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Pontifical Solemn High Mass: Past & Future at Our Lady's Shrine

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was blessed to hold a Pontifical High Mass on Saturday, December 10, celebrated by his Eminence Cardinal Burke. A High Mass is called “Pontifical” when a bishop celebrates it with the prescribed ceremonies; although the title “pontiff” is usually reserved for the pope, it may be applied to any bishop. Full details on the rituals of these Masses are given on the Catholic Answers Encyclopedia webpage:

The Shrine held a Pontifical Mass on Saturday, December 10, at 11:00 A.M., celebrated by Cardinal Burke. In his sermon, his Eminence focused on the coming of Jesus and the need for trust in Him as the answer to the world’s burdens and evils. The Cardinal courageously named some of the most pressing evils, even within the Church, on account of which all sorely need redeeming grace from above.

How much the Introit of today’s Mass of Our Lady in Advent speaks to our hearts: “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above; and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior.” How dry is the soil of the world, of our society, of our culture. We witness the spread of atheistic materialism, of the evil of communism against which Our Lady came to protect us at Fatima, in more and more nations. It is no less present in our own nation which has ceased to be God-fearing as our leaders advance a suicidal agenda against the integrity of Holy Matrimony and of its fruit, new human life in the family.

It is even present in the Church, within the household of the faith: on this past Thursday, 89 Catholics who serve in the House of Representatives of our nation voted to confirm as federal law the redefinition of marriage to include liaisons between two persons of the same sex. Apart from acting egregiously against the law of God, written in human nature and confirmed in Sacred Tradition, they have offered grievous scandal by giving the impression that the Church has changed her unchangeable teaching regarding marriage and the family. Their act of practical apostasy from the faith is sadly but one example of many such acts witnessed almost daily in our nation and in the world. Indeed, the soil of the Church would appear to be arid as today she seems to glory in confusion and division, instead of handing on faithfully and heroically the truth and the love which she has first received from Our Lord.

Yet, his Eminence went on to say that despite the world’s miseries and the failures of the Lord’s own followers, the source of hope is not in human beings but in Christ and the grace that He gives. “The soil of the Church is truly rich,” he declared, “with the divine grace which never ceases to flow from the glorious-pierced Heart of our Lord into the hearts of all who are alive in Him.” The season of Advent, he added, is especially rich in this grace for making the soil of our hearts fruitful.

At this Mass held on a Saturday in Advent, a day especially honoring Our Lady, Cardinal Burke noted that it is our Blessed Mother who brings us to her Son and thus to our salvation: “In our distress at the situation of the world and the Church, the Virgin Mother of God, the Mother of Divine Grace, takes us to Him, as she took the distressed wine stewards at Cana to Him with the clear and simple instruction: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ He tells us to know our faith and to live our faith, so that all will come to know, love, and serve Him and thus be with Him forever in Heaven.”

The Shrine’s projected schedule for 2023 includes four Pontifical Masses. The dates are set for February 1, June 9, August 5, and December 9.

All images in this blog post credited to: St. Mary's Oratory ICKSP

Click to watch Cardinal Burke's sermon: