Adult Formation

Fall 2020 Program | Online (Zoom) Studies:
Hebrews: The New and Eternal Covenant
A new opportunity to join The Great Adventure. Begins November 17. Pre-registration required. 

Register Online

To register in person, please download the registration form and submit to the Adult Formation Office. Participants purchase the workbook directly from the Ascension Press website.


In light of the current health crisis, we are re-evaluating our plans for the fall. Please stay tuned for more updates as new dates and provisions become available. Below is a list of the programs we are working towards offering:

Faith, Facts, and Feelings
This series will examine and clarify essential Catholic teachings and traditions.
The Sacraments
The Sacraments: The History, Development, the Celebration.
Sacred Story
The Examen: An Ignatian Path to Christ.
Upcoming Events:
Matthew Kelly *Online Presentation
Presenting “Amazing Possibilites” November 5th, 2020 via Zoom
Jeff Cavins Presents: The Activated Disciple
New dates to be Determined.

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The Ministry of Adult Formation:

“The church has always considered catechesis one of her primary tasks for before Christ ascended to His Father after His resurrection He gave the apostles a final command — to form disciples of all nations and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded.”

“In catechesis it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught — everything else is taught with reference to Him…” Catachesi Tradendae #1

The Office of Adult Formation is dedicated to carrying out Christ’s mandate. In collaboration with other ministries in the parish and the archdiocese, St. John Vianney Office of Adult Formation has created a variety of programs and events for the community. You and your guests are invited to come and be enlightened, inspired and entertained.  It is our sincere hope that our activities and programs will aid in your spiritual growth and result in enrichment for all who participate.


Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – RCIA:

Catholic…..?.
Thinking about it….?
Know someone who is…?

Learn more about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) by attending the next RCIA informational meeting. For all those who have already been through the RCIA process at our parish, we invite you to an RCIA Reunion.


Adult Formation Resources:
Video Lectures & Presentations
Watch enlightening video lectures, like the new series The Gospel in Art, presented to you by Adult Formation.
Order Your Bible
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).
AF_Featured-LightHouse Lighthouse Catholic Media Kiosk
CDs, DVDs, Books and Booklets from some of your favorite authors.
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Stream hundreds of hours of inspiring media presentations from the Church’s most compelling authors!
af_lectures-audio-thumbnail Lectures and Audio
Audio recordings of previous lectures by: Fr. Chuck Talar, Mark McNeil, and a special presentation by Fr. Patrice Chocholoski.

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September 30, Feast of St. Jerome

Most saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper which is why, in art, he is often pictured with a lion. It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen but his love for God and Jesus was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Saint Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. Jerome also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and consultant to monk, bishop, and pope. Saint Augustine said of him, “What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known.”

Saint Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible into Latin which came to be called the Vulgate. The Council of Trent called for an updated edition of the Vulgate and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia. After his prelimi-nary education, he went to Rome, the center of learning at the time, and then to Trier, Germany. He served as private secretary to Pope Damasus.

Jerome traveled extensively in Israel and, mystic that he was, spent five years in the desert of Chalcis devoting himself up to prayer, penance, and study. He eventually settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. Jerome died in Bethlehem, and the remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A Pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you”

St. Jerome, pray for us!
... See MoreSee Less

September 30, Feast of St. Jerome

Most saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper which is why, in art, he is often pictured with a lion.  It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen but his love for God and Jesus was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Saint Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.  Jerome also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today.  He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and consultant to monk, bishop, and pope. Saint Augustine said of him, “What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known.”

Saint Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible into Latin which came to be called the Vulgate.  The Council of Trent called for an updated edition of the Vulgate and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic.  He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia. After his prelimi-nary education, he went to Rome, the center of learning at the time, and then to Trier, Germany.  He served as private secretary to Pope Damasus.

Jerome traveled extensively in Israel and, mystic that he was, spent five years in the desert of Chalcis devoting himself up to prayer, penance, and study.  He eventually settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. Jerome died in Bethlehem, and the remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil.  He was swift to anger but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others.  A Pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you” 

St. Jerome, pray for us!

As the nation prepares to listen to the presidential debate this evening I recalled the words of Pope St. John XXIII who, in his remarks opening the Second Vatican Council, prayed for the bishops gathered to deliberate, discuss and, yes, debate.

Pope John asked for the inspiration and protection of the Holy Spirit “in order that the work of all may correspond to the modern expectations and needs of the various peoples of the world.”

Directing his comments to the Bishops he reminded them, “This requires of you serenity of mind, brotherly concord, moderation in proposals, dignity in discussion, and wisdom of deliberation. God grant that your labors and your work, toward which the eyes of all peoples and the hopes of the entire world are turned, may abundantly fulfill the aspirations of all.”

Almighty God, in thee we place all our confidence; look benignly upon these two men and dispose all things for a fruitful and peaceful outcome. Amen.
... See MoreSee Less

As the nation prepares to listen to the presidential debate this evening I recalled the words of Pope St. John XXIII who, in his remarks opening the Second Vatican Council, prayed for the bishops gathered to deliberate, discuss and, yes, debate. 

Pope John asked for the inspiration and protection of the Holy Spirit “in order that the work of all may correspond to the modern expectations and needs of the various peoples of the world.” 

Directing his comments to the Bishops he reminded them, “This requires of you serenity of mind, brotherly concord, moderation in proposals, dignity in discussion, and wisdom of deliberation. God grant that your labors and your work, toward which the eyes of all peoples and the hopes of the entire world are turned, may abundantly fulfill the aspirations of all.”

Almighty God, in thee we place all our confidence; look benignly upon these two men and dispose all things for a fruitful and peaceful outcome. Amen.

Throughout the world our Jewish sisters and brothers are celebrating one of the holiest days in their liturgical calendar, Yom Kippur. The solemn feast began at sunset on Sunday, September. 27 and concludes with sunset on Monday, September 28.

Since Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day of communal prayer and self-deprivation, the observance of the holiday is centered within the community. The first prayer service of Yom Kippur actually takes place immediately prior to sunset on the evening of Yom Kippur. This service is called “Kol Nidrei,” which means “all vows.” These are the first words of a legal formula that is recited at the beginning of this service and chanted three times.

The origins of Kol Nidrei can be traced to the fact that at various times in Jewish history Jews were forced to convert to other religions on pain of death. However, after the danger had passed, many of these forced converts would want to return to the Jewish community, in spite of their forced oaths of loyalty to other faiths. Because of the seriousness with which the Jewish tradition holds words and promises, the Kol Nidrei formula was developed in order to enable forced converts to return and pray with the Jewish community, absolving them of their vows made under duress. This ancient ceremony is an especially solemn and moving introduction to the holiday evening service of Yom Kippur. Even those most estranged from the Jewish community will return on this one evening a year in order to hear the age-old chant.

Symbolizing the spiritual purity toward which we strive, it is traditional to wear white clothes on Yom Kippur, and many people wear a white robe-like garment called a kittel. In addition, Yom Kippur is the only day of the year when one wears one's tallit (prayer shawl) all day, rather than just in the morning. Many Jews wear sneakers, or white athletic shoes, on Yom Kippur, because of a desire to avoid leather (a sign of luxury in early times).

Yom Kippur prayer services are characterized by their emphasis on the two major themes of forgiveness from sin and of teshuvah, or repentance; we are challenged to repent and improve ourselves. In order to stand before God on Yom Kippur ready for true repentance, we must have first apologized and sought forgiveness from those whom we have hurt over the course of the previous year. Only then are we truly prepared to repent before God on Yom Kippur.

Beginning with Shachrit, the morning service, the themes of seeking forgiveness for sin and engaging in the process of teshuvah (repentance) form the core of the liturgy. The Torah reading details the ancient Yom Kippur ritual in which a scapegoat would symbolically carry the people’s sins into the desert (Leviticus 16). The Haftarah, or prophetic reading, is taken from the book of Isaiah (Chapters 57 and 58), in which the prophet criticizes the religious rituals of the ancient Israelites when they are not accompanied by acts of righteousness, charity, and morality.

One of the central aspects of the liturgy of Yom Kippur is called the Viddui, or “confessional.” In these prayers, the community recites a list of different transgressions it has committed, literally from A to Z. [Since the viddui is actually in Hebrew, the list of sins follows the Hebrew alphabet, from aleph to tav.] Since no one single person has committed all of these sins, the confessions are in the plural, in order to indicate that we as a community are collectively responsible for one another. When reciting the lists of sins, it is customary to softly beat one’s breast in a symbolic act of self-remonstration.

Two other additions to the Yom Kippur liturgy are the Martyrology and the Avodah service, both of which are found in the Musaf (“additional”) service. The Martyrology is actually a long medieval poem that describes in painfully gruesome detail the deaths of famous rabbis during ancient Roman persecutions. This poem and subsequent additions from the time of the Crusades and, (in some communities) the Holocaust, are intended to impress upon us the spiritual devotion of our ancestors, in addition to intensifying the religious and emotional tenor of the day.

This is followed by the Avodah (“worship”) service, which describes the rituals enacted on Yom Kippur in the Jerusalem Temple in antiquity, when the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to utter the name of God at the height of the atonement rituals. Throughout the service, as we recount our transgressions, there is also a constant reminder in the liturgy that despite our sins, God has shown unwavering compassion and mercy towards us.

The Musaf service also repeats the main themes of the Shaharit service and includes many ancient and medieval religious poems. After the afternoon Torah reading, the Haftarah is the Book of Jonah, whose well-known story of the prophet swallowed by a huge fish deals entirely with the theme of repentance.

The final service of Yom Kippur is unique to the day. Called Neilah (“closing”), it refers to the symbolic closing of the gates of heaven and the book of life, in which God inscribes the fate of each person for the coming year. There is a sense of spiritual urgency that characterizes this service, as the sun is beginning to set and most people are light-headed and exhausted from the fast and prolonged prayers. For a lengthy portion of Neilah, the doors of the Ark are opened, revealing the Torahs inside. It is customary to stand whenever these doors are opened.

Neilah builds in intensity until it concludes with a final tekiah gedolah, a “great blast” of the shofar, the ram’s horn. This awe-inspiring sound signals the conclusion of the Day of Atonement, after which it is customary to prepare or attend a festive break-the-fast meal.
... See MoreSee Less

Throughout the world our Jewish sisters and brothers are celebrating one of the holiest days in their liturgical calendar, Yom Kippur.  The solemn feast began at sunset on Sunday, September. 27 and concludes with sunset on Monday, September 28. 

Since Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day of communal prayer and self-deprivation, the observance of the holiday is centered within the community.  The first prayer service of Yom Kippur actually takes place immediately prior to sunset on the evening of Yom Kippur.  This service is called “Kol Nidrei,” which means “all vows.”  These are the first words of a legal formula that is recited at the beginning of this service and chanted three times.

The origins of Kol Nidrei can be traced to the fact that at various times in Jewish history Jews were forced to convert to other religions on pain of death.  However, after the danger had passed, many of these forced converts would want to return to the Jewish community, in spite of their forced oaths of loyalty to other faiths. Because of the seriousness with which the Jewish tradition holds  words and promises, the Kol Nidrei formula was developed in order to enable forced converts to return and pray with the Jewish community, absolving them of their vows made under duress. This ancient ceremony is an especially solemn and moving introduction to the holiday evening service of Yom Kippur.  Even those most estranged from the Jewish community will return on this one evening a year in order to hear the age-old chant.

Symbolizing the spiritual purity toward which we strive, it is traditional to wear white clothes on Yom Kippur, and many people wear a white robe-like garment called a kittel.  In addition, Yom Kippur is the only day of the year when one wears ones tallit (prayer shawl) all day, rather than just in the morning.  Many Jews  wear sneakers, or white athletic shoes, on Yom Kippur, because of a desire to avoid leather (a sign of luxury in early times).
  
Yom Kippur prayer services are characterized by their emphasis on the two major themes of forgiveness from sin and of teshuvah, or repentance; we are challenged to repent and improve ourselves.  In order to stand before God on Yom Kippur ready for true repentance, we must have first apologized and sought forgiveness from those whom we have hurt over the course of the previous year.  Only then are we truly prepared to repent before God on Yom Kippur.

Beginning with Shachrit, the morning service, the themes of seeking forgiveness for sin and engaging in the process of teshuvah (repentance) form the core of the liturgy.  The Torah reading details the ancient Yom Kippur ritual in which a scapegoat would symbolically carry the people’s sins into the desert (Leviticus 16).  The Haftarah, or prophetic reading, is taken from the book of Isaiah (Chapters 57 and 58), in which the prophet criticizes the religious rituals of the ancient Israelites when they are not accompanied by acts of righteousness, charity, and morality.

One of the central aspects of the liturgy of Yom Kippur is called the Viddui, or “confessional.”  In these prayers, the community recites a list of different transgressions it has committed, literally from A to Z.  [Since the viddui is actually in Hebrew, the list of sins follows the Hebrew alphabet, from aleph to tav.]  Since no one single person has committed all of these sins, the confessions are in the plural, in order to indicate that we as a community are collectively responsible for one another.  When reciting the lists of sins, it is customary to softly beat one’s breast in a symbolic act of self-remonstration.

Two other additions to the Yom Kippur liturgy are the Martyrology  and the Avodah service, both of which are found in the Musaf (“additional”) service.  The Martyrology is actually a long medieval poem that describes in painfully gruesome detail the deaths of famous rabbis during ancient Roman persecutions.  This poem and subsequent additions from the time of the Crusades and, (in some communities) the Holocaust, are intended to impress upon us the spiritual devotion of our ancestors, in addition to intensifying the religious and emotional tenor of the day. 

This is followed by the Avodah (“worship”) service, which describes the rituals enacted on Yom Kippur in the Jerusalem Temple in antiquity, when the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to utter the name of God at the height of the atonement rituals. Throughout the service, as we recount our transgressions, there is also a constant reminder in the liturgy that despite our sins, God has shown unwavering compassion and mercy towards us.

The Musaf service also repeats the main themes of the Shaharit service and includes many ancient and medieval religious poems. After the afternoon Torah reading, the Haftarah is the Book of Jonah, whose well-known story of the prophet swallowed by a huge fish deals entirely with the theme of repentance.

The final service of Yom Kippur is unique to the day.  Called Neilah (“closing”), it refers to the symbolic closing of the gates of heaven and the book of life, in which God inscribes the fate of each person for the coming year.  There is a sense of spiritual urgency that characterizes this service, as the sun is beginning to set and most people are light-headed and exhausted from the fast and prolonged prayers.  For a lengthy portion of Neilah, the doors of the Ark are opened, revealing the Torahs inside.  It is customary to stand whenever these doors are opened. 

Neilah builds in intensity until it concludes with a final tekiah gedolah, a “great blast” of the shofar, the ram’s horn.  This awe-inspiring sound signals the conclusion of the Day of Atonement, after which it is customary to prepare or attend a festive break-the-fast meal.

On this day, September 24, in the year 787, The Second Council of Nicea began under Pope Hadrian I. The Council condemned iconoclasm. The Roman Catholic Church considers the Second Council of Nicea as the seventh of the 21 ecumenical councils; the Eastern Orthodox Churches consider this the last of the ecumenical councils

The Iconoclastic Controversy was a dispute over the use of religious images (icons) in the Byzantine Empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Iconoclasts (those who rejected images) objected to icon veneration for several reasons, including the Old Testament prohibition against images in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:4) and the possibility of idolatry. The defenders of the use of icons insisted on the symbolic nature of images and on the dignity of created matter.

Icon is Greek for “image” or “painting” and during the medieval era, this meant a religious image on a wooden panel used for prayer and devotion. More specifically, icons came to typify the art of the Orthodox Christian Church. Iconoclasm refers to the destruction of images or hostility toward visual representations in general.

Open hostility toward religious representations began in 726 when Emperor Leo III publicly took a position against icons; this resulted in their removal from churches and their destruction. There had been many previous theological disputes over visual representations, their theological foundations and legitimacy. However, none of these caused the tremendous social, political and cultural upheaval of the Iconoclastic Controversy.

There is no one simple answer to this complex event. What we do know is that the prohibition essentially caused a civil war which shook the political, social and religious spheres of the empire. The conflict pitted the emperor and certain high church officials (patriarchs, bishops) who supported iconoclasm, against other bishops, lower clergy, laity and monks, who defended the icons.

The original theological basis for iconoclasm was fairly weak. Arguments relied mostly on the Old Testament prohibition (quoted above). But it was clear that this prohibition was not absolute since God also instructs how to make three dimensional representations of the Cherubim (heavenly spirits or angels) for the Ark of the Covenant, which is also quoted in the Old Testament, just a couple of chapters after the passage that prohibits images (Exodus 25:18–20).

The iconophile (pro-icon) counter-argument was most convincingly articulated by St. John of Damascus and St. Theodore the Studite. They claimed that the iconoclast arguments were simply confused. Images of Christ do not depict natures, being either Divine or human, but a concrete person—Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. In Christ’s person, God became visible, as a concrete human being, so painting Christ is necessary as a proof that God truly, not seemingly, became man. The fact that one can depict Christ witnesses God’s incarnation.

The first phase of iconoclasm ended in 787 when the Seventh Ecumenical (universal) Council of bishops met in Nicaea. This Council affirmed the view of the iconophiles, ordering all right believing (orthodox) Christians to respect holy icons, prohibiting at the same time their adoration as idolatry. Emperor Leo V initiated a second period of iconoclasm in 814 but in 843, Empress Theodora proclaimed the restoration of icons and affirmed the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This event is still celebrated in the Orthodox Church as the Feast of Orthodoxy.
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On this day, September 24, in the year 787, The Second Council of Nicea began under Pope Hadrian I. The Council condemned iconoclasm. The Roman Catholic Church considers the Second Council of Nicea as the seventh of the 21 ecumenical councils; the Eastern Orthodox Churches consider this the last of the ecumenical councils 

   The Iconoclastic Controversy was a dispute over the use of religious images (icons) in the Byzantine Empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Iconoclasts (those who rejected images) objected to icon veneration for several reasons, including the Old Testament prohibition against images in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:4) and the possibility of idolatry. The defenders of the use of icons insisted on the symbolic nature of images and on the dignity of created matter.

   Icon is Greek for “image” or “painting” and during the medieval era, this meant a religious image on a wooden panel used for prayer and devotion.  More specifically, icons came to typify the art of the Orthodox Christian Church.  Iconoclasm refers to the destruction of images or hostility toward visual representations in general. 

   Open hostility toward religious representations began in 726 when Emperor Leo III publicly took a position against icons; this resulted in their removal from churches and their destruction. There had been many previous theological disputes over visual representations, their theological foundations and legitimacy. However, none of these caused the tremendous social, political and cultural upheaval of the Iconoclastic Controversy. 

   There is no one simple answer to this complex event. What we do know is that the prohibition essentially caused a civil war which shook the political, social and religious spheres of the empire. The conflict pitted the emperor and certain high church officials (patriarchs, bishops) who supported iconoclasm, against other bishops, lower clergy, laity and monks, who defended the icons.
 
   The original theological basis for iconoclasm was fairly weak. Arguments relied mostly on the Old Testament prohibition (quoted above). But it was clear that this prohibition was not absolute since God also instructs how to make three dimensional representations of the Cherubim (heavenly spirits or angels) for the Ark of the Covenant, which is also quoted in the Old Testament, just a couple of chapters after the passage that prohibits images (Exodus 25:18–20). 

   The iconophile (pro-icon) counter-argument was most convincingly articulated by St. John of Damascus and St. Theodore the Studite. They claimed that the iconoclast arguments were simply confused.  Images of Christ do not depict natures, being either Divine or human, but a concrete person—Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. In Christ’s person, God became visible, as a concrete human being, so painting Christ is necessary as a proof that God truly, not seemingly, became man. The fact that one can depict Christ witnesses God’s incarnation. 

   The first phase of iconoclasm ended in 787 when the Seventh Ecumenical (universal) Council of bishops met in Nicaea. This Council affirmed the view of the iconophiles, ordering all right believing (orthodox) Christians to respect holy icons, prohibiting at the same time their adoration as idolatry.  Emperor Leo V initiated a second period of iconoclasm in 814 but in 843, Empress Theodora proclaimed the restoration of icons and affirmed the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.  This event is still celebrated in the Orthodox Church as the Feast of Orthodoxy.

Catholic? Thinking About it? Know someone who is? Then it's time to take the next step and join in the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation). Inquirers will learn about the faith, history, and traditions of the Catholic Church. It's not too late to join us for our weekly, "in-person" sessions (following CDC guidelines)! ... See MoreSee Less

Catholic? Thinking About it?  Know someone who is? Then its time to take the next step and join in the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation). Inquirers will learn about the faith, history, and traditions of the Catholic Church.  Its not too late to join us for our weekly, in-person sessions (following CDC guidelines)!

September 14, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Early in the fourth century, Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher on that spot. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day, the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.

The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority—including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.
... See MoreSee Less

September 14,  Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Early in the fourth century, Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life.  She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher on that spot. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration.  At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day, the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier.  According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.

The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority—including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.

A Prayer for the Anniversary of 9/11

O God, our hope and refuge,
in our distress we come quickly to you.
Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided,
replaced now with an emptiness,
a longing for an innocence lost.

We come remembering those who lost their lives
in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants
who demonstrated the greatest love of all
by laying down their lives for friends.
We commit their souls to your eternal care
and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.

We come remembering
and we come in hope,
not in ourselves, but in you.

As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken,
we are reminded of the illusion of security.

In commemorating this tragedy,
we give you thanks for your presence
in our time of need
and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
our guide and our guardian. Amen.
... See MoreSee Less

A Prayer for the Anniversary of 9/11

O God, our hope and refuge,
in our distress we come quickly to you.
Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided,
replaced now with an emptiness,
a longing for an innocence lost.

We come remembering those who lost their lives
in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants
who demonstrated the greatest love of all
by laying down their lives for friends.
We commit their souls to your eternal care
and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.

We come remembering
and we come in hope,
not in ourselves, but in you.

As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken,
we are reminded of the illusion of security.

In commemorating this tragedy,
we give you thanks for your presence
in our time of need
and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
our guide and our guardian. Amen.Image attachment

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Amen

Amen,🙏

Why Are Votive Candles Used?

People purchase and light votive candles to symbolize their prayers or devotion. ("Votive" derives from the Latin, "votum" meaning prayer, desire, vote). The candle continues to burn for some hours or days (depending on the size) and thus signals the prayer and love of the person who lit it, long after they must go.

Biblically, the root of this practice is the notion of a “burnt offering.” In the Old Testament, things of value (usually sacrificed animals) would be burned and thereby offered to God. The smoke was a symbol of the sacrifice of praise ascending to God.

Catholics who light candles are making an offering to God of prayer and praise. The fire of the candle symbolizes ardent love.
The consuming of the candle symbolizes the oblation (offering) of something of value to God: our time, our praise, our resources and so forth.

The lingering quality of the candle symbolizes the fact that our prayers, praise and concerns continue in our heart even when we must leave the church. The flickering light also seems to say “Remember me, Lord, remember my prayer and those for whom I pray.”
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Why Are Votive Candles Used?

People purchase and light votive candles to symbolize their prayers or devotion.  (Votive derives from the Latin, votum meaning prayer, desire, vote). The candle continues to burn for some hours or days (depending on the size) and thus signals the prayer and love of the person who lit it, long after they must go.

Biblically, the root of this practice is the notion of a “burnt offering.” In the Old Testament, things of value (usually sacrificed animals) would be burned and thereby offered to God. The smoke was a symbol of the sacrifice of praise ascending to God.

Catholics who light candles are making an offering to God of prayer and praise. The fire of the candle symbolizes ardent love.
The consuming of the candle symbolizes the oblation (offering) of something of value to God: our time, our praise, our resources and so forth. 

The lingering quality of the candle symbolizes the fact that our prayers, praise and concerns continue in our heart even when we must leave the church. The flickering light also seems to say “Remember me, Lord, remember my prayer and those for whom I pray.”

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