann Parish in St. Charles, where he had served as an associate pastor since his 2008 ordination

The chalice, which today is valued at a little under $10,000, is one of several items that were stolen from the parish in mid-June. Several offertory boxes, containing an unknown amount of money, were burglarized, along with other items from the parish.

As the Review went to press June 27, Father Waldman confirmed that the chalice was returned to him. St. Peters Police arrested 20-year-old Sean McDonald of St. Charles County. The chalice turned up at a St. Charles jewelry store. The store owner contacted police after seeing a news report about the stolen chalice. McDonald turned himself in after learning he was a suspect in the theft.

Father Waldman explained that while he considers the theft unjust, he believes that in some way it was just simply part of God’s providence. He added that as a priest, he has a special devotion to his paten and chalice — the sacred vessels used in consecrating the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ — because of his eucharistic spirituality.

“The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ not only touch these vessels, they are created in them,” he said. “This is the center of the eucharistic action. It’s very traditional in eucharistic devotion for a priest to have a special love for the sacred vessels, his chalice especially.”

The has additional details:

Waldman, a convert from Judaism, said that traditionally a priest’s first chalice is a present from his parents.

But because his father had died and his mother didn’t understand the tradition, he bought the $6,000 chalice with his own savings. It is sterling silver and covered in gold and is inscribed with his name and the 2008 date of his ordination.

“That’s where the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ,” he explained. “It is a sacred object to us. It has a lot of sentimental and devotional value.”

Waldman said parishioners had been praying for the chalice’s return, but in the meantime, he made plans to buy a new one.

Then on Wednesday morning, Sean M. McDonald, of the 900 block of Cottontail Lane in St. Charles County, turned himself in at a Cottleville fire station after realizing he was a suspect.

The firefighters called police. McDonald admitted stealing from church donation boxes and taking the chalice, police said. He knew the entry code to get into the church because a family member is a parishioner and he had gone into the church many times himself, authorities said.

He took it to a St. Charles jeweler who paid him $100 for it. The jeweler hadn’t realized the chalice was stolen and contacted police after seeing news reports about it, police said.

McDonald was charged Wednesday with burglary and theft.


President Vladimir Putin at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

During the night of June 26, 2012, while on a working visit to Israel, President Vladimir Putin visited the Church of the Lord’s Sepulchre. At the church entrance, the head of the Russian State was welcomed by His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, together with members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre. Among the welcoming party were also Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s office for institutions abroad, Archimandrite Isidore (Minaev), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, as well as his deputy, Hegumen Feofan (Lukyanov) and secretary of the Mission, Hieromonk Anthony (Gutnik).

Entering the church, Vladimir Putting kneeled at the Stone of the Anointing. It was at this place that Righteous Joseph and Nicodim laid the lifeless body of Jesus after taking Him down from the Cross and anointed Him with incense and wrapped Him in the Shroud.

After that the president was taken to the Kuviklia, the chapel erected at the place of the three days-long burial of the Saviour. Then Mr. Putin ascended Golgotha, the place where the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was crucified and after that descended to the cave in which St. Helen Equal-to-the-Apostles found Christ’s Life-Giving Cross.

President Putin presented Patriarch Theophilos with an icon of the Saviour.

In the morning of June 26, Mr. Putin came to the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, a Byzantine basilica with the 5th century mosaics built over the cave in which Jesus Christ was born.

In the church the head of the Russian State was welcomed by Archbishop Theophylactos of Jordan (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), who told him the story of the basilica.

Then Mr. Putin was presented with a token, a copy of the Star of Bethlehem executed by Palestinian masters. The president lighted a candle at the place where Christ was born.

Source (and more).



A Priest to Pray Against this Plague of Plagues?

From Stand Firm:

Reading and praying this morning, I was arrested by the lesson from Numbers 16:

…and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Get away from this congregation, so that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire on it from the altar and lay incense on it, and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them. For wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” So Aaron took it as Moses had ordered, and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague had already begun among the people. He put on the incense, and made atonement for the people. He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stopped. (vv. 44-48)

Aaron reminds us that Jesus is our High Priest, standing between us and the judgment our race goes out of its way to merit.  Incense represents a pleasing offering to God, and only the perfect offering of Christ on the cross can make up for the way we live life on our own terms rather than as an offering to our Creator.  Incense also symbolizes prayer, and Jesus is the High Priest who “…is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”  (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

After offering the morning “Suffrages” (a short litany for the church and the world), I found myself praying them again later, with that picture of Christ standing between those who will draw near to God through him and the many plagues that are upon us in this fallen world.  I prayed something like this:

Show us your mercy, O Lord;  And grant us your salvation. Jesus, stand betwen our self-centered, sin-enthralled race and the judgment we deserve.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness; Let your people sing with joy. Jesus, stand between all the flaws and falsehood in our churches and the rejection we deserve.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world; For only in you can we live in safety. Jesus, stand between our corruption of your creation and the disasters that afflict us through it.

Lord, keep this nation under your care; And guide us in the way of justice and truth. Jesus, stand between this abundantly blessed yet ungrateful nation and the calamity we risk.

Let your way be known upon earth; Your saving health among all nations. Jesus, stand between misguided peoples and the spiritual forces that deceive them.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; Nor the hope of the poor be taken away. Jesus, stand between suffering people and the despair that can engulf them.

Create in us clean hearts, O God; And sustain us with your Holy Spirit. Jesus, stand between our flesh and the “second death” it courts.

Churches fret and strive about so much – too much, really.  If we neglect the proclamation of the true High Priest, the only one who can stand in mercy between humanity and unsparing divine justice, we are truly disposable.  Plague infested, toxic waste.

May we be thankful that he lives and stands in prayer for us.