Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Article in The Priest Magazine

The New Translation
Reflection after three months
By Father Matthew J. Albright - The Priest,
Among the inspirational scriptural and theological allusions brought into
greater clarity by the new translation of the Roman Missal is a multi-faceted
phrase in the second Eucharistic Prayer. During the epiclesis, the priest prays
for the Spirit to “descend like the dewfall.” This poetic reference might be
unusual to ears accustomed to spreadsheets, kids’ homework and the daily paper
(and some have even openly criticized the use of this particular phrasing), but
poetry makes sense in prayer. Behind the gateway of poetry is a fascinating
journey into the love of God.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of working with my family in our
garden. We have always valued fresh homegrown vegetables and the accomplishment
of cultivating our own garden. It is no coincidence that it has been said that
“he who plants a garden is close to God,” for the image of a garden plays a
significant role in the Scriptures. Life itself begins in the Garden of Eden,
where also the treachery of sin is revealed.
The love story between God and His people, between the Lord and the human
soul, told through the metaphor of a bridegroom and his bride in the Song of
Songs, includes the image of the soul’s secret garden into which she invites the
Lord to dwell and which is fruitful in love for others. In the fullness of time,
God send His only Son, and Jesus accepts the burden of the world’s sin in the
Garden of Gethsemane. Creation and redemption begin in a garden — a place of
anxious growth and the blossoming of new life. The seeds of a garden are
nourished by water, a basic element of all life. They grow in mystery and
produce beauty and delight beyond our explanation.
Each morning of summer when we awake, something new has transpired. Nature is
always renewing itself, as grace is always renewing us in our human needs. Thus
we can relate to the 19th century Gaelic hymn “Morning Has Broken,” which
praises the dawn of a new day as a reminder of the newness of creation.
In verse two we sing: “Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven, like
the first dewfall on the wet grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where His feet pass.” The wet grass and garden plants in
the first hours of daylight are uniquely beautiful: the sweet wetness serves as
a reminder of the providence of God, who sends mysterious moisture to nourish
the soil and mysterious grace to enliven the souls of human persons. The first
dewfall and the daily dewfalls throughout the world call to mind the goodness of
As the dewfall appears upon the leaves in the morning without our beholding
its coming, so too the grace of God descends through the sacraments and in other
mysterious ways to touch and nourish our lives. In the Consecration of the Mass,
the Spirit descends through the ministry of the priest to transform bread and
wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Spirit’s descent is inexplicable and unseen but very real. The altar is
the place where the fullness of God’s presence in Eden and the salvific action
of Christ begun in Gethsemane are made present. Jesus Christ is truly present,
Calvary is re-presented and His redeeming love flows over us in abundance. Like
the sweet and mysterious dewfall, the Spirit descends in hidden majesty to bring
God’s love into our lives. The God who is creator of the unseen descends to make
himself present to us in our every need, and the Church’s Eucharistic
celebration becomes like so many drops of water to cleanse parched souls.
Providing food for another is a great sign of love. Parents work to provide
food for their children, and chefs delight in new culinary creations to thrill
the appetites of diners. The Eucharist is the ultimate feast, the ultimate
feeding. It is a banquet in which the host is the food, the priest is the
victim. Jesus Christ nourishes us with His very Body and Blood, and we become
one with God. The Eucharistic banquet was prefigured in the Old Testament when
God fed the Israelites with manna in the desert.
When the Israelites, who had fled from bondage in Egypt, lamented their
starvation in the wilderness, God promised to “rain bread from heaven” (Ex
16:4). It came to pass that “in the morning a dew lay round the camp. And when
the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like
thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. . . .And Moses said to them, ‘It is the
bread which the Lord has given you to eat’” (Ex 16:13-15). The appearance of
bread from heaven to satisfy the hunger of the wandering Israelites coincides
with the dewfall at dawn, emphasizing the mystery and delicacy of the Lord’s
precious gift. In the dark of night, He showers on them the bread they need and
desire. They gather the bread, not knowing how it came to be.
The true Bread of Life
In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus takes the gift of bread from
heaven to a whole new level as He teaches the crowds that He is the true Bread
of Life: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness,
and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may
eat of it and not die. . .and the bread which I shall give for the life of the
world is my flesh” (Jn 6:48-51). How fitting it is, then, that we should pray
for the Spirit to descend like the dewfall in the Consecration, since Jesus
places His Eucharistic presence in the context of the manna that descended with
the dewfall. Having freed the Israelites from slavery, God fed them with manna
along their journey in the desert. In the Eucharist, Jesus himself feeds those
whom He has freed from the finality of sin’s darkness on their journey toward
union with God in their true homeland in heaven.
In addition to the Exodus story, Strong’s Concordance lists 34 appearances of
the word “dew” in the Scriptures. Notable in the context of the Eucharist is the
exhortation in Proverbs (3:19-20) to be wise: “The Lord by wisdom founded the
earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps
broke forth, and the clouds drop down the dew.” The creation of the universe is
the result, not of circumstance or accident, but of an intricate plan of a wise
God. The clouds drop down the dew because the Lord’s wisdom has ordained it so.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1) and also “to those who are called,
Christ crucified is the “power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24), while
to unbelievers He is a stumbling block and folly. As disciples of Jesus, we
accept Him — His teachings, sacraments, example, and sacrificial love — as the
supreme wisdom, far beyond the folly of the world. By the wisdom of God in
Christ, the sacraments drop down grace like clouds drop down the dew, in mystery
and beauty.
Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, through the words and ritual of the priest
during the consecration at Mass, is the fullest experience of God’s presence
known to mankind on earth. The wise working of God in creation and the rescuing
of the Israelites from slavery is seen manifest in the mysterious dewfall. Our
prayer in the canon of the Mass is that the Spirit once again descend in mystery
and sweetness upon simple bread and wine to transubstantiate them into the very
Body and Blood of Jesus, our food on the journey into God. The altar is the
garden of fruitfulness, where the dewfall of grace nourishes our gifts and
Christ becomes present in our midst. How fitting is this newly translated
prayer, and how rich in food for contemplation! TP
FATHER ALBRIGHT, a priest of the
Diocese of Youngstown, is religion teacher and chaplain at John F. Kennedy
Catholic High School in Warren, Ohio.
© 2011 Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Please check your local Catholic library for the December issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review and read my article on the New Translation of the Missal.

Please see my article on "Dewfall" and the New Translation three months hence in Priest Magazine, March issue.

A New Era...

I am praising and thanking God for the clear and powerful messages of our U. S. Bishops regarding the new healthcare policy, which mandates immorality and violates the God-given right, and constitutively American freedom, of the human person to follow his conscience.

News story here re: several bishops:

Search for YouTube video of Archbishop Dolan, President of the USCCB

Read statements by (arch)bishops of

Washington, DC:


and Pittsburgh:

and Youngstown:

Several bishops calls for prayer and fasting in their letters. This is a moment to show the full force of the love and truth of Jesus revealed in the teaching of His Church!

Homily Notes Fourth Sunday of OT Year B 2012

Homily Fourth Sunday of the
Year 2012

NB: NOTES do not reflect ad libitum delivery of actual homily

One of the customs of the late Pope John Paul II that was so
powerful to see as people throughout the world saw him on television was his
custom of kissing the ground when he visited a country. He recognized the beauty of every land and
people he visited.

He made over 100 trips to different countries because he was
committed to evangelizing the world and bringing the glad tidings of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ to people everywhere.

Today we have the option of celebrating a Mass of
Thanksgiving for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, which took place in

We thank God for a pope of tremendous love, faith and impact
on the life of the Church. He gave us a
new Catechism of the Catholic Church, and so we have a resource to go to that
shows us how to live out the Scriptures and the teaching of the Magisterium in
our daily lives. He gave us a new Code
of Canon Law and a number of encyclical letters on every aspect of Church teaching. His emphasis on youth and establishment of
WYD brought a whole new generation into joyful relationship with the Lord. He helped the whole Church to learn the teachings
of Vatican II and make them bear fruit in sound teaching and sacramental celebration. His celebration of the Mass on the altars of
the world brought the living presence of Jesus to men and women of every race
and language. Crowds of millions sat in
stillness as they listened to his beautiful words.

For 28 years we were blessed to be lead and inspired by this
holy pope, who as a celibate priest and a holy man of God, was, in the words of
Saint Paul, “anxious about the things of God!”

John Paul taught us that being faithful to the Church is the
sure path to Christ, in whom alone we find salvation and in whom we are made a
new creation: brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of God.

We saw the beauty of God’s love radiant in the life of John Paul
II. We found in his smiling face and in
the brightness of his eyes the assurance that God loves us. In every trial and heartache and sin and
struggle we face…we can be certain that God’s love never fails. That’s what he taught us: to have confidence
that God always loves us and that Church is always here to help us draw closer
to the Lord.

He taught with authority…the authority of Christ as the
Vicar of Christ and successor to the Apostles.
As we face questions of faith and morals and life in our daily lives, we
can be confident on Christ’s love for us and thus remain strong in our defense
of what we believe, after the example of Pope John Paul.

The issue facing us today centers around health care. New government policy will require insurance companies
and hospitals, including Catholic and other faith-based institutions, to provide
coverage in their health plans for procedures that violate their beliefs, such as
contraception and abortion. This is a
previously unheard of, dangerous and destructive policy from the department of
health and human services. It would
require every person’s health insurance to cover these procedures, thus threatening
our hospitals and attacking the freedom of every human person to make decisions
on faith and life according to his or her own conscience.

Following the example of John Paul II, a prophet of God’s
truth and love, this is the time for us to stand up for our Christian moral
teachings and the God-given freedom of every person to follow God and live his
life according to his conscience.

Our bishops have spoken out against this policy and called
all Catholics to action. Archbishop
Dolan, president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference is on YouTube speaking about
the issue. Others such as Cardinal
Weuhrl of Washington, D.C., have issued strong statements. They have called us to fasting and prayer and
urged us to write to our congressmen and senators, to encourage them to oppose
this policy and protect the rights of conscience.

Indeed, this is a time to pray that the hearts of all people
will be open to the grace of Christ…a vision John Paul dream of and worked so
hard to achieve.

This is the time of the new evangelization – a time of not
only opposing issues like the health care policy but a time of re-introducing
Christ to the world and, even more fundamentally, deepening our own faith so
that we have something solid and beautiful to share with others.

The new evangelization begins in the Church by helping each
other, and the next generation, to know the person of Christ and learn the
faith of His Church. We long for every
heart to know Christ, and so we remain committed to spreading the good news of
Jesus to the ends of the earth. We believe
that the Word of Christ has power to save and make us whole. Just as Jesus drove out the demon in today’s
Gospel and spoke with amazing authority to the people of His time, so we know
that the word of Jesus can heal and save and renew us and our broken world

In the Eucharist we receive today in Holy Mass, we are given
the gift of the presence of Christ, who loves us and gives us strength to
continue learning our faith and defending what we believe in our world

Blessed Pope John Paul II, help us by your prayers to love
Christ more fully, to deepen the knowledge of our faith and to be confident missionaries
of the new evangelization, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to the ends of
the earth!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homily Second Sunday OT Year B 2012

Today's homily... click on title for audio...
Pray for vocations!

Please consider attending the DOY Mass for Life. Visit for more information.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Christmas Homily 2011

Homily Christmas 2011

2011 years ago, in the obscure village of Bethlehem,
merchants and
paupers, tax collectors and shepherds,
Romans in town
for the census and locals hawking their wares in the street,
guests of the
inn and children playing games,
passed casually by the same rustic,
crude little stable
ever giving it a second glance.

Perhaps some youth engaging in the perennial joys of
or the
land-owner on his daily feeding rounds
cause to venture in…
even they would not have placed this stable in high regard.
Not one of the hundreds of citizens and visitors during the
bustling census time
could have
imagined that this stable
be the site of anything worth remembering.

Even less significant is the manger…
from which the
animals are gracefully nibbling their hay and grain.

When they left Nazareth, on their way to be counted in
Joseph’s ancestral village,
even Mary and
Joseph could not foresee that they would sleep in a stable,
these friendly beasts their friends for a few days
rely on the manger for a crib.

This humble little spot
was seen yet ignored,
alive with the activity of animals but of no significance
to man.
But so it came to pass, because there was no vacancy in the
inn, that
the stable
would be the Holy Family’s resting place
the animals
would be their companions
and the manger
would house the incarnate Son of God.

As God takes on human flesh and Christ is born into this
the baby
Jesus, together with His loving mother and adoring foster-father,
hovering and worshipping angels,
awe-struck and bewildered shepherds…
all drawn to this simple stable.

There is no palace, parade or promenade for God made man…
only the
cooing of birds and the mooing of cows.

The incredible story of
the mystery of the incarnation,
the greatest miracle and most significant event in all of
human history,
is crowded into this crude little barn.

And before Mary lays her child…and her Savior…to rest...
she picks out
the dirty hay…
by the cooing birds and the slobbering donkeys…
and with a
swaddling cloth prepares a comfortable place amid the dirt
which to lay this precious child’s pure body.

As we gather for the Sacred Liturgy, we transcend time and space
and penetrate the
mysteries we remember and celebrate.

Christmas is not a past event.
It is a reality that gives us at
this moment a whole new perspective on life
and a closeness to Christ
greater than that experienced by the shepherds at

The Christmas scene…or,
rather, the scene before Christmas…
reorients our vision of Christian life.
We are rustic stables and empty mangers!

We are imperfect and sometimes darkened by sadness and grief.
We are rough around the edges, soiled and sinful.
We are crowded by the trappings and stresses of life.

At the same time, like the empty manger, we are ready to
receive Jesus!
We are available to Him and prepared by our Advent journey
for His coming.
We are eager to make a comfortable place in our lives for the
presence of Jesus.

The Lord bids us consider how we can, with the help us His
prepare the most warm and comfy and worthy place in
our lives for Jesus.

The Church remains today a strong and holy dwelling for the
presence of Christ…
His truth in
her teaching, His presence in her sacraments.
She has, with the new translation of the prayers of the Mass…
prayers which
more accurately convey the language, theology
and references
to Scripture that lie within our Catholic prayers…
our experience of the Mass
more worthy celebration of Christ’s dwelling with us.
How can we as individuals,
be more worthy for Christ to enter under our roofs?
the roofs of stables…but of our bodies...

As the hay might make Jesus cry or scratch His skin as He
lies sleeping…
what might
offend Jesus in our lives?
What inappropriate behavior, language or activities
must we pluck
out from our lives
so we
can make a clean and comfortable place for Jesus?

Studying, learning and deepening the practice of our faith
also makes
room for Jesus to enter more deeply into our lives.
I invite and encourage all of you here today to take hold of
your Catholic heritage
and make it
your own – the cornerstone of your life’s endeavors.

For as Christians it is our calling, our purpose and our desire
to swaddle the
Lord deep within our every word, thought and deed
and love Him
passionately forever!

Imperfect as we are, we can open wide the doors of our homes
and hearts to Christ!

The same Jesus, who was
welcomed in Bethlehem so long ago,
is truly present as we welcome Him through the Eucharist

The Eucharistic celebration is the experience of receiving
Body and
Blood, soul and divinity,
under our roofs, into our bodies and our
That experience, like no other, brings us into intimate
communion with the Lord.

Have you ever asked why we are told in the Gospels
about the
census and the journey to Bethlehem?
Other than its obvious practical purpose,
why is the
detail of Jesus being laid in a manger
included by Saint Luke in his Gospel account of the Nativity?
The story of the census provides corroborating historical
for the Bible
story of Jesus…but there is also a deeper meaning.
“Bethlehem” means
“House of Bread”
and a manger is a box from which animals eat.
Jesus is born in the
house of bread and laid to rest on a feeding trough
for He is the Bread of Life and the food of everlasting

As we approach the altar, the ultimate feeding-place of God’s
holy people,
to receive the
pure body of this precious Jesus,
we are mindful
most especially of the need to be open and receptive,
of serious sin and prepared by the one-hour fast and prayer,
to accept Jesus into hearts aflame with love for Him!
This Christmas…be the manger…be the stable…
insignificant in the eyes of man, maybe even a little dirty…
but accepted
and loved by God as His own beloved son or daughter…
chosen to be His dwelling place.
In you Christ will soon reside.
May you swaddle Him in each moment, each breath, each action
of your existence,
that the world
may be uplifted and renewed
the presence of Christ alive in His faithful people.

Homily Mary Mother of God 2011

Chanted Gospel and Homily on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
Click on title for audio...

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve at Walsh

Over 75 people gathered to keep vigil on New Year's Eve in prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist and in the celebration of Holy Mass. This is the reflection which set the tone for our holy hour.

Homily Advent IV 2011 Year B

Sorry for the delay!
Click on title for audio...