"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Carmelites welcomed at St. Monica

Catholic Voice Online Edition

Five novices join with five nuns at the new Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.


By Michele Jurich
Staff writer

About 800 people — a congregation reminiscent of Christmas and Easter — filled St. Monica Church in Moraga to celebrate the official opening of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a new foundation of the Discalced Carmelites in the Diocese of Oakland.

Five nuns in brown habits and black veils and five novices with white veils took their places in the pews as the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, archbishop-designate of San Francisco, celebrated the Solemn Pontifical Mass on Sep. 21.

The Mass, which was in Latin with priests dressed in red and more than a dozen altar boys serving, was celebrated on the Feast of St. Matthew.

The Rev. Gregory Eichman, FSSP, who was ordained to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in May, proclaimed the Gospel. His order is dedicated to the traditional liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Father Eichman, 27, is assistant pastor at St. Anne Church in San Diego. His 19-year-old sister was among the Carmelite novices attending the Mass.

Their parents, who live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, were making their first trip to California.

The Carmel of Jesus,
Mary and Joseph

P.O. Box 183
Canyon, CA 94516
St. Monica Parish has organized a guild to assist the sisters:
St. Monica Church
1001 Camino Pablo
Moraga, CA 94556

The Mass and following reception offered a rare opportunity to see the sisters. Later that day, they returned to their monastery in the hills of Canyon, which would then be enclosed. The nuns will be behind grilles, and just two of them will be designated to speak to the public.

"Today we rejoice and give thanks to the Carmelite sisters who are establishing their enclosure with this Mass," Archbishop-designate Cordileone said in his homily. "You have left the world to seek the more perfect life, the life of single-hearted perfection in union with Christ. Your life is a more perfect life because it is in anticipation of the life of heaven. You leave the world to be exclusively with our Lord. Your prayers sanctify us and bless us."

He called upon those "who must live in the world" to understand "how to leave what is of the world while still living in the world. We must learn to leave all that is sinful, all that is selfish, all that is of the old self, so that Christ might make us new in his image."

At a reception after the Mass, supporters of the Carmelites gathered around the sisters, wishing them well and asking for prayers.

The sisters, who in the course of a day, rarely speak, were smiling and gracious with their well-wishers.

Fifteen members of the Third Order of Lay Carmelites from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Fairfield filled a van, and four traveled by car, to attend the Mass.

The group, which in addition to studying the Carmelite saints, performs works of charity and outreach to meet the needs of the sisters.

"It's not very often that we can get in community with the sisters," said Barbara DiMarco.

Another attendee passing by, added: "They're angels."

Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone celebrated the Solemn Pontifical Mass in Latin, with priests dressed in red and more than a dozen altar boys serving.



The Oblation of Saint Thérèse

On June 9, 1895, at the Carmel of Lisieux, Saint Thérèsemade the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. In her autobiography she said: "I received the grace to understand, more than ever, how much Jesus desires to be loved." Instead of offering herself as victim to the justice of God, as did other religious, taking upon themselves the "punishment reserved for sinners," SaintThérèse decided to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God. She asked to be consumed as a holocaust in the fire of the Sacred Heart, in order to console that Heart and save souls. "Fire transforms all things into itself, " the saint wrote in her Act of Oblation. "I know that the fire of love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory."
With her Act of Oblation, Saint Thérèse did not expect sufferings to go away. "I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice...I will sing always, even if my roses must be gathered among thorns...." In a letter to her sister Celine, she explained: "The burden of our song is suffering. Jesus offers us a chalice of great bitterness. Let us not withdraw our lips from it, but suffer in peace. He who says peace does not say joy, or at least sensible joy....Do not think we can find love without suffering...."
Through her Oblation to Merciful Love, Saint Thérèse gained a deep insight into her Carmelite vocation. "I understand that love embraces all vocations, that it is all things, and that it reaches out through all ages, and to the uttermost limits of the earth, because it is eternal....In the heart of the Church my Mother, I will be love." She prayed that after her death she be allowed to "return to earth" to keep saving souls. She said: "I want to spend my heaven doing good upon earth."
"You will look down from Heaven, will you not?" asked her sister when SaintThérèse was mortally ill.

"No," replied the dying young woman. "I will come down." Another time she said: "After my death, I will let fall from Heaven a shower of roses." On September 30, 1897, in great mental and physical agony, the twenty-four year old nun, gasping for breath, proclaimed: "I do not regret having surrendered myself to Love." A few hours later, her last words were: "My God, I love You."

The miracles which followed her death took the Church and the world by storm.
(All quotations are from the book Soeur Thérèse of Lisieux, The Little Flower, 1912)

No comments:

Post a Comment