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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Prayers and Support for Jennifer Hayse

One of our parishioners, Jennifer Hayse, has been struggling with cancer for some time; currently she is in Jerusalem undergoing a series of treatments unavailable to her in the U.S. Jennifer is a mother, with three young children, and has been battling cancer since July 2003.

For information about Jennifer and her condition, and to support the foundation, please visit

Please reach out with your prayers especially, that Jennifer may be consoled and comforted by our Lord and all the Saints during these difficult days.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 27, 2005

I hope that you had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving this past week. Although I can hardly believe it, Advent has arrived and a new liturgical year has begun. The purple vestments and the absence of the Gloria remind us of the hopeful anticipation with which we await the birth of our Savior. Dom Gueranger, in the Advent volume of The Liturgical Year, tells us that from the fifth century a period of penance and fasting began on the feast of St. Martin of Tours (November 11) to prepare for Christmas. This was in some sense a “mini-Lent,” lasting forty days; gradually, the season was reduced to four weeks, and the strict penances curtailed. Nevertheless, the penitential character of Advent remained, with the purpose of properly preparing the entire Church to celebrate the great feast of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Currently, the Church does not require fasting or abstinence as we observe Advent in preparation for Christmas; nevertheless, fostering a penitential spirit during this season is appropriate. Why? Because in our longing for the coming of Christ, we recall the reason for His coming: salvation from our sins. By making the most of the first four weeks of our new Liturgical Year, we can truly repent of sin and purify our hearts to welcome our newborn Savior with proper joy. Since much of our culture begins the celebration of Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, it is important that we remember the longing of the entire world, ever since Adam and Eve, for the coming of Christ. These four weeks of preparation are essential to a proper celebration when Christmas finally arrives.

Since Christ has, in fact, already come into the world, what is the mystery that Advent seeks to teach? St. Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us of the three comings of Christ in his fifth Advent sermon: “In the first coming, He comes in the flesh and in weakness; in the second, He comes in spirit and in power; in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty; and the second coming is the means whereby we pass from the first to the third.” St. Peter of Blois helps us understand these profound words of St. Bernard: “There are three comings of our Lord; the first in the flesh, the second in the soul, the third at the judgment.” The first coming is passed; we are now in the midst of His second coming, growing in our love of God by our faith and in the power of the Spirit. We await His third and final coming. St. Peter continues: “The first coming was humble and hidden, the second is mysterious and full of love, the third will be majestic and terrible. …In His first coming, Christ was judged by men unjustly; in His second, He renders us just by His grace; in His third, He will judge all things with justice. In His first, a lamb; in His last, a lion; in the one between the two, the tenderest of friends.”

We also celebrate the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle this week, on November 30. St. Andrew was St. Peter’s brother, who brought Simon Peter to our Lord; they were both fishermen, and accompanied our Lord throughout His public life. St. Andrew preached the gospel in Asia Minor and Greece, although exact locations have never been proven. Tradition tells us that he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an X, known to this day as St. Andrew’s Cross; he was martyred during the reign of Nero (approximately 60 A.D.), at Patrae in Achaia (modern-day Greece). St. Andrew is the patron of Russia and Scotland. Apart from his patronage of fishermen (his original profession), there is also a great devotion to St. Andrew by women seeking husbands. He is also the patron of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. St. Andrew, pray for us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rediscovery of Catholic Culture

I have recently rediscovered and highly recommend a visit. Check out this article by Dr. Jeff Mirus, seeking to extend Christ's reign to every aspect of our lives as Catholics -- in a nutshell, this is the very idea of a Catholic Culture.

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of Christ the King. This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year; next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, beginning a new year.

Interestingly enough, today’s feast is relatively new in the liturgical calendar. In fact, it was instituted only 80 years ago by Pope Pius XI, with the desire to recall our hearts and minds to the truth of Christ’s Kingship over every aspect of our lives. Along with the Feast day, Eucharistic processions and the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus were recommended to the faithful as ways to establish His Kingship in our society today.

In our democratic society today, how can we understand the nature of Christ’s Kingship? How can we live more fully under the Reign of Christ? And how can we help bring His Kingdom to its fullness?

The first reading today speaks of Christ as Shepherd more than as King; and although the Gospel for today uses the shepherd image from Ezekiel, it transforms it slightly. In the Gospel, we see our Lord at the end of time, coming in glory to judge His subjects. He is a King, and although he separates the sheep from the goats as a shepherd, his task is a kingly one. What are the criteria for admission into the Kingdom?

“To have ministered to the needs of the least ones” is the requirement. Even though the righteous have no recognition of Christ as hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill, or imprisoned, they are still welcomed into the Kingdom, because they have cared for these “least ones.” And the wicked, even though they did not reject Christ visibly present, they nevertheless merit eternal punishment because of their hard-heartedness and rejection of the least ones.

How can we understand these readings in light of today’s Feast? Christ must reign in our minds, our wills, our hearts, and in our bodies. When we place Christ as King over all that we have and do – whether in our families, our businesses, or our government – then we will recognize Him in “distressing disguise,” as Mother Teresa often described the poorest of the poor.

Christ is King, not only because all things have been created in, through, and for Him, but also by the victory He won from the Cross, as St. Paul tells us today. From this strange victory in death, we begin to understand something about His Kingdom: it is not of this world, but yet it is found in this world. His Kingship is not like that of men, who lord it over their subjects, who wield absolute power without regard for justice or truth; no, His Kingship is one that begins in hearts, that grows from humility, and seeks to serve the least among us.

Nevertheless, a day will come – whether sooner or later – that all things will be finally and visibly subjected to Christ the King; when the hidden, veiled Kingship our Lord exercises through the Sacraments and through His Church will become visible. No longer will He reign only from His hidden, Eucharistic throne. Then all kingdoms and nations will be under His authority; whether Jewish or Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant, and all men and women will see the truth of creation subjected to its creator, and Christ will victoriously reign through all eternity. His enemies will be utterly and forever destroyed. “He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.”

My brothers and sisters, we must not wait idly for this day to come; we must make Christ King of our lives today! He must be King in our minds, our wills, our hearts, and our bodies; He must be the King of each of us, of our families, of our homes, and even, yes, of our nation. We must not be afraid to give Christ the dignity and authority He deserves as our King. Whatever we do, whether it is our intellectual pursuits, our entertainments, our recreation; our opinions and political efforts; our economic lives, and habits; even our exercise, health, choices of relationships; our suffering and anguish, our joy and happiness – everything must be placed under the victorious banner of Christ our Lord and King.

Especially, then, when we recognize the least among us and clothe them, or feed them, or shelter them; when we exercise not just the corporal works of mercy, but also the spiritual, and instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, counsel the doubtful, forgive willingly, bear wrongs patiently, comfort the afflicted, and pray for the Church, then we begin to allow Christ to reign.

Practically, we must care for the poor and do all we can to alleviate their needs, especially as we share in such joyful bounty this week at Thanksgiving; but we must also seek to serve Christ with our whole lives, to allow Him to reign, and to receive the Glory, Dignity, and Honor that is His. Are we, my dear friends, ready to give Christ authority over every aspect of our lives, that we might reign victoriously with Him as sharers in His Kingship?

Christ our King, may Your Kingdom Come!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 20, 2005

My trip to California was very blessed; unfortunately, as you know, the day before I left, my first cousin Major Gerald M. Bloomfield II, USMC, was killed in action while flying his Super Cobra in a combat mission near Ramadi, Iraq. Thank you so much for your warm and generous outpouring of sympathy and prayers on his behalf and for our family. They mean a great deal to me, to my cousin, and to our family. Although these days are still difficult ones of mourning, they are made easier by your support. Thank you.

This week, our thoughts naturally turn to Thanksgiving Day. The first proclamation of Thanksgiving, given by President George Washington is an inspiring reminder of the reasons for this celebration. On October 3, 1789, President Washington established Thanksgiving, that “we may then all unite in rendering unto [God] our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; … for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness … for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; … and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.” We also entreat God for His continued blessings upon us, our families, and our great nation.

Monday, November 21, is the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day commemorates the day when Mary’s parents, Sts. Joachim and Anne, dedicated her to Yahweh in the Temple of Jerusalem when she was a young girl. There is no scriptural record of this event – it comes from the “apocryphal writings” of the early Church – but the Eastern Church has celebrated it since the 11th century. The greatest gift given to the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes through the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; we ought to be supremely grateful for her example and intercession this week in particular.

We celebrate the patron saint of Sacred Music on November 22, St. Cecilia. Little true history is known about this great virgin and martyr, but she was killed for the Faith sometime before the fourth century in Rome. She was buried in the catacombs of St. Callistus on the Appian Way, although her relics were transferred to the high altar of the church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, where they remain today. Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, reminds us of the importance and value of Sacred Music in Chapter VI: “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy” (SC, 112).

The Council continues: “Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out…” (SC, 118). It is vitally important that we read and understand the principles behind Sacred Music by reading Sacrosanctum Concilium and other Church relevant documents.

We also celebrate the feast of St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, on Wednesday, November 23. Have a blessed and holy week, and a very happy Thanksgiving. God bless you all!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 6, 2005

I have been gone this week, visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece in California. Thank you so much for your prayers for safe travel. Thank you also for your kind show of thanks in last week’s Michigan Catholic for Fr. George and me. God’s goodness is simply indescribable, and I am grateful to be able to share Him with all of you here at St. John Neumann as one of your priests.

Unfortunately, while I was gone, I also missed the first phase of Whole Community Catechesis Festivals. I am eager to explore the beautiful and extensive teachings of the Church with you in this new format. As we prepare for Advent, the materials from the first Festival should encourage and assist us in celebrating this season well. The Church only gives us four weeks of the Sacred Liturgy to prepare for the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Advent has traditionally been a penitential season, providing the Church an opportunity to reflect on the reasons for the Incarnation, as well as recognizing the perfect humility demonstrated by the Second Person of the Trinity in becoming man.

We celebrate the feasts of St. Leo the Great (November 10), St. Martin of Tours (the 11th), and St. Josaphat (the 12th). Wednesday, November 9, is the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John at the Lateran. The Lateran Basilica – not St. Peter’s – is the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome. The first church building on the Lateran hill dates to the very early fourth century; the current building is from the late middle ages. Among the most famous relics kept in the basilica are the table of the Last Supper and the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul.

St. Martin of Tours is the patron of Europe, as well as the patron of soldiers and chaplains. In particular, the name “chaplain” originates from the legend of St. Martin: while a soldier and a catechumen (studying for baptism), he saw a poor, freezing beggar, to whom he gave half of his expensive military cloak – slicing it in two with his sword. While asleep that evening, he had a vision of our Lord, clothed with half his cloak, thanking him for his charity. The other half of the cloak remained a prized relic of the Church in France; in fact, the cloak was kept under strict guard by a priest, and would be venerated before crucial battles. In Latin, the cloak is called a “cappa,” kept in the “cappella,” and guarded by the “cappellanus.” For the French, this became “chapelain,” and hence the English “chaplain.” We also celebrate Veterans’ Day on the 11th, commemorating the armistice of the First World War. Don’t forget to thank a Veteran for his or her service to our country this week!

We also vote this week. Voting is a right that is exercised too little by most Americans; as Catholics, we recognize an obligation to make use of this right. Voting, however, is not simply a right. When we vote, we must make our choices according to the truth – as taught by God through Divine Revelation and interpreted by the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. Our Faith must inform our vote, since our Faith is at the very heart of who we are as Catholics. When we separate the truth of Christ from our public acts, our society is doomed. Examine a candidate’s position in light of Faith: are his or her positions consistent with the Church’s teaching on abortion, euthanasia, homosexual “unions,” and other direct attacks on innocent human life? Christ will not ask how faithful we were to a political party, or to an ideology – He asks us to be always faithful to Him.

Homily for the Thirthy-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (November 13, 2005)

In the Church, the month of November has a unique character: we remember our deceased, and pray for the souls of the faithful departed throughout the month; the readings change course slightly and direct our thoughts to our own last days; and then we prepare for Thanksgiving, the Feast of Christ the King, and then the end of the Liturgical Year, and the beginning of Advent.

My own thoughts have, in particular, turned to these themes during the past few days – not just because of the readings we hear at Mass, but because of world events and how they have affected my family. You see, just a little over a week ago, my cousin Major Gerald Bloomfield, was shot down and killed while flying a helicopter mission near Ramadi, Iraq.

My cousin was a Super Cobra pilot for the Marine Corps; he loved his job, and he loved his country. His chopper, however, was targeted by enemy fire and he was killed. The “day of the Lord” came for my cousin exactly as a “thief in the night.”

Our Lord’s parable reminds of us this reality, but in different terms: each of us, according to our ability, has received talents from the Lord. All our abilities, all our gifts, our entire life, are gifts from our Lord; nothing we have is due to our own strength, power, or knowledge.

“After a long time,” our Lord will return, to settle accounts. We must be prepared for our Lord’s return – not just prepared with a return on our Lord’s investment, so to speak. But first, we must be prepared to relinquish everything to God upon His return. In truth, we have no choice in the matter; when our time comes to meet the Lord, we have neither strength nor ability to delay His coming.

But, knowing this, “you are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you as a thief,” says St. Paul. “For all of you are children of the light and children of the day.” And even so, Paul admonishes the Thessalonians – and us – to stay alert and sober. Our culture lulls us to complacency on so many fronts; we are convinced that the riches we have received from God should be kept secure, but never grow, never flourish.

The Church must, however, take to heart the message from Proverbs, reaching out her hands to the poor, and extending her arms to the needy. Is not the richest meaning of the “worthy wife” of the first reading found in the glory of our Lord’s bride, His Church? As members of His Church, we must do all we can to bring glory to the Bridegroom, to our Lord.

He has entrusted, not merely talents of gold or silver to our care to receive a return above the prime rate; He has entrusted His heart to us, and asks for our heart in return.

We must examine our lives then, according to His great generosity, and according to the knowledge that we must one day render an account of our service. Have we fought for the unborn? Have we defended the downtrodden and voiceless? Have we fed the poor and sheltered the homeless?

Have we educated our families in the Faith? Have we, in short, been prepared to give our lives for the Gospel, recognizing that nothing that we have is our own, but that everything is a gift from the Father?

My Cousin gave his life in service of our country. Are we prepared to give our lives for the service of the Gospel? Please God that we may; and that we will each be blessed to hear those joyous words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.”

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thank You and Return

I would like to thank everyone for your kind posts in response to my cousin's combat death in Iraq. We celebrated his funeral yesterday in Elkhart, Indiana; he will be buried this coming Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

I will return to posting my homilies and weekly bulletin articles soon. In the meantime, I thank you all for your prayers, memories, and sympathy for our family as we mourn Major Bloomfield's death. May God bless you all.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Requiescat in Pace

This afternoon, my uncle called to let me know that my cousin, Major Gerald Bloomfield, USMC, was killed this morning along with his co-pilot in a helicopter crash near Ramadi, Iraq. I got the message just before I celebrated the Mass for All Souls, which was then offered on his behalf.

We are deeply saddened by our loss, but I am immesurably proud of my cousin and his sacrifice for our great nation and the Iraqi people. Especially today, as we implore heaven for mercy on the souls of the faithful departed, I pray that our indulgenced prayers may help Gerald speedily reach the fullness of the Beatific Vision. Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of our family.

Semper Fidelis, cousin Ger. Requiescat in pace.