A good look inside the thinking of Archbishop Burke...in his own words

Here is an excellent interview of Archbishop Burke, formerly of the St.  Louis diocese and now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (Vatican Supreme Court) in Rome. It was originally published in the National Catholic Register.

In the interview, Archbishop Burke lets us have an excursion of insight into his actions and writings while in St. Louis, most particularly regarding his 2007 treatise entitled "The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin."

We are sure that you'll find it as revealing as we did.

Flower Fund Request

1st Sunday of Advent & First Snowfall of the Year

A light snowfall, greeted Mass-goers this morning. It was our last Mass at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Beginning next Sunday, December 7th, there will be two Sunday Masses:
  • 8:00 a.m. and
  • 10:15 a.m.
Also announced today by Father Avis were Mass times for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, December 8th. The Mass times will be:
  • 12:10 p.m. and
  • 6:30 p.m.
Father also reminded us that a plenary indulgence can be gained under the usual conditions by all the faithful when they assist this day at Old St. Patrick Oratory.

Investing in companies that promote Catholic values appears to be a good monetary strategy

Faith-based investments, such as mutual funds that adhere to the social policies and teaching of the Church, are performing better than many of the more traditional market indices.

According to a recent article in the National Catholic Register buying stock in savings vehicles that are good for the world appear to be a little better deal for the wallet also.

During the recent stock tumble, the "faith based investment vehicles" seem to be doing a little better than the Dow or the Standard and Poors. This might be something to look into for the future.

This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent

This video is of the chant of the Introit of the Sunday. It is sung by a schola in a seminary in the Netherlands. Beautiful. No doubt we'll be hearing the same strains from the Old St. Patrick Oratory choir.

"Foodscapes" by British photographer Carl Warner

On this day of holiday banquets, here's a happy video of landscapes made entirely of food. Every single element of the scenes in Carl Warner's photography shown is composed of common food items you'd find in the average kitchen...broccolli, breads, peas, cabbage leafs, salmon fillets, etc. Nothing is used other than edible vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. These photos are truly a unique study in creativity and skill.

A Very Happy Thanksgiving Day to all...

We hope that your day is full of God's blessings and the enjoyment of his bounty and the comfort of family around you. God bless all! 

What are you especially thankful for?

OSP members in the congregation during the dedication ceremonies

Here's a candid camera shot of some of those in the congregation during the rededication ceremonies on October 25th...in front: Joe Farris and his grand-daughter with Ed Keele. In the next row we see Michael Koop checking out the beautiful music coming from the choir loft and just to his left, OSP member (half-hidden) Kevin Koster. We wish we had a roster of everyone's name and could place it with their face. Perhaps one day we will be able to.

Always something new in internet graphics magic!

Check out the home page of EWTN. There is a very charming animated effect that allows you to drag a graphical lighted matchstick and with a click light one of the Advent candles on the page. It appears that the graphic will permit you to light a new candle for each successive week of Advent. This is something that would be magical for children and definitely for the old-folks, too. And no doubt will encourage repeat visits to EWTN...not such a bad idea. 

A great Web Site for Learning about the Extraordinary Form

This website, produced by the order of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago, IL is easily the best place for both clergy and laity to find out about the Traditional Latin Mass. For the laity, it is valuable for those who know nothing about the Extraordinary Form and also very helpful for those who have been attending Latin Mass for many years. For the priest, it is extremely valuable as an introduction to the Mass and a tutorial guide to celebrating the Mass. There is something for everyone. And, the site is beautiful. The graphics are excellent and the production values are helpful navigating the site and also very pleasing to the eyes. It is a website that provides a very useful service.

Spend a couple of minutes...or maybe an hour with this very special site and you'll soon see what we mean.

More about the 100 Year Anniversary of St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis

This post submitted by Jon Roche, Administrative Assistant at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis.

Over 1.000 faithful gathered in the church of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, to assist at the Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Robert J. Hermann, Administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. From the powerful beginning of the “Premiere Symphonie” of Guilmant to the sweeping phrases of the Credo of the “Messe Solemnelle” of Charles Gounod to the soaring lines of the closing hymn of “To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King,” sixty musicians filled the magnificent Gothic edifice of the St. Francis de Sales church. The splendor of the sacred liturgy was adorned fittingly by the majesty and richness of the music, directed by Mr. Nick Botkins, director of sacred music and master of the choirs at the Oratory.

His Excellency, Bishop Hermann gave a moving sermon. He invited all faithful of good will to reclaim the fullness of the sacraments. He impressed upon all present the “verticality of the architecture of the church” which corresponds so visibly with the theocentricity of the Mass.

The Holy Mass was then followed by a festive gathering in the Oratory Hall, celebrating St. Francis de Sales church’s German immigrant heritage. Complete with traditional German food and beer and even a German band, the afternoon was enjoyed by hundreds of families with children of all ages who crowded the church hall. This overwhelming turnout was a testament to the thriving youthful community of faithful at the Oratory.

On this 100th Anniversary, it was also announced that St. Francis de Sales is beginning a capital campaign called “Tradition for Tomorrow.” This campaign will raise the necessary funds to restore the church of St. Francis de Sales to its former glory and ensure that it remains a true landmark of South St. Louis. More information can be found at www.traditionfortomorrow.com.

Thanksgiving Day Mass Time Change

Reminder: Holy Mass on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 27th will be at 9:00 a.m.

Here's where Father Avis was Sunday

Content and photography courtesy of OSP member, Kevin Koster:

I was visiting the website for St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis a few weeks ago and noticed the following announcement:

Sunday, November 23-100th Anniversary celebration of the dedication of the church.

10am Pontifical High Mass - The Centennial Choir will sing the Charles Gounod,
Messe Solennelle, complete with full symphony orchestra. Oratory picnic beginning around noon.

Kirchweihfest- Dinner Menu-Sauerbraten, Roast Pork, Bratwurst- Sides-REAL Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Potato Pancakes, Sauerkraut, Braised Red Cabbage w/ apples, Green Beans, Applesauce, Sour Cream, Rolls/Butter, Refreshments

Entertainment- German Waterloo Band-12:30pm-3pm

Black Forest Cake Contest - ALL WELCOME

Well, if the Mass itself was not reason enough to go, who could pass up a Kirchweihfest at a church built by German immigrants around the time Irish immigrants were building Old St. Patrick?!? They started in 1867, built a school and did not finish the huge gothic church until 1908. I noticed a cornerstone that was laid in 1895. I believe the church seats around 1,000 and it was packed. Bishop Hermann of St. Louis was the celebrant, Fr. Avis was 1st assistant. (I think that’s the correct term but I’m not sure. He's to the right in the photo) It was a spectacular liturgy and a fitting legacy for the founders of the parish.

They used the occasion of their centennial to officially announce their long-term restoration project http://www.traditionfortomorrow.com

Feast of the Miraculous Medal this week

Back-to-back this week are two very important feasts: Thursday the 27th - The feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and on Friday the 28th - The feast of St. Catherine Labouré. Last year we had the opportunity to journey to Paris, France. One of the highlights and easily the most memorable stop on our visit was the Miraculous Medal Shrine, the chapel where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine in July of 1830. Below are a few photos of our visit. The small chapel is impressively beautiful as you would expect, but the most inspiring impression is the reverent prayer of the visitors to the chapel from all across the world.

The photo below is of the main altar of the chapel, with the engraving circling the statue of Our Lady, the words Our Lady requested St. Catherine to have struck on the medal she asked to be cast..."O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
After her miraculous visits from Our Lady, Catherine lived her remaining years as an ordinary nursing sister. Catherine never told anyone but her confessor about her visions. So, even at her death in 1876, no one knew that Catherine was the one who brought the Miraculous Medal to the world. Exhumed in 1933, her body was found incorrupt, and it now lies in a glass coffin at the side altar of the chapel, one of the spots where the Blessed Mother appeared to her.  On July 27, 1947, she was canonized by Pope Pius XII.

Pipe Organ Update

Progress on the assembly of our new pipe organ is proceeding smoothly and roughly on schedule. Our special thanks to our organ vendor Dave Cool of Temple Organs of St. Joseph, MO for the following information about the organ and its assembly.

The first photo, below, shows the Pedal Subbass rank of wood pipes (these are the yellow and dark brown pipes). These pipes are from a Moller pipe organ which were removed from a church in Fargo, ND.
The grey-painted expression boxes are from the same Moller Organ. The Moller Organ company began manufacturing pipe organs in 1875 and ceased business in 1992. It built over 11,000 organs which are found in many small to large venues, including for example, the Cadet Chapel of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The shutter cabinets (in the photo below) will open and close for tonal expression of the pipes that will be inside each box. The right shutter has pipes of the "choir" division, played from the bottom of the three keyboards on the console. The left-hand shutter chamber has the pipes of the "swell" division, which is played from the top-most keyboard. The middle keyboard of the console will play pipes, not yet installed, in the unenclosed "great" division, located in front of the "swell" box.
The large and ornate casework that surrounds the working parts of the organ (shown below) was salvaged from St. Simeon's Episcopal Church in the Bronx, NY that was scheduled for demolition. There will be gold-painted decorative "facade" pipes around three sides of the organ which will hide all of the playing pipes, of which there will be approximately 1,400.

Rousing...and...thought-provoking homily by guest celebrant

You can always count on Father David Phillipson giving a first-rate sermon when he visits to substitute for Father Avis. This morning Father Phillipson reviewed the story of the Macabeean Revolt against Greek conquerors in the land of Israel in the middle 100s B.C.

Father carefully constructed the ancient history lesson for us so that we could see some of the modern-day parallels of how a small number of persons (in this case, Mattathias, a rural Jewish priest, together with his five sons), fed up with their secular leaders interfering with the practice of their faith, led a revolt against the government's insistence that the Jews worship Greek gods. He also postulated how the people of Isreal were able to defeat the mighty governors of the society and earn a Jewish independence which would last for over a century. Father referred to the actions of the Greeks as the "first abomination of desolation", with the final provocation that of conducting a desolating sacrifice on the altar of the Jewish temple to false gods.

Our society is facing similar abominations in these times. We must be prepared, said Father, as Mattahias, to sacrifice all to resist the attacks on our faith. See the following posts.

The possibility suggested that every Catholic hospital will close if Obama passes FOCA - Freedom of Choice Act

This video presents the problem and the  challenge facing Catholics. 
The following post presents a good step in helping with the solution.

Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre honor our four bishops

At a special Mass Thursday evening celebrated at Visitation Church followed by a splendid dinner at the Carriage Club, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem honored our four metro area bishops: Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Most Reverend Raymond J. Boland and Most Reverend James P. Keleher along with Abbot Gregory J. Polan, OSB of Conception Abbey. The purpose of the event was to recognize our Bishops and Abbot for their service to the Equestrian Order and also to especially honor Archbishop Naumann who recently was named Grand Prior of the Northern Lieutenacy of the Order. 

Approximately 120 Knights and Ladies attended the Mass and banquet at which numerous awards and certificates were distributed for special service to the Order and to the Order's apostolate of support for the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
(The photo above shows Area Councillors Sir Jack and Lady Kitchin, Archbishop Naumann, Bishop Finn and Archbishop Keleher.)

The photo below shows Old St. Patrick Oratory member Robin Quastler and Lady Lisa and Sir Rob Spaedy as they paused for the camera. The Spaedys, who were recently invested in the Order, are members of the St. Philllipine Duchesne Latin Mass Community at Blessed Sacrament Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Also a special guest of the Order seated at our table was Monsignor Bradley Offutt, Chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Bishop Finn was the celebrant of the Mass and Archbishop Keleher gave a splendid homily at the Mass. Archbishop Nauman spoke at the banquet about his honor and responsibility of being made Grand Prior of the Order by John Cardinal Foley, Grand Master of the Order.

The Holy Father blesses the cornerstone for the new Thomas Aquinas College chapel

This is a really nifty story. As you probably know, Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA is building a beautiful new chapel on the campus. It will be dedicated in early March 2009.

The college requested the Holy Father, Benedict XVI to bless the cornerstone and he agreed. The only hurdle was getting the 765 pound stone to Rome for the blessing ceremony.

Through a variety of volunteers and very helpful sources the task was completed and a short time ago the blessing occured. Many dignitaries were in attendance, including Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect, Apostolic Signatura, who said, "Thomas Aquinas College has always been thoroughly Catholic in its identity...For the college to bring the cornerstone of its new church to Rome and have it blessed on the site of the basilica built over the tomb of St. Peter by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, is a wonderful symbol of the fidelity of Thomas Aquinas College to the Catholic Church."

Thomas Aquinas College has been the academic home to many Old St. Patrick Oratory families over the years and there is an abundance of affection for the College among our members.

Our thanks to the TAC Fall Newsletter for the details of the blessing ceremony and for the use of the photo.

Catholic Key blog offers a sneak-peak at the emerging vision for the diocesan Catholic schools

The emphasis in the up-coming strategic plan for our schools is that they be "distinctly Catholic". Everything that we have learned of Bishop Finn in the last four years leads us to firmly believe that he is energizing a transformation of our diocesan schools from academically-sound "private schools" to academically-sound "thoroughly CATHOLIC private schools". This is clear in the detail that is revealed in this post on the Catholic Key blog. We believe that you will be very favorably impressed with this work in progress. We are grateful to Jack Smith, Editor of the Catholic Key for providing this information. The Catholic Key blog is wonderful resource.

How do OSP homeschooling families perceive these developments initiated by our beloved Bishop? Do you have any comments on how this vision might affect you or the future of homeschooling? Leave a comment in the "com box" if you're of a mind?

A question answered

An inquiry has been made as to the graphic symbolism utilized in the masthead of this blog. First of all, the central graphic is of St. Patrick, of course. This art is a photographic detail from the St. Patrick stained glass window on the north side of the Oratory. Other graphic elements are celtic in origin including the celtic cross, the interlocking graphics symbolic of the Holy Trinity and the IHS, a monogram of the Name of Jesus. 

Treasure of Historical Photos of Catholic Churches

For those Old St. Patrick Oratory NewsBlog readers who like to research and look at historical photographs of old Catholic Churches...have we got a source for you. The photos above are of other churches named Old St. Patrick. The first two are of a church in New York City (interior and exterior) and the second is in Boston, MA.

The source of these photos is the Library of Congress "Built in America" collection. Just click here. And then you can go crazy. Just use the search box. Have fun!

Two Gregorian Chant Seminars scheduled for January, 2009

Both the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and the Catholic Music Association of America have scheduled multi-day workshops for those who are interested in either learning, or if experienced, improving their techniques of singing the chant.

  1. The Insititute's program, which will be held in Chicago, IL at the Institute's Shrine of Christ the King will be January 9th through 11th. This program, to be conducted by Canon Wulfran Lebocq is structured for both choir directors and also for parish choir members. For more information about the program and other details, such as accomodation information can be found here.
  2. The CMAA's "Chant Intensive" to be held in San Diego on the campus of the University of San Diego on January 5th through 9th will be taught by Scott Turkington, one of the country's foremost experts in the singing and chironomy (direction) of chant and sacred polyphony. More information here.
Personally, we think that if we had to choose between two excellent programs, sunny San Diego in frigid January has the edge. But both should be very worthwhile. Both programs include a combination of lecture, intensive instruction, practice, singing and also performance at Mass during the program.

We've been asked to post the short video of Bishop Finn's first Latin Mass

His Excellency Robert Finn was the celebrant at a Pontifical Low Mass in September of 2007. It was his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated in thanksgiving for His Holiness' motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri.

Share your story with your fellow Oratory members

If you have a family story, some news about your family or perhaps a special family photo that means a lot to you, your friends and other parishioners at Old St. Patrick would like to see it or know about it. This blog is about our parish and about you.

Just send information and any photos that you'd like to include to: latin_mass@att.net and we will include them in our community blog at the earliest possible time.

New Sunday Mass times announced at the Oratory

There was some very good news at Mass this morning.

Beginning Sunday, December 7, 2008 there will be two Masses each Sunday at Old St. Patrick:
8:00 a.m.
We understand that this will be a Low Mass, and...
10:15 a.m.
We understand that this will be the sung High Mass 
of the day.

In addition, it was announced that the Oratory would resume its long practice of praying the Rosary prior to every Mass, also beginning December 7th. The Rosary will begin 25 minutes prior to each Mass.

In making these announcements, Father William Avis, Rector said, "we hope that these modifications in the schedule will promote greater devotion to our Blessed Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, to frequent confession and to the Mother of God, Mary most holy."

Father also invited Oratory members who would like to lead the rosary prior to each Mass to contact him to express your interest. His email address is in the right column of this blog or you may contact him by telephone: 816-931-5612.

Oratory Consecration Photographs & Directions to the Oratory

We frequently get referrals from the search engines for Old St. Patrick Oratory Consecration photographs.  They were published a couple of weeks ago on this blog. But, for ease of finding them again, here's the link to that post to make your search easier.

Also, numerous readers are clicking on the map to the Oratory for directions. That link is just to the right. Here is the link again.

Thank you so much for visiting our blog. We hope that you find it informative and helpful.

Old St. Patrick Oratory member and seminarian, Tim Leete, shows up on blog

Rolling through recent postings at New Liturgical Movement, we were pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face...Tim Leete (above left), a seminarian at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Tim was assisting at a sung Requiem Mass that was offered in the usus antiquior as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the dedication of the new St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Modus, Connecticut. It was offered in remembrance of all the faithful departed of the parish.

This photo was published in an article about the event on the New Liturgical Movement blog. Click the link to see the entire article dated November 13, 2008.

Courageous priest puts his beliefs and his Catholic responsibility...right on the line!

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest (Father Jay Scott Newman Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina) has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

Father Newman is in for a lot of controversy and criticism. Our admiration for his brave stance is huge.

Herein is the most unfortunate response this afternoon from the Diocese of Charleston - God help the poor Catholics of this diocese. (This statement is by the Administrator of the diocese, as it is without a bishop at this time.)
Statement of Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin
Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (November 14, 2008) - This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion. As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” The Catechism goes on to state: “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.”

Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.

The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.

We should all come together to support the President-elect and all elected officials with a view to influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child. Let us pray for them and ask God to guide them as they take the mantle of leadership on January 20, 2009.

I ask also for your continued prayers for me and for the Diocese of Charleston.

Office of the Administrator
119 Broad Street · Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Post Office Box 818 · Charleston, South Carolina 29402
Phone (843) 958-2150 · Fax (843) 958-2152

(The phone number above is Msgr. Laughlin's direct line. You may not get an answer, but you can leave a message.)

Here is the parish web site that contains Father Newman's response to the diocese's criticism. Update: (Saturday a.m.) - This response has now disappeared from the parish website and in it's place is a link to the diocese's website statements. No doubt this is a small capitulation by Fr. Newman due to intense pressure by the diocese's Administrator. Our prayers for this courageous priest will continue.

Old St. Patrick Oratory - Consecration Program available in PDF format

For those readers who did not attend the Consecration of Old Saint Patrick on October 25, 2008, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has the Consecration Booklet available on line for review. It is in .pdf format and it is set up in "printer flats" which means that it is produced for the convenience of the printer of the booklet and the pages are not in consecutive order for the reader. However, you can if you wish, print the booklet, cut and collate the pages for your reading convenience. 

The full program (16 pages) is presented in  narrative form, is very easy to follow and has many of the prayers and chants. This ceremony, to our knowledge, is only the second time since Vatican II that a church consecration has been conducted in the Traditional Latin Form of the Roman Rite.

Reviews of new FSSP training video for priests are universally full of praise

Produced in cooperation with EWTN, the new DVD training video especially for priests and seminarians, which is about to be released, is creating much positive commentary.

The video will available widely after November 20th and will be FREE to priests and seminarians. It is very simple to register or to order...just click here.

You can also access the FSSP special website which is done in very attractive "Flash" video to learn more about the DVD's comprehensive content. Use the same link above to review this content. For those who would like to support the free distribution of the DVD to priests and seminarians, there is a place for you to make a donation.

The FSSP is also celebrating the 20th year of its formation. Those of us who have been around a while will recall the 10th year celebration in 1998 which included the production and release of a video of a Solemn High Mass which was filmed at St. Mary/St. Anthony in Kansas City, Kansas and featured a Gregorian Chant choir of about 30 voices recruited from the Latin Mass communities on both sides of the state line. For many years, this video was the definitive presentation of the traditional Latin Mass and is still available through the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei.

Angels guarding our church

On either side of the sanctuary at the Oratory are two beautiful angel statues. These were the gift to the Oratory of Bob and Alice Umphress. "I acquired these statues in 1988 when St. Mary Hospital on Main Street overlooking the Union Station was closed," said Bob Umphress. "They were in the hospital chapel and were given to me by the sisters with the understanding that I would find them a permanent home in a church. For many years they were in the chapel at the home of Msgr. Vincent Kearney until he passed away and since then, I have kept them safe in the hope that the Latin Mass would someday have its own church. A dream now realized."

Bob says that the statues, which weigh over 150 pounds each, are of alabaster and were sculptured approximately at the time of the construction and dedication of St. Mary Hospital in 1907. So that makes them just a little over 100 years old...fitting for our 133 year old Oratory building.

Bishop Finn's Sermon at the Consecration

We have had several requests for the re-print of Bishop Finn's sermon delivered during the Consecration of the Oratory. Courtesy of the The Catholic Key Blog...here it is for the record and for the Oratory archives.
Sermon for the Consecration 
of Old St. Patrick Oratory
October 25, 2008
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

"Then came a loud voice from the heavenly throne, “Behold the dwelling place of God with men. … Behold, I make all things new.”

Dear friends, I greet you with great joy on this day of Solemn Consecration. This is the dwelling place of God with men. This is the place where heaven meets earth, where the mystery of salvation touches the human heart. Here, even sadness and death are given flight – so full of hope, so full of grace and light are the truths and supernatural actions that unfold in this place, where God dwells with man.

In the Gospel account of the meeting between the Lord Jesus Christ and the tax collector, Zachaeus, we see the power of conversion in the encounter with God. When the human heart receives the Lord, a saving change can transform us. Here in this magnificent church such miracles have been occurring for more than 130 years. Now, again we have set it apart as the House of God. What a happy and historic day this is in our Diocese.

It was on August 14, 2005, that I had the privilege of being able to announce to our little Latin Mass community the impending arrival of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the establishment of the Oratory of Old St. Patrick, and the beginning of a plan to provide a fitting home for the faithful in this historic church – the oldest Catholic church building in Kansas City. At that meeting in the hall at Our Lady of Sorrows, I told those gathered about this place. I called it “a diamond in the rough,” and acknowledged that the work of restoration “would be demanding and costly.” With enthusiasm and hope they accepted the challenge.

Out of a motive of true love for God and dedication to the Church you have done something great in the history of the Diocese. You have renewed this holy temple in a way that is equal to the sacrifice and commitment of those who first built it, and which may indeed surpass its original beauty. Deo Gratias!

Three years ago this month we welcomed Fr. Denis Buchholz who served you as proto-Rector of the Oratory. I am very thankful to him, as I know you are, for his steadfast spiritual leadership. In the last months the new Rector, Fr. William Avis has seamlessly continued the work that has helped to hold together this small but burgeoning community.

Many have been involved with this significant effort which reaches a certain fruition today when we offer here again for the first time in several years the Holy and Saving Sacrifice of the Mass. Under the direction of the Institute of Christ the King and their Vicar General and U.S. Provincial, Msgr. Michael Schmitz, the parish committee has guided the project and so many have actively taken part in every aspect of the work. Outstanding architects and true churchmen, Mr. William Heyer and Mr. Craig Deister, have provided an inspired map for the work. So many apt workmen and dedicated volunteers – Villotti, Bartosik, Dale, Estopare, Marnett, Mishler, Silvey, Troyer, Quastler, and really so many more - have labored in various ways, and even down to the last hours, to make things ready for this morning’s sacred rites. None more perhaps than Mr. Donald Deister, who with his formidable crew have offered their blood, sweat and tears to secure a worthy place for God among us. I am thankful to Msgr. Bradley Offutt, Chancellor of the Diocese, and a true friend of Old St. Patrick, for his commitment “beyond the call.” For you all, this is a labor of love, and I know God receives it as an act of praise.

Such a project as we mark today also requires generous help from many, many benefactors. Mr. Joseph Farris helped to lead this part of the effort, and I thank you all who have made sacrificial gifts, and all on whose assistance the Oratory will continue to rely. May the Lord inspire the necessary means to complete and prosper this new beginning.

We are also thankful today to both the diocesan and Redemptorist priests, and the parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows who have shared their home with the Latin Mass community for more than a dozen years. There is much to be thankful for; much to be proud of; many challenges along the way; all for God’s glory; all in accord with His Providence and mercy.

Even while I know many challenges remain, I am full of confidence as I renew today my entrustment of the Oratory to the Institute of Christ the King, for whom “doing the truth in love,” is much more than an ecclesial motto – but indeed, a dynamic interior motive of outgoing apostolic love. Through Monsignor Schmitz, I express my profound thanks to Reverend Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute, for his solicitude to the Diocese, in providing this spiritual foundation for our Oratory.

Now, dear friends, what will God accomplish in this place? His love and grace, alive in the Church, will be a source of supernatural aid to many individuals and, we pray, He will kindle something blessed in this neighborhood and throughout the Diocese.

I pray that this church will be a center of reverent and obedient worship in spirit and truth for all who come here. Here you will bring your babies to be baptized. Here your sins will be forgiven. Here holy matrimony will be solemnly ratified. All the sacraments will give God glory, perhaps none more than the re-presentation of Calvary at this altar.

Dear friends, may this place also be a home of reconciliation for Catholics who, within the praxis of these venerable rites, still long for a more perfect communion with the Vicar of Christ and me his unworthy servant. I welcome you. Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest Himself seeks you out. He who came to seek and save the lost looks, searches, to see us. “Make haste and come down, Zachaeus.” And we must humbly invite him to the house of our soul as did the tax collector in whom already the transformation was beginning to take place.

Today, Dear friends, Let salvation come to this house! Let salvation be found here in the ineffable mysteries of which the Church is the one faithful and prudent steward.

There is one more precious intercession I wish to lift today. In collaboration with the Catholic bishops of Missouri, and in anticipation of a significant election, I ask all to pray; to pray and sacrifice, so that our country will be renewed in the love of human life, and that we may be spared the continuing spiral and decline of our moral sense. Let us take advantage of the singular grace of this Solemn Consecration to beg the Merciful God; to implore Mary the Lady of the Rosary, St. Patrick and St. Bridget, St. Joseph and all our heavenly patrons, to keep our country from evil and sustain on a new path of life.

In this month of Angels I ask you to join me in calling upon the Guardian Angels of 47 million babies lost to the crime of abortion in our country, to carry the cry of these Holy Innocents before the throne of Mercy: not to condemn us, but to fortify and inspire us to be the Guardians of life.

On this happy day Lord, let us not forget the responsibility that is forever ours to give back to you the obedience of our faith, to seek holiness with a pure heart, and to spend ourselves in apostolic charity. Let the faith and good will of the many find a new start here. “For this is the dwelling place of God with men.” Let the voice from heaven resound in our joyful and thankful hearts, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Renovation Highlight

One of the most interesting and attractive new architectural features at Old St. Patrick Oratory is the newly built narthex wall. Previously in the church there was not a divider between the entrance and the nave. The new wall is beautifully designed and built with superior woods and finished in a rich, dark walnut stain. There are three sets of swinging doors from the vestibule into the church. Above each set of two doors are large etched glass panels, each containing a crest. Shown in the above photo is the crest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Other panels feature the personal crest of Bishop Robert Finn and the crest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Abortion is NOT a Human Right!

Bishop Finn, in the Catholic key blog, has asked that this announcement be placed in every bulletin throughout the diocese.
Abortion is NOT a Human Right!

This December 10th marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a very fine document praised by the Vatican. However, this year there is a push to include abortion as a fundamental right in the U.N. Declaration, a move that would cause us to withdraw our support for this document.

Abortion is not a human right, but rather a fundamental violation of the most basic human right, the right to life. What is more, this new provision would violate an essential tenet of Catholic social teaching: "Nor must one forget the contribution that every nation is required in duty to make towards a true worldwide cooperation for the common good of the whole of humanity and for future generations also." (Compendium of Social Doctrine, #166)

We urge everyone to visit this website listed below and sign the electronic petition that will be delivered to the United Nations requesting that they maintain the Declaration of Human Rights in its integrity and reject the motion to include abortion as part of the declaration. Please do so before December 10th.


As of the time of this post, over 70,000 have completed the simple form in English. It will only take about one minute.

Alice Umphress is home from the hospital...and doing much better

After becoming ill at Mass last Sunday morning, leaving with the assistance of MAST paramedics, Alice Umphress says that she is doing much better. She spent the night in the hospital and was home yesterday afternoon.

She asked that everyone who can, offer a few prayers for her intention in the next couple of weeks.

This photo was taken outside Our Lady of Sorrows church in late July last year after Bob and Alice's lovely wedding.

Father Z. segues from Old St. Patrick to St. John Lateran

This is part of a Father Z article for a recent Wanderer.
"This last week I had the privilege of attending the consecration of Old St. Patrick Church in Kansas City, Missouri. The church was entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King by the bishop there, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert Finn, who also performed the consecration of the church with the traditional Pontificale Romanum and then celebrated Pontifical Mass.

"Never had I experienced such a rite. The power of the rites of consecration, with its deep symbolism and appeal to all the senses was overwhelming. I have been to consecrations of churches in the newer, post-Conciliar rites. They are anemic in comparison. There was for me an epiphany moment during the mysterious five-hour rite. As I watched the incense burn directly on the surface of the newly anointed altar at the five crosses symbolizing Christ’s saving wounds, the fragrant smoke curled upward and spread into a haze, as if the angel of the Apocalypse was present. The smell of the sacred chrism grew stronger with each breath and the schola began to sing “Veni Sancte Spiritus… Come Holy Spirit”. Then there was silence until the last of the incense burned away. The flames died, growing smaller and smaller, as if sinking into the altar’s mensa. Bishop Finn prayed:

“Almighty God, in whose honor and that of St. Patrick we do consecrate this altar, graciously and mercifully give ear to our humble prayers… that at all times, Thou mayest be moved to relieve the anxieties of Thy people who shall call on Thee in this place, to hear their prayers, to accept their vows, to strengthen their good purposes, to grant whatsoever they ask…”

"I asked myself: “What have we done?”

"As we saw last week, with the older, traditional Roman calendar, during this time of year we are using the texts from Sundays remaining un-prayed between Epiphany and Septuagesima, in order to complete the liturgical year. This week we would be turning our attention to the Collect for this 26th Sunday after Pentecost, the texts for which are revived from the 5th Sunday remaining after Epiphany. However, that Sunday is displaced by the Feast of the Dedication of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior, which is the Cathedral of Rome, commonly called St. John Lateran. The texts for today’s Mass are taken from the Common for the Dedication of Church.

"This is the day the Cathedral of Rome was solemnly consecrated.

"The full name of the Lateran Basilica is the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior, St. John Baptist and St. John the Evangelist at the Lateran. Its titular feast is celebrated on the Transfiguration of the Lord. But the Church also provides for the solemn celebration of the day the church was dedicated or consecrated. Since the Lateran Basilica is “omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput… the Mother and Head of all the Churches of the City and the World”, its dedication is a feast everywhere, not just in Rome."

Phillip Michael Cleary - Newest Member of the Oratory - The First Baptism in our New Church

Maureen and Jim Cleary are the proud parents of our newest member of the Oratory, Phillip Michael. He was born on October 30, 2008.

Shown in the photos above at Phillip Michael's baptism on Sunday, November 9, 2008 after Mass are:
  1. Maureen Cleary holding the newborn with one of the 9 other Cleary children looking proudly at her new brother
  2. Father Avis begins the the Sacrament of Baptism with initial prayers said in the narthex of the  church with some of the Cleary family in the background.

Photo Highlight - The Transfiguration

This photo features several of the standout architectural features of Old St. Patrick Oratory. The photo shows two of the original ceiling lighting fixtures that were cleaned and restored during the renovation in the foreground of one of the Oratory's beautiful stained glass windows..."The Transfiguration".

2nd Annual Sung "Missa pro Defunctis" at St. James Parish in St. Joe, MO

With eight seminarians from Conception in assistance, a choir composed of parishioners of various parishes in St. Joseph, MO and participation of several singers from Old St. Patrick Oratory, Father Joseph Totton, pastor of St. James Parish in St. Joseph celebrated a Requiem High Mass the evening of November 7th at the Church. There were approximately 60 persons in attendance.

The Mass was beautiful and had the unusual feature of a catafalque in place surrounded by candles. At the end of Mass Father gave absolution  over the empty casket symbolizing all poor souls to the Gregorian Chant "Libera Me" from the Requiem Mass sung by the schola.
Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth are moved, when you come to judge the world with fire.
I am made to tremble and I fear, because of the judgment that will come, and also the coming wrath when the heavens and the earth are moved,

That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness when you come to judge the world with fire.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
After Mass,  (in the photos posted above) Father and his servers and seminarians processed to the sacristy for post-Mass prayers for the dead. Here is an interesting and timely post by New Liturgical Movement blog that posits excellent ideas and suggestions about pre-and-post Mass prayer and decorum in the sacristy. 

Exit polls show the extent of Catholic defiance...

We hope you read in its entirety Bishop Finn's homily preceding this post where he told us in no uncertain terms that we cannot as Catholics, in any way, support politicians who condone and promote intrinsic evil.

But, we fear that majority of Catholics ignored and defied the universal teaching authority of the Church. We read that anywhere from 47% to 54% (depending on the source) of Catholics who were interviewed in exit polls said that they voted for Barack Obama. We are convinced that this is not through ignorance but through defiance.

God only knows the consequences of this. But it is certainly clear that if you are Catholic you must obey the teaching of the Church, or you clearly are NOT Catholic...and must be something else. In Bishop Finn's words..."woe to those, particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their “choice” of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience". Look up the meaning of "woe", not a commonly used word these days. It means: "suffering: misery resulting from affliction". 

A homily to save..to read...and re-read, by Bishop Finn

Update: 11/05/2008. A reader tells us that they were present for this homily at St. Therese parish in the north of Kansas City. We are told that at the end of this homily, Bishop Finn received a sustained standing ovation from the congregation. While, not particularly fond of applause at Mass, how often to you hear a sermon at which you are moved enough to want to applaud? Bishop Finn is a gift from our Lord to this diocese.) 

From the Catholic Key blog, we republish this homily in order that it be saved in these pages for our members and readers to reflect on for as long as this blog lasts. It was delivered on the eve of the national elections November 3rd, 2008, but its words will have meaning to last until the pervasive culture of death in our world is defeated. Many "Catholics" resent being spoken to in this manner by their Bishop as they have, for far too long, had the "freedom" to decide for themselves their stance on such matters, emboldened and encouraged and grossly mislead by "Catholic" leadership who have forgotten or ignored the core tenents of the magisterium...the teaching authority of the Church. 
"Over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We will make decisions about amendments and propositions. This is a wonderful process and privilege of citizenship in a country that values the ideal of freedom.

But let us have no doubt about this: through this process we are more than participants in a democratic process. We are becoming participants in life and death. The candidates we choose do not arise merely on their own. We place them in office.

Clearly, all these leaders are imperfect men and women like ourselves. They will make decisions day by day, and many of the circumstances of war and domestic work are not able to be known until they happen. Nonetheless, when they tell us specifically what they will do and we are therefore able to foresee some of the likely consequences of their leadership we share in the responsibility of their acts. In this sense an election is about even more than physical life and death. It is also about your eternal salvation and mine. This is the first reason to pray. Pray that we will take seriously – that every other voter will take seriously – the meaning of our choices. In a country where we have made choice an absolute, we must remember that underlying every choice is a value; that flowing from every choice is a consequence; that we must give an accounting to God for what we decide.

Our Lord instructs us in the Gospel we have heard, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” The enormity of this election is founded, in part, on the radical determination of some who would lead our country deeper than ever before into the darkness of the culture of death. This is a path that would certainly mean the death of countless more innocent lives. As shepherd of this Diocese I am also deeply saddened by the prospect of the cost in people’s souls, the souls of those who would place a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity above the life of the most innocent of our brothers and sisters.

Most perilous is the fate of those Catholics who, with hardened hearts, decide to create for themselves, and preach to others, a false gospel that the “right” to an abortion must not be challenged, or that the humanity of the child need not be protected.

Most fraudulent are those Catholic leaders, or alliances of Catholics, that insist that the radically evil injustice of abortion need not be directly opposed, but rather, that somehow solving the dilemma of the poor in a sweeping act of charity will cause the foundation of this monstrous crime to crumble.

Why is this so terribly amiss? Because the foundation and cause of abortion is not poverty but a blind disregard for personal responsibility, a heinous denial and disrespect for human life, and an idolatrous worship of personal convenience. This is why even in the wealthy countries of Scandinavia the highest rates of abortions are followed by rampant euthanasia.

Friends, the poor do not hate their children any more or less than the rich. The poison of which abortion is the most dreadful manifestation is the sinful suffocation of selfishness, and it can and does affect all strata of society. Woe to those, particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their “choice” of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience. God have mercy on those who exude freely this salve for their partisan cooperators. I fear that they will bear a greater responsibility than most. Against them will come not only the cry of millions of human lives savagely destroyed, but the souls of those they have sucked down with themselves. This is the very definition of scandal, and the reason that so many have spoken out with such urgency to announce the authentic teaching of the Church.

Part of the damage we have been promised is encapsulated in the Freedom of Choice Act, which has been held at bay the last eight years. When all the reasonable limits on abortion, gained in the last 35 years have been summarily swept away: parental notification, waiting periods, counseling and informed consent, the number of those killed will grow by more than 100,000 a year.

The Freedom of Choice Act will mark the beginning of a great persecution against religious liberty, because it will require tax payer money to be used for abortions. You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.

And what of our Catholic hospitals? If we are forced to provide such destructive services under the Freedom of Choice Act, we will have to refuse. Catholic health care workers, and other men and women of good conscience, will risk losing their jobs when their conscience exception is lost and they are pressured to participate. I read a letter recently in our daily paper: The man said, “If you don’t want an abortion. Don’t have one.” Under a regime of such change, you and I will not have such an easy choice. By paying, it will become “our abortion.” Lord, have mercy on us, and on our country.

In the light of these clear and present dangers, I chose tonight’s Gospel, in part, because four times it tells us, “Don’t be afraid!” Let us not be afraid, dear flock. You are worth so much to God; more than sparrows, more than an election, more than any man can measure. Our first goal is this: we must get through tomorrow with our eternal souls intact. We know that God will take care of the rest.

A week ago, I wrote our diocese a letter hoping that it would be heard by all as a necessary call to prayer. Many of our pastors read it to their people. Some, I am sure, suffered a bit from doing so. Thank you, dear brave priests.

I also know that it wasn’t heard by all. Let us not be too hard on those who, for fear or even disagreement, have shrunk back even from the call to pray! It takes time for us to learn to carry our burdens, our obedience, our responsibility. I want you all to pray that – at the hour of greatest need – none will step back from the sacrifice that makes us most like Jesus Christ.

In the first reading, God tells Gideon that He is going to win a great victory. So that Gideon and the People of Israel don’t get too big a head, God determines to go against the hundreds of thousands of the enemy with only three hundred men. He even proceeds to choose those who are perhaps the least sophisticated of all, “those who lap up their water like dogs.” God certainly doesn’t pull any punches!

St. Paul says something similar when he announces that God chooses those whom the world considers foolish to shame the wise. (1 Cor 1:27) Dear friends, there is hope for us! God can use us – few and unsophisticated as we are to win the victory of life. God can choose “the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something.” (1 Cor 1: 28)

I pray this reading from about Gideon’s lopsided battle will remind God and us of the kind of victory He can win for His people. May He grant us this same mercy these days, all in accord with His will and plan; all for the glory of His name; all for the protection of human life.

In the second reading we have the image of Mary, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and the crown of stars on her head. Mary, we cry out to you, O Mother of life, O Empress of America, O Star of the New Evangelization, O Immaculate patroness of our Diocese and our country: Gather us under the mantel of your maternal love. Mary, Lady of the Rosary whom we have invoked so often, particularly in the last month, “Pray for us sinners!” You, O Queen and our Mother, “despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever-glorious and blessed Virgin.

Dear friends, over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We are called to be participants in life and death. May God guide us to choose life. May He make us his fearless apostles, and use us to construct a civilization of life and love."

Combined choir fills the Oratory with sacred music

When you combine two fine choirs for a single event, the result can be very satisfying. This is what happened at the Consecration and Rededication ceremony and Pontifical High Mass on October 25, 2008. The Oratory choir was joined by a contingent of the St. Francis de Sales Oratory choir from St. Louis and the 30 voices proved an excellent part of the liturgy.

The St. Louis group traveled  by van to Kansas City the afternoon before and arrived just in time for a combined rehearsal. The Oratory acoustics proved very much up to the task of carrying even the most delicate sound throughout the building. 

The Oratory membership gratefully appreciates the St. Louisans for the charitable donation of their talent. Perhaps someday we will be able to reciprocate.

The Future of the Traditional Latin Mass

This photo, from the Consecration ceremonies at Old St. Patrick Oratory, is published with permission.

In radio interview, Bishop Finn warns Catholics about saving their souls

Bishop Finn talks turkey about the spiritual consequences of voting for Barack Obama.

This information is courtesy of the Catholic Key blog. KCMO 710's Chris Stigall interviewed Bishop Finn on the subject of the election this morning. As he has in the past, Bishop Finn emphasized the priority of life and had this to say, excerpt:

Chris Stigall: "There are Catholics listening right now who are thinking strongly or are convinced that they will vote for Barack Obama. What would you say to them?"

Bishop Finn: "I would say, give consideration to your eternal salvation."  

That is telling it like it is. Although there will be many who call themselves Catholic who will not be convinced.

Listen to the whole interview to hear why. The audio clip has a short station intro and then goes right into the interview. It's short and concise, so it's worth listening to the whole thing.

"Mom, who are those guys in the funny hats?"

(This photo was taken of the honor guard of the Knights of Columbus at the Consecration and Rededication of Old St. Patrick Oratory. This essay was written by Oratory member Joe Farris who has been associated with the Knights for over 40 years.)

"Mom, who are those guys in the funny hats?" As a former Commander of the Fourth Degree Honor Guard, I used to hear that a lot, and I’m sure the Honor Guard continues to hear little guys and gals asking their parents the same question. Perhaps you yourself, if not a member of the K. of C., have had questions about the Knights of Columbus.

Well, I have been asked to share a little bit of information with you and hopefully enlighten you about this organization, which happens to be the largest organization of Catholic laymen in the world.

First, of all, let me tell you what it IS NOT. It is not a secret society. The only secrets of the K. of C. are the ceremonials that a Knight must go through in order to be accepted into each degree in the Order. There are four degrees in the Order:
  • The first degree is Charity. 
  • The second degree is Unity.
  •  The third degree is Fraternity. 
  • After a Knight has been a third degree Knight for a period of one year, he is invited to take the fourth degree which is Patriotism. As a Fourth degree Knight, you can volunteer to join the Honor Guard. 
The Honor Guard is often referred to as “The Knights on Main Street” because their presence is most often the only time the public really gets a look at the Knights in action since most of the good works they do are seldom seen. We are 1.7 million strong, and I could be writing for hours just on the good works done by the K. of C. – most of which you will never know about, but just for teasers, the bell tower at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital was paid for by the K. of C. and is often referred to as “the Knights tower.” The organ in Camp David’s chapel was donated by the Knights and when you see the Holy Father saying Mass on T.V. at Christmas and most other times the uplink to the satellites is underwritten by the K. of C.  We are the largest Pro-Life organization in the world and do more for the mentally handicapped than any organization anywhere, bar none! The words, “under God” in the pledge of allegiance are there because the Knights of Columbus led the charge to get those words included and the American Legion the year after these words were added, at their national convention, lauded the Knights of Columbus and gave us the credit and recognition for getting these words added. President Ronald Reagan, in a public address once said, “If you want a job done and done right, give it to the Knights of Columbus.” The Knights of Columbus Insurance Company is the first and so far the only life insurance company that insures the life of a baby while in its mother’s womb. This is done to demonstrate to the world that it is human life, not just “a fetus.”

Our founder, the Venerable Servant of God, Father Michael J. McGivney, (his cause for canonization is in progress) founded the Order in the basement of St. Mary church in New Haven, CN in 1882. From that humble beginning 126 years ago has grown the largest order of Catholic lay men in the world. When Fr. McGivney is canonized, he will not be the first Knight of Columbus to bear the title “Saint”, as five priest-martyrs in Mexico and one Bishop, who was also a Knight of Columbus have been canonized by the Church. There is also a lay Knight who’s cause is pending and he has been named Blessed but sadly I do not recall his name. Our Supreme Knight meets face to face with the Holy Father several times annually.

Well, back to the original question, “Mom, who are the guys in the funny hats”? And what do the different color capes and ostrich feathers mean? Sometimes in an Honor Guard you will see Knights wearing different colored capes and ostrich feathers on their chapeaux (funny hats). (By the way, a Knight purchases and maintains his own regalia) 
  • The guy in the purple is the Commander. A white cape signifies either the present or past Navigator (President). 
  • A gold cape and ostrich feather signifies either the present or past Grand Master of the Fourth Degree (one in each state). 
  • Green means he has the title of Marshall of the Fourth Degree (two in each state). 
  • Red is a Knight of the Fourth Degree. 
There are other colors worn by members of the Supreme Assembly but rarely ever seen by the public. The chapeaux is an Admiral’s hat because Columbus was an admiral as well as a knight. The baldric, (the sash that crosses the chest of the Knight and to which his sword is attached bears the colors of our nation, or in Canada their nation, or in Mexico their nation, etc. etc... There is a metal plate at the end of the baldric that holds the sword’s scabbard. It bears the initials, TFMM for “Tempus Fugit, Memento More”. Time flies, remember death. The honor guard is never permitted to deviate from the prescribed regalia which is “set in stone” by the Supreme Council in New Heaven. Only in the Philippine Islands, do the Knights wear a white jacket with their tuxedoes instead of black. This rule assures uniformity among Honor Guards.

I joined Council # 571 in St. Joseph, MO in April of 1961. The Council number tells you how old the Council is. Number 571 means it is the 571st Council formed and is the second oldest Council in the State of MO. I now belong to my fourth Council which is number 7199 which I helped Charter and served as the Charter Deputy Grand Knight. Oratory member, Don Deister is also a Charter member of this Council. Council # 7199 is named in honor of Pope John Paul I. Councils are usually named in honor of a deceased priest, bishop, Pope or sometimes a Saint or sometimes named to honor a Parish. The Charter members of the Council propose the name for the Council and then vote on its acceptance. Members of the Fourth Degree, in addition to belonging to their respective Councils also belong to an Assembly. I belong to the Msgr. Wogan Assembly number 2315, which is named in honor of Msgr. Wogan, the first priest in Clay County. I helped charter this Assembly and was the Charter Scribe (Secretary).

Someday, I am sure we will charter a council at Old St. Patrick Oratory. (There was a time when Councils were comprised of men from several parishes but in recent years the Supreme Council now prefers a Council in every parish). In the meantime, I hope that you have found this article informative and now know how to answer your little ones when asked, “Who are those guys in the funny hats.”

Joe Farris
Council #7199, Pope John Paul I
Assembly #2315, Msgr. Wogan