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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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URGENT: Religious Liberty of the Church in Jeopardy!

Attached is a letter from Cardinal Wuerl to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington.

It has been asked that we please bring this information to the attention of  parishioners.

Recommendations were made for a bulletin announcement or information on the parish website, recommending that parishioners visit…




…for details about the new federal mandate and how to contact Congress to support legislation that would reverse the administration’s decision.

On January 20, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services with the approval of President Barack Obama issued a new federal mandate making coverage of abortifacient drugs, sterilization and all FDA-approved contraceptives obligatory for virtually all employers, including faith-based institutions.

What will happen if this mandate stands?  Our schools, hospitals and charitable organizations will be placed in the untenable position of choosing between violating civil law and abandoning our religious beliefs.

There can no longer be any doubt that religious liberty in our country is in jeapardy.  Only weeks ago, the Obama administration unsuccessfully argued to the Supreme Court that the government has the right to interfere in a church’s choice of ministers.  Thankfully, the Court unanimously rejected this radical position.  Undeterred, the government has advanced on another front.

Archbishop P. Broglio of the Military Services has sent a letter to those in the Armed Forces and their families, expressing similar concerns. He writes:

It is imperative that I call to your attention an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church of the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people–the Catholic population–and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful. It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle.

We cannot–we will not–comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.

Study of the Eucharist from the Perspective of Presences

Liturgy: “Source of Church Activity – Source of Sanctification”

Noblest Form of the Liturgy – “The Eucharist”

I suspect that this information was essentially a brief outline to a much larger talk. When asked why we single out the Eucharist as the “real” presence, I recall him say that it was because critics challenged it. The Church wanted to give emphasis to the presence as not figurative or as empty symbolism. It is the sacred sign that conveys what it signifies.

—Father Jenkins

Study of the Eucharist from the Perspective of Presences

PREAMBLE – All presences are real. That is why the Eucharist is called, “The Blessed Sacrament.”


Christ as man has a limited presence by space and time.

Christ as God has risen beyond space and time. He has unlimited presence in space and time. This is why at the Last Supper Christ could render present what was effectively done later on Good Friday.

Christ’s action is once and for all. (He does not die again.)

Sacraments (signs) are efficacious and give the action of Christ a here-and-now existence.

Why do we look at the “past”? – It is to better understand what the unseen Christ is doing in the Liturgy. What he “did,” he “does.”

Why do we look to the future? We are working now with Christ toward the full realization of the divine plan. I experience in hope; I already have a pledge of the future. We are contributing to the future, now (“thy” Kingdom come”).

We are building the future now with Christ. The future is not just a question of a time sequence. It is a state of perfection which exists when God’s plan comes to fruition. We work for that plan now and God works with us.


1. Assembly
2. Presiding Priest
3. Word
4. Eucharist

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Prayers after Communion

The following prayers were found among Msgr. Awalt’s papers:

Jesus, Infinite Goodness,
Jesus, Lover of mankind,
Jesus, most patient,
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Make my heart like unto Thine.

Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, burning with love for me,
Inflame my heart with love for Thee and for those around me.
Pour into us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love.
From anger and hate and from all evil wishes, O Lord deliver us.

Grant, O Lord, that every moment of this day in all my dealings with others, I may keep in my mind Thy words: “Whatsoever you do to one of them you do unto Me.”

Grant that I may rule all my dealings with others according to Thy command: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Grant that I may think of them as You think of them and me.

Grant that I may feel towards them as You feel towards them and me.

Grant that I may speak to them as You would were You in my place.

Grant that I may bear with them as You bear with me.

Grant that I may consider it a privilege “not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

Grant that I may look for opportunities of doing good to them in a kindly, humble way – seeing You, serving You, in them.

Place Your thoughts in my mind, Your love in my heart, Your words on my lips – that I may learn to love others as You love me.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Insights into the Sacrifice of the Mass

“The worst disease in the world today,” says Mother Teresa, “is not cancer, not leprosy, but loneliness.” The longing to give one’s self in love and to know that one is loved in return, is as universal as life itself. This longing is behind the familiar sentence in the Genesis creation tale: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will provide a partner for him’” (Genesis 2:18).

We seek the fulfillment for which our hearts long in friendship and marriage. Beyond these human relationships people from the beginning of time have sought a remedy for their inner emptiness through fellowship with God. Often this takes the form of offering God sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice is to atone or make up for sin; sometimes it is offered in gratitude for blessings received or to reinforce the worshipper’s prayer for future favors. Sometimes sacrifice may take the form of a religious meal through which the worshippers seek to enter into communion with God.

Jewish religion permitted such sacrifice only in the temple at Jerusalem, which was thought to be the dwelling place of God on earth. Increasingly, however, Jesus’ people came to realize that there was a fundamental flaw in the sacrifices they offered to God. Israel’s prophets continually pointed out that God did not need or want material things, since he was the creator of everything anyway and hence their true owner. God was interested not so much in gifts as in the giver.

This was the one thing people could not offer to God in sacrifice. And, to the extent that they tried to do so, their offerings were tainted by sin, and hence, unworthy of God, who deserved a perfect offering.

The realization that the sacrifices offered in the Jerusalem temple never really made up for human sin is why Paul writes, “Every priest” (and the author is referring to Jewish priests in the Jerusalem temple) “stands ministering day by day, and offering again and again those same sacrifices which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11).

It is part of the Good News which Jesus came to proclaim that this failure at the heart of his people’s religion has been ended. A perfect sacrifice has been offered to God once; one truly worthy of him; one which does make up for and take away the burden of all sins for all time and which actually achieves what all sacrifices tried to achieve without success— end human loneliness and bring people into loving fellowship with the one who alone can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts: God himself.

This perfect sacrifice was offered by Jesus Christ. It began with his birth in obscurity in a remote village on the edge of the then known world. It continued through the whole of Jesus’ life, which he lived always in perfect obedience to his Father’s will. Jesus consummated this offering of his sinless life to his Father on Calvary, uttering as he did so the words: It is consummated” (John 19:30).

Hebrews 10:12-18 refers to this when it contrasts the repeated offering of material sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple, “Which can never take away sins,” with the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “But Jesus, on the other hand, offered one sacrifice for sins and took his seat forever at the right hand of God… By one offering he has forever perfected those who are being sanctified. Once sins have been forgiven, there is no further offering for sin.”

The last phrase arrests our attention at once. It seems to contradict the Church’s teaching that there is a daily repeated offering for sin: the Mass. We seem to be confronted with a dilemma. Either Jesus’ self-offering, consummated on Calvary was truly all-sufficient, unique and unrepeatable – in which case it is difficult to see how we can say that the Mass, too, is a sacrifice, or the Mass is a sacrifice – in which case Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was not all-sufficient.

This seeming dilemma makes us ask: What is the relationship between the Mass and Calvary?

To answer that question we must go behind Calvary to the Last Supper. There Jesus used the familiar symbolism of the Jewish Passover meal to interpret for his friends what he was about to do the next day. Giving thanks to God over bread and wine, which is the Jewish way of blessing them, Jesus said: “This is my body… This is my blood.” But he said more. He called the bread, “My body given for you,” and the wine, “My blood poured out for you.” That is Jewish sacrificial language. Jesus was referring to the sacrifice of his body and blood on Calvary where his body would be broken and his blood poured out.

Finally, Jesus gave his friends a command: “Do this in my memory.” When, in obedience to that command, we “do this,” Jesus is truly present with us. Here in the Eucharist we have not merely his body and blood, under the outward forms of bread and wine. Here we have Jesus’ broken body and his poured out blood. Jesus’ sacrifice is not repeated. Rather, it is made present. As Jesus presented his sacrifice “ahead of time,” as it were, at the sacrifice offered once for all on Calvary is again presented and made present as we celebrate that event in sacred symbols.

These symbols, bread and wine, make present both him whom they symbolize and what he has done for us. Here time and space fall away. Here we are able to stand with Mary and John at the Cross, with but one exception: we cannot see Jesus with our bodily eyes, only with the eyes of faith.

There is yet another dimension to the Mass. Because Jesus has offered the one, perfect sacrifice, acceptable to God, the offerings we make to him are no longer unacceptable, despite our sins. Offered together with Jesus’ sacrifice (which is here commemorated and made present, though not repeated) our offering of ourselves, our souls and bodies is acceptable to God. Our offering is imperfect. Yet, offered together with Christ’s perfect sacrifice, our littleness is swallowed up in his greatness; our imperfection is covered over by his perfection.

The priest says at Mass, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” Let us always respond to the offertory invitation at Mass with faith, understanding and conviction: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.”

Msgr. William J. Awalt


Answers to Yesterday’s Quiz: I. 1) F / 2) F / 3) F (The substance of the bread and wine are completely annihilated; the appearance of bread and wine remain.) / 4) T / 5) F / 6) F / II. 1) Correct way to receive. / 2) Correct way to receive. / 3) Incorrect. / III. 1) water & medicine; one hour (Those of advanced age or severe infirmity can receive Holy Communion even if they have taken food within the hour.) / 2) Amen. / 3) Amen.

Quiz on the Eucharist

I. True or False. Read carefully the statements below and place T or F in the blanks according to whether they express Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist.

1. _____ One receives bread and wine in Holy Communion, which symbolizes the spirit and teaching of Jesus.

2. _____ One receives the body and blood of Christ, whose presence is brought about by the recipient’s personal belief.

3. _____ Jesus is really, truly and substantially present in the bread and wine.

4. _____ One really and truly receives the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.

5. _____ Holy Communion is only a memorial of what happened a long time ago at the Last Supper, not the living presence of the risen Christ who comes in communion to be one with his people.

6. _____ Holy Communion is a personal devotion and not a family meal. So, even if one is not a member of God’s family, the Church, it is all right to receive Holy Communion based on your personal belief.

II. Place a check in the blanks that indicate the acceptable ways for a Catholic to receive Holy Communion:

1. _____ By extending the tongue so that the minister can place the consecrated host on it.

2. _____ By extending one hand forward, palm upward, with the other hand supporting it underneath, then taking the host in the fingers of the supporting hand and consuming it.

3. _____ By taking the host between the thumb and forefinger from the minister.

III. Fill in the blanks:

1. The Eucharistic fast consists of abstaining from all food and drink except for _____________ and _______________ for a period of ____________ before receiving Holy Communion.

2. When the Minister of Holy Communion offers the consecrated host to a Catholic and says: “the Body of Christ,” the communicant responds audibly: “_______________.”

3. When the minister of Holy Communion offers the chalice to a Catholic and says: “The Blood of Christ,” the communicant responds audibly: “________________.”

Msgr. William J. Awalt

See the answers in tomorrow’s post.


Interconnection of the Mass Parts

One theme to show the interconnection of the “parts” of the Mass is preparation. There is remote preparation (one’s way of life) and immediate preparation. Regarding the latter, we should come early, look over the readings and form our intention for being present, etc. Coming late to Mass is a failure to appreciate the dependence of the whole Mass upon its many parts.

1. Opening Prayer(s) – There is a call to worship and repentance that prepares us for the Word of God (Liturgy of the Word).

2. Liturgy of the Word – God confronts and comforts us to prepare us for the Preparation of the Gifts (“we” are those gifts).

3. Preparation of the Gifts – It prepares us for transformation, that we might be given the disposition and likeness of Christ.

4. Liturgy of the Eucharist – It prepares us for fruitful communion with God in the person of Jesus Christ.

5. Communion – It prepares us for our pilgrim journey as individual Christians and as the family of God.

6. Dismissal – It empowers and prepares us to go forth and to spread the “Good News” and to apply in our lives what we have done in the liturgy.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Music in the Eucharist

The following is a listing of the parts of the Mass as they should be ranked for music whenever it is to be had for the Eucharist. This listing is based upon the official documents of the Church, contemporary commentary both musical and liturgical, and what seems to make good common sense. As an example, the Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus) should always be sung when music is to be had. It is a musical prayer by its very nature. Biblical analysis reveals that it has its origins in ancient worship. Liturgical studies show that it is inherently lyrical (musical). Theologically, we regard it as reserved to the whole community.

Parts to be always sung: Gospel Acclamation, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen and Lamb of God.

Parts that should be sung: Responsorial Psalm (easy settings) and Communion Thanksgiving Hymn.

Parts that can be added: Processional Hymn, Lord Have Mercy, Song of Preparation of the Gifts, Lord’s Prayer, recessional Hymn and General Intercessions.

Parts that can be substituted by the choir alone: Gloria, Meditation at Preparation of the Gifts, Meditation during Communion Processional or Post-Communion Thanksgiving Piece.

On occasion, the choir might sing a solo entrance or closing hymn, but this would be rare.

Msgr. William J. Awalt


The information about vestments that follows was derived in part from Rev. Richard Kugelman, C.P.’s introduction to the Saint Joseph Daily Missal published in 1957.

For the Priest

The Amice – A square of white material (traditionally linen) wrapped around the neck and covering the shoulders. [Today some albs have a higher collar to replace the amice.] During the Middle Ages, the amice was worn as a hood to protect the head in cold churches. The amice symbolizes the “helmet of salvation,” i.e. the virtue of hope (1 Thess. 5:8), that helps the priest to overcome the attacks of Satan.

The Alb – A long white garment reaching to the feet, it symbolizes the innocence and purity that should adorn the soul of the priest who ascends the altar.

The Cincture – The cord used as a belt to gird the alb. It symbolizes the virtues of chastity and continence required of the priest.

The Stole – Roman magistrates wore a long scarf when engaged in their official duties, just as our judges wear a court gown. Whenever a priest celebrates Mass or administers the sacraments, he wears the stole about his neck. Vesting for Mass, the priest traditionally begged God to give him on the last day the “garment of immortality” that was forfeited by our sinful first parents.

The Chasuble – It is the outer vestment put on over the others. Returning to its original shape, contemporary chasubles are full garments, shaped like a bell and reaching almost to the feet all the way around. During a bad artistic period, the 18th and 19th centuries especially, the chasuble suffered much from a process of shortening and stiffening. The chasuble symbolizes the virtue of charity, and the yoke of unselfish service in the Lord, which the priest assumes at ordination.

For the Deacon

The Dalmatic – In addition to a stole, worn from the left shoulder to the right side, the deacon may wear a dalmatic. It is an outer sleeved tunic that came to Rome from Dalmatia, whence came its name. It is worn in place of the chasuble by the deacon during Solemn Mass. It symbolizes the joy and happiness that are the fruit of dedication to God.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Never Mind Your Wishes, We Know Better

In England, doctors would like to make the choice between life and death. Here is a report from back in 2006. It is still relevant today:

A High Court judge on Wednesday refused a request from doctors to turn off a ventilator keeping alive an 18-month-old boy with incurable spinal muscular atrophy. The boy’s parents had opposed their request, arguing that although he was severely physically disabled, the boy could still enjoy spending time with his family . . . The case was believed to be the first in which doctors had asked to allow a patient who is not in a persistent vegetative state to die.

Under England’s NHS, I imagine the doctors were trying to protect their financial interests. It’s certainly not cost effective to pay for the care of the severely disabled. (Never mind that the funding comes from the sky-high taxes of their very own patients!)

In this case, the request was denied, but the fact that the doctors felt themselves within their medical right to make such a request has far-reaching and grotesque implications. How can anyone in England feel safe in the hands of these arrogant holier-than-thous?

Not much of a leap from abortion to infanticide, the slippery slope has already been realized in our own country.

Remember the newborn child with an obstruction in the throat that prevented feeding? Because the child also suffered from Down’s Syndrome and most likely retarded, an easy surgery to correct the feeding problem was dismissed. The baby starved to death.

There have been several similar cases since, and of course, we always have Partial Birth Abortion which is really a form of Infanticide.

The ethicist Singer suggests that infanticide should be allowed at least until about three years of age– arguing that they are not viable without assistance and not “full” persons.

The brave new world resembles the old world more and more every day. The ancient Romans allowed babies to die from exposure and abandonment. If any of you ever saw the old movie HAWAII dealing with early colonization and missionary work, you may remember the scene where the girl baby is thrown off a cliff. I wonder if it would still shock audiences today?

Activist Judges and Moral Questions

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has objected to the era of the “moralist” judge, arguing that they are not qualified to decide moral questions like gay marriage and abortion. He places the gravity for such things with the elected legislators and points as an example to the constitutional amendment of 1920 that gave women the right to vote. Given that activist judges with a leftist bent gave us Roe vs. Wade, reading something into the Constitution that was not there, Justice Scalia has a point. Who is to say that activist judges cannot be just as abusive when they come from the other side of the ideological spectrum? While a few judges like Clarence Thomas have an extensive philosophical and ethical formation; many judges would not consider possible moral absolutes and the natural law. Unfortunately, I am not sure that voters, and least of all elected representatives, would possess the necessary formation and personal integrity to deal coherently with the major questions of the day, either.

Speaking for myself, I like judges, who prefer long-standing precedent; who have a vast respect for the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and who are somewhat unoriginal and literal in their thinking. Creativity is great in the artist and poet, I am not so sure about judges.

The large Catholic presence on the Supreme Court is quite amazing. Even Judge Bork, denied a place on the Court, was baptized by my dear spiritual father, Msgr. William Awalt, at the Catholic Information Center in DC. He is now a Christian and a Catholic. Justice Clarence Thomas was received back into the Catholic Church through the ministry of another brother priest in Washington. While Scalia sometimes attends his son’s Masses in Virginia, he and Thomas often attend the Tridentine Latin Mass at Old St. Mary’s in Chinatown, DC. Pat Buchanon, although a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament, is also a regular there.