Thursday, August 31, 2017

Blessed Ildefonso Schuster of Milan and the Divine Office

I learned from a Facebook friend that yesterday (August 30) is the observed memorial of Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, archbishop of Milan during World War II.

I came across Cardinal Schuster several years ago while writing a booklet to go with an Ignatius Press release of an Italian film about Blessed Carlo Gnocchi, Father of Mercy. Not to get too sidetracked from my subject, but Blessed Carlo was an Italian military chaplain who, after the war, founded homes for the many war orphans and in particular those maimed by landmines.  Cardinal Schuster was a mentor of his.

Then, this month, I bought an audiobook of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a novel centered on the life of a teenage boy who, under the direction of a priest, helped many Jews cross the alps into Switzerland during the war. Cardinal Schuster and other Catholic clergy figured prominently in this book, since he spearheaded an underground railroad to save Jews from death in concentration camps.

So yesterday, as I finished the novel, I found a post on Facebook telling me that it was Cardinal Schuster's memorial on local calendars where he is venerated. (This would be Italy for certain, and also that of the Benedictine order, since he was originally a Benedictine monk.)

Don't ask me why an Italian had a German sounding name. I guess his father had German blood.

Anyhow, the facebook post that alerted me to the memorial also quoted these lovely words from Blessed Schuster about the breviary, which he in turn had found on the New Liturgical Movement website:

I close my eyes, and while my lips murmur the words of the Breviary which I know by heart, I leave behind their literal meaning, and feel that I am in that endless land where the Church, militant and pilgrim, passes, walking towards the promised fatherland. I breathe with the Church in the same light by day, the same darkness by night; I see on every side of me the forces of evil that beset and assail Her; I find myself in the midst of Her battles and victories, Her prayers of anguish and Her songs of triumph, in the midst of the oppression of prisoners, the groans of the dying, the rejoicing of the armies and captains victorious. I find myself in their midst, but not as a passive spectator; nay rather, as one whose vigilance and skill, whose strength and courage can bear a decisive weight on the outcome of the struggle between good and evil, and upon the eternal destinies of individual men and of the multitude. (Blessed Card. Ildefonso Schuster, Archbishop of Milan, 1929-54)

Friday, August 11, 2017

If You give a Prisoner a Breviary...

How will he or she respond?

Ron Zeilinger of Dismas Ministry (see my previous post) told me today that after he recently gave a prisoner a four volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours, he received a note which said,

"Thank you for sending the Liturgy of the Hours. It is like a river of pure water."

My f irst thoughts about that were:

1. Do I receive my daily liturgical prayer with the same clarity, the same  joy,  the same  gratitude as that prison inmate?  (Answer: no, not always, and I'd better do something about that.)

2. I'm going donate more breviaries to Dismas Ministry.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Breviaries for Prisoners

Several times in the past, Coffee&Canticles has promoted the work of Dismas Minstry which is just about the best apostolate to prisoners we've ever seen.   Of special to interest to all of here is that these people introduce prisoners to the Liturgy of the Hours, and give breviaries to those who request them.

Recently I heard from Dismas director  Ron Zeilinger, thanking us for past support and again reminding us that they are happy to receive donations of used (or new) breviaries. These could be single volume OR four-volume sets.

Alternatively, you could send them a cash donation, which you could either designate as being for the purchase of breviaries, or just as a general donation, since Dismas Ministry has a number of wonderful programs and services for inmates.

Please be generous in supporting this great  spiritual work of mercy.

Update: although you can find this information at the Dismas website, here are the relevant addresses:

Dismas Ministry
PO Box 070363
Milwaukee WI 53207 - this address is for directly mailing breviaries or cash donations.

Dismas Ministry
Suite 130
2625 S. Greeley St.

Milwaukee WI 53207 - this one is best if you are ordering new breviaries from retail sites (such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon) that use UPS for delivery and therefore need a physical location. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pauline Breviary from Phillipines

A lot of people are fans of the Pauline single-volume breviary  in preference to the Catholic Book Publishing Co. edition of Christian Prayer.  The main advantage is that it has the complete four week psalter of daytime prayer, unlike the two-week sampler provided by Catholic Book  Co. IN addition, the antiphons are reprinted at the end of each psalm, which saves flipping back to find them after the Glory Be.

Problem is, Pauline USA let these go out of print some time ago. So our choices are to search ebay and other secondhand book sites for used copies, or to endure the expense and possibly risky business of ordering a Pauline Africa breviary from Kenya. As noted in many other places on this blog, the Kenyan breviary has many advantages, including the revised Grail    psalter, recently canonized saint propers, and additional Sunday antiphons for the Gospel canticles.

Another Pauline edition was brought to my attention by readers Leonard Villanueva and John Manlapig.  It's a 1993 edition, with gold edges. The price of 750 pesos comes out to just under $15 in US currency. This is not an updated edition (like the one from Kenya). It's the same text we have here in the USA, althought I"m guessing there are a few more recent saints in the proper of saints.

I have no idea if it's possible to order one by mail or what the postage would be if it was. But if you have friends or relatives in the Phillipines who come to the USA to visit, you could always have them bring you one.