• Our Blogger

    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.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Chris on Catholic Bytes
    es on Ask a Priest
    Fred on Ask a Priest
    R J Mattes jr on Catholic Bytes
    J on Ask a Priest

The Blessing on Entering a Church

Notes from the Pastor [1]

(Please note this is an archival post that is decades old.  Msgr. Awalt passed away a number of years ago.)

One of the first gestures you should make on entering the church is to dip your hand into the holy water and reverently bless yourself in the sign of the cross and with the appropriate words:  “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is to remind us of our Baptism as we enter our Father’s house to sing His praises in the Eucharist through His Son, Jesus Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit.  Our baptism is our gateway to the Eucharist.  We receive Christ himself that He may strengthen the grace that we received in Baptism and provide us with the help and His companionship that we need in our journey to our Father’s house in heaven.

William J. Awalt

More About St. Ann Church

St. Ann Catholic Church
4001 Yuma St NW, Washington, DC 20016

palm sunday st ann 03-25-2018-24

It is remarkable how the layout of St. Ann Church was envisioned.  As you enter the church from the Wisconsin Street door, the first thing that catches the eye is the altar.  Here is where the summit and source of of our Catholic faith meet.  Here we see the prominent place given to what re-presents where Christ’s death-resurrection is actualized.

Behind the altar and above it comes into our vision the tabernacle.  There, consecrated hosts are kept for distribution to the sick who cannot attend services.  That presence has also led to the practice of adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that is growing across our country .

Above the altar and tabernacle is the large crucifix that shows us the price for our redemption.  While Christ suffers no more, we are reminded of what Christ did to show us the gravity of sin and the measure of His love as represented in the figure on the Cross.

But our vision should not end on a sad note.  High above the altar is the image of the triumphant Christ, the Lamb of God, who carries the banner of victory because He has conquered sin and death.

Along with the saints and angels, we and all creation come together in this beautiful church as our voices at prayer join the heavenly chorus in giving praise to God.

The city of Washington is famous for the monumental beauty of its architecture, the natural beauty of its parks and waterways and the man-made beauty found in its many museums and public buildings.  Often lost among this catalogue of the city’s treasures are her churches.  As befits a national capitol, especially that of a nation dedicated to the freedom of religion, many faiths have graced her skyline with spires, steeples and minarets.

Even among the smaller churches and houses of worship in the city and its environs, there are unexpected gems, symbols of the faith and devotion of the congregations that built them and worship there.  One such jewel is the parish church of St. Ann on Wisconsin Avenue’s Tenley Circle.  Looking to the outside, St. Ann is an impressive modern Gothic style building, calling to mind the churches of late-medieval Northern Italy.  Within,  the visitor perceives a breathtaking combination of architecture and decoration uncomplicated in form, and yet unmistakable in design.  Through combination of stone and glass, light and air, magnificence and simplicity are as one.  This is not merely a place of worship, but a place of communion for God with His people.

William J. Awalt 

The Construction of St. Ann Church

St. Ann Catholic Church
4001 Yuma St NW, Washington, DC 20016

800px-st._ann's_church_dc_01

It might be of interest to know that the architect of the present church was Henry D. Dagit.  The first church of St. Ann’s was built of wood in 1898.  The second church was built of stone in 1903.  There was an interim church made of stone which now serves as the parish hall built in 1938.  The present church was built under the pastorate of Msgr. Henry D. Collins.  It was built of stone in 1948.  The third church was renovated after Vatican II when the main altar was moved down to the present position.  Marble saved at that time was used to erect a support for the tabernacle.  The baptistry, originally in the confessional room, was moved out and a wall was built behind it so that it would be near the main altar.  This shows the the connection of Baptism as the gateway to the Eucharist.  Given its present position, it also dovetails with funerals that are brought in the Yuma Street door and the words used in the service, referring to Baptism and our hope at funerals.  The pulpit (ambo) was moved slightly away from the wall to its present position.  The celebrant’s chair was repositioned to the side of the altar.  This was done under the pastorate of Msgr. William H. Awalt.

The beautiful stained-glass windows of St. Ann Church are among the main attractions.  These windows were designed by the internationally renowned stained-glass artist, Marguerite Gaudin, and manufactured at the Willet Stained Glass Studios in Philadelphia.  Some of Miss Gaudin’s notable works include windows in New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the entire fenestration in the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, facade windows for St. Anselm’s Meguro Church, Tokyo, Japan, and one of the largest stained-glass installations of 30,000 square feet for the Museum of Science in New York City.

William J. Awalt

The Making of Saints

Notes from the Pastor [73]

(Please note this is an archival post that is decades old.  Msgr. Awalt passed away a number of years ago.)

George Weigel points out in his wonderful book, Witness of Hope, page 446, that Pope John Paul II beatified (last step until canonization) 805 men and women and canonized 205 during the first twenty years of his pontificate.  This is more than any other Pope in the history of the Church.  A great many of these declarations were made on his trips around the world to various countries.  The large numbers are partially because of his canonizations of groups of people, such as the martyrs of Vietnam.

The Church does not make saints.  The Pope does not make saints.  God makes saints.  Our recognition of God’s work is a long process in which the lives of potential saints are studied thoroughly and in detail.  Their writings are analyzed.  Their reputation for sanctity is scrutinized.  Miracles have to be attributed to their intercession alone and also submitted to medical and scientific study of the highest order.  God is wonderful with His graces among all ages, genders, nationalities, and occupations, among the married, single and religious.  Martyrdom has led to the declaration of large numbers of candidates as saints in many countries.

This is the message of Pope John Paul II– that we are all called to holiness, not just the religious and the clergy, monks and nuns.  Holiness is the vocation of every baptized Christian.

Pope John Paul II’s ideal of sanctity is the martyr — the witness — to self-sacrificing love.  But there are many other saints among us who will not be beatified or declared saints.  They are only known to God.  Nonetheless, they are still saints.

The twentieth century has just ended and according to Pope John Paul II, it was the greatest century for martyrs.  Mothers and fathers, priests and religious, bishops, popes and scholars have lived in such a heroic way that the Church wants them to be recognized as saints.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

The Use of the Word “Lord”

Notes from the Pastor [78]

(Please note this is an archival post that is decades old.  Msgr. Awalt passed away a number of years ago.)

Lord is not Jesus’ first name as in Lord Jesus Christ, although we may inadvertently assume it is.  “Lord” is not who Jesus is but what He is.  It helps to keep this in mind in our prayers, especially at Mass and in the Liturgy.  The Holy Spirit moves us to prayer.  We pray to the Father and we pray in, with and through Jesus Christ.  It is good to keep that direction in mind.

For instance, in the Offertory prayer of the bread, we say, “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.”  We are speaking to God, not to Jesus as such.  Usually when we invoke in our prayers, “the Lord,” we are referring to God.  Jesus is Lord, the Scripture tells us, meaning that Jesus who is man, in virtue of the Incarnation, is also God.  As a man, He prays for and with us and as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He receives our prayers of  petition, thanks and adoration, etc.  Does this mean it is incorrect to pray directly to Jesus?  Of course not!  It is the fine distinction that every time the word “Lord” occurs in our liturgical prayers, “Lord” does not apply to Jesus, but is a prayer directed to the Triune God.  Making it absolutely clear, “the Lord” does not refer to Jesus’ identity, but to what He is– “Lord.”

Keep this in the back of your mind and you will be surprised at your awareness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Liturgy.  Obviously, when we use “Father” as in the Our Father or “Holy Spirit” we are directing our prayers to a person.  When we use “Lord” it is usually to the Godhead, not to Jesus individually.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Are All Churches the Same?

Notes from the Pastor [77]

(Please note this is an archival post that is decades old.  Msgr. Awalt passed away a number of years ago.)

Recently in speaking to theologians through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Father (Pope John Paul II), underscored the unique role of Christ and the Church in human salvation.  Given this age’s emphasis upon diversity, relativism and ecumenism, an old error may be creeping into our thinking that religious profession does not really make any difference  as we all worship the same God.  The Unitarians deny the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Others deny the divinity of Christ.  How can it make no difference?  Our supreme teacher, Pope John Paul II, said that Christ’s Church is the universal sacrament of salvation.  In saying this, he was only emphasizing what Vatican II taught, that the fullness of revelation is found in the Catholic Church.  Christ’s unique role in salvation is the Church’s own uniqueness.  “The Church is the sole means of salvation because it is Christ’s body, by means of which (Christ) himself works salvation throughout history.” Those in the Church have the fullness of salvific means.  The Second Vatican Council’s document on ecumenism explicitly spoke of unity “which we believe subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose.

Does this mean as Catholics we are better than others?  That is for God to judge according to the grace He gives. Does it mean we are more correct than others?  Yes.  Does this mean we have to conscientiously look for the one true Church?  Yes.  Does the phrase “as long as you are happy” become an excuse for not following the teachings of Christ as prescribed by the Catholic Church?  Of course not!

Let us be grateful to God for the undeserved grace we have been given to be faithful members of our Church.  Let us pray that others may find the light of truth and work towards unity in the Church.

Msgr. William J. Awalt

Planned Parenthood’s Hitlerish Agenda

Notes from the Pastor [76]

(Please note this is an archival post that is decades old.  Msgr. Awalt passed away a number of years ago.)

Planned Parenthood sounds like a noble program and well-intentioned.  But look at what its founder, Margaret Sanger, states as the purpose in her founding this organization.

“More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief name of birth control.”

Birth control:  to create a race of thoroughbreds.  Sounds Hitlerish, doesn’t it? She sharply criticized philanthropists who provided free maternity care for poor mothers. She often referred to the poor as “human weeds,” targeting minorities such as blacks.  “We do not want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Her compassion  “remember our motto: if we must have welfare, give it to the rich, not to the poor.” We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

Her goal is being reached in 61 countries worldwide where they are failing to replace their population.

Since Roe vs. Wade, yearly 1.5 million unborn babies have been aborted in the U.S. alone.

Why are we so worried about health care for children when we eliminate that need by killing a million and a half a year?

Why worry about social security running out of funds when we kill 1.5 million potential workers and taxpayers every year? Why teh multiplying “help wanted” signs in places of employment when we are reducing the workforce at the rate of 1.5 million a year?

Our tax dollars are supporting this organization both here and abroad. As individuals do we blindly give to this group called “Planned Parenthood?”

Information taken from Sanger “Pivot of Civilization and Father of Modern Science.”

PLEASE PRAY FOR VOCATIONS! Over the past four years, dioceses in the United States have ordained 1,569 priests (one in every 38,000 Catholics). There are 2,000 parishes in the United States without a resident priest.

Msgr. William J. Awalt