St. Katharine Drexel
On March 1, 1975, Mercy Sr. Janet Mead from Australia was up for a Grammy award for the Best Insprirational Performance for her version of the “The Lord’s Prayer.”
She lost out to Elvis Presley and his performance of “How Great Thou Art.”
Born August 15, 1937, Sr. Janet was teaching at St. Aloysius College for women in Adelaide, Australia, when she introduced the first “Rock Mass” at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in 1972. Since the Mass needed contemporary music, she composed a rock version of The Lord’s Prayer in 1974. The song soon topped the music charts, and she became the first Australian to have a gold record in the United States. The song was distributed to 31 countries and sold nearly three million copies worldwide. All royalties went to charity.
But Sr. Janet was more than a musician. In 1985, she and other members of a human rights group called Romero Community opened the Adelaide Day Centre for Homeless Persons. Over the years, she ministered to the homeless and to refugees, and supported Aboriginal rights in Australia.
Named the South Austrailian of the Year in 2004 for her work with the homeless, she died January 26, 2022.
‘Whenever we sing, we celebrate the triumph of resistance over injustice, hope over despair. We sing not only to change the evils of the world but so they won’t change us.’ -Sr. Janet Mead, RSM
Courtesy of “The Little Black Book”
March 3rd is the feast day of St. Katharine Drexel. St. Katharine Drexel is an American-born saint who died at age 96 on March 3rd, 1955.
Katharine was born in 1858 into one of Philidelphia’s wealthiest families. Her mother died when Katharine was only 5 months old. Two years later, her father remarried Emma Bouvier. Katherine and her two sisters loved their new stepmother. Both parents taught them the need for prayer (their home had a “prayer place”) and for assisting those in need.
When their parents died, the sisters received a $14 million trust, set up by their father to protect the young heiresses from fortune-hunters.
Katharine used her money to help others. She endowed schools on Indian reservations and opened schools for the poor across the United States, including Xavier University in New Orleans. She donated her time, talent, and a fortune of nearly $20 million to ministry for African-Americans and Native Americans.
In an 1887 audience with Pope Leo XIII, she begged the Holy Father to send priests to serve the Indians. The pope replied, “Why not become a missionary yourself?” Uncomforable with joining the convent, Katharine still took the pope’s suggestion to heart, and joined the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh. In 1891, Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order devoted to helping African-Americans and Native Americans. She was advised on how to negotiate the Vatican red tape involved in establishing a religious community by another future saint, Mother Francis Cabrini.
Courtesy of the writings of Bishop Ken Untener
March 17th is the feast of St. Patrick.
While St. Patrick is perhaps the most well-known Irish saint, he is not the only one. Among Irelands’s saints are:
St. Aidan. This seventh-century missionary founded a monastery that became a learning center of Celtic Christianity for northern England. Feast day: August 31st.
St. Brigid. The daughter of a slave and a chieftan, she founded the first convent in Ireland. She is the patron of Irish women. Feast day: February 1st.
St. Columban. Supposedly Columban was so handsome that he was advised that if he truly wanted to live as an ascetic, he would haved to go to a region where women were less seductive and attractive – someplace like…Ireland. Feast day: November 23rd.
St. Columbkille. This popular Irish saint is credited with bringing Catholicism to Scotland. Memorial: June 9th.
St. Kieran. Called one of Ireland’s 12 apostles, Kieran founded an Irish monastery. Feast day: September 9th.
Courtesy of “The Little Black Book”
On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, people from churches will gather with the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Green Bay, and the lay faithful who are able to attend, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral for this ancient, beautiful and solemn liturgy. While more traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday morning, the Chrism Mass may be celebrated on a different day prior to Easter. Given the general busyness of Triduum and the distances that many of the priests have to travel, in recent years our diocese has celebrated the Chrism Mass on the Tuesday of Holy Week or even the week prior, in conjunction with our annual Clergy Convocation.
In one sense, the Chrism Mass is the local Church’s annual “oil change.” Early Christian texts describe a blessing and consecration of oils as early as the 3rd century. At the Chrism Mass the Oil of Catechumens, used in the pre-baptismal rites, and the Oil of the Sick, used for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, are blessed. The Sacred Chrism, used for the post-baptismal anointing, for Confirmation, for the ordination of priests and bishops, and for the dedication of churches and altars, is consecrated. In case of need, any priest may bless the Oil of Catechumens or the Oil of the Sick but only a bishop can consecrate the Sacred Chrism. The oils themselves must be plant-based (usually olive oil) and to the Chrism is added balsam, which gives it a darker color and a wonderful fragrance.
The other aspect of the Chrism Mass, as described in the Roman Missal, is that it is to be “a manifestation of the Priests’ communion with their Bishop.” For this reason, in addition to that most important sign of communion of sharing in the Eucharist with each other, the priests also renew their priestly promises. It’s not as though these promises expire and that they need to “re-up” each year but it is a powerful reminder of the commitment we made at ordination and of our connection with our bishop as “co-workers in the vineyard.”