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!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for April 30, 2006

The month of May – known as “Mary’s Month” – begins tomorrow, not with a feast of our Blessed Mother, but with the great feast of St. Joseph the Worker. In an effort to rehabilitate the misguided and erroneous teaching of the communist party, Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1955 to honor the Patron of the Universal Church, in his capacity as a laborer. We are justly reminded that work, as such, is an essential element of man’s nature, and is perfectly in harmony with his great dignity as a child of God: “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gen. 2:15). Although we are not certain exactly how Adam cared for and cultivated the Garden of Paradise, it is clear that our work – and rest – both reflect the image and likeness of God, in which we are created.

After the Fall, however, as punishment for Original Sin, toil and sweat become elements of work, reminding us of the struggle that now exists in all creation, until Christ shall restore all things in Himself at the end of time (cf. Genesis 3:17-29). Nevertheless, work, just compensation, and care for the poor, all speak strongly of human dignity, and of our ultimate destiny of Eternal Rest in the Father’s house. While we toil, however, we pray to St. Joseph, patron of workers, to intercede for all laborers, that they would receive just wages for a just day’s work; and we are likewise reminded of our cooperation in the renewal of creation by the work of our hands, in imitation of St. Joseph, and of his foster son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout this month of May, we are also encouraged to grow in our devotion to the sinless spouse of St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary, by whose “Yes” to God’s plan we are all pleased to enjoy the promises of Resurrection, continually intercedes for us before the throne of her Divine Son. One particular way to grow in our devotion to Mary is to pray the rosary as a family each night throughout the month of May. The rosary, as so many saints and popes have reminded us, is nothing less than the “school of the gospels,” teaching us the greatest lessons of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection through a program of meditation, prayer, and contemplation. As an added grace, whenever the rosary is prayed publicly, a plenary indulgence may be obtained, provided the ordinary conditions are met (prayers for the Holy Father, sacramental confession, and detachment from sin).

During this Eastertide, as we continue to celebrate the joy of the Risen Lord, the traditional Angelus prayer, recited at morning, noon, and evening, is replaced by the Regina Cæli (Queen of Heaven). We help sanctify the hours of our days when we stop to pray at specific times, or when prayer brackets our day. Honoring the Mother of God with this beautiful prayer recalls the union of her suffering with her Son on the Cross, and likewise the glorious triumph of the Resurrection.

Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia,

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es: præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ave Maria Radio Pledge Drive

I'm a day late on this item, but there are four days left to support one of the greatest Catholic resources in southeastern Michigan: Ave Maria Radio. The 2006 Spring Membership drive is currently underway, and the radio network is always in need of our support. Please listen to AM 990 in Detroit (WDEO), 1440 in Saginaw/Bay City/Midland (WMAX), or on the internet at

Catholic radio is a continual source of orthodox teaching, inspiration, and community that builds up our faith and supports a Catholic culture capable of engaging the secular mindset so prevalent in our world today.

If you just want to pledge, give them a call at: 1-877-288-1077.

Faith Seeking Understanding for April 23, 2006

As our Easter joy continues to lift our minds and hearts to God, we recall in a unique way His boundless Divine Mercy this Sunday, the Octave of Easter. Throughout history, the Church has celebrated the greatest feasts on the calendar (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.) with an Octave. Throughout the Octave (eight days), the Liturgy (Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours) remains focused on the feast in a particular way: the readings, antiphons, and psalms explore different aspects of the same truth. The Easter Octave has given us eight days to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection with the same fervor and expectant hope that characterized Easter Sunday.

The 2nd Sunday of Easter (the Octave of Easter) has been known as “Divine Mercy Sunday” since the declaration Misericors et Miserator (May 5, 2000) from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which stated: “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.”

This devotion – and today’s Feast of Divine Mercy – originated with the revelations of Jesus Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska, in Krakow, Poland. Our Lord appeared to Sister Faustina on February 22, 1931, which she describes in her diary:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”

Sister Faustina was canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, and so that this marvelous message of Christ’s Mercy would be extended to the whole world, he decreed that on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church extends “a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’)” (Decree on Indulgences attached to the Divine Mercy).

As we celebrate the glory of the Risen Christ, we are made aware of the Mercy which poured from His pierced side upon the Cross. Even as we bear our individual crosses of anguish, suffering, and sin, Christ accompanies us and offers us His boundless Mercy, if we desire to receive it. Let us rejoice in Christ’s merciful love that has saved us from sin, made us sharers in His Divine Life, co-heirs with Him to the Kingdom of God, and adopted Sons and Daughters of the Father.

Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Some Pictures from France

Three of my brothers on a shadowy street in Amiens, our first stop (after Beauvais). The Cathedral of Amiens is roughly double the size of Notre Dame in Paris.

The reputed relic of St. John the Baptist's head, and the great treasure of the Cathedral of Amiens. I'm sure there are more than a few stories about this, especially since at least two other churches in the world claim the same relic.

The abbey church of St. Ouen in Rouen. We're enjoying some "vin, pain, fromage et jambon", or wine, bread, cheese, and ham for our lunch.
One of the most moving days of the trip: Omaha Beach.

From the causeway to a great pilgrim shrine: Le Mont-Saint-Michel. Thankfully, religious life has been restored at this ancient abbey by the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem, who celebrate Mass in the abbey church at noon every day.

In front of the great Cathedral of Chartres, in the evening. Magnificent.

One of the rooms in the famous Chateau of Blois, in the Loire Valley. Each room was more exquisite than the next.

The Benedictine Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault. The Abbey Church dates to the 11th Century; of course, it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, thanks to the vicissitudes of French history.

Taking a walk in Fontgombault.

The small chapel across the Creuse River, where the original monks (with their founder Petrus a Stella) established their communal life roughly 1000 years ago.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Happy Anniversary of election to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning on the throne of Peter. We offer our prayers and best wishes to "il Papa" as he celebrates not only the joy of the Risen Christ, on this Easter Wednesday, but also the challenge of being the Vicar of Christ. As an added note, he just celebrated his 79th birthday on Easter Sunday.

How well I remember the events of one year ago: we had just finished the mid-day Mass in the Theologate chapel (I was a transitional deacon), and were on our way to the refectory for lunch. The words echoed through the hall as an astute seminarian had checked the TV -- "HABEMUS PAPAM!" Crowding into the lounge, we waited with nervous expectation until those marvelous words reached our ears: "Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Iosephum, Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Ratzinger, qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedicti Decimi Sexti." At the word "Iosephum", there was a collective gasp ... and then the confirmation, with the unforgettable name: "Ratzinger."

Shouts of joy erupted; high-fives, hugs, and tears filled the room. We rejoiced with the Church throughout the world at the election of her new head and chief shepherd. As we reflect on this past year -- World Youth Day in Cologne, Deus Caritas Est, and everything else -- we offer our prayers for His Holiness:

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum ejus.

Let us pray for our Pope Benedict. May the Lord protect him, give him life, and make him blessed on the earth, and not hand him over to the will of his enemies.

Viva il Papa!


UPDATE: I've opened this post for comments; feel free to praise Papa Benedetto, share your memories of a year ago, or hopes for the pontificate.

Faith Seeking Understanding for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006

Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! He is risen as He said, Alleluia! We rejoice today with all of creation at the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has destroyed the chains of sin and death; He has conquered the powers of darkness; He has defeated the devil. Jesus Christ is risen; He is truly risen, Alleluia!

The fast of Lent is now over and the discipline we have practiced for forty days is at and end. By the power of Christ’s sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, however, we are ever more committed to living by the grace He won for us. Having been washed anew in the Blood of the Lamb – and rejoicing with those who have been cleansed from sin and reborn from the baptismal font at the Vigil – we are confident in this new life, living in the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the core of the Faith, which is why this great feast is celebrated with an Octave (eight days of rejoicing in the Liturgy). Stopping to ponder this amazing reality, even for a moment, certainly boggles the mind. Nothing in our normal human experience has prepared us for this: a man, tortured and brutally executed on a cross, and buried in a cave for three days, on his own power has risen from the dead. Christ’s resurrection is utterly unique, as is His role in salvation. As St. Peter beautifully preaches in Acts 4:12, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Everything that Christ teaches is ratified by His Resurrection. So how can we trust His commandments? By hoping in the power He demonstrated by rising from the dead. How can we trust the truth of the Resurrection? By faith, but also by the witness of the Apostles unto death. Every one of the Apostles was martyred (Greek for “witness”) for the truth of the Resurrection. Such dramatic and selfless testimony confronts us with the truth of Christ’s message. We are bound by this truth to accept all of Christ’s teaching, from the powerful commandment to love God and our neighbor (Mk 12:30), to the beatitudes (Mt 5:3-10), to the foundation of His Church (Mt 16:18-19), to the Real Presence of the Eucharist (Jn 6:32-63), to our responsibility to evangelize (Mt 28:19-20), and so much more.

Joy should fill our hearts as we hear the magnificent Easter Sequence: Victimæ Paschali Laudes. Another hymn, formerly sung during the procession before Mass likewise excites the boundless love that responds to Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection; it is the Salve, Festa Dies, written by St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers. A few verses express the beauty and sentiments of Easter Sunday perfectly:

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
Whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

Lo! Our earth is her spring; bearing thus her witness that,
with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.

Throw off thy shrouds, I pray thee!
Leave thy winding-sheet in the tomb.
Thou art our all;
and all else, without thee, is nothing.

The white garments symbolize unspotted souls;
And the Shepherd rejoices in his snow-like flock:
Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
Whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

May you have a blessed and holy Octave of Easter, celebrating each day of this week as a new promise of the hope of eternal life!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for April 9, 2006

The austerities and hardships of Lent are nearly through; Holy Week has at last arrived with the great songs of “Hosanna” for our Lord as He makes His final entry into Jerusalem. The moving proclamation of the Passion of the Lord spiritually prepares us for this final week of Lent, foreshadowing the great events of our salvation and allowing us to enter into the depths of our Lord’s suffering and death.

Every day of Holy Week offers a new opportunity to open our hearts and turn more completely to Christ. The Sacred Liturgy recalls, and in a certain manner, makes present the central mysteries of our Faith. As we prepare to enter the sacred Triduum (Latin for “Three Days”), the Church centers our gaze on Christ and His Sacrifice, teaching us some deeper truth each day. Many of us participated in the Holy Week Festival that recalled the importance and centrality of the events of Holy Week in our lives. Each of us should renew our effort to participate in the Liturgies of Holy Week, particularly the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, and rejoicing with the Church at the Easter Vigil.

After Palm Sunday, Holy Week can seem fairly quiet; the palms adorn the crucifixes and we wait in silence for the great events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The readings from the Mass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, however, prepare us for these days. Monday’s Gospel (John 12:1-11) recalls the anointing of Christ’s feet by Lazarus’ sister, Mary, in preparation for His death; Tuesday (John 13:21-33, 36-38) foretells Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial; and Wednesday (sometimes known as “Spy Wednesday”; Matthew 26:14-25) finishes telling the sad story of Judas’ treachery. By reading these Gospels at the family meal during Holy Week, we can truly begin to prepare our hearts for the solemn days ahead. On Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 pm, we will also be celebrating the Sacrament of Penance at St. John Neumann. Holy week is the perfect time to ask forgiveness for our sins, and to see our sins and failures in light of Christ’s victory on the Cross.

The Chrism Mass on the morning of Holy Thursday recalls the joyful institution of the priesthood by our Lord on the night He was betrayed. There is no parish Mass on Thursday morning; instead the priests gather with their bishop in the Cathedral to renew their vows of priestly service and to witness the blessing of the Holy Oils to be used throughout the year: the Oil of Catechumens (Baptism), the Oil of the Sick (Anointing), and the Sacred Chrism (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders).

The evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper was often called “Maundy Thursday” from the words “Mandatum novum,” or the “New Commandment” of love and service that Christ gave to His Church in the washing of the Apostles’ feet. Several volunteers have their feet washed by the priests in imitation of Christ’s service. Intimately connected with the institution of the priesthood is the institution of the Holy Eucharist, which we joyfully celebrate at this Mass as well. Christ gives the Church, through the ministerial priesthood, the gift of Himself, lasting until He returns in glory: His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, present under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine. How blessed we are to share this great and noble Sacrament of His Love!

We then move to the “Altar of Repose,” where we adore Christ and prepare for the celebration of His Passion on Good Friday. The somber Liturgy of the Passion – not a Mass, for no Masses are celebrated on this day on which the Church recalls the death of Her Lord and Founder – calls to mind Christ’s incredible love, and His Sacrifice that sets us free from sin. We hear the Passion proclaimed; we pray for the entire world; we venerate the cross; and then we receive Holy Communion.

As we watch and wait in the silence of Holy Saturday, our hearts become one with the Mother of God, who silently shared in her Son’s agony and death. May the sorrow of Christ’s Passion and Death pierce our hearts, that we might die to sin with Christ, in order to live anew with Him on Easter Sunday: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for April 2, 2006

I am (was) on retreat this week at the French Abbey of Our Lady of Fontgombault, a daughterhouse of the Great Abbey of St. Peter’s in Solesmes. Some of you may know that I was blessed to live nearly an entire year at this ancient Benedictine Abbey a little over six years ago. (A picture of this monastery is also hanging in my office.) More than 70 monks live at the abbey and they are entirely self-sufficient, providing themselves with fruit, vegetables, eggs, and other produce. They are also able to sell much of what they grow and raise to townspeople and visitors.

In the first half of the 19th Century in France, a young diocesan priest named Propser Guéranger was drawn by the Holy Spirit to discover the beauties of Benedictine monasticism. After much prayer and discernment, he re-founded the Abbey at Solesmes, becoming its first Abbot, and essentially restoring the monastic life to France, which had been desolate since the destruction left in the wake of the French Revolution. French monasticism had been a pillar of the Faith in Europe throughout the middle ages; pilgrims often stayed at monasteries as they walked to Mont-Saint-Michel, Tours, or Santiago de Compostela (in Spain), and they were a center of learning and culture, preserving the exercise of faith and reason. Abbot Guéranger is most famous for his monumental 15 volume work entitled The Liturgical Year which has recently been reprinted in an English translation.

In their rebuilding of monastic life, the monks from Solesmes began the arduous task of further restoring the precious and ancient patrimony of Gregorian Chant. Much of the actual practice of chant had fallen into disuse and many of the ancient manuscripts had been lost or forgotten. These tireless Benedictines uncovered the melodies and methods of the ancient “plainsong” chant that provided the backbone for the Divine Office and the Mass. Their small community continued to grow, and despite the horrors visited upon France by two World Wars (and rampant secularism) spread throughout the country.

The Abbey of Our Lady of Fontgombault was originally founded by Petrus á Stella in the 11th Century as a Benedictine Monastery. The French Wars of Religion and the Revolution, along with sickness and disease, decimated the Abbey. The monks from Solesmes, however, restored the communal life there after the end of the Second World War. Currently, the monks chant the entire Divine Office (or Liturgy of the Hours) in Latin each day; they also sing their conventual (community) Mass daily. The rest of their day is spent in silence, except for a brief period of daily “recreation” when conversation is permitted. All of the monks also spend some time (depending on their role in the monastery) at manual labor each day, whether gardening, tending the animals, making pottery or other crafts, or simply cleaning the monastery and its grounds.

The monks also have many recordings of Gregorian Chant, which are according to many (and not just me!) the finest example of Chant anywhere. Even the recordings, however, cannot duplicate the marvelous sense of joy and peace that fills the heart when quietly kneeling in the dark, 1000-year old Abbey church at the end of Compline (Night Prayer), listening to the final echoes of the Salve Regina fade softly into the night.

In 1999, twelve monks left the Abbey of Fontgombault to establish a new foundation in the United States, in Clear Creek, Oklahoma. If you are interested in learning more about these monks and their ministry in the heartland of our country, please visit They are in the process of building an Abbey church, similar in many ways to the Romanesque one they left behind in France. Be assured of my prayers for all of you! May God bless your final weeks of Lenten preparation for the holiest week of the year.

Back from France!

I have safely returned from pilgrimage and retreat, refreshed and strengthened for the Liturgies of Holy Week. Watch for pictures from the Abbey of Fontgombault, as well as our other pilgrimage sites: Amiens, Rouen, Lisieux, Bayeux, Omaha Beach, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Le Mans, Chartres, Orleans, Blois, Tours, and Poitiers.

Among the interesting items we had the opportunity to venerate were the relic of the skull of St. John the Baptist (Amiens Cathedral) and the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Chartres Cathedral). I also was blessed to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Martin of Tours and in the Carmel of Lisieux (St. Therese).

Stay tuned.