Diocese of Tulsa: March 2009 Archives

Spiritual Mothers of Priests

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In Union Our Lady's Yes

On the evening of March 24th, vigil of the Annunciation of the Lord, thirty-three women of the Diocese of Tulsa, having completed their initial formation as Spiritual Mothers of Priests, made their oblation during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery in Holy Family Cathedral. An exhortation by Bishop Slattery followed the singing of the Gospel of the Annunciation. His Excellency recalled the maternal solicitude for priests exemplified by Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Blessed Marie de Jésus Deluil-Martiny, the Servant of God Louise-Marguerite Claret de la Touche, and the Venerable Maria Concepción Cabrera. Then, he called the women to stand before the altar, just outside the sanctuary, where together they said:

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Holy Father (Jn 17:11), behold, I come to do Your will (Heb 10:9), placing myself, with all that I am, and all that I do, in the wounded hands of Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Eternal Priest and immaculate Victim.

I entreat Him to unite my offering
to the Holy Sacrifice that is about to be renewed
upon the altar of this our Cathedral Church
for the sake of all thy priests,
and in particular for the priest-son
who will be entrusted to me.

Holy Father,
keep them from the Evil One (Jn 17:15)
and sanctify them in the truth (Jn 17:17)
that the love with which You have loved Your Only-Begotten Son
may be in them
and that Your Son Himself may be in them (Jn 17:26).

Bind them by a most tender love
to the Virgin Mary, Mother of all priests,
that, by her intercession, they may be
overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35)
in every act of the Sacred Ministry.
Thus, may their priesthood,
supported by my humble oblation,
reveal the Face of Jesus and His Most Sacred Heart
for Your glory
and for the joy of the whole Church.

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The Blessed Medal

Bishop Slattery presented each woman with a blessed medal depicting a priest vested for Mass, helped by a woman -- Mother Church, Our Lady, a Spiritual Mother -- to raise a chalice made ready for to receive the Blood and the Water flowing from Our Lord's pierced side.

The medal bears, in Latin, the inscription of a text taken from the Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood, and addressed to the new priest: "Receive the power to offer sacrifice unto God."

Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may you wear this medal as the outward sign of your inner likeness to her maternal Heart, which is ever full of mercy and solicitude for her Son's priests.

A Priest Son for Each Mother

Then, His Excellency handed to each Spiritual Mother an envelope containing a profile of the priest entrusted to her, indicating some of his special challenges and needs. The name of the priest was not given to his Spiritual Mother, nor will he know her name. The mission of the Spiritual Mother is essentially hidden and silent.

Take as well the burdens of the priest whom you are adopting as your son; support him with your prayers, refresh him with the joy of your charity, and do penance for his sins and failings.

The formation of this first group of Spiritual Mothers will continue on a permanent basis, and other groups of women will also be formed for this precious and efficacious way of helping priests to grow in holiness.

Singing Priests

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Singing Priests

Yesterday, here at the Cenacle, we held the first meeting of the Diocesan Priests' Schola Cantorum, a group of nine priests who have decided to come together weekly to study the chants of the Graduale Romanum, and to sing them at various liturgical celebrations of the Diocese of Tulsa. We will sing for the first time in Holy Family Cathedral at the Mass of Chrism during Holy Week.

Our first session began with a presentation of certain characteristics of the Lenten Propers in the Graduale Romanum, followed by some simple vocalizations (warm-up exercises). We worked on two pieces; the Introit, Dilexisti, and the hymn, O Redemptor. Given that it was the very first time the group of us had sung together, the effect was not at all displeasing. A suitably Lenten luncheon followed.

An Indispensable Element of the Roman Rite

One of things that emerged in our discussion is the spiritual value of the Propers of the Mass. (The Propers, by the way, are a constitutive element of the Mass of the Roman Rite. A Mass without them is truncated, deformed, and theologically impoverished. To replace the Propers with "something else" is, effectively, to dismantle the spiritual architecture of the Roman Rite.

As I sang through the Gradual of this morning's Mass, I was once again seized by an inner awareness of the "sacramental" potential of the Chant. Nothing conveys the Word of God as efficaciously as the Chant of the Church:

Cast the burden of thy cares upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee.
V. Still I will call upon the Lord; He will not be deaf to my appeal when many take part against me. (Psalm 54: 23. V. 17a, 18b, 19a)

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory