Sunday, May 13, 2012

Extraordinary Community News

Tridentine Community News (May 13, 2012):
A History of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

A reader asked why the Church has the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, when not too many weeks prior she had the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19.

After World War II, with the rise of Communism came a sort of cult of the worker. Communist regimes claimed to provide a workers’ paradise. Pope Pius XII deemed it worthy to emphasize the Church’s teaching on the value of work by establishing a Feast around the dignity of St. Joseph’s work as a carpenter. The Church herself had long taught of the value of Ora et Labóra: prayer and work. Thus in 1955 the previous Feast of St. Joseph the Protector of the Church on the Third Wednesday After Easter was replaced by the new Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. The date of May 1 was chosen to counteract socialists and secular enterprises claiming the workers’ holiday of “May Day” as their own.

Why Pray Indulgenced Prayers?

A reader asked why Catholics should pray prayers that are enriched with a Partial Indulgence. Would it not be intellectually more honest to offer impromptu, personalized prayers, for example for the Act of Contrition? Of course it is clear that the official prayers carry the gift of the Indulgence, but the first General Grant in the 2006 Manual of Indulgences states that any pious prayer is enriched with a Partial Indulgence.

The answer lies with the general Catholic theme of “praying with the Church.” We pray with the Church when we assist at Holy Mass, following its form, rubrics, and content. We pray with the Church when we pray the Divine Office or any of the official Little Offices. We pray with the Church when a priest performs a blessing from the Rituále Románum. We also pray with the Church when we pray one of the Indulgenced prayers, because the Church, via the Manual of Indulgences, has deemed those prayers “excellent”, in other words particularly appropriate or effective. Some of those prayers, such as the Holy Rosary, have great foundation in Sacred Tradition; one would hardly think of making up one’s own decades for the Rosary. Other prayers, such as the Guardian Angel Prayer and the Te Deum, are universally known and loved. Yet other prayers, such as the prayers to St. Joseph and to Ss. Peter & Paul, have been deemed to be particularly expressive of our Faith and of the Saints’ areas of intercessory specialty.

While individually composed, heartfelt prayers may be similarly expressive of authentic Catholic doctrine, they may also be deficient in some ways, through no necessary fault of the person praying. To use a secular analogy, if one wanders into a McDonalds and orders a “double-decker cheeseburger”, there is a possibility that one might end up with something other than a Big Mac®. Use the precise terminology and you will be assured of attaining what you really intend. That may entail learning some new lingo; who knew what “venti” meant before Starbucks came along?

Consider the priests and religious who pray the Divine Office every day. It is not boring or uncreative for them to stick to the prescribed form. Rather, it signifies a unity with the universal Church. In the case of the aforementioned Act of Contrition, the official version is a succinct and complete prayer; sincerely prayed it is ideal for the intended purpose.

In summary, the Church provides us with specific texts of Indulgenced Prayers because she sees merit in those particular texts. There is liberty in following prescribed prayers, just as there is liberty in following the rubrics of the Mass. We are freed from having to invent everything. Who would want to invent the procedures for traffic management at a busy intersection? We all know the chaos that often surrounds following the directions of a police officer when a traffic signal is out; the signal is a far more efficient means to govern order. By following prescribed prayers, we are able to focus our minds and souls on the worship, thanks, and supplication that we wish to give to God and His Saints.

A Call to Our Readers for Resources for Traditional Catholics

A reader suggested that we pose a question to our entire reader base: Does anyone have any suggestions for “Resources for Traditional Catholics”? Be creative; a few examples are recommended books, video, audio, music, conferences, tours, and family-related items such as homeschooling support materials. Please e-mail any suggestions that you might have to the address at the bottom of this page or call (248) 250-2740, and we will reprint items of broad and authentically Catholic interest.

List of Back Columns

A reader requested that we publish in index of all back editions of the Tridentine Community News. All back issues are available on-line at and The complete list of back column subjects would itself take up multiple columns, thus for those readers without internet access, it is a better use of space and time to mail you the complete list. Likewise, we are more than happy to mail individual back columns to you; please call (248) 250-2740 for any requests, or e-mail the address at the bottom of the page.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Boniface, Martyr)

Tue. 05/15 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. John Baptist de la Salle, Confessor)

Thu. 05/17 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Ascension Thursday)

Sat. 05/19 4:30 PM: High Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul (west side) (External Solemnity of the Ascension) – The Teutonia Chorus of Windsor will sing Schubert’s Mass in G

Sun. 05/20 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Sunday After the Ascension)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for May 13, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

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