Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Disaster Relief

Our thoughts and prayers have been with the victims of hurricane Katrina during these past days. Certainly, the devastation is immense and the extent of the damage is only beginning to be known. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced a collection to support those in affected areas. Read more about the effort at the USCCB site here, or visit Catholic Charities. Here's the address to send money now, or donate online:
2005 Hurricane Relief Fund
Catholic Charities USA
PO Box 25168
Alexandria, VA 22313-9788

We at St. John Neumann will be using the yellow missionary envelopes this week to collect money for this fund; please make your checks out to the parish, and we will send one check from the whole parish.

Also, please continue to pray for the people still stranded and homeless, and for all the rebuilding efforts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Free Press Article

The Detroit Free Press religion writer David Crumm is writing an article about the current trend of religious blogging. Watch for it in tomorrow or Thursday's print or online editions; I was interviewed yesterday by Mr. Crumm for the article and the photographer shot pictures today. I'll include a link to the online version when it appears.


A couple weeks ago, John Hale from Corporate Travel suggested that I consider leading a pilgrimage to Italy next October (2006). Currently, the itinerary will include Rome, Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo (Saint Padre Pio's friary), and possibly Siena, and the Eucharistic Miracles in either Lanciano or Orvieto-Bolsena. The pilgrimage includes all the transportation costs, lodging, and most meals; a price is still to be determined. I will be saying Mass daily at the shrines we visit, and opportunities for Confession will be frequent as well. Hopefully, we'll be able to visit some "behind-the-scenes" parts of Vatican City and even hopefully have an audience with His Holiness Benedict XVI.

If you're interested -- even slightly -- please call me at the parish offices at (734) 455-5910 or e-mail the address found here. I can't put the address directly here, or my inbox will be filled with spam.

Back to School!

As so many of the parishioners are heading back to school this week, it seems appropriate to suggest some good reading material. I'm an avid reader, and enjoy some great Catholic authors (aside from others, too!), especially Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson. Benson was a Catholic priest from England who died at the beginning of the 20th century. For more information about Benson, visit this link. Some of my favorite books of his include Come Rack! Come Rope! (eBook version here), Lord of the World (eBook version here), and By What Authority? Some are available from Neumann Press as reprints; others are still not too expensive from used bookstores online (places like,, and

Some of you might be wondering if I have read the Harry Potter series yet. As a matter of fact, I have. Hopefully, I'll have some time during the next few weeks to explore my thoughts about Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagred, Professor Dumbledore, and the rest of the characters in these stories.

You might notice that the Benson novels above and Harry Potter are all fiction. I will begin to compile a list of books (fiction and non-) that I really enjoy and continue to re-read. I'll open this post up to comments, for suggestions of books that I should read or that must be included in the list.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Homily for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

Homily for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Today’s Gospel picks up immediately following last week’s profound declaration of our Lord to St. Peter. Simon, we recall, had his name – and mission – changed to Rock. He was to be the rock of the Church, the foundation of Christ’s Body on earth. He received the “Keys to the Kingdom,” the power to “bind and loose,” and the promise that Christ’s Church would prevail against her enemies and the power of hell.

As our Lord continues His discourse, however, St. Peter begins to see the true consequences of being the “rock”. Christ opens to his disciples the awful truth of the Incarnation: the reality of suffering and death. Our Lord explains to them that He must suffer and be killed – and rise again. This is too much for the newly appointed “rock”. He wants the promises, to be sure, but isn’t capable of accepting them on Jesus’ terms. He thinks as we do, “conformed to this age.” Peter had yet to be transformed by the power of the Spirit, unwilling to allow Christ’s Sacrifice to be the foundation of the Church.

Why was this so awful? Because even in his refusal, St. Peter knew the truth: that if Christ died, offering His life as a ransom for man, then he, too, would have to offer his own life in imitation of Christ’s. Christ, after silencing Peter, confirms his worst suspicions.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

My dear brothers and sisters, are we prepared to make this commitment to Christ? Or are our minds conformed to this age? Do we reject the notion of redemptive suffering? Do we desire comfortable lives, minimizing our suffering at every turn? Have we rejected the message and meaning of the Cross in favor of “tolerance” and “niceness”? Are we comfortable thinking that other paths to salvation exist, as long as I am a “good person”?

We need to accept the power of the Cross today. We must be “duped” by the Lord, so that His Name becomes fire burning in our hearts, impossible to be kept in. We must be transformed by the renewal of our minds, prepared to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. In short, my dear friends, we must be prepared to not just accept the Cross, but to embrace it.

There is only one path to salvation, and it’s hanging on the wall behind me. Though we need not be terrified by the crucifix, it should in some measure sober our thoughts every day. “He must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” When we see the Cross, do we understand its meaning? Until Christ offered Himself on the Cross, the gates of heaven were closed; by offering Himself to the Father on our behalf for all the sins of the world, Christ won Salvation for us. Without Calvary, without the agonizing bloody sacrifice of the Cross, none of us could have hope for salvation; we would stand justly condemned before God, destined to be apart from Him for all eternity.

But, thanks be to God, He sent His Son, not just as a good man, a wise prophet, or a fine example. God sent His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, to reveal Himself and the meaning of total and complete self-giving, sacrificial love. In order for us to share in the live of Christ, we must share in His death.

What are the Crosses in your life? What heavy, burdensome Cross do you bear? Or perhaps, what Cross do we avoid?

Is the Cross in your life physical suffering? Is it the Cross of illness, old-age, or a physical handicap? Do you struggle with mental disorders, anxiety, or great stress?

Is someone else the Cross in your life? Do you struggle with a difficult parent, children, brothers and sisters, or a spouse? Is a co-worker, boss, or employee a Cross for you? Are fellow parishioners, or even your Associate Pastor, Crosses for you?

Is the Cross a Cross of temptation? Do you struggle with the Cross of pornography, contraception, gluttony, gambling, alcoholism? Does the Cross of abortion weigh down your soul? Do you struggle with a finances, bearing the Cross in this way? Are you lonely, hopeless, or just discouraged?

And as we start back to school, do you have a teacher who just seems to “have it in for you”? A class that you cannot stand, or have any luck with? Maybe you have a difficult student who is your Cross.

Each of us bears a Cross – many of us bear numerous Crosses daily. If I asked each of you, you would tell story after story of trial and difficulty. But they only become means of salvation when we lovingly accept them, and follow Christ with them. The Cross, after all, is not just meant to be carried. Christ died on the Cross.

Is this the Good News of the Gospel? We’re just meant to bear these Crosses until they finally kill us? NO! Christ bears these Crosses with us; He holds us up, and supports us, and ultimately makes these burdens sources of grace and life. How do we do this, though? How are we meant to bear these Crosses, when we don’t have the strength on our own?

The real Good News is that Christ desires these burdens for Himself. Don’t hold in the weight of the Cross; cast it upon Jesus in love and in humility. By daily offering to Him the Crosses of our life, we grow in love of God and neighbor. Three ways stand out as excellent means to “offer up” the Crosses that we bear.

First, by penance, both in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the practice of penance. Offer to our Lord all your sins, your struggles, your temptations – everything – in the Sacrament. Bringing these burdens to the priest, and setting them in the context of the Cross, confident that Jesus forgives through His Church gives great peace. Then, by adopting small mortifications – little deaths – we prepare our souls to bear greater Crosses. What can we do? Abstain from meat on Fridays, or fast on Fridays; only drink water with our meals one day of the week; abstain from television, internet, movies – not because they’re bad, but out of love for Christ.

Secondly, by bringing these concerns to Mass. Especially at the Presentation of the Gifts, unite all your intentions to the Sacrifice of Christ. The Mass is the Cross; it is Calvary; the same One Sacrifice of our Lord occurs for our benefit. By placing our heart spiritually on the altar, along with all the struggles of our daily life, we bring them into the shadow of the Cross. Nothing is more powerful than the Sacrifice of the Mass for bringing our wills into union with Christ.

Finally, by extending the Mass in our own lives, first of all by making a thanksgiving after receiving Holy Communion, staying for a few moments after Mass to praise God for His goodness, and to apply the graces of Mass to our lives in some concrete way. Also, we should strive to spend some time – at least an hour – of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament each week. This could be before the tabernacle, or even better, in Eucharistic Adoration with the exposed Eucharist in a Monstrance.

Don’t let this opportunity for grace pass by. Today Christ holds out for us his own hands and shoulders to accept our Crosses. Cast them upon Him, for He is meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Faith Seeking Understanding" for August 28, 2005

Apart from being the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, today is also the Memorial of St. Augustine of Hippo, the great Father and Doctor of the Church. St. Augustine (354-430 AD), perhaps the greatest theologian the Catholic Church has ever known, is most famous for his book The Confessions, which details his own conversion from a wild and carefree youth to a saintly, faith-filled Bishop. During this tumultuous time in the Roman Empire, Augustine wrote The City of God, describing how two “cities” – the City of God and the City of Man – dwell side by side, intermingled throughout history. In reality, the two cities are opposed; we are either for God or against him. No middle ground exists. He is also known for expounding on the Blessed Trinity; for analyzing the theology of Grace and Justification; and particularly for arguing against the Manichaeans, a Gnostic sect that denied the goodness of creation. St. Augustine is a marvelous example of how even the most “committed” sinner can be embraced by God’s mercy and forgiveness. His books are still printed, even today, and are classics of Western literature. I strongly recommend The Confessions as rich and fruitful for spiritual reading.

Tomorrow, we remember the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. You can find the story detailed in Mark 6:17-29. We read that the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod at the request of Herodias’ daughter, because St. John would not approve of Herod’s illegitimate marriage to his brother’s wife. Such a forceful defense of marriage, in direct opposition to the King, earned him the martyr’s crown. Happy and healthy marriages – and families – are the foundation of a virtuous society.

This week, my own parents are celebrating their 31st Wedding Anniversary. I am tremendously grateful for the guidance and example they have given my siblings and me as they taught us the Faith and passed on their love for our Lord and His Church. In some way, they and all married couples stand with St. John the Baptist, proclaiming the truth about marriage in the face of a hostile culture.

Sadly, even among Catholics, it is common to find engaged couples “living together” before marriage. The divorce rate among Catholics is reportedly the same as the rest of society. We have not read or understood the teaching on contraception found in the encyclicals Humanæ Vitæ and Veritatis Splendor. And now we even hear of same-sex “marriage.” Are we prepared to defend the sanctity of marriage, the importance of family life, and marital fidelity against our culture today? Much in our culture stands in the way of successful marriages. Self-sacrifice, self-denial, and penance are thought of as outmoded. Widespread pornography feeds on the “me-first” culture, and tears families apart. What can we do?

Begin by praying at home, especially prayers before and after meals; eat family meals together, and talk about the Faith; come to the Sacrament of Penance regularly; make Sunday Mass the first priority of the week, and discuss the readings and the Homily as a family; finally, practice penance and works of mercy together as a family. Fasting from television, the internet, computer games, or desserts isn’t just for Lent: by practicing penance on Fridays throughout the year, we begin to die to ourselves and our desires, allowing a spirit of generosity and charity to reign in our hearts. Also, participation in Whole Community Catechesis this coming Fall will help us build a culture of life and healthy and holy families. Please pray for priests and for families! God bless you all!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Breakfast with the Bishop

My talk on Saturday was a marvelous experience, and it was a great delight to meet Bishop Robert J. Carlson from Saginaw in person. Although it was quite a challenging task to follow His Excellency, I managed to do so without collapsing.

For those of you who are interested, the talk was recorded by Ave Maria Radio, and should be playing next Sunday at 3:00 pm. I may be wrong about this, so please check for more information.

Homily for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Unfortunately, I did not have time this past week to write out my homily as I usually try to do. The gospel, in particular, allowed for such a wide choice of topics on which to preach. And, as it so happened, the homily I preached on Saturday evening was somewhat different from the Sunday evening version. Some of the key points are here, nevertheless:

Divine Providence allowed for this weekend's readings to coincide quite nicely with world events and with Sunday's saint, Pope St. Pius X. The readings speak to the Petrine Primacy, or the mission and authority given to St. Peter by our Lord in the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel. Naturally, World Youth Day would attract our attention, especially since we have pilgrims from St. John Neumann in Cologne right now.

Our Lord changes St. Peter's name in response to a revelation from the Father; St. Peter confesses the Truth about Christ, not on his own, but because he has heard from the Father. It is not St. Peter's greatness that brings about the new mission, but his docility (at this moment) to the prompting of the Father. Yet, in a few moments, St. Peter will try to dissuade our Lord from the Cross, earning a stern rebuke. What are we to make of this?

We come to the Church on Christ's terms -- not our own. The Cross is the guidepost and marker of the Christian life; we're not free to reject suffering (or any other aspect of the truth) because we don't like it. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ, not to me, to any other priest, any bishop, or even the pope. As such, the Church serves Christ and His teachings.

Nevertheless, the teachings of the Church are preserved from error by the divine charism of Infallibility. This means that the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, cannot teach error in Faith or morals. We have nothing to fear when we believe wholeheartedly in the teachings of the Church. If we struggle with a teaching, we can do our best to pray for docility to the Spirit that we will understand the reasons for our belief.

Finally, we need to pray earnestly for our Holy Father, and for all bishops and priests. They have been given a great task, and require our support.

I also mentioned a few things about relics, including the First Class relic of Pope St. Pius X that was in the sanctuary for yesterday evening's Mass, and the relics of St. Peter beneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. For more information about these relics, visit the Scavi office in Rome. Enjoy this tour of St. Peter's, this article about St. Peter in Rome, this article about the tomb, and this amazing site about everything Roman!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for August 21, 2005

Many of us have had our eyes focused on the city of Cologne, Germany, for the past week, watching the events of World Youth Day 2005 unfold. Since I’m writing this column before our youth have even left for Germany, I can only offer predictions and expectations. By next week, however, we will have firsthand accounts of the first World Youth Day of Pope Benedict XVI from our returning pilgrims. The stories will certainly be told and retold, sharing the graces with all of us from this gathering for months and years to come.

My memories of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Ontario, with Pope John Paul II are still fresh and vibrant, and I know that our pilgrims will be deeply touched by the Holy Spirit in their encounter with the Vicar of Christ, the Servant of the Servants of God, our Pope.

Coincidentally, this weekend’s readings speak eloquently of the “Petrine Ministry” or the role of St. Peter (and his successors) in the Church. The first reading gives the background for the analogy used by our Lord in the Gospel: the “keys to the kingdom of heaven.” These keys are the symbol of authority; they represent the office of the King’s Steward, who governs in the king’s absence. Matthew’s Gospel completes the story with the beautiful testimony of St. Peter in the divinity of Christ. After receiving Peter’s confession of Faith, Jesus responds with the monumental words, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”

These words are inscribed in Latin around the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in golden letters that are six-feet tall: words intended, not just for St. Peter’s benefit as the first pope, but for all 264 of his successors, to Pope Benedict XVI. What a profound statement of faith this is – and what a guarantee! We are blessed as Catholics to share the same Faith as our ancestors, guaranteed by the Infallibility of the Teaching Authority of the Church (or Magisterium), confirmed by the Pope and shared by the Bishops in communion with him. Jesus, always faithful to His promises, has promised that His Church will never teach error in Faith or Morals, always preserving His teachings and the Sacraments until the end of time.

This does not mean that every pope is a saint, or that he always makes the best decisions. Nor do Christ’s words guarantee that we will always understand His teachings as taught by the Church, or that we will always agree. The declaration to St. Peter presents a great gift and also a challenge. As a gift, we know that the Catholic Church is preserved from error, so we can confidently believe in her teachings since they are taught by Christ Himself; as a challenge, we nevertheless must struggle with the reasons for these teachings, and strive to understand and believe them as best we can. If we don’t understand a teaching, struggle with it, or have a difficult time finding Christ at the heart of some point of doctrine, what do we do? We ought to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and docility, and then we should study Scripture and Tradition to help our understanding. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place to begin, but prayer is essential in establishing the relationship with Christ that allows us to trust Him and His Church. Then we can shout with all the pilgrims in Cologne, “Viva il Papa!
God bless you all!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Masses This Week

Since I will be speaking at Breakfast With the Bishop this coming Saturday morning (August 20, 2005), I won't be celebrating morning Mass at 8:00 am. Please forgive me, and come next Saturday, August 27th.

I will be celebrating the 4:30 pm Vigil Mass on the 20th, and the 7:00 pm Mass on Sunday evening, August 21.

The following weekend (August 27 & 28), I have the 10:30 am and the 12:30 pm Masses. That weekend is also our parish picnic here at SJN. I'll be in the dunk-tank for some portion of the afternoon, so please come and enjoy a restful mid-summer's day with our parish family.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

Please read Jeff Seidel's excellent article about the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in yesterday's Free Press. The sisters are just a few miles west of us in Ann Arbor. Please keep them, their construction project, and their apostolate in your prayers!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Homily for the Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time Year A (August 14, 2005)

Homily for the Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time Year A (August 14, 2005)

[NB: This is the way I originally wrote the homily; those of you who heard me preach today heard something similar, although not exactly identical. Thanks for your understanding...]

The gospel for this weekend presents a compelling interaction between Jesus and a Canaanite woman. Matthew portrays the scene quite vividly, setting the stage with a location for Jesus’ ministry: the region of Tyre and Sidon.

This is the only time in Jesus’ public ministry that he ventures outside of Jewish territory, to these northern coastal cities. Tyre and Sidon were powerful and great cities of trade, but what is important to note is that they were Gentile cities – unbelieving cities. How surprising then, to find a Canaanite woman (a woman from that region, obviously not a Jew), addressing Jesus as “Lord” and “Son of David”. But this is exactly how she approaches our Lord.

Another curiosity is Jesus’ reply to the apostles; why would Jesus be in Gentile territory if he “was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”? Not for the first time would the apostles now be utterly confused at the words of our Lord.

But the central focus of this fabulous interchange is the word-play between the woman and Jesus. He tells her directly, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Even though the word Matthew uses in Greek means “little dogs,” the truth of Jesus’ meaning is clear: the children are the Jewish people, and theirs is the Covenant. They deserve the graces of the Incarnation first; Christ has come to His own people, to proclaim the Good News.

But the woman is not offended; she does not depart in a rage, huffing: “How dare He speak to me in those words…!” Not at all – in fact, she responds with one of the most moving (and clever) answers to our Lord: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

What is the virtue, what is the grace that permits her to respond like this to such an apparent insult? Humility. Humility.

The virtue of humility had so transformed her heart that she, a “pagan” after all, could recognize Jesus as Lord, and furthermore, that she could endure such apparent harshness. Humility is truly the foundation of all the virtues, for even the slightest hint of pride taints all our good works. Pride darkens our hearts, obscures the gospel, and prevents us from seeing the truth about ourselves and others. And pride does not need to be absolute, demonic pride such as caused the devil or our first parents to sin. No, pride can be subtle and very comfortable, encouraging us to believe the lie that we are self-sufficient and worthy of God’s grace.

Not one of us is worthy of God’s grace. Not one of us is worthy to enter into eternal life. Honestly, we’re not even worthy to eat the scraps of grace that fall from our Master’s table. But how many of us are prepared to really admit this? Can we, with the Canaanite woman, admit our unworthiness? Do we believe with all our hearts the words we recite before Holy Communion?

“Lord, I am not worthy that I should receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Or do we secretly believe in our hearts that we are worthy? That God owes us His grace in abundance, and with explanations for our hardships besides?

The Blessed Virgin Mary, whose glorious Assumption into heaven we celebrate tomorrow, is our premier example of humility. Even she who was created sinless through an extraordinary mercy of God knew that she was not worthy of the grace to be the Mother of God.

Through her intercession, we must beseech God for the virtue of humility; ask Him to destroy your pride, to humble you – so that you might be raised up. For this is the amazing gift and greatness of God: he humbles us, only to exalt us. What is his response to the Canaanite woman? He doesn’t just give her the scraps meant for the dogs; He gives her a share in the Kingdom of Heaven, the entire Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

This is what He desires for our souls as well; but when we remain in our pride, in whatever form it takes, His grace cannot take root. Our hearts become closed to the voice of the Father, and we reject Him, “put off” by the virtue of humility.

How then, can we grow in this crowning virtue of the spiritual life? By desiring it, asking the Lord for it, and humbling ourselves before Him by admitting our sins. Our Lord will grant this virtue, if we but ask; and by receiving the Sacrament of Penance regularly, we give Him the opportunity to transform our hearts in this virtue. Admitting my guilt, my unworthiness, my sins can be a great challenge, but only then can Jesus break my pride.

Am I prepared to admit my need for salvation? Am I prepared to admit my absolute dependence upon grace, and my utter unworthiness to receive it? Am I prepared to accept the table scraps meant for the dogs?

Lord Jesus, break our hearts of sinful pride; help us grow in the virtue of humility. Give us the strength to Confess our sins and so be welcomed by you into your Wedding Feast, where we may truly be exalted by your power, and share in your Kingdom for all eternity. Amen.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for August 14, 2005

Tomorrow, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This great feast day is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that we are required to attend Holy Mass on this day; this year, however, since the Assumption falls on a Monday, we are not obliged to attend Mass. Nevertheless, we should still honor our Blessed Lady tomorrow as we celebrate this joyful day in honor of her bodily assumption.

The dogma of the assumption was declared by Pope Pius XII, on November 1, 1950. In the Apostolic Constitution that defines this teaching we read “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. This teaching is a natural extension of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (celebrated on December 8), which states that the Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, was uniquely free from the taint of original sin.

The Church has celebrated the Feast of the Assumption since the sixth century, demonstrating in the Sacred Liturgy a continuous belief in this privilege of our Blessed Mother. One ancient liturgical text beautifully reminds us: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.” Elsewhere, in an Eastern Liturgy we find: “God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb.”

We should strive to honor the Blessed Virgin on this solemn feast day by attending Mass if possible, by praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and also by discussing in our homes the meaning of Mary’s Assumption for our own spiritual lives. The Assumption gives God even greater glory, by showing His power through the Saints; it also confirms in us the Theological virtue of Hope, by directing our hearts toward heaven where we, too hope to dwell bodily with our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the angels and saints, for all eternity.

Please visit my Blog at for links to learn more about the Assumption. May God bless you, and please pray for priests!

UPDATE: Links will be posted Monday for more research, books, and information about the Assumption.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reasons for NFP

Another excellent article (even if a little lengthy) for understanding the reasons why the Church teaches what she does about contraception can be found here. It's from Dr. Philip Blosser's Blog "Musings of a Pertinacious Papist." In it, he quotes from Dr. Janet Smith's talk "Contraception, Why Not?" in which she describes the reasons to believe and follow the Church's teaching.

One analogy that I had forgotten from Dr. Smith's class (she is a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, here in Detroit), is that in a certain way, contraception is similar to bulemia. How, you ask? Read the article, and find out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Feast of St. Lawrence

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. The image to the left uses traditional imagery to depict St. Lawrence: he is wearing a dalmatic and maniple and holding the Book of the Gospels, indicating his service to the Church as a deacon; he also bears the martyr's palm branch; finally, he is kneeling before a fire, indicating the method by which he died.

More information on today's saint can be found here.

Sancte Laurentii, ora pro nobis. Saint Lawrence, pray for us!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Homily for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Our permanent deacon, Deacon Pat Conlen, is preaching at the Masses that I am celebrating this weekend. Nevertheless, I will post a few thoughts and points of reflection on this weekend's readings.
  1. It's important to see the context of last weekend's miracle of the feeding of the five-thousand. St. Matthew uses a "chiasm" or a bookend structure that centers the multiplication of the loaves in between moments of prayer. Prayer -- union with the Father -- is always at the center of Jesus' life and ministry. Does prayer drive our apostolate? Does silent prayer, particularly in front of the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, give us the strength to overcome temptation and to love God and neighbor?
  2. The fourth watch of the night is the last watch; the apostles were exhausted from the storm, and most likely were prepared to give up hope. Jesus takes the initiative and walks to them on the water. Our Lord still takes the initiative and comes to us in the midst of trials and distress. Are we prepared to wait through the darkest period of the night, however, before we experience the calm of grace? Jesus teaches us perseverance and patience.
  3. Peter only falters when he perceives the strength of the storm and takes his gaze off of Jesus. When we are confident in our Lord's power and strength, the culture around us cannot dissuade us from following Christ. We need to be aware of a culture that constantly attacks our Faith -- but not afraid of it. Christ calls us to transform the culture and keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him.
Certainly there are many more points for discussion; dig through the other scripture passages from this weekend's Masses, and talk about them during mealtime or as a portion of your family's prayer. Remember as St. Jerome teaches, "ignorace of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

Faith Seeking Understanding for August 7, 2005

This week’s calendar of liturgical feasts is quite full! We celebrate St. Dominic, 13th century founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), on Monday, August 8; on August 9, we remember St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), a German Carmelite who was martyred in Auschwitz by the Nazis; August 10 is the Feast of St. Lawrence, a third-century martyr; and St. Clare of Assisi, foundress of the Poor Clares is celebrated on August 11. By taking just a minute or two to learn about our older brothers and sisters in the Faith, we can begin to imitate their virtue and rely on their powerful intercession. Visit for a good starting point.

Before I entered the seminary, I always enjoyed learning about and using the latest technology; now that I am a priest, I am discovering that technology can be a great way to spread the Gospel. Although the Internet contains a great deal of immoral material, the Internet also has a wealth of information about the Catholic Faith and ways to put it into practice. I have just started a “weblog” (Blog) entitled “Fr. Bloomfield’s Blog” to post my homilies, articles, and links that I find interesting or informative, particularly relating to practical applications of the Faith. Visit to see what I’ve discovered.

So much of what we learn about the Saints, Church history, theology and philosophy, the Sacred Liturgy, and more remains simply locked away in our minds because we aren’t sure how to relate this material to our ever-changing culture. Just like St. Peter in today’s Gospel, we begin to falter when we perceive how strong the winds of the culture can be. Our newly revised catechetical approach (Whole Community Catechesis) attempts to remind us to focus our eyes and hearts on Jesus, confronting the culture with the Gospel. When we discuss and live the Faith as a Parish family – and throughout the week in our homes – the culture around us will begin to conform to Christ. By learning more about our Faith and practicing it at home, we can truly conquer all for Him.

May God bless you all, and please pray for priests!

Friday, August 05, 2005

The New Liturgical Movement

The New Liturgical Movement is another Blog that I just discovered. Since the Sacred Liturgy is the Source and Summit of our Christian life and vocation, we should do all we can to learn more about the Liturgy; likewise, we should strive to make the Liturgy more worthy of Him whom we adore.

Dedication of Santa Maria Maggiore

Today is the Memorial of the Dedication of the Major Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) in Rome. The Basilica was dedicated to our Blessed Lady after the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) declared her -- against the Nestorians -- to be Theotokos, the Mother of God. The Basilica is also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows, owing to the legendary miracle of snow on the Esquiline hill in August, showing where the church should be built.

The Basilica of St. Mary Major is the oldest known church in the West dedicated to our Lady. For more information, go here, here, and here.

Interestingly enough, the most prized relic of the Basilica is the crib of our Lord from Bethlehem, in the confessio beneath the High Altar.