Friday, 30 March 2018

Latin Mass Triduum, 2018 in Archdiocese of Toronto. Better Late than Never.

``... Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo .... Ego in hoc natus sum, at ad hoc veni in mundum, ut testimonium perhibeam veritati: Omnis qui est ex veritate audie vocem meam.`(Douay-Rheims John 18: 36 - 37: ``My kingdom is not of this world ... For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.``)

Hello Everyone,

Forgive my tardiness that I did not get this out for yesterday, Holy Thursday, but I write this as finally, I have a chance to myself, as my first born son is being quiet. I became a father as of 1024h last Friday, Mar 23rd.

Thanks to a Latin Mass mailing list I'm on, I have come across information for the annual Latin Mass Triduum (since 2014 or 2015) that is held in Toronto. From the e-bulletin, I share the following information:

WHERE: Chapel of the Carmel Heights Retirement Residence, staffed by Carmelite Sisters.
Address: 1720 Sherwood Forrest Circle, Mississauga, Ontario, CAN
Website for Residence:


  • Holy Thursday/Solemn Mass of the Lord's Supper (Thurs Mar 29, 2018) 730pm EST Start time
    • Adoration to 1100pm
  • GOOD FRIDAY (TODAY, Fri Mar 30, 2018)
    • Stations of the Cross (EF/Usus Antiquor): 2PM EST
    • SOLEMN Service: 3PM EST
  • HOLY SATURDAY/SOLEMN Paschal Vigil (Tomorrow, Apr 1/18)- 830pm EST Start Time

Some notes:
1) I, and my closest allies and siblings in Christi in the TLM in Toronto, have no personal/professional nor desired relationship with certain parties involved in the Triduum liturgies, nor have been asked by any party involved to assist. In spite of this, I promote this Triduum on my blog because: Fr. Russell Asch is chaplain to the residence (incl. the sisters, and does their Masses IN ADDITION to those of the Latin Mass) and has been faithful to ALL parties in the TLM community including my friends of St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir (plus technically, one could say he is pastor of the chapel;)) one of my closest friends in faith has decided to sing in the choir for these liturgies/services; and most of all for the good of the lay faithful (and clergy to an extent) who have honest and non-radically traditionalist interest in the EF liturgy of the Roman Rite, particularly in the most, important time of the Catholic Faith during the year.

2) While priests who are under the spiritual authority of the Archdiocese of Toronto are involved in the carrying out of these Masses/services, in no way, shape, or form, is this directly due to the Archdiocese of Toronto proper, or any of its episcopal members, up to and including His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins. This has been independently organized via the efforts of parties involved, individual lay men and women, and the assisting clergy. 

3) All services and/or Masses of these EF liturgies will be done at the level of the Missa Cantata/Sung or High Mass, with one priest officiating and carrying out the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass/Good Friday service, with a full complement of altar servers and a liturgical choir. 

4) Fr. Steven Szakaczki, priest for the EF at St. Lawrence the Martyr Toronto (and veteran, as well as mentioned numerous times here on S.U.D.) will be the celebrant/priest for the Holy Thursday and Good Friday liturgies/services. Fr. Russell Asch will be the celebrant/priest for Holy Saturday. 


If you have not spread the word to your family and friends, please do so! Don`t forget to arrive early! Pew space is limited to about 75 bodies, plus maybe 40 seats on the sister's side (single Transept) for overflow. After that it will be standing room only. 

Spread the Word, and may you contemplate with deep fervor and passion, that of His Lord, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself on the wood of the Cross for the opportunity for us to obtain Eternal Salvation. 

PAX TIBI CHRISTI, Julian Barkin. 

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Liguorian Series 1C: St. Alphonsus Liguori in Preparation for Death: How to be Happy at the Moment of Death

Liguorian Series 1C: St. Alphonsus Advice for Becoming That Repentant Sinner/Saint a.k.a. How to Get to Heaven

Hello faithful reader, 

It has been a while since we've been together to discuss the bountiful wisdom of the great Saint, Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist order of priests in the Church. To refresh your memory on what we explored, from the first volume of his Ascetic Works called Preparation for Death, I invite you to revisit Part 1A dealing with those at the state of death who are not in God's friendship and favour, and Part 1B of those who are able to die a happy death/in God's friendship and favour. 

In this part, 1C, with helpful quotes from the holy Saint, and writing in his style somewhat, we shall explore how one avoids the fate of souls as in part 1A, and end up happy on our death beds like those in Part 1B. Where to begin? ...

Keep the end in mind ...

Before one can remedy their state and end up a happy soul on their death bed, one must have a purpose, an aim in life, or shall we say in modern times, an "Endgame." Should we go by the old adage, "eat, drink, merry, for tomorrow we die," we live our lives as a series of endless pleasures, maybe throw in a family, but to what end? No living soul or deceased person has come back from eternity to tell us whether heaven or hell exists. But should we live by the adage above, then there is no point to anything we do: education, careers, family ... even pleasure and people in life are all for naught! 

Therefore, we MUST have a guiding principle in our lived to guide us before we can even journey to being like those happy souls. We must begin with the end in mind, and that applies to our life's journey! It is clear, as explored in Part 1A, that the hedonistic, sinfully obstinate souls die fearful, unhappy deaths, begging for more time on earth. They know their end. With that evidence in mind, there must be something they fear ... hell, for eternity. They may not say or think such aloud, but their emotions and physical symptoms tell the tale. 

So start with the end in mind ... the end that awaits you lest you choose the path of grievous sin! Begin with Hell in mind as such: 

"... if you do not now change your life, if you commit another mortal sin, the Lord will abandon you, and, in punishment of that sin, send you to suffer forever among that crowd of fools who are now in hell ... When the devil tempts you again to sin, remember hell, have recourse to God and to the Most Holy Virgin. The thought of hell will preserve you from hell, because it will make you have recourse to God." (Preparation for Death, p288-289)

Now, to just say that fear alone of hell will keep you astray will be foolish! Thankfully, we do have a ``testimony`` of sorts, those who HAVE decided not to be like the souls in Part 1A. Those souls in Part 1B, die happy, relieved, calm, and ready for the eternal reward ahead that awaits them. 

But how do we, become like those happy souls who have prepared for death well? Clearly, most of us aren't "blessed" with the disposition of a saint or are of the handpicked few that get in the Saint hall of fame. We become easily discouraged, thinking we aren't lucky, or have the "patience of a saint" for holy things. Also, we become even more discouraged, particularly when we observe the follies of those around us. We think of how many times our parents or grandparents strayed from the will of God, yet properly catechized about the four last things of death, judgement, Heaven, and Hell.

For those reading NOT Christian, obviously, our own mental fear of doing something bad or that we've done before, clearly isn't enough! We are but feeble and weak creatures with such a temptation and draw to sinful things that we know damage us physically and spiritually, but we do them even when we vow not too!

Thankfully, St. Alphonsus in Preparation for Death, provides us with three main tools to combat ourselves from falling back to black, and allows us to make it to the end, a happy soul upon our death beds.

The First Tool, Avoiding the Temptation/Occasion of Sin 

The first tool is quite simplistic in its understanding: Avoid occasions of sin. It goes without saying  that if you are placed in the vicinity of whatever vice you are tempted to, you won't likely be able to
withstand it. Whether that be your favorite junk food that you must down the whole container or bag for, boundless quantities of liquor that dulls the mind, or other such vices. It goes without saying, remove yourself from the situation, and don't put it in your home or invite it in. Alphonsus states the following on such avoidance: 

".... You must on your part labor hard to take away the occasions of sin, to avoid bad company, to resist temptations by recommending yourself to God as soon as you perceive them ... You must do violence to yourself: otherwise the threat of the Lord against obstinate sinners will fall upon you. You shall die in your sin." (230.)

It is even worse if the very sin you must avoid is one of the flesh and/or sexual, hence chastity must be adopted quickly to avoid such sins: 

"Whenever the devil tempts us, let us place our entire confidence in the divine assistance ... to Jesus Christ ... to the most Holy Mary. We ought to do this particularly as often as we are tempted against chastity; for this is the most terrible of all temptations and is the one by which the devil gains most victories. We have not the strength to preserve chastity; this strength must come from God ..." (314)

Should sins of the flesh be the particular vice you must dispose of, avoiding your favourite area where you "fraternize" with women and tempt them, or are tempted by them (even without intention,) might not be enough. In this, in our modern day world of the third millennium, this even includes the Internet on computers! We will explore more on that in the third necessary tool of Prayer. Yet let's go on to another key tool, one that must work in tandem with prayer, and yet would be even more vital to be covered first: The Eucharist/Pennance.

The Second Tool, The Sacraments, but Particularly the Eucharist

The next, critical tool that St Alphonsus says we must embrace to make ourselves for for heaven are the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, but particularly the sacrament of Penance, and the Holy Eucharist consecrated at Mass. We should not be surprised at these tools, as the Church’s sacraments are the most tangible and visible ways Christ expresses Himself and His salvation to us on Earth, with each one uniting us closer to His Will and Mission.

Were he not to express himself and his Will and Mission of Holy Mother Church in this way, He would be as deists describe him, or detractors of the Church and Christ, as an unattainable figure atop His holy little cloud in a far away universe we could never find him. With nothing to guide us but our wills and flawed selves, we alone would never be able to obtain salvation.

In addition, why would someone go on such a journey as life without having the tools needed to travel through this land? Our Lord is not a cruel Greek “g”od of the Theban plays who creates and leaves humans to their misery or even uses them as playthings? No, for he is a Loving Father, who like a RESPONSIBLE father in a human family, provides sustenance for His children, his adopted sons and daughters of God. The father knows of this world and what is out there, and raises his children to become sufficient to survive, but also keeps loving and caring for them all throughout their lives.

Also as a forgiving father, he knows his children will mess up, with their imperfect wills, and temptation to sin. It is but part of the human condition. He knows that His children, in being tempted, will hurt him, and thus, in the sacrament of Penance, like the Prodigal Father for his lost son, he provides the bridge of mercy, the open door, for his adopted children to come home, and start anew in living that full life once more. By this sacrament we restore the Sanctifying grace needed to live in Eternal life after death, lost by Mortal sins, but also receive forgiveness for those lesser sins, including those that weigh us down to be susceptible to mortal sins. 

Hence, we have our sacraments and the Eucharist in the Holy Mass to give us those actual graces. It is both a literal, and a powerfully spiritual food, aiding us in avoiding and resisting those slings and arrows of temptation that lead us to sin, even against our concupisent (sin-seeking) selves. St Alphonsus makes this point as follows:

“ ... the second, is, to frequent the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist ... by the sacrament of penance the soul is purified; by it, it obtains not only the remission of sins, but also help to resist temptations. The Communion is called the bread of Heaven; because as the body cannot live without earthly food, so the soul cannot live without this celestial bread...." (323) 

Finally, there is one more essential tool needed in order to place one's self on the road to Heaven, and remain in the direction of that course: Prayer.

The Third Tool, Prayer

While avoiding occasions of sin and reception of the sacraments are a great start, it is prayer that is the vital, third tool required to keep one's direction ahead to a happy death. Think of one who is attempting to undergo a change in lifestyle or habit, such as a diet/exercise plan. One might be able to remove sweets from the house, and might be starting great workouts which gives one an endorphic high, but longevity is where most commonly fail. The slugfest of life and all those around us, work or at home or in one's personal life (save perhaps, those single people) will wallop us with blows, until our minds are tired and worn, and there we relapse and go off course.

The path to eternal salvation is no different. The Devil is particularly an angry, dark and vile creature, who will be more than happy to step up and be the one to challenge your resolve. He enjoys such temptations and throwing them on end. Will he stop? No. A non-biological creature such as he needs no physical rest, and can happily continue to throw constant barriers to you.

Further, one might find the "holy" or "Catholic" life, boring, lacking energy, agitating, a "thorn" in one's side that they might consider drifting back into whatever sinful and darkened path they had abandoned, or started to abandon.

Finally, one must be WILLING to ask of the Lord Jesus/God through prayer what one needs. As always, God/Christ allows us our free will to conduct ourselves without him. It is no different from parents in a loving home (where they are responsible and not selfish, despite their flaws,) that will aid their sons and daughters if they ask them, even when said children are older adults. Nor is it different from trusted friends and/or colleagues. If you do not ask, they will not help. If you ask for help, that is when those you know can be called to act to help you. 

How necessary is prayer to keep one on the path to not falling back to where they were? Vital! St Alphonsus in P.F.D, tells us how vital a tool it is:

``.... He who prays is certainly saved; he who does not pray, is certainly lost. All the elect are saved by prayer; all the damned are lost by neglect of prayer, and their greatest despair is, and will be forever, caused by the conviction that they had it in their power to save their souls so easily by prayer, and that now the time of salvation is no more.`` (306)

Furthermore, not just out of the sake of avoiding Hell (though you do need prayer for this purpose,) prayer is like the gym coach at your side, enhancing the exercise in the gym that you do, and pushing you forward to ensure you make progress in your exercise. He can`t make you exercise, but he will be there to keep you persevering to the last repetition you can do. St. Alphonsus dwells upon past saints of the Church in his explanation of prayer in this way:

``.... St. Chrysostom says that, as the body without the soul is dead, so the soul is dead without prayer ... as water is necessary to prevent the decay of plants, so prayer is necessary to preserve us from perdition .... St. Augustine teaches that God gives without prayer the first graces ... but all other graces, and particularly the gift of perseverance, he gives only to those who ask them.`` (304-305) 

Now that one knows to do prayer you are likely asking, what do I do? How many prayers a day and/or times to pray? Scripture already can answer the when, as per Luke and Paul`s Epistle to the Thessalonians:

``We ought always to pray`` (Luke 23:1). ``Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times. Pray without ceasing.`` (1 Thess 5:17)

As for what specifically, the range of prayers varies from the traditional triad of: Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be; there are those of the Saints throughout the ages. There are numerous, self-composed prayers of laymen, diocese in the church, on cards, books, there is even just short one-two line prayers called "Ejaculations," which are small spiritual prayers with high meaning, internal intensity, and petition from the person praying them. There is exception, however, as when the sin is of chastity, as mentioned before in the first tool of avoidance, to throw one`s self at the mercy of Jesus`Mother, Mary, for this particular category of sin.

However, it is more important to focus on the "HOW" of prayer, as that is what will make or break the prayer being efficient, rather than which specific prayers you include in your arsenal. Firstly, when one prays, it MUST be out of a spirit of humility, instead of self-interest or pride. That is NOT the same as asking for necessary help with dealing with sin. Here, St. Alphonus explains:

``.... To pray well, it is necessary, in the first place, to pray with humility. ``God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. (James 4:6) God rejects the petitions of the proud, but does not allow the humber to depart without hearing all their prayers .... This holds, even though they have been hitherto sinners.`` (307)

In other words, asking for physical things or powers such as money, cars, houses, material goods, wealth, fame, glory, power ... unless it is absolutely in HIS will for you to have them for HIS purpose for your life, these prayer will NOT be granted. However, aid to conquer your sin, get through your struggles, and keep you on the narrow path to salvation, THAT is what the Good, Good Father will grant you, for,

``... spiritual graces, such as pardon of sin, perseverance, divine love, and the like, should be asked absolutely, and with a firm confidence of obtaining them.`` (309)  

Speaking of confidence, that is the second element as to HOW one should approach prayer. One must pray with confidence, not with fear and trembling, nor with lackluster effort, or sheer doubt what you ask will be granted (if it is NOT of selfish interest, as mentioned above.) Does this Scripture passage from XX:XX not bring this concept to memory, if you have been a faithful, weekly, Mass attendee, and even "church" goer for those non-Catholics?:

``If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him!`` (Luke 11: 13)

Thirdly, one must be willing to pray not just at weekly Mass (service), or just routinely at meals as of habit, but rather ... constantly, all the time when you can, wherever you can. St. Alphonus explains this with the analogy of the homeless beggar:

`` ... the Lord wishes us to understand that we ought to imitate beggars, who do not cease to ask, to eantreat, and to knock at the gate, until the receive an alms ... final perseverance ... is a grace which is not obtained without continual prayer.`` (308-309)

This analogy is actually quite true. Where I work, there is a homeless, or less fortunate, older gentleman I must pass by on my way to public transit that I take to get home from work everyday. He is at the same location when he begs. He is a polite gentleman, who says "good day" to those who pass by, who is not aggressive in his panhandling, and even sometimes, will have conversation with those of us who stop to talk. Rarely is a day when he is not present there, but frequently he is, with ball cap in hand, dwelling on our charity. He has not disappeared permanently (yet,) and when I return to work next week, he will likely be there, in the same spot, begging once again.

THAT is exactly how we are to act with regards to prayer, though with one key difference. Christ, being the Good Lord, will not pass by you, the spiritual beggar, as most of us do without giving the beggar even our pocket change. When we pray to the Lord in earnest, he will grant those true prayer every time, albeit on HIS own time, and not always in ways we can visibly see. But in the case of perseverance, He will grant us that resolve.


Three tools to salvation. All vital. These are the three keys revealed to us by St. Alphonsus in P.F.D. which release the locks on the treasure chest that holds the pearl of great price, our eternal salvation and a happy death, towards the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity. St. Alphonsus partially summarizes this on p. 230 of P.F.D., which we revisit from earlier, but with some additions of mine for what is not included in the citation:

``... if you wish to recover from your illness, there is a remedy for you; however you must not expect a miracle of grace. You must on your part labor hard to take away the occasions of sin, to avoid bad company, to resist temptations by recommending yourself to God as soon as you perceive them: you must adopt the means of salvation by going frequently to confession, by reading a spiritual book every day, by practicing devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and continually [implore] her to obtain for you strength not to relapse into sin ...."

... especially those sins of the flesh/of a sexual nature. In addition, seek the Eucharist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass alongside Penance, which is the most powerful, strengthening sacrament against our temptations and those that the Devil and his minions will throw against you. Finally, pray unceasingly, whenever, wherever, to keep one`s strength for the long journey to conquering those sins and temptations we must battle. In doing all this, we prepare ourselves for that happy, yet eternally promising death to endless eternity in Heaven, with God, the angels and the Saints, those lost loved ones who were fortunate to be there, and most of all, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

NEXT IN THE SERIES: 1D - Miscellaneous tidbits not falling specifically under 1A to 1C.