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Father Michael

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About Father Michael

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  • Birthday 11/13/1946

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  • Full Real Name:
    Father Michael Schamp
  • Reason for registering:
    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
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    In Chiriqui
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  1. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch Diocese of the West The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Panama Phone: 011 (507) 6644 4555 Most Reverend Monsignor † Michael J Schamp D.D. Pastor and Presiding Bishop Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com December 15th, 2019 Third Sunday of Advent—“Gaudete” Sunday A Message from Father † Michael Today’s Theme: “Joyful in Hope” Scripture Note “Rejoice! The Lord is nigh!” (Phillipians 4:4- 5.) As Christmas draws near, we are reminded of the joy that should be in our hearts at all that the birth of our Savior means for us. During this coming week we recall the Gospel accounts of the Annunciation, and the Visitation, mysteries that are entirely “joyful!” †Paul bases Christian joy on the assurance of salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ. He desires it to be so firmly established in the soul that no reason of human anxiety or sadness can ever overcome it, since the great peace of God must forevermore predominate over every other feeling. Yet this coming of our Lord is not His birth at Bethlehem, but His Second Coming. The great joy of Christians is to see the day when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The often-repeated “veni,” (L., come,) of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of John (book of Revelation:) “Come, Lord Jesus!”—the final words of the New Testament. All our Readings today have comforting words: First, we hear “Be strong—fear not!” (Isaiah 35:1-10.) Then we are admonished to “Be Patient!” (James 5:7- 10.) Thirdly, Jesus tells His cousin John, “Blessed is the one who takes no offense in Me!” (Mathew 11:2-11.) Although not panaceas, these and other precepts from the collected wisdom of the ancients found in Scripture can serve us well as we face life’s challenges, and help us make prudent choices. Keeping the Faith John the Baptist’s situation was grim—locked away, awaiting death in a dark prison—and his faith was being sorely tested. Like him, we need reassurance and comfort. Each week, listening during the Liturgy of the Word, we can find strength and comfort, “drinking in” encouragement from Scripture. Sometimes we encounter an unexpected storm while quite nicely sailing along in life: i.e., unemployment, serious illness; or maybe sudden loss of a loved one to suicide. Such things can shatter our faith in the “right order” of things, and even, in God. At such times, we might hear: "Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as Head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11.) John ended up in a dungeon under a death sentence, even though he was a holy, God-fearing man. Even though we might do our best, things might go wrong for us, too, and we might feel “let down” by God. Then, we may doubt His love for us—even His very existence. At such times, we may hear: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10.) Modern life has become increasingly more stressful, despite technology, social networks, and politicians’ promises. Christmas also brings added work and more stress for many, perhaps overwhelming us, bringing us to wonder if we can cope with one more responsibility. At such times, we might hear: “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail”(Isaiah 58:11.) Like it or not, we spend our lives in the “shadow of death”—sometimes severely testing our faith. At times when we have lost a loved one, and felt we were standing in darkness, we may hear Jesus’ words: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”(Matthew 5:4) Many people are diligently working to bring about lasting peace in the world. Nonetheless, everyday we are engulfed by constant stories of people suffering oppression and strife, growing weary due to lack of progress. May the peacemakers hear the words: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17.) We may feel numbed and powerless by some of the things happening in our world—like tragic accidents, wars, famines, genocides—and we wonder why God hasn’t intervened. We must remind ourselves of our individual free will to choose, and in the midst of our confusion we may hear: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10.) When some parents despair, having seen their children abandon their faith in spite of having been given encouragement and good example, this can often be the source of great pain and sadness. May these parents hear: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12) In recent years many people have been scandalized by the behavior of some of the clergy, and formerly respected notables, sports icons and celebrities. Their grave sins against children, youth, women and marginalized people have given many reason to doubt and lose respect and confidence for our once esteemed institutions. Those whose faith has taken a severe knock may hear: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12.) Alcoholism and drug dependence is rampant among the populations of our world, causing misery and suffering, both to the addicts and those who love them—or live with them. In the attempt to encourage them to seek help, such people may recall: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1.) Thousands of men and women, from all socio- economic groups, are incarcerated in our prison system—many with very little hope for their future, either on this earth, or in the hereafter. May all prisoners hear: “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:1-2.) Each of us knows of situations that cause us to be fearful and doubtful. We can’t stop ourselves from feeling afraid. But we must not allow our fears to cripple us. Courage is not “never feeling afraid;” it is feeling afraid and going on in spite of it. Dying in Darkness John the Baptist ushered in a new Age of Jesus. The last and greatest in a long line of prophets who prepared the people for the advent of the Christ, He was selfless and courageous, keeping alive the hopes of people during the long night of expectation. For his recalcitrant behavior in the age of Herod, he died in darkness. Similarly, fifteen centuries later, the great Florence astronomer, Galileo (b. 1564,) reminds us of John the Baptist. Using the empirical tools of his day, he confirmed what Copernicus had said, namely that it is the earth that orbits the sun, and not vice versa. His discoveries greatly enlarged our understanding and knowledge of the universe, yet he spent his last years in darkness. Challenging the prevailing Church doctrine of the day, the Roman Inquisition censured him, to a lifetime house arrest, where wrote (in 1615,): “Alas, poor Galileo, your devoted servant has been, for a month, totally and incurably blind, so that this heaven, this earth, this universe, which by my observations and demonstrations, I have enlarged a thousand fold beyond their previous limits, are not shriveled for me into such a narrow compass as is filled my my own bodily sensations.” Advent reminds us that whenever we feel we are plunged into darkness, we must remember that faith can be a fragile thing. It must be nourished with diligent care and frequent meditation. And we mustn’t be surprised when doubts arise within us. Surely God understands our meager humanity! Our supreme Creator endowed each of us with an indomitable Spirit, from Whom we can draw strength of character and wisdom, if only we center ourselves and listen for the voice of inspiration. Jesus has taught us that faith in Him and His teachings are all we need to weather any adversity. And twice blessed are we if we, like Him, can show forth our faith in deedsof love and mercy. Then people will encounter Jesus—in us! May God Richly Bless You! “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) We Gather Together.docx We Gather Together.mp3
  2. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch Diocese of the West The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama Phone: 011 (507) 6644 4555 Most Reverend Monsignor †Michael J Schamp D.D.Pastor & Presiding Bishop Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com December 1st, 2019 First Sunday of Advent A Message from Father † MichaelToday’s Theme: “A Wake-up Call” Scripture Note The chief function of Advent is to prepare us for Christmas. However, to understand Christmas, we have to start at the beginning— with the history of salvation. People in all cultures, throughout all of recorded history, have attempted to discern what is called “God’s Plan” for the human race. For the Jewish people, the whole of the Old Testament, or, as the people of Jesus’ time called it, “Holy Scripture,” can be understood as a chronology of events and a history of thought concerning “God’s Plan.” If you happened to be part of the group called the “chosen race,” in any particular part of this history, you likely would have seen yourself favored by “God’s Plan.” Those who were not “chosen,” in contrast, were seen as “outcasts,” “barbarians,” “wanton people,” etc. Of course, the absolute truth of the matter is still one of conjecture, from an empirical, rational or scientific point of view. However, we know that virtually nothing concerning the metaphysical realm of religion is completely discernible using empirical means. One’s belief system is contained within a paradigm of “faith,” and as such, cannot be subjected to such qualifications. That brings us to our study of The New Testament, (or, “The Sequel,” as some of my Jewish friends would term it,) and the teachings of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ. For Christians, God’s Plan for salvation is centered in Christ, and realized through Him. Advent looks back at the promise of His first coming, when that plan was announced in Holy Scripture. It also looks forward to His second coming, when that plan will reach its completefulfillment. And, of course, it celebrates His actual coming, in time, with the feast of Christmas. The First Readings we hear during our Advent Sundays (from Isaiah,) are concerned with the messiah and the messianic times. Isaiah kept the hopes of the people alive in very dark times. In today’s Reading we have the theme of universal peace and salvation (Isaiah 2:1-5.) The Gospel and the Second Reading deal with the Lord’s second coming, which the first Christians believed was imminent (Matthew 24:7-14; Romans 13:11-14.) Both Readings convey a sense of urgency through phrases such as “Wake Up!” “Stay Awake!” and “Stand Ready!” A Wake-Up Call †Paul’s letters addressed the immanency of the End Times (The "Parousia, supposed by many to occur during their lifetime,) with determination. Throughout literature, it has been common for harbingers of “the inevitable” to infuse their writings with immediacy to spur their readers to action. †Paul‘s intention was to discriminate between mere wakefulness and awareness—to alert the people to the importance of “taking themselves to task” for their moral well being; to prepare for their eventual entry into eternity. For most people, some sort of shock, or at least a jolt of some kind, is necessary for that to take place. Usually, most of us awaken from sleep in joyful anticipation; feeling good that we are alive, and thankful to God for the gift of a new day. It is another chance to embark upon some new task we have started or begin something we have been postponing, or repair some damage or neglect in our lives. Other times we may be apathetic about our waking, greeting the new day without enthusiasm. Life may seem monotonous or empty for us. Perhaps we might be unemployed, or recently retired, and we have nothing to which we can look forward. Some of us have even known times when we fear the approach of morning. Perhaps we awaken tearfully, approaching the dawn with apathy or dread. Then we may face daily tasks in a half-hearted manner, going into the day with a very severe handicap. No one has a perfect life—we all have difficulties to face. But what matter is what we make of these challenges. When they seem insurmountable, we should try to change our attitude about them. We know complaining does no good, and some circumstances really are beyond our control. However, our conduct is completely within our power, and makes the difference in our response to any particular situation. Advent issues a spiritual wake-up call, and has true power to influence our thinking. Unless we are spiritually awake we are only “half living!” In this respect, some people could be seen as little more than “sleepwalkers”—with eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear. Their minds are narrow and closed; their hearts are hardened. To be awake spiritually means to be open, receptive, vigilant and active. Spirituality is about seeing, hearing and understanding beyond our circumstances. We must, necessarily, reflect and have the will to be wide- awake, not wile away our time in drowsiness. It means we must be attentive to the truths our faith teaches us and others; and to “living in love....” We have two choices: We can be a “watcher,” or a “sleeper.” Sleepers have easy lives...but waste their lives. Although it is much more challenging to be a watcher, it's also infinitely more rewarding. Watchers are awake, alert, concerned, active, interested and caring. In a word, to be a watcher is to be “responsible.” Jesus urges us to stay awake; to be on our guard; to be on the watch. We have nothing to fear, and everything to gain from answering Advent’s wake-up call. On this first Sunday of a new liturgical year, we realize another year has come and gone and we need to get on with our work. We must seize the day, not deferring or neglecting it — for we shall pass through this world but once; therefore any good that we can do, to and for any human being should be done NOW. Towards the Mountain Isaiah’s was a bold dream: he foresaw a time of universal peace in which people would come from all nations to God’s holy mountain and no longer harm one another. There would be no more war or preparing for war. Filled with the knowledge of the Lord, people would walk in His ways. It would be splendid, and some believed it would happen at the first coming of the Christ. Others believed it would be realized only at His second coming, at the end of time. Still others, even today, dismiss whole concept as mere daydreaming. But there were, and are, many who believe in it and pursue it. Even though the vision may only be an improbable goal in a troubled world, nevertheless the dream can shape our lives. The important thing is not to give up the quest or the search--the important thing is “the goal.” Today, humanity is at a crossroads. Technology has given us great power and brought material progress and economic wealth, enabling us to do practically anything--except bring people together in love, and thus make our world a happier and more peaceful place. When the Cold War ended, the world took a gigantic step towards peace. Nonetheless, wherever we go we see divisions among people, in families, communities, cities, countries. Our faith teaches us to believe God sent His only Son into the world to reconcile people with Him and with one another. Therefore, each of us can play a part in breaking down barriers and making peace. We can do this by welcoming others and seeking reconciliation with anyone with whom we have quarreled or fallen out. The work of reconciliation begins with a simple gesture, demanding those who do not normally speak to one another begin to do so. Practicing any kind of “apartheid,” or keeping one’s distance, only exacerbates differences. But we can’t do it without faith in God’s Plan. It can happen by walking in the way of truth, as our Blessed Lord has taught us. God did not leave mankind alone—He sent is beloved Son to inaugurate the new world (the Kingdom of God,) and to accompany us on our journey towards God’s Holy Mountain, which, in the final analysis, means eternal life. May God Richly Bless You! “At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern.” ― Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.docxGuide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.mp3
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    December 8th, 2019: 2nd Sunday of Advent This Week's Theme: "Prepare the Way of the Lord" Advent continues with our continuing path toward the miracle of the Christ Event--Christmas! Come join us for Music, Scripture, the Holy Eucharist and Christian Fellowship!
  4. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch, Diocese of the West The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Panama Most Reverend Monsignor † Michael J Schamp D.D.Pastor and Presiding Bishop Phone: 011 (507) 6644 4555 Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com December 8th, 2019 Second Sunday of Advent A Message from Father † Michael Today’s Theme: “Prepare a Way for the Lord” Scripture Note Isaiah (8th Century B.C.) foretells that even though a family tree of Jesse (King David’s father) has been reduced to a mere “stump” nevertheless, from that stump a new shoot would spring—a true king, filled with the Spirit and endowed with all the virtues of His ancestors. Our First Reading today tells of the coming Messiah and the kind of justice and peace He would bring (Isaiah 11:1-10.) The new King/Messiah would be a champion of the poor and restore paradisiac peace. Meanwhile †Paul (ca. 56-58 A.D.,) writing from Corinth, in Greece, to the Romans, in a letter that has long held pride of place, being the longest and most systematic unfolding of the apostle’s thought, expounds the righteousness of God, Who saves all who believe, and reflects an universal outlook, with special implications for Israel’s relation to the Church. Yet, like all his letters, Romans also arose from a specific situation. Our Second Reading talks about the importance of hope, and how we should treat others in the same friendly way Christ has treated us (Romans 15:4-9.) †Paul sees Jesus as the one through Whom God fulfilled his promises. Thereafter, Matthew introduces John the Baptist as the herald (also foretold by Isaiah,) of the long-awaited Messiah, and the one who prepared the people to receive Him. Matthew sees Jesus as fulfilling the Old Testament promises. Vision of a New World Astronauts were the first human beings to see the earth from “outside.” Gazing down on the earth from space, they realized as never before that we are one family, with “spaceship Earth’ as our common home. Sultan bin Salman al- Saud, (payload specialist, on the international astronaut space shuttle crew: Discovery-1985,)remarked, “The first day in space, we all pointed to our own countries. The second day, we pointed to our continents. By the third day, we were award of only one earth.” The ancient prophets of the Bible had the same kind of high and wide vision, one of how things could be. However, when one reads a history book or even just a daily news account, sometimes we might be ashamed to be human! We read of wars, wars, and more wars—so many dead—so many tears—so many fears. Our world is drenched in blood. We might despair and lose all hope! And as for the “wolf and the lamb” living together, often two neighbors, or even two members of the same family have serious “fallings out” and refuse to talk to one another! It might seem visions of peace and harmony among all peoples are but mere fairy tales.... But our faith teaches us they are not. Rather, they correspond to the deepest longings of the human heart and point mankind’s ultimate goal. These visions nurture our souls and our hearts, offering us hope and courage when we are to give up on life. They fuel our deepest aspirations, and give us the energy to overcome great obstacles and painful setbacks. Prophets lived in the real world and were just as dismayed by its horrors and injustices as we are; yet they had a dream of a new world free from injustice and war. Through their faith they were able to rise above their dismay. What saved them from despair was their messianic vision and sense of the human capacity for penitence. History is not a blind alley—there is always a way out—through repentance. The marvelous vision of the peaceable Kingdom, in which all violence has been overcome and all people live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realization in our daily lives. Instead of being an escapist dream, it challenges us to anticipate what it promises. Every time we forgive a neighbor; make a child smile; show compassion to a suffering person; care for animals; prevent pollution; and work for peace and justice among peoples and nations; we are making the vision a reality. We need to keep the vision before us, so it will give us new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of encouraging us to escape from real life, this beautiful dream summons us to get involved. We must open our hearts to the aspiration cherished by the prophets: a world rid of evil by human effort through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had a word for the new world. He called it “The Kingdom of God.” He inaugurated it and wants his followers to build it...on earth. Ordinary people help spread that Kingdom by being kind, truthful, honest, just, etc. Even though it is a mêlée that we will never completely win, the struggle is good for us, as it awakens everything that is best and precious within us. Isaiah’s vision lives on in our midst as a task for today and a promise for tomorrow. A Place Called “Hope” Advent, at its essence, is a season that puts us in mind of a better existence. If all things and people were perfect, we would have no desires that weren’t fulfilled. It is required precisely because we live in an imperfect world that hope is necessary. With every election cycle we continually invest our hopes in flawed politicians to help us initiate new eras of peace and justice. Even though we are regularly distraught when we discover they have promised things that can’t be delivered, nonetheless, we “hope for the best.” Hope is a vital part of life. We spend our lives longing, waiting, hoping for one thing or another. It is impossible to live when one is completely without hope. Hope is as important for our soul as bread is for our body. Hope doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for things to happen; rather it spurs us into action. We work hard to achieve our goals precisely because we have hope, believing our efforts will be worthwhile and will make a difference in our lives and those of our loved ones. Our strength and commitment depends, in great extent, on the degree and quality of our hope. Hope is not the same as optimism. In fact, hope and optimism are radically different. Optimism is the expectation things will get better, whatever the situation. Hope is the trust that the future will develop as a result of the collective choices made by human beings for the greater good. The “person of hope” lives in the present moment, with the knowledge and trust that the human spirit is indefatigable, and will not be subdued by evil forces. Hope springs from the faith that our Creator has given each one of us talents and abilities along with the free will to choose wisely among all our options. In Jesus’ teaching we are given reason to believe that God is the anchor for our lives. All great leaders were people of hope. They felt no need to know how the future would look. They just tried to do what was right in the present, and trusted that would be sufficient to promote a better future. Dissident, poet, playwright, and former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, once said: “I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart. Hope is the feeling that life and work have a meaning.” Cynicism is the enemy of hope. Many refuse to accept hope into their hearts, saying, “Things will never change. It’s no good.” Cynicism comes easy, requiring nothing from us—no trust; no effort; no love. It is the task of Christians to keep hope alive and set an example. We must not depend only on results but on the rightness and truth of the work itself. Meanwhile, we live in a place called hope—in which hope enables us to keep one foot in the world as it is, and the other in the world as it should be. “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) May God Richly Bless You! “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) Make Straight in the Desert a Highway.mp3 Make Straight in the Desert a Highway.docx
  5. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch, Diocese of the West Most Reverend Monsignor †Michael J Schamp D.D.Pastor & Presiding Bishop The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama Phone: 011 (507) 6644 4555 Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com November 28, 2019, Thanksgiving Day Special Edition: The Holy Eucharist A Message from Father † Michael Today’s Theme: “In Memory of Me” Scripture Note Jesus said: "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst....” And, “I am the living bread that has Who descended from Heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he shall live in eternity; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:35-52.) Those hearing Him had seen Jesus raise the dead; and heard Him preach all kinds of surpassing things sounding revolutionary, at first, which then made sense—fulfilling the Law of Moses—and brought them into a new focus with a clear purpose. Still they were surprised, asking: “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” So, Jesus repeated—and repeated again: “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you...for My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed...He who eats my flesh, and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:54-57.) But some of the disciples left, thinking this was too difficult to believe. Jesus didn’t call after them, but asked the Twelve if they wanted to go, too. Peter tactfully avoided the question, saying: “Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed, and we recognize that you are the Christ, the Son of God” (John 6:69-70.) And they did so, right through the Last Supper, when He went back to the same theme: He took the bread, saying unequivocally: “This is My body...” and then the cup of wine, and said: “This is My blood....” And finally, “...Do this in memory of Me” (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22–23; Luke 22:19-20) Suddenly it all made sense to them. It was in this way that Jesus would give His flesh to eat and His blood to drink: sacramentally, in the Holy Eucharist. That’s how He could remain physically present among us until the end of time, and how He would let us fulfill His absolute requirement for salvation. From that moment on, the Church has fulfilled His command, without interruption, continuing the Last Supper in the liturgy of the every Holy Mass—in perpetuation of the sacrifice of Calvary. It’s an idea that’s so obvious, so simple—as simple as He said it was—yet everything that the Church teaches, and upon which it depends. Moving Ahead For two millennia, a hierarchy of priests and bishops has been maintained since the apostles chiefly to celebrate the liturgy that changes bread and wine into Body and Blood. Multitudes of parishes exist so that everyone has easy access to Christ in the Eucharist. Churches and their art—the music, vestments, and metalwork of the vessels of Holy Communion, myriad paintings and sculptures—are designed to accommodate this liturgy; and are basically the handmaidens of the Eucharist. Everything is brought into being to serve the Eucharist; to depict it; refer to it; reflect it; or otherwise lead people to the sacramental presence of Jesus Christ. Technically, the process by which the bread and wine physically, become the Body and Blood of Christ can be described as transubstantiation. (This word has been used at least since the days of St. Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225- 1274 a.d.) and officially adopted by the Council of Trent, (Ca.1545-1563 a.d.) It is rather the opposite of transformation, in which the substance of something stays the same, but its appearance changes. (Think: the folding of steel into a sword....) Transubstantiation means that the appearance of the bread and wine stays the same, but their substance is changed, as Christ said at the Last Supper, the last Passover meal He celebrated with His apostles. The liturgy of the Holy Mass has its origins in the old Jewish ceremonial meal for a family. It’s for a family that includes the assembly of hundreds or even thousands of people, the main occasion for which is worship and education. Most importantly, it’s the way Christ stays physically present to His Church, and the Passover service wasn’t directed to that end. So the apostles and their successors stuck firmly with the liturgy that Christ established at the Last Supper—you can’t really compromise with a directive like “Do this”—and on this foundation they framed the Mass as an unique liturgy in its own right. The core of the Mass has never changed since. As time went on, however, other procedures, prayers and symbols were attached to this basic framework, so that the Mass could do what it needs to do and be understood by everybody who attends. The nature of these attachments was determined by the times and places in which the early Church was working—by what you might call “geopolitical” factors. The important liturgical centers were where the apostles were, in the eastern Roman Empire at first, and later in Italy and France—all places where it’s perfectly natural for people to use outward symbols and gestures to express an inward truth. So the Church, reaching out from its Jewish heritage to embrace the known world, supplemented and supported the words of the liturgy with expressive ceremonials. Many rituals were adopted from Roman civil procedures—from courts of law and halls of the emperors—that would say the appropriate things in ways everyone would understand. From time to time, some ceremonials are revised, or deleted, when it is determined they may hide the framework, or in order that the original meaning can still be perceived. Most of us have seen this process, in recent years. Notably, the stately Baroque presentation of the Mass mandated by the Council of Trent— the Tridentine Mass—offered entirely in Latin, was reformed in the 1960s to afford Mass in vernacular languages, all around the world. Thereafter, the liturgy focused on the essentials, restoring its timeless simplicity and elegance and bringing the unchanging pattern of the Mass more clearly into view. The Mass: Organization Each Mass begins with an ordinary—structured forms which are continuous from Mass to Mass—including the introductory rite: a greeting, the Sign of the Cross, and then a wish for grace and peace from the celebrant (priest.)The congregation answers, “And also with you,” in reply, and this starts the interaction between priest and congregation, the two major, active participants in the Mass. Next, a penitential rite affords each one in attendance to consider their personal sinfulness, and upon sincere repentance, absolution is given, by the celebrant, (similar to the cleansing action of our Baptism.) This Liturgy of the Word includes selected prayers and Bible readings making up the proper of the Mass, compiled to commemorate specific temporal cycles of feasts, (i.e. Easter, Christmas, and Holy Days.) Secondly, the Liturgy of the Eucharist echoes the Passover Meal the Seder, mandated by Moses, and it follows Jesus’ commission: “Do this in memory of Me,” from the Last Supper. All the faithful who have been baptized are invited to participate in receiving Holy Communion, and thereby, as a family, become spiritually united into the Mystical Body of Christ. Each of us is united, as equals, before the Lord, at Holy Mass, in a supreme act of solidarity. The whole idea is that Christ comes physicallyto the altar, then flows outward to the congregation, who carry Him immediately out into the world—because that’s where He’s needed.... One can plainly see, therefore, that separating our worship, eliminating either the education of the Word or the inclusiveness of the Holy Eucharist, prevents us from the complete “Jesus Experience.” May God Richly Bless You!
  6. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch, Diocese of the West Most Reverend Monsignor †Michael J Schamp D.D. Pastor and presiding Bishop The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Panama Phone: 011 (507) 6644 4555 Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com June 16th, 2019 Feast of the Blessed Trinity A Message from Father † Michael Today’s Theme: The Indefinable Mystery of God: The Holy Trinity The feast of the Blessed Trinity was introduced into the regular liturgy in the ninth century but was only inserted in the general calendar of the Church in the fourteenth. Today, the veneration of the Trinity is found throughout the liturgy. The Holy Mass, the Divine Office and the Sacraments begin with: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” All the Psalms and many Hymns conclude with a doxology: “Glory Be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit....” Many standard prayers and homilies also begin and end in honor of the three Divine Persons. Constantly, the Church gives us opportunities to praise and adore God, Who has shown mercy towards us in that He has given us a share in His life. Today, as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, let us hold fast to our faith—for each of us longs to be one with God for all eternity, beholding the His glorious, beatific vision in heaven. Let us view our existence on earth as a transitory state—simply a mysterious “way station” on our way to everlasting glory! A Sense of God Faith is not some kind of autosuggestion. It is the grace of a mysterious encounter with that Eternal Someone. It is beyond reasoning and emotion, but these may be present to. We can grasp God with our minds and with our senses,. In fact, we can do it with our whole being. We are talking not just about an intellectual conviction about God, but a sense—a feeling—of God. What a wonderful experience that is! Happy are those who have a sense of God and of His presence in their lives! Those are the only form of riches worth having, after all. When people know something—really know it, deep in their hearts, they don’t have to argue about it, or prove. They just know it. That is the way faith works. One may contradict all prevailing “opinion, or “accepted wisdom,” and yet still possess an intimate certitude about his or her beliefs that is transcendent. One believes with the heart, without knowing why or even seeking to know. In his “Confessions,” Augustine wrote about what it took him a lifetime to realize—God’s presence within us is the greatest blessing of all: “Beauty, how late have I loved you. O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new! How late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside And it was there that I searched for You. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things You created. You were with me, but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You; Yet if they had not been in You, They would have no being at all. Why do I ask You to come to me When, unless You were with me, I would have no being either.” We meet God not just in the world outside us, but in the world within us, and find that He is closer to us that we suspected. He is part of us. †Paul said: “In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17;28.) God is like a biographer whose job is to tell the story while staying in the background. We must remember that God is everywhere present— omniprescient, but until we discover Him within us He will always be remote from us, perhaps appearing unfriendly or uncaring. For many God’s silence is a big problem! But a “loud and evident’ God would be a “bully,” an insecure tyrant, instead of, as He is, a bottomless encouragement to our faltering and frightened being. God is the only One to Whom we can surrender without losing ourselves.... And, once we have truly experienced God within us, loneliness will never be a problem, because we will know that we are never alone. And we will see creation as the work of an Artist—indeed the Great Architect of the Universe (“Freemasons will recall the acronym, “GAOTU’ from their rituals)—Who is our Friend. One God in three persons—a God Who is within us and yet is utterly beyond us—indeed is a great mystery...but it is a mystery of love. God is greater that all of us. We can never fully comprehend God. We struggle to understand even our physical world, so how could we possibly understand the meta-physical? Only the gift of wisdom can help us understand the ways of God, but even then, we are hindered by our human weakness. People can purport to possess and know the “truths of faith,” and yet not know God. That conundrum is the very reason we must cleave to Jesus Christ, as our intercessor! Historical Development The Greek Church fathers always began from the one God and Father, Who, for them, as for the New Testament, was “THE” God. They defined the relationship of God the Father to Son and Spirit in the light of this one God and Father. It is as if we have a star, which gives its light to a second star(“light of light, God of God,”) and finally to a third. But to our human eyes, all three stars appear, one after the other, as only one star. Augustine (354-430 A.D.,) differed completely: instead of beginning from one God and Father, he began from the one nature of God, or divine substance, which was common to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.(For the Latin theologians, the principle of unity was not the Father but the one divine nature, or substance.) To develop the illustration above, three stars do not shine one after the other, but side by side in a triangle at the same level; here, the first and second stars together give light to the third. Augustine used psychological categories in a new way. He saw a similarity between the threefold God and the three-dimensional human spirit: between the father and the memory; between the Son and the intelligence; and between the Spirit and the will. In the light of this analogy, the Trinity could be interpreted as follows: The Son is “begotten” from the Father “according to the intellect.” The Father “knows” and “begets” the Son in His own word and image. But the Spirit “proceeds” from the Father (as the lover) and the Son(as the beloved) “according to the will.” The Spirit is the love between Father and Son become person; He has proceeded from both the Father and the Son. (It was this Latin “filioque,” which proved to be the great stumbling block for the Greeks. Their view was the Spirit proceeded only from the Father.) Augustine made an intellectual construction of the Trinity with philosophical and psychological categories in an extremely subtle way as a self— unfolding of God. Here, the words, “And the Son,” seemed so essential that in the West, from the sixth/seventh century, it was gradually inserted into the Creed. It was required by the German emperors after Charlemagne, and was definitively inserted by Rome into the ancient Creed in 1014 A.D. But even today, the East still regards this filioque as a falsification of the old ecumenical creed and a clear heresy. (This distinction is NOT an article of faith for most Christians, however, in spite of its historical significance.) In the 1950s, the late Archbishop †Fulton J. Sheen, on his television program “Life is worth living,” publicly postulated the relationship of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity to the viewing public. His wonderful “chalk-talks” were almost riveting in their concept and presentation. (I recall fondly the many broadcasts I enjoyed with my family, growing up in Lincoln, NE during the fifties and sixties. Sheen was a master of making the complex into usable simplicity!) In his talk, entitled, “The Divine Romance (1930,) he stated: “The Trinity is the answer to the questions of Plato. If there is only one God, what does He think about? He thinks an eternal thought, or about His Eternal Son. If there is only one God, whom does He love? He loves His Son, and that mutual love is the Holy Spirit. I firmly believe that the great philosopher was fumbling about for the mystery of the Trinity, for his great mind seemed in some small way to suspect that an infinite being must have relations of thought and love, and that God cannot be conceived without thought and love. But it was not until the word became Incarnate that man knew the secret of those relations and the inner life of God.” * Sheen’s soft-spoken focus has become an inspiration for me in my own preaching ministry. Like him, my goal is to bring Christ’s message of love to everyone, in an easy-to-comprehend and relatively pertinent way. In that way, our Holy Catholic Faith becomes usable in daily life. We will be, at once “in” the world, but not “of” the world, in our walk toward eternal salvation. It is this purpose to which I have dedicated my entire life. The feast of the Blessed Trinity must be understood and celebrated as a prolongation of the mysteries of God. As the solemn expression of our faith, this triune life of the Divine Persons, has been made accessible to us by our Baptism and redemption by Christ. Only in heaven shall we properly understand all that it means, in union with Christ, to share as sons and daughters of the very life of God. May God Richly Bless You! * To read the entire text of Sheen’s talk, you can find it here: www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm? For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord; and ourselves as servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4-5)
  7. The Old Catholic Church of Antioch Diocese of the West Most Reverend Monsignor † Michael J Schamp D.D.Pastor & Presiding Bishop The Chapel at Valle Escondido Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama Phone: + (507) 6644 4555 Email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com Summer, 2019 Introduction to “Pastor’s Letter” A Presumption and An Assumption To begin with, my weekly Pastor’s Letter presumes nothing about the reader—except belief in “some kind” of God. Or, (to ask even less,) it presumes a reader would be at least slightly uncomfortable,saying, “There is no God.” The focal question, then, is: “If there is some kind of God, what connection does that belief have to do with practicing some kind of formal, organized religion?” Then, further, one might ask, “Why should that religion be Catholic, other Christian denomination or, for that matter, any other faith?” When I use the word, “God,” I don’t mean (at first,) even to restrict the content to God as viewed by any one or another particular religion—specifically, Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Great Spirit, Manitou, Ra, etc. I merely mean that I am presuming the reader accepts some kind of Mind Behind It All, which—at least at the outset—is the sole content of the word “God:” a Being responsible for the universe, Who had a purpose in creating it all—and a purpose in inviting you and me to exist. Just as a clockmaker expects the product of his work to keep accurate time (or else it’s a bad clock,) God expected planets to submit to the laws of gravity: attraction and repulsion, crocuses to “pop up” in spring and not July, lions to forage for food and mate in the proper season and take care of their young. That’s where the problems arise. At the tail end of that evolutionary progress of planet-to-crocus-to-lion came human beings. Up to that point, everything had gone relatively smoothly: planets obeyed the plan programmed into their natures, crocuses obeyed theirs and lions obeyed theirs. Then suddenly along came human beings—the only entities in the whole Cosmic Dance that don’t have to obey their programming—which makes us vastly different from merely more complex developments of the matter and vegetable and animal “stuff” that was there before we arrived on the scene. No planet or crocus or lion can violate its nature. No planet gets fed up with whirling and puts on the brakes; no crocus refuses to take in nourishment; no lion can reject the hassle of dealing with its mate and become celibate. Only human beings can reject their “programming”—and refuse to be human, acting instead like clods, or vegetables, or beasts. That undeniable fact is what Western thinkers have called “original sin,” (which may or may not be traceable back to a naked couple named Adam and Eve,) but is nonetheless a fact: Human beings “mess up.” Human reluctance to obey their own nature is the only Christian doctrine you can prove conclusively from the daily news media! What’s more, only human beings can transcendtheir programming, and go beyond their apparent limitations. On the physical level, only human beings—of all the entities of which we have knowledge—are not prisoners of their programming. If a new Ice Age develops over the horizon, humans don’t go around mooing helplessly, waiting for death; we bump off a caribou and put on its skin; we invent fire. Since our original, natural programming hasn’t provided us with wings, we have the wits to make them for ourselves. On the mental level, human beings are without any equal (of which we are aware,) in the whole universe. Oh, it’s true we share brains with most all the animals; the core of the human brain is the same as any snake’s (from which, it might be said, most of our problems arise;) we’re special, even though we’re still incompletely evolved. Unlike the smartest of beasts (dolphins, for instance,) human beings can anticipate things-not-yet-even-dreamed; we can calculate, measure, ponder and philosophize. Even the smartest beast is not about to send a spaceship to Mars, or balance a budget, or write King Lear, or run a rock concert to feed hungry strangers. No animal ravages its soul to comprehend why those it loves must die. Animals can know, but only human beings can—to some degree—understand. The key difference between humans and animals that we can suggest is our conscience. As far as we know, no tiger goes into a village, gobbles a lamb, and lurches back into the forest, mumbling, “O God I did it again! I’ve got to get counseling!” Animals don’t; but humans do. At least, good humans do.... What’s more, that fusion of the peculiarly human mind and body generates a third entity: A self—that entity philosophers have always called (for want of a better name,) the “soul.” It is the self-conscious “I,” which is the sum of all one's experiences, an unique person who never existed before, and never will be duplicated. It is that self, that soul—which is neither body nor mind—that many philosophers believe is imperishable. It is an entity generated and temporarily rooted in time and space, but not permanently dependent upon time and space. Unlike planets and crocuses and lions, the human self will survive death. Despite our similarities to material beings—vegetable beings or animal beings—human beings possess in themselves a soul that is not material. It is our special and unique fellowship with the Mind Behind It All...God, Who—because He created it all—exists outside it all. And so, too, at this very moment, our souls exist outside it all. So, let me reiterate, saying these weekly letters presume only that the reader has at least some vague belief in God, or some higher Authority, and the reader has “messed up” at least once during their lifetime.... Therefore, I am coming from the perspective that there is some kind of Mind Behind It All—and everything that exists in the universe was intentional and has some purpose programmed into it. Further, no one could argue that human beings often refuse to be humane; while at other times, they surprise us with extraordinary displays of creativity, selflessness and caring “beyond all expectations!” Transcendent Inter-Communication Transcendent Inter-Communication” (maybe a jawbreaker, but it got your attention) means, that, which in simpler terms, one might call “prayer.” I gave it that admittedly cumbersome title to show that I mean considerably more than simply kneeling in a quiet place, and semi-consciously "rattling off" numerous “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys.” Nor do I mean even the far more public and “formal” prayers involved in any one of the several, familiar liturgies—whether they are from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Seder services or , a myriad of various ethnic ceremonials. What I mean by “prayer” is, "centering the self"—going deep into that unique “soul” that is connected beyond time and space in some way, into the Mind Behind It All—and communicating directly with one’s Ultimate Source. (This may be a crude analogy, but it might help to think of prayer as the practice of “withdrawing for awhile” and “connecting into the Pool of Energy–the Source of all that Exists"—for the express purpose of “charging ones batteries.”) If my presumption is correct, then there is a God, Who’s the Cause of all that Exists, including you and me. Therefore, several corollaries immediately follow: Firstly, if God caused me, then I quite obviously didn’t cause God. Neither did you. God caused us both. Now, I don’t mean that God forced your parents to do “You-Know-What,” or even that God—necessarily—stopped at each embryo and breathed a soul into it, as He does in the story of Adam and Eve. (Although, being God, He could have easily done that if He wanted to; triggering the Big Bang was a far larger job....) But God created a universe in which the whole process of evolution could take place—from planets, to crocuses, to lions, to us— intelligent beings existing a quantum leap above our nearest animal cousins. God is the “Inventor” of the human soul and thus, ultimately, the Inventor of you and me. Secondly, if the universe is, indeed, a “Great Dance” in which each participant has its own unique purpose, then God is the “Choreographer or Director”—not me. I may not be quite satisfied with the part I’ve been given (my height, or parents, or having to go to work or school,) but it’s the part I’ve been given. I’m free to improvise with it; it’s not “scripted;” I’m not a puppet. Each of us is free not to act “humanly.” I can even pretend to be the lead in the drama that is my life. (I may not like the way the play was going when I first came on—the previous history of the world—or the other actors with whom I must perform. Or, I may not like the fact that, at the end, my character dies. But it’s the only play there is. If I go to the Director and ask, “Why do I have to leave the stage?” He (God,) can say, “Who gave you the right to a part in the first place?”) Thirdly: This one is the toughest admissions one has to make: “If we are answerable to God, then God is not answerable to us’ (as Job discovered so painfully.) Which brings me back to the first bombshell: God is the ultimate source of my existence. I’m dependent...I’m indebted. Granted, if I hadn’t been given existence, I’d never know the difference. But Ido exist, and I’m grateful for that. And I appreciate not only the bare gift of existence, but everything that came with it: my Mom and Dad, the people I love, babies, books, beer, single-malt scotch, the Pacific at sunset, giraffes, you-know-what, “Star Wars” movies, and on and on.... If you tried simply to list all the wonderful, joyous, delicious extras that came along with the initial invitation to life, it’d take the rest of your life. In fact, there are so many fantastic gifts (most of which we take for granted, as if we’d done something to deserve them,) that it’s enough to take the sting out of the (few, in comparison) lousy things we have to put up with—like death, and visits to the dentist or having to deal with annoying political figures, like Osama Bin Laden or ISIS. There was an important reason for emphasizing ‘deserve’ in that last paragraph. We do take existence—and all those billions of nifty gifts that came along with it—for granted, as if it were something due to us. But it wasn’t because before you were given existence, you simply “weren’t here” at all. How could something that doesn’t existdeserve anything? It’s the same with God. He invented “You-Know- What,” and evolution, mountains at sunrise, fields of buttercups and the whole great cosmic dance. And God invited you and me to join in it! It might be nice to thank God for that sometime. But ordinarily we...well...we take it for granted. You may well be self-reliant, but you are most definitely not self-sufficient! You might tell yourself: ‘I did it all myself!’ But you know that’s untrue! Consider this analogy: Suppose some “zillionaire” stopped you at random in the street and said, “Now you look like a very promising person to me.” And then he takes out a roll of bills the size of a tractor tire; peels off a cool million bucks; and says: “There ya go, buddy. I’d really like you to spend it wisely, but there are no strings attached. Use it however you want. Have a nice day.” And off he goes. Now if you didn’t even try to find out who the guy was; if it’s too much to bother even to try to track him down and say, at least, “Uh, thank you’’ I think one be justified in calling you an iron-hearted, mean-spirited and conscienceless. It’s not that we don’t have the time, after all, or that we forgot. (Very few of us are so busy or absent-minded that we forget to take a shower or brush our teeth.) And it might not be a bad idea (even for purely selfish reasons,) to say, “Ah, excuse me, sir, but you seem to know the score...I mean, how things work. Could you, at least, give me, a little advice? I mean, what do YOU mean when you say ‘spend it wisely? I’m new at thismillionaire thing, and I need some help...okay?” Part of the reason we don’t pray (unless we’re involved in some sort of emergency situation,) is that we’ve never really thought about how much we owe The Mind Behind It All—God our Father. (But if you’ve read this far, that is, obviously, no longer an excuse.) Part of the reason also is that, even when we do realize our indebtedness, we don’t like to be beholden; we tend to avoid bookies, pawnbrokers and loan-sharks when we owe them money; we don’t go inviting them for long contemplative walks in the woods. But that alibi won’t work, either. Like the “zillionaire,” God says to us, “No strings.” As far as we know, God made human beings the only entities in the universe that can say, “Kiss off!” to Him; God with made us with a program—a nature— but we don’t have to follow it if we choose not to...we have “free will.” “Oh yeah?” (One might ask,) “What about the Ten Commandments? We’ve all broken at least a few of them, haven’t we? And when we did, which, if any of us has been struck by lightning?” The Ten Commandments, The [613] Laws of Moses and all those rules that have been made since then, are simply the result of wise men and women studying human programming and trying to spell it out in words. But even if the rules of that programming are hammered out in stone, or written on vellum, parchment or coded into a hard drive, you’re still free to do whatever you please— even to act like a beast, or a vegetable or a jerk. In fact, probably the best way to thank God for the gifts of existence is to use God’s gifts wisely—to find out whatever is our true purpose in life and try to your best at it. We only get one time around; so we might as well do a good job of it. Yes, there are good “atheists” and ethical “humanists” who try to do that, too—to be as righteous as possible. I’ve met some of them. But atheists and ethical humanists don’t know they’re indebted; they feel no need to say, “Thanks,” for all they have been given. At least, unlike them, you and I do. The Church “All right,” (you might say.) “No more guilt trips...I’ll pray. But why can’t I just go out into the woods and spend some time with God? Why do I have to go to some boring ceremony, with all those ‘phonies’ who look pious for an hour a week and then spend the rest of the week with their fists in the cashbox? And why do I have to concern myself about all those rules!” “Therein you have just about all the usual objections from those who honestly believe in God, but do not want to involve themselves in organized, Church or weekly, common worship. Whenever I hear them (and I’ve heard them many, many times in my 70-plus years on the planet,) I say, “No problem!” The fact is, that it’s simply, highly recommended. Only two questions: First, “When’s the last time you actuallywent to church—or meditated in the great outdoors?” (This usually stops them dead in their tracks.) And secondly, “Why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t it be both?” And that’s where we finally come to the questions I am wont to address in my weekly Pastor’s Letters: “Why belong to an organized religion—with formal rituals and ‘all those rules?’ And, specifically, why belong to the Catholic Church?” “My best guess about why I’m a Catholic is,basically, exactly the same as why I’m white male, of German/Bohemian origin, a Republican and an American. Basically, I initially had nothing to do with, nor did I choose any of those things. The male part was sheer chance. The rest of those qualities—like my very existence itself—I owe to my parents, and to their parents. I didn’t choose any of those things, any more than I rationally chose to be toilet-trained. The white and ethnic parts even my parents had no say about. But the American part and the Republican part they both chose, and I just sort of accepted them—simply by not rejecting them...at first. The same thing was true bout my being Catholic. That was my parents’ choice, and— for a long time—their choice became my choice, exactly my Dad’s preference for medium-rare roast beef that eventually became “my choice.” ...But then, like all of us, I grew up. Psychologists tell us that the child’s superego records everything his or her parents say, as sternly and permanently written on the mind as the Ten Commandments were reportedly carved in stone. What’s more, those “laws” were recorded with the same emotional intensity that the child felt when his or her parent issued the command in the first place. For instance: I can hear My mom saying, ‘If I ever catch you going to bed without brushing your teeth, I’ll whack your butt!” That is recorded in my mind as strongly and indelibly as when Sister Agnela told me, “If you miss Mass on Sunday, you’ll go to Hell!’ (Later, when the threat of Hell lost its effectiveness, I recall my Dad telling me, “You won’t get to use the Buick Friday night, if you don’t go.”) “The process of adolescence is the period when a person establishes his or her own ego, or conscience. That’s when children test the truth of their parents’ “laws” and which are merely their parents’ personal preferences (like being Republican, or preferring medium-rare roast beef.) Unfortunately (because thinking takes effort,) many adults either adopt their parent’s opinions as their own, or reject them totally—no matter whether those choices/ opinions are true or false—simply because they arethose of their parents.’ From the beginning of my adolescence until I was well into my twenties, I was involved in my own process of “conversion”...discovering new horizons, testing out my previously recorded “convictions,” while, coincidentally discovering which parts of myself were “non-negotiable:” i.e., being white, of German/Bohemian descent, male; and discovering which parts were open to discussion: being Republican, Catholic and liking medium-rare roast beef. I was, for all intents and purposes (as I suspect some of you might be,) Catholic. I was baptized as an infant, but not yet converted—like subjects of a pagan king forced to convert to Christianity and be baptized—not as a result of their choice but as a result of his choice. What such “Christians” must do is decide whether this really was “the way” to go, or whether it might be a far better idea, no matter how tedious, dangerous and time-consuming, to go back to their parents’ first “wrong turn” and start off in the right direction.” What I’ll be asking you to consider in my weeklyLetters is this: “Is the question of being Catholic, other Christian denomination or faith the same for you as is the question of how you like your roast beef? Is it the same as the question of your affiliation with one political party or another? Or is it the same as the question of your being of some cultural or ethnic descent? My hope is that your answer to this “faith question” would be at least as important to you on your path to salvation as any of those others. May God Richly Bless You! Attribution In writing my weekly Pastor’s Letter, I have borrowed, liberally and extensively, from many published sources, some of which include the three-volume work: New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies, by Flor McCarthy, SDB, and the book, Why Be Catholic? by Fr. William J. O’Malley, S.J. Each of my Letters is a multi-sourced “collage” of interpretive thoughts, focusing, primarily, on the weekly Liturgy of the Mass, coupled with similar ideas gleaned from Scripture and numerous, respected, previously-published sources, interwoven with my own original thoughts and experiences as a life-long Catholic, an Ordained Old Catholic Priest and Bishop.
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    September 1st: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time--12th Sunday After Pentecost This Week's Theme: “He who Humbles Himself Shall Be Exalted” (Matthew 23:12) We will examine this principle from the perspective of Jesus' sharing a communal meal--much like our coming together at the Eucharist in the Holy Mass.
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    This Week's Theme: “He who Humbles Himself Shall Be Exalted” (Matthew 23:12) We will examine this principle from the perspective of Jesus' sharing a communal meal--much like our coming together at the Eucharist in the Holy Mass.
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    Come to the Chapel at Valle Escondido, 10 a.m. Sunday! The Old Catholic Church welcomes all baptized Christians attend Holy Mass (English) and partake in the Holy Eucharist, without restriction. You will find a loving, supportive congregation of your fellow Ex-Pats who have discovered a ministry steeped in traditional Catholic values, coupled with the best in modern, relevant theological thought.
  11. until

    The Old Catholic Church is an independent (of Rome) ministry, dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of all Christian believers, regardless of past/current church affiliations or restrictions. DIOCESE MEDALLION (LG)clr copy.pdf
  12. until
    Come to the Chapel at Valle Escondido, 10 a.m. Sunday! The Old Catholic Church welcomes all baptized Christians attend Holy Mass (English) and partake in the Holy Eucharist, without restriction. You will find a loving, supportive congregation of your fellow Ex-Pats who have discovered a ministry steeped in traditional Catholic values, coupled with the best in modern, relevant theological thought.
  13. Did you know? Fr➕Michael Schamp says Holy Mass every Sunday @10am. Everyone, regardless of past Christian affiliation is welcome to receive Holy Eucharist! Come see what the Old Catholic Church can offer you! email: fathermichaelschamp@gmail.com
  14. Christians of all faiths are welcome to celebrate Holy Mass, Easter Sunday @10am. Valle Escondido Chapel Cheers and blessings, Father +MICHAEL Schamp Pastor
  15. Father +Michael welcomes everyone to the Holy Eucharist, without restriction, especially former Roman Catholics who wish to receive the Sacraments. Reply email: fathermichaelschamp@yahoo.com We are Catholic, both in practice (worship) and the deposit of faith through the bishop and clergy, whose lines trace back to the original apostles. We celebrate all seven Sacraments, the Holy Mass, affirm the Real Presence in the Eucharist, have veneration for Mary and the Saints, and encourage traditional pious practices such as the Rosary and Benediction. Our Mass is the Novus Ordo of Paul VI.
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