Denver, Colo., May 22, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Catholic Church will celebrate the feast of St. Bede on May 25. The English priest, monk, and scholar is sometimes known as “the Venerable Bede” for his combination of personal holiness and intellectual brilliance.
Bede was born during 673 near the English town of Jarrow. His parents sent him at a young age to study at a monastery founded by a Benedictine abbot who would later be canonized in his own right as St. Benedict Biscop. The abbot's extensive library may have sparked an early curiosity in the boy, who would grow up to be a voracious reader and prolific writer.
Later, Bede returned to Jarrow and continued his studies with an abbot named Ceolfrid, who was a companion of St. Benedict Biscop. The abbot and a group of other monks instructed Bede not only in scripture and theology, but also in in sacred music, poetry and the Greek language.
Bede's tutors could see that his life demonstrated a remarkable devotion to prayer and study, and Ceolfrid made the decision to have him ordained a deacon when he was 19. Another Benedictine monk and future saint, the bishop John of Beverley, ordained Bede in 691.
He studied for 11 more years before entering the priesthood at the age of 30, around the beginning of the eighth century. Afterward, Bede took on the responsibility of celebrating daily Mass for the members of his Benedictine community, while also working on farming, baking, and other works of the monastery.
As a monk, Bede gave absolute priority to prayer, fasting and charitable hospitality. He regarded all other works as valueless without the love of God and one's neighbor. However, Bede also possessed astounding intellectual gifts, which he used to survey and master a wide range of subjects according to an all-encompassing vision of Christian scholarship.
Bede declined a request to become abbot of his monastery. Instead, he concentrated on writing, and produced more than 45 books – primarily about theology and the Bible, but also on science, literature, and history. He also taught hundreds of students at the monastery and its school, which became renowned throughout Britain.
During Bede's own lifetime, his spiritual and intellectual gifts garnered wide recognition. His writings on scripture were considered so authoritative that a Church council ordered them to be publicly read in English churches. Some of the most illustrious members of English society made pilgrimages to his monastery to seek his guidance, and he was personally invited to Rome by Pope Sergius.
Bede, however, was unfazed by these honors. Perhaps inspired by the Benedictine monastic ethos, which emphasizes one's absolute commitment to the monastic community, he chose not to visit Rome, or to travel any significant distance beyond the Monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in Jarrow, during his entire adult life.
Instead, the world came to him – through the visitors he received, according to the Benedictine tradition of hospitality, and through his voluminous reading. And Bede, in turn, reached the world without leaving his monastery, writing books that were copied with reverence for centuries and still read today. He is one of the last Western Christian writers to be numbered among the Church Fathers.
But Bede understood that love, rather than learning, was his life's purpose. “It is better,” he famously said, “to be a stupid and uneducated brother who, working at the good things he knows, merits life in heaven, than to be one who – though being distinguished for his learning in the Scriptures, or even holding the place of a teacher – lacks the bread of love."
Bede died on the vigil of the feast of the Ascension of Christ in 735, shortly after finishing an Anglo-Saxon translation of the Gospel of John. Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1899.
Vatican City, May 22, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Proclaiming Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life” is the main task of the Church, Pope Benedict said in his Sunday Regina Coeli remarks.
“The New Testament put an end to invisibility of the Father. God showed his face, as confirmed by the response of Jesus to the Apostle Philip, ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’,” the Pope told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on May 22.
For Christians, he explained, “the way to the Father is to be guided by Jesus, by his word of truth, and in accepting the gift of his life.”
Pope Benedict suggested the way of Jesus Christ is to be found in “following him every day, in simple actions that make up our day.”
He then quoted his own words from the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth:
“That's the mystery of God: to act in the quietest way. He only builds slowly in the great story of mankind’s history. He becomes a man, but in order to be ignored by his contemporaries and influential forces in history ... He continually knocks in the quietest way on the doors of our hearts, and if we open ourselves to him, he slowly makes us able to ‘see’.”
Pope Benedict drew upon the gospel reading for today, the fifth Sunday of Easter, in which Jesus Christ tells his disciples “Have faith in God, believe also in me.” The Pope pointed out that this belief is a single act of faith, and not two separate actions.
He cited the counsel of the 13th-century Italian theologian St. Bonaventure, who said “Open your eyes, therefore, tend the spiritual ears, open your lips and you have your heart, that you can in all creatures see, hear, praise, love, worship, glorify, honor your God.”
Pope Benedict concluded by calling upon the Virgin Mary to “always help the pastors and those in the various ministries announced the good news of salvation, so that the Word of God will spread and multiply the number of disciples.”
He then led pilgrims in the singing of the Regina Coeli.
Wichita, Kan., May 22, 2011 (CNA) - Five men will be ordained next weekend by Bishop Michael O. Jackels at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Wichita, Kansas. Four will be ordained to the priesthood and one to the transitional diaconate.
David M. Voss
David M. Voss from Wichita will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at a Mass on Friday, May 27. He is finishing studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Voss said as he looks forward to his ordination as a transitional deacon he is filled with gratefulness to God, Bishop Jackels, his seminaries, and his family.
“One would think that after so many years of school, my head would be filled with high and lofty theological discussion and teachings so much that I cannot wait to let it all out,” he said. “Yes, all of those thoughts are there, but overwhelmingly, what seminary has taught me is that Jesus Christ is the one who is at work, not me.”
He recalled Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you” and said, “God willing, as a future priest for our diocese, I will be called to be in persona Christi capitis, in the person of Christ the head. The work that I do is not important; the work God does through me is everything.”
Voss said he is looking forward to preaching. “The commission to give homilies is a humbling one, but it is also a great honor. One of the first attractions I had to the priesthood was hearing amazing preachers at Mass. What a privilege, to be able to be like the Apostles to explain the Word of God to those who thirst for it so greatly!”
He said as a deacon he is looking forward to being close to the Eucharist. “Not only can deacons preach, they are literally serving at the altar of our Lord,” he said.
“We take practicum classes at the seminary to learn how to follow the texts and rubrics of the rites of the church. During this process, someone ultimately has to say the priest’s parts in order to practice the deacon’s parts. I admit, this is a little strange at first, but coming closer to being able to celebrate the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of the greatest joys that I cannot begin to put down in words.”
The Rev. Mr. Marco A. De Loera
The Rev. Mr. Marco A. De Loera, a member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Wichita, is one of four men who will be ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28. He is also from Wichita, finishing his studies at Kenrick-Glennon.
Deacon De Loera said after nearly nine years of seminary formation he is eager to get back to the diocese to serve the people of God who will be his family.
“This thought brings consolation to my heart. Soon – very soon, God willing – I will be feeding God’s people with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ and with the other Sacraments,” he said, adding that it is an awesome responsibility and a humbling one.
“Who am I to approach the Holy Altar of God and to serve his people? Nobody! I am just a simple instrument of all His graces, an instrument that needs a lot of help from all the people of the diocese with your constant prayers for my sanctification and for the sanctification of all priests, those from Wichita and from all over the world.”
Deacon De Loera said he has learned after all of his years in the seminary that the people in Wichita love their seminarians and their priests. “God chose me to one day serve you and He chose you to pray for me and all my brother seminarians. Thank you for the great work that you have done for me, for the Glory of God.”
The Rev. Mr. Daniel J. Duling
The Rev. Mr. Daniel J. Duling of Schulte, Kansas will also be ordained to the priesthood. He is a student at Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md.
Deacon Duling said it was difficult to believe how fast seminary went by. “At other times I think it was a long time – I am very happy to be done with school. I will really miss the fraternity, the community of the seminary, and many of the men. You really come to develop strong friendships that will last forever.”
He said he is looking forward to being in a parish where he can serve the people of the diocese, who are responsible for him being there. “To serve beside my brother priests in Christ’s vineyard will be a great honor, I can just only hope and pray I can be half the priest that all these priests have been to me. I am looking forward to serving the people of God by serving Christ through Mary.”
Deacon Duling said he is grateful to his family, parish, and the people of the diocese because without their love and support he would have never been able to dedicate his life to the service of Christ’s Church. “Please continue to pray for all priests that they will die to self that Christ may grow in them,” he said.
The Rev. Mr. John P. Fogliasso
The Rev. Mr. John P. Fogliasso of Frontenac will be ordained to the priesthood Saturday, May 28. He studied at Kenrick-Glennon in St. Louis.
He said his ordination marks the end of six years of seminary education and formation. “Looking back on the many memories and experiences I have been blessed to have had, I am grateful for the support and encouragement I've received.”
He said his family has always been supportive of him and that his home parish and friends have been generous “in their excitement for me.”
“I’ve had many people surprise me during this past semester by telling me they are planning on attending my ordination. I am incredibly honored and humbled that they have a desire to attend and help me offer thanks to God on that special day,” he said.
Deacon Fogliasso said it was impossible for him to select what he is looking forward to most as a priest. “I’m overwhelmed to think that soon I will be hearing confessions and offering absolution in the person of Christ, that I am merely months away from offering the most holy sacrifice of the Mass, and that it will be my role to anoint the sick and help prepare them as they approach their final hours and days in this world.”
He added that he is now reflecting on all the blessings in my life, praying in gratitude for his ministry and asking God to lead him in learning how to be a “humble servant for His holy church.”
The Rev. Mr. Jeremy S. Huser
The Rev. Mr. Jeremy S. Huser, son of Mark and Jeryl Huser, members of Sacred Heart Parish, Fredonia, will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, May 28. He studied at Mount St. Mary Seminary.
Deacon Huser said he is excited to be finishing up his seminary studies and is eager for parish work. “As a result of diocesan support these past five and a half years, I have been able to grow in faith, both spiritually and intellectually,” he said. “With this knowledge I hope and pray through word and example that I will lead the people of God closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.”
After ordination he said he is looking forward to celebrating Mass, preaching the Word of God, and consecrating bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. “What a great vocation the Lord has given me!”
Deacon Huser said he was thankful for the financial and spiritual support he gets from the diocese for himself and his brother seminarians. “Without your help we would not be able to go to the seminary to gain a good education to bring back to you. Please continue to pray for us; you are all in my prayers.”
May 28 ordination to be streamed live
The ordination of the four deacons to the priesthood will be streamed live beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28. The link will be on the diocesan homepage, www.cdowk.org.
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper from the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.