Have you ever had a non-Catholic ask why Catholics pray for the dead? Do you know how to answer that question? Many non-Catholics will take the stance that if you die believing in Jesus Christ you will automatically go to heaven. They might say that praying for the dead is not in the bible. All of their misunderstandings bank on two things: 1) the scripture referring to praying for the dead is in 2 Maccabees and is not contained in the Protestant bible unless it is part of their added books in the back which they do not consider inspired writing;
II Maccabees 12:43-46: "And making a gathering, he [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."
2) they do not accept the doctrine of purgatory which 2 Maccabees also supports, as well as Mt 12:32 Christ refers to the sinner who "will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come", 1 Cor 3:10-15 where Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. What happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? "He will
suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire", 1 Peter 3:19 speaks of Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison.
Purgatory is one of the three Churches: Church Militant (faithful on earth), Church Suffering (faithful in purgatory), Church Triumphant (faithful in heaven). It is the great gift that God gives us allowing us to be completely purified in order to be in His presence in heaven. Rev.21:27 tells us that nothing unclean will enter heaven. God WANTS us to be with Him in eternity!
The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls. Praying for the souls of our loved ones is therefore a holy and wholesome thought. During the rest of the year Mondays are days devoted to the Holy Souls in purgatory so there is ample opportunity to be united with all three LIVING churches in prayer.
You are encouraged to look up this doctrine in the Catechism, and in (believe it or not) Catholicism for Dummies. Understanding why we believe what we do will strengthen your faith, deepen your worship, and allow you to have the necessary conversations that will help people understand who we are. As an aside the words trinity, incarnation, and rapture are not in scripture either but your non-Catholic associates will have no difficulty with those!
- Tiffany J Gallozzi
There is no more divisive component of any church than the style of worship that is offered and fostered within the liturgy. There are no more places of misunderstanding and openness to opinion than sacred art and music. Within these two facets lies the potential to alter one’s grasp and experience of the sacred mysteries of Holy Mass.
The very word sacred holds the implication of being set above the secular which is temporal or profane. Sacred music exists purposely for use within the Church and her liturgies, and as with all things Church there is an authority that helps us to define, and therefore use as a guide, what we should sing.
Both Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI urged the reform of sacred music in the liturgy because it is not only one of our oldest treasures, it also helps us to transcend past the secular into the heavenly realm. Why does sacred music need reforming? Here are some common statements every music director hears:
- I like upbeat music and need Mass to lift me up.
Music and emotion go hand in hand. However, we cannot use emotion as criterion for what is sacred. If this were the case, my opinion would be just as valid as anyone else’s. It also takes us away from what is truly important: the text.
- I prefer contemporary songs and hymns because it is what we know.
Contemporary music is truly a good thing and both S. JPII and BXVI encouraged the writing of contemporary music suitable for the liturgy. However, what is often meant by this term “contemporary” is music composed from 1970-1985 or so. Because these compositions are rooted in secularity they are truly “temporary,” as they appeal only to a particular group of a particular age and do not stand the test of time. The ancient hymns and chants live on, somewhat because of style, but mostly because of the text.
- What do the words matter, I like the sound and style.
Singing at Mass comes from the ancient tradition of singing the Psalms and other biblical texts. The Sacred has become infiltrated with secular texts, so much that the average person cannot tell the difference anymore. One example that comes to mind is the song: “The Lord of the Dance.” This hymn has no biblical basis and is heresy. Because the tune is catchy and people like it, our brains shut down and accept it as Sacred. Secular means “outside the temple” and certainly this song and many other popular ditties should remain so.
Holy Mass is a prayer from beginning to end. The goal for Sacred Music, or anything at Mass should never be “me” but always a focus on God as we work to conform our lives to Him. The Mass is our foretaste of the Heavenly Liturgy; let us give our absolute best to God! Sacred Music is no exception!
Taken in part from http://www.sfcatholic.org/worship/what-is-sacred-music/
On Divine Mercy weekend, the St. Barnabas and St. Lawrence Basilica Respect Life Ministries hosted a joint event at St. Barnabas in Arden. International, pro life and chastity speaker, EWTN Espanol host, and co-author of “Transfigured”, Patricia Sandoval shared her powerful testimony of a harrowing escape from drug-addiction, homelessness, and the back doors of Planned Parenthood. Her story penetrated the hearts of those in the audience. There were approximately 55 people present. Patricia Sandoval (excerpt from testimony): “These aborted babies are our modern day martyrs, same as the first Christians who met their death in the Colosseum. When we are before God to be judged, Jesus is there with his Divine Mercy but those who have defended life will have in addition, an army of martyrs who will come forth and say, “Lord, Lord have mercy on them, for they defended us.”” Patricia Sandoval has been invited to speak at the White House in front of U.S. Senators and has visited many other countries to advocate for the unborn, and to help change legislation. Patricia and her husband recently relocated to the Asheville area and just celebrated the recent birth of their first child. Her story can be found on YouTube and www.patriciasandoval.com.
Here are a few comments from the audience:
Jennifer Kelsch, parent & art teacher at Canongate Catholic High School: “In the name of "women’s right to choose," what women are offered is a truly horrific choice; they are asked to choose in an environment of coercion when they are at their most vulnerable time. What Planned Parenthood offers feels much more predatory than liberating.”
Katherine Kelsch, age 14: “I was most surprised to hear that there were girls my age, in 8th grade, that are going by themselves to have abortions. I have never gone to the doctor by myself for even a checkup. I could understand how scared they’d be. I would be terrified."
Grace Kelsch, age 17: "I think it's important for people my age to hear about abortion first hand because it makes it real and not just a philosophical thing to be debated.”
Victoria Cambron, nursing student: “I hope that more and more doctors will realize that performing abortions does not fulfill their promise made with the hippocratic oath; not just to the unborn baby, but to the mother.”
Nancy Sypolt, RN: “I was in tears the entire time!”
Peg Schneider, RN: “I never thought about all the generations the one abortion cancelled”.
“I also had three abortions like Ms. Sandoval. My first live birth was late in life. Unfortunately, at the time I did not know about Rachel’s Vineyard and had no idea that post-abortion stress syndrome was a major contributor to the severe postpartum depression that I was experiencing.”
Joan Pajak, RN: “What I liked especially is that she included discussing the pain that fathers go through when their wives/girlfriends get an abortion against their wishes as well as the victimization of the Planned Parenthood workers (i.e. incentive salary to hook you and then persecution if you leave and speak out).”
The Born Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act (SB 359) passed in the NC Senate. It is going to Governor Cooper. We need to call and write him to tell him that we want him to approve the bill to protect a child born alive. Below is his contact information:
North Carolina Governor: Roy Cooper
Phone Number: 1-919-814-2000
Toll Free: 1-800-662-7952
Emails can be sent to him via this page:
UPDATE 4/18/19: Governor Cooper vetoed this bill this morning. Please do contact him to voice your disappointment!
Immerse into Good Friday
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the most somber day of the entire Church calendar. On this day many Catholics cover their mirrors, extinguish candles, and refrain from celebratory activities. All of these help to foster a sense of mourning and prayer.
Extinguishing candles and refraining from celebration makes sense in the esthetic of being somber but why cover mirrors? Covering mirrors when someone dies is a carryover from Jewish practices of shiva, their time of mourning. Mirrors are covered because prayer services take place and no one faces a mirror during prayer. A second reason is to emphasize that a mourner avoids vanity during the shiva, focusing on their loved one rather than themselves during this period. A mourner is permitted, however, to look into a mirror to ensure their hair is in order, etc.
Jesus Christ hung on the cross from the hours of noon until 3:00. As a result, this time is often referred to as three hours of agony. These are the three most sacred hours of the day. It is a good idea to celebrate these three hours with prayer. Some suggestions are reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Create an environment of mourning by drawing the curtains and silencing phones, televisions and radios. Quieting your environment and yourself allows you to meditate on the passion and death of Christ. If possible, come to the church and pray in front of the empty tabernacle, join in the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 2:45 and celebrate the Mass of the Pre-sanctified at 3:00. Remember; do not genuflect because the tabernacle is empty. A reverent bow to the altar is all that is necessary.
From the very earliest Christian times, some have the custom of fasting and vigil from 3PM on Good Friday to Easter Morning, the 40 hours our Lord was in the tomb. The Jewish custom is to count any part of one day as “a day” so three days is the total. On the morning of Good Friday hot cross buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast and are about the only luxury permitted in this time of mourning. Legend says that a priest at St. Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire gave these to the poor on Good Friday beginning in A.D. 1361, and the tradition was born. Perhaps you would like to try hot cross buns in your home as part of your Good Friday fasting requirement.
If you have come to Holy Thursday and Good Friday, it is a great experience to attend the Easter Vigil, the holiest night of the year. Come to the vigil and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with the holy fire and the Easter candle and the singing of the Exultet. Join us as we celebrate baptisms and confirmations of those who have been preparing to enter into the sacraments for the first time.
Check out the display in the Social Hall with information on the beautification of the St. Barnabas’ Memorial Rosary Garden. Donations for this project will be accepted starting the weekend of Feb. 16th and 17th. For more information contact Tiffany Gallozzi or Marcia Torres.
Exorcisms tend to be that hush idea that no one talks about, sort of like that uncle that ran moonshine during prohibition. The fact is, every diocese has an exorcist, there is a school of exorcism in the Vatican, and spiritual warfare is on the rise by both the faithful laity and exorcists.
Here are some bits of information that may help you understand this ancient rite of our Church.
True: There are two different forms of exorcism, major and minor.
Major exorcisms are performed on those who are determined, by thorough investigation, to be demonically possessed. They performed by a bishop or by a priest who has been given permission by the bishop.
According to the USCCB, minor exorcisms are prayers used to break the influence of evil and sin in a person's life, whether as a catechumen preparing for Baptism or as one of the Baptized faithful striving to overcome the influence of evil and sin in his or her life.1
False: If you receive an exorcism, your head will spin 360 degrees.
No, no it will not. That is a Hollywood invention! There are times, however, that the devil is given permission by God to bend the rules of nature but never to break them.
True: You can’t be possessed against your will.
Nobody wakes up one morning and says “I think today’s the day I will be possessed”. However, by involvement in particular sins like pornography, drugs, occult, witchcraft, Ouija boards we open avenues that allow the devil to enter us and do great harm. This is why it is important to avoid such things and keep close to the sacraments, particularly Eucharist and confession.
False: The devil will stay away if I frequent the sacraments and pray.
The sacraments provide us with necessary grace to do the will of God. They are not demon repellant.
True: Holy people get pushed around by the devil.
This is a true statement, and includes YOU! The more you seek God’s Holy Will the harder the devil will work to derail you. In fact, there are many saints, Padre Pio for one, who battled demons on a regular basis.
False: Possession and temptation are the only ways Satan is able to afflict us.
Temptation is obvious, but the devil has other ways to drag us down. When we do not go to confession after we sin, the door opens for the devil to work on us. If this becomes serious, we could have spiritual oppression or demonic infestation. Neither is the way, the truth, or the life.
True: Mary crushes the head of the serpent.
The Most Holy Rosary is the strongest weapon we have against the temptations and ills of the devil. Satan HATES to hear the rosary recited! Mother Mary is a fierce ally against demons.
DO NOT BE AFRAID! The power of Christ is strong. Staying close to Jesus and the sacraments will give you the necessary strengths to fight those annoying attacks of the devil. Remember, the devil’s job is to throw you off course but with the example of the saints, the prayers of the Blessed Mother, and the battle ready St. Michael you will have a greater punch against your opponent than Rocky Marciano in the ring!
What’s the Deal with Halloween?
Since Halloween is just around the corner, it is important to consider how to celebrate without losing touch with God and the Tradition of the Church. There are many controversies surrounding the celebration of All Hallows’ Eve. Isn’t this a pagan holiday rooted in evil and witchcraft? No, actually it isn’t. The exact origin of the celebration of All Saints Day is not completely known but around 313, when Christianity became legal, a common commemoration of martyrs appeared in various areas throughout the Church. For example the eastern city of Edessa celebrated on May 13, the Syrians on the Friday after Easter, and Antioch on the first Sunday after Pentecost. On May 13, 609 Pope Boniface IV rededicated the Pantheon under the name St. Mary and all Martyrs. So how did we get November 1? Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated an oratory in the original St. Peter's Basilica in honor of all the saints on Nov. 1 (at least according to some accounts), and this date then became the official date for the celebration of the Feast of All Saints in Rome. Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) suppressed May 13 and mandated Nov.1 as the date to celebrate the Feast of All Saints. So, we find the Church establishing a liturgical feast day in honor of the saints independent of any pagan influence.
However, there is no denying Celtic and pagan activity surrounding that date. November 1 marked the beginning of the Celtic winter acknowledging the Celtic lord of death named Samhain, literally “summers end.” The practices surrounding witches, goblins, ghosts, elves and cats came from superstition surrounding this Celtic lord. The common secular practices were carried over as Christianity spread, perhaps out of superstition at first and then out of fun. Either way it is important to understand that All Hallows’ Eve – Hallowe’en – is rooted in Christian devotion not pagan superstition.
How can Halloween be celebrated with its original intent? Dressing in costume was one of those practices that found its way into contemporary celebration. Dressing as a favorite saint is a great way to show off a hero and evangelize! Trick or treating is a favorite childhood pastime, however English Catholics would chant a different sort of request:
Soul, soul, an apple or two, If you haven't an apple, a pear will do, One for Peter, two for Paul, Three for the Man Who made us all.
Is it possible to celebrate Halloween as a faithful Catholic? Yes, as long as the intent is aimed at the Holy Saints and Souls that lead us to God.
For more information on Halloween visit: