New Beginnings – Building On The Faith Of Our Fathers

Saving souls…That was a constant theme on the mind of Father Carota. It permeated his thoughts and his actions.  This blog, is a fruit of that theme.  He originally wanted to start a Catholic TV station and build up a group to help priest learn the Latin Mass.  Over the time, those things didn’t come to pass but what did happen was for the best.  His blog has been an inspiration to all of us.

We got a chance to see the actions of a traditional priest on a daily basis.  The things he would post and say would make me cringe, laugh, feel intense pain as they could cut to the heart of the matter, and of course, like an old Disney movie, would leave us with hope at the end! He would post about buying auto parts,  blessing a business, telling a lady her tight pants were offending God, and then explain why our Pope was costing souls their salvation.  He didn’t pull any punches.  As a reader, it made me wonder how in the world did he get away with actually stating the TRUTH online in this day in age of Bishops clamping a stopper on anything that isn’t the “company line”.

This means, of course, he had enemies.  Satan of course, but there were many that were highly offended and put off by his frank online dialogues.  One of the things I helped Father with was going through the emails that were sent in and helping him to answer them.  It’s amazing how people get so angry about what he would write sometimes.  Some of the comments (that weren’t published) and some of the personal attacks were astounding.  Of course, when talking with Father about it, he would just chuckle and quickly forgive and excuse the people.  Some he knew, others he didn’t.  He was too busy trying to save souls to allow it to bother him much.

He asked me to make sure this blog continued.  Of course, I said yes as hosting a blog is not a big deal.  He always viewed this blog as an instrument to save souls.  I get that now from reading all of the comments over the years and the emails that have come in since I was asked to help.  It isn’t so much that Father would say something truly magnificent or new, no, he would just state the truth in Love.  That is, of course, why we loved him so.  We knew, that he loved us.  He didn’t know most of the readers, but he prayed for them.  He wanted to offer bits of hope everyday so that our souls would be comforted and we would, with renewed vigor, continue fighting the good fight no matter where we were or how far we might have strayed.

I feel such a profound loss in my soul with his passing.  I grieve, but not as one without hope.  I miss his daily reminders to be faithful and the small ways he showed how to be a faithful catholic in this sordid world we live in.  But with that grief, I am reminded that the battle is not over.  Father Carota did his part.  He was faithful to the call that God placed on him.  His part of this fight (at least on earth) is over and it is up to us to pick the slack.  In a time when we have apostate priests right and left, he stood in the gap and said “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” and he made good that motto with his actions.

What now?

As promised, this blog will continue the mission of saving souls.  Changes will occur, new writers will help us, but the goal will always be the same: the salvation of souls.

Princesses of Ireland

St. Catherine of Siena taught that there was only one infinite thing in our life.  We do not have the ability to love infinitely.  We do not have the ability to sin infinitely.  We do, however, have an infinite desire or an infinite longing.

When we respond to this in a positive way, this becomes an ability to love with God’s love, which is infinite.  When rejected, our time in hell is infinite.  But for now, it is enough to say that we have an infinite longing.  Only God can fill that infinite longing.

But we cover up that desire with sin.  When that desire is not fulfilled, we heap addiction upon addiction into our lives to distract us from that infinite longing. When a person turns to God, she begins a relationship with Jesus and is baptized and/or makes a good confession.

Even after initial conversion, it is a lifelong battle to go deeper into the human longing and divine fulfillment by the ascetical life (fasting or sacrifice) as well as mental prayer leading (hopefully to) Holy Liturgy.  This is not a casuistic formula, but rather the means to the end which is nothing short of Divine Union in charity, where the soul actually knows God via love (the classic definition of Wisdom, the ultimate of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.)

This ascent to God is God’s initiative but our cooperation.  The union of charity that comes from the ascetical life and the prayer life is probably the main difference between a saint and a person who simply dies in sanctifying grace.

For the children of Christendom, an initial encounter of beauty in a parish was probably an important launching point into the making of saint, later to be a married or religious person.  And perhaps this is why the parents of Christendom put so much more than their tithe into the making of the physical Church buildings:  The art had to be equal to an infinite longing.

But most importantly, they believed that God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass deserved the best.  Building such beauty around liturgical splendor seems to us to be something relegated to the past, something relegated to Europe.

However, after spending a month in Louisiana this year, I saw that our forefathers in this country—simple French, German, Irish and African forefathers—were the workingmen who not only built glorious Cathedrals, but even small Catholic Churches on the Mississippi.

For instance, Convent, Louisiana (pop 711 souls) is home to a small parish called “St. Michael the Archangel.”

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It has the jubilee doors for the year of mercy.  As I went through those doors, I saw what 19th century Catholics could do if they were true believers.  Most likely, this was built by very poor barge workers on the Mississippi (the river being only 100 meters away) who surely gave more than their tithe.  More important than the money, however, was the transcendent aspects of the Holy Mass that can be seen in the art they made, century unknown on the art but seen here:

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Everything about that high altar and dome says “You are no longer on earth but in heaven.”  The eyes of even the simplest believer must look up to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  It is no wonder that people wanted to be saints when they entered a Church like this.

About an hour away, in New Orleans, I was welcomed by a friendly pastor into his ante-bellum rectory.

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This is St. Patrick’s parish in a busy part of New Orleans.  Father let me offer the Traditional Latin Mass on the high altar, where he himself offers the TLM:

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Being an Irishman myself, I was moved that this building was built not only by Irishmen of the 19th century, but poor Irishman who gave their blood, sweat and tears to build something this beautiful and transcendent.  How many of them, in their daily lives, felt like St. Peter sinking?  This very old painting is found to the right of the altar, and the figures are larger than life size:

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What especially struck me, however, was the picture of St. Patrick baptizing the princesses of Ireland.  This too was an old painting honoring the true Irish-Catholic heritage that probably meant a lot more to the 19th century Irish workers than Mardi Gras or the St. Patrick’s parade.  It too is larger than life, to the left of the high altar:

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It should be no wonder that parishes more recently built, like St. Bernadette’s in France, can not bring the human heart (or eyes!) to the transcendent gaze of beauty that leads to grace.

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To me, this looks like a face on Pixar’s Cars.

But back to the Irish Princesses.  The only thing that would convert these princesses of Ireland would be the grace and truth of Jesus Christ flowing through a saint like St. Patrick.  And the response of Ireland from the 6th to 10th centuries was one of love, a fire of love that could only be fueled by beauty.

Liturgical beauty and majesty was surely not the only part of Irish life, but the art of the country or city parish had to be focused on God in order to tap that infinite longing and desire.

My proposal is simple:  If we want a return of the princesses of Ireland (or the United States) to Christ and His one Church, then we need to return to building Churches with a transcendent and majestic beauty that honors the God who made heaven and earth, seen even outside St. Patrick’s in New Orleans:

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Fr. Dave Nix

More Requiem Masses For Fr. Carota

Fr. Joseph Illo will offer a low Requiem Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (1813 Oakdale Rd., Modesto, CA 95355) on Saturday, July 16 at 12 noon. For those who have come from out of town for the funeral services and will stay through the weekend and would like to attend the Requiem Mass for Fr. Peter Carota, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is about a 40-minute drive from Stockton.

Canon Olivier Meney will offer a sung Requiem Mass (possibly Solemn Requiem Mass if he can find a deacon or straw deacon) at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church (1219 Excelsior Ave., Oakland, CA 94610) on Saturday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m.

All are welcome to attend these Masses.

On Prayer

As we never should presume about the state of a person that has passed, let us continue to pray for the repose of Fr. Carota’s soul.  A reader sent in this link about praying the rosary for a deceased priest.  We can apply this to Fr. Carota, but also to many of the other priests that have died.

http://www.tedeumfoundation.org/Save/spirituality/priestrosary.html  – Need to scroll down just a bit on the page to get to the meditations.

Father’s Funeral Arrangements

There will be a service for Father Carota at the Cathedral of The Annunciation in Stockton, California.

It is located at 425 West Magnolia St. Stockton 95213.

Beginning with a reception of the body on Thursday July 14th at 5:00pm.

Rosary at 6:00pm and a vigil at 7:00pm.

Father Carota’s funeral will be on July 15th and 10:00am at the Cathedral of The Annunciation in Stockton, California.

Procession following from Stockton, Ca to Ripen, Ca.

Graveside service: 19399 w hwy 120, Ripon, Ca 95366 at St. John Cemetery.

St. Stephen, the First Martyr (Sacramento, CA) will offer a Requiem Mass for Fr. Peter on Friday, July 15th at 12:15 pm.