Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tridentine Community News - Books: How to Avoid Purgatory; All About the Angels; 1st Communions at OCLMA; TLM Masses this week,

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 17, 2016):
April 17, 2016 – Third Sunday After Easter

Book Review: How to Avoid Purgatory

Altar server about town James Murphy brought to our attention two books written by the same author, Fr. Paul Sullivan, OP, and republished by TAN Books.

The first, How to Avoid Purgatory, is a small and brief book (39 pages), which first explains the reasons why souls are sent to Purgatory, then provides several means to escape being sent there. In addition to the usual methods one hears, namely regular Confession, Holy Communion, seeking to gain Indulgences, and offering up penances and suffering, Fr. Sullivan recommends explicitly asking God for the grace to avoid Purgatory. Being a Dominican, he also suggests joining the Third Order of St. Dominic, today commonly called the Lay Dominicans, because of the order’s history of devotion to the Holy Souls. He also argues that those who have a devotion to helping the Souls in Purgatory during their lifetime are likely to be shown mercy by God with regards to their own obligations after death.

This reviewer struggles with one aspect of the book: How many of us can honestly say that we don’t deserve at least some time in Purgatory? It’s fine to say that we want to avoid it, but are our souls truly pure enough to merit immediate admission to heaven? The Church gives us the means to do so, even via some exceptional privileges, such as the Apostolic Pardon which can be given by a priest to a person near death, so perhaps it’s not so presumptuous a grace to desire after all.

Book Review: All About the Angels

The second book, All About the Angels, is a lengthier work at 131 pages. It is a fascinating introduction to the work of the Angels among mankind. Fr. Sullivan’s stated objective in writing the book was to foster Catholics’ love for and devotion to their “best friends”, the Angels who defend and support us. Though the book was originally published in 1945, even then the author felt the Church was not doing a satisfactory job of informing the faithful about the presence and actions of the Angels.

He expounds upon the ubiquity and supreme intelligence of the Angels:
Millions and millions of angels fill the Heavens, ministering unto God, but millions and millions of angels are also here on earth, ministering unto us. They are in our midst, around us, about us, everywhere….Were it not for their ever-vigilant protection, the history of the world would be far different, far more calamitous than it has been.
Much of the book is taken up with documenting apparitions of Angels to Saints, kings, and others, in the Bible and throughout history. The author makes the point that Angels are enormously grateful for any appreciation we show them in return, presumably because they are accustomed to being ignored. They welcome prayers and petitions for help, especially our Guardian Angels. Fr. Sullivan proposes the following brief prayer as a sign of gratitude:
Dearest Angels here present, I honor and love you and give thanks to God for all the glory He has given you.
The author recommends that we periodically offer Masses, Rosaries, and Communions to thank and console the Angels. God permitted St. Gertrude to see how grateful the Angels were after she once offered her Holy Communion in honor of the nine choirs of Angels. Fr. Sullivan cautions the reader, however, that Angels cannot help people who are in a state of mortal sin.

Fr. Sullivan maintains that Angels are the ones responsible for the seemingly miraculously saves we occasionally experience from disasters large and small. Angels are also the ones who help Martyrs suffer torture with acceptance, even joy. The Angels provide the supernatural strength the Martyrs require to resist the extreme pain they might otherwise experience.

The fascinating anecdotes and logically deduced advice given in this book make it a highly recommended read. One wonders why the Angels, who are such key intercessors for us, are not mentioned more frequently in homilies, articles, and other educational materials.

First Communions at OCLMA

First Holy Communions will be held for the Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the 9:45 AM Mass on Sunday, May 1 at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The faithful may gain a Plenary Indulgence by being present for a First Communion ceremony, under the usual conditions of Confession within 20 days, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, and freedom from attachment to sin. A reception will follow the Mass.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/18 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria)
  • Tue. 04/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Votive Mass for the Unity of the Church)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 17, 2016. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]