Saturday, October 19, 2013

Catechesis on the Scapular by Fr. Ronald Check

Last week, someone submitted a question about the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  "Is it not a superstitious custom to wear the scapular, believing it a sure charm against evil?"  This is a great question.  The Scapular is a Sacramental.  We should be careful to avoid attaching any superstitious sentiments to religious objects.  All salvation comes not through objects, but through Christ.  As Catholics we do not consider the scapular to be a charm against evil.  It is rather an external manifestation of an internal desire to be a faithful disciple of Christ and a faithful son or daughter of the Blessed Mother.  The wearing of the scapular reflects either a formal or informal association with the Carmelite Order.   Other orders also have different versions of the Scapular, such as the Mercedarians, the Trinitarians, the Dominicans and others.  Those formal members of these Orders wear a monastic scapular, which is very long in the front and back and has both practical and spiritual elements.  The faithful who wear the Brown Scapular and share in the good works of the Carmelite Order gain special indulgences, and pledge themselves to be faithful disciples of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin and the Saints.  The Scapular promise is based on the two elements of Mary’s spiritual maternity and her mediation of grace, that she is our "spiritual" mother, and also the "channel" through which all grace comes to us, understood in the sense that she too is dependent on the sole mediation of Christ, her son.  Our Lady’s promise: "Those who die wearing the Scapular will not suffer eternal fire."  In this Month of the Holy Rosary, may God grant is a life devoted to our Spiritual Mother.


Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Honor of Blessed Karl of Austria with Conference and Veneration of Relic

On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church, in Berlin, NJ, is honored to host a special evening of prayer and devotion dedicated to Blessed Karl of Austria.  Bishop Emeritus of Funchal, Portugal, His Excellency Don Teodoro de Faria, will celebrate a Pontifical Low Mass at 7:00PM.

The Mass will be followed by veneration of the relics of Blessed Karl and then a conference will be held in the parish hall.  The main speakers will be:

--His Excellency, Bishop Don Teodoro de Faria

--Ricardo Dumont dos Santos, leader of the Emperor Karl Prayer League

--Raymond de Souza, EWTN host, Director of New Evangelization & Apologetics for the Diocese of Winona, MN, and special missions coordinator for Human Life International.

This special conference is made possible due to a joint effort between the Knights of Columbus Councils: 12833 (Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ), 2161 (Woodlawn, Aliquippa, PA), 12361 (Agnus Dei, New York, NY, 423 (Regina Coeli, New York, NY), and 433 (Potomac, Washington, DC).

Click here to read more about this upcoming event.

Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church | 261 Cross Keys Road | Berlin, NJ | 08009

Call 856-753-3408 or visit for directions or additional information.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Catechesis on Sacramentals by Fr. Ronald Check

What is the difference between a Sacrament and a sacramental?

The Seven Sacraments have been instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, and the Church is essentially powerless to change them.  Their matter and form has been determined by Christ himself. When they are worthily received, they actually confer the grace that they signify.  In theology we say that the Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace.  Sacramentals differ from the Sacraments, but are related to them.  Sacramentals are instituted by the Church and they can be modified.  Sacraments confer Sanctifying grace.  Sacramentals do not confer sanctifying grace of themselves, but depend for their efficacy on the personal devotion of the faithful using them, and on the intention of the Church.

Sacramentals assist the faithful in living a sacramental life outside the official and public worship of the Church.  Although, some sacramental are used during the Church’s official celebrations, such as Holy Water.  Sacramentals help us along the way and help the Lord to see that we stand in need of actual graces in our lives.  Actual graces help us to live a good Christian life, whether we are in the married state, the celibate state, or the clerical state.  Here are some examples of Sacramentals:  blessings, exorcisms, holy oil, holy water, recitation of certain prayers, blessed objects such as crucifixes, statues, and pictures.  In addition to assisting us in living the Christian life well, the purpose of these actions and objects is to protect the soul from Satan and to drive away evil spirits, to dedicate a thing to the service of God, they incline the soul to penance and to the Love of God.  We should surround ourselves with Sacramentals to protect us and keep us close to God and help us to be faithful along “The Way”.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Catechesis on the Rosary, by Fr. Ronald Check

The Blessed Virgin Mary has an important, and some say, necessary role in our salvation. She holds a unique place in the Church. Saint Augustine notes, “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head." Saint Robert Bellarmine explains Our Lady’s Role in this way, “The Head of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ, and Mary is the neck which joins the Head to its Body.” One does not need to be a scholar in order to understand the great connection that exists between a Mother and her children. The Blessed Mother stands very close to her Son. She is united to Him in an eternal bond, which a communion so deep between humanity and divinity that it touches on the very communion (hypostatic union) that exists in the person of Christ Himself. The Book of Judith relates, ““Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth.” (Judith 13:18) and Saint Luke Himself records the words of Saint Elizabeth
to her Cousin, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42)

Our Lady, Our Blessed Mother has promised many things to those who pray the Rosary. May we be faithful sons and daughters of so good and so loving a Mother.

1. To all those who shall pray my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and great graces.

2. Those who shall persevere in the recitation of my Rosary will receive some special grace.

3. The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy.

4. The rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. Those who trust themselves to me through the Rosary will not perish.

6. Whoever recites my Rosary devoutly reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overwhelmed by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by an unprovided death. The sinner will be converted; the just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.

7. Those truly devoted to my Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite my Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces and will share in the merits of the blessed.

9. I will deliver promptly from purgatory souls devoted to my Rosary.

10. True children of my Rosary will enjoy great glory in heaven.

11. What you shall ask through my Rosary you shall obtain.

12. To those who propagate my Rosary I promise aid in all their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Rosary Confraternity shall have as their intercessors, in life and in death, the entire celestial court.

14. Those who recite my Rosary faithfully are my beloved children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion to my Rosary is a special sign of predestination.