Today, Monday, September 26, 2016, is the Feast of the North American Martyrs, the eight Jesuits who gave up their lives for the Holy Faith in what are now parts of Canada and upstate New York between 1642 and 1649, and the Commemoration of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian.
This brief reflection speaks volumes about the contrast between the life and martyrdom of the eight men killed between 1642 and 1649 and the conciliar "saints". Each of the North American Martyr (Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil, Jean Lalande, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Anthony Daniel, Charles Garnier, and John de Brebeuf) shed their blood to Catholicize the upper reaches of North America. They were not interested in "inculturating" the Catholic liturgy with the pagan superstitions and barbaric practices of the Iroquois. They were concerned only about attempting to convert the heathens to the true Faith and to plant the seeds for the conversion of the land in which their noble missionary work had taken them.
Can we do any less than they?
We must seek to "keep it Catholic" at all times as we seek to plant the seeds for the conversion of this nation to become the Catholic States of America.
Although it was my intention to have part two of the series about the "Correction" that was issued to "Pope Francis" by "conservative" Catholic scholars ready for publication today, the work on my part one and a full day of attending to family errands make it impossible for me to do so. However, I will be back at the computer pretty much all day today, Tuesday, September 26, 2017.
Finally, I learned last night, Monday, September 25, 2017, that our dear friend, Father Thomas Dignan, who had been the assistant pastor of Saint Jude Shrine in Stafford,, Texas, since his arrival there in 2004, died last night at 7:30 p.m., Central Daylight Saving Time. While we are greatly saddened by this news as we spent much time visiting with Father Dignan over the past eleven years whenever we made trips to the Houston, Texas, area (and during the times in 2007, 2009, and 2011 our former residence on wheels, the motor home, was parked at a campground in Sugar Land, Texas, for extended periods of time), we are nevertheless grateful to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for taking Father Dignan unto Himself after over sixty years of uncompromisingly zealous priestly service. He was eighty-seven years of age, and was ordained as as a priest for the Diocese of Bismark, North Dakota, in 1957.
In addition to his priestly zeal, including his great devotion, as you noted, to Holy Mass and to the Sacred Tribunal of Penance, Father Dignan was one of the most mechanically able priests I have ever met. We never ceased to be amazed at how Father Dignan, dressed his overalls, could be seen working on the roof of the Shrine or carrying one or more two-by-four pieces of lumber around the property. Yes, much like the One to Whom He had been conformed when He was orained to the priesthood, he loved working with wood. Indeed, he was a very skilled carpenter, and we have been told that his collection of tools was very impressive.
Above all else, of course, Father Dignan had a great zeal for the work of the Legion of Mary, which he replicated in the Houston area to the very best of his priestly ability, especially by going to hospitals and nursing homes throughout the Houston area. I am confident that Our Lady gave him all of her motherly assistance at the hour of his death, although, presuming the state of no soul after death, we will continue to pray for the repose of his immortal soul as we did shortly after receiving Father Campbell's e-mail before we commenced our Night Prayers last evening.
We may be poor materially, but we are very rich to have known Father Dignan and to know Father Campbell, no less to have had our sins forgiven and to have been fed with the very Bread of Life Himself from his priestly hands and of those of Father Louis J.Campbell, who has been the pastor of Saint Jude Shrine since 2002.
Father Dignan's quiet humility and his priestly dignity were truly inspirational. He was not concerned about empire-building or turf wars. He was concerned only about the honor and glory of God and the good of souls. He was one of the very finest priests I have ever known. Indeed, he was a gentle priest who showed kindness to everyone without fail.
I will endeavor to write a short personal reminiscence of Father Dignan in a day or two.
Please remember Father Dignan's immortal soul in your prayers, especially to the Mother of God through her Most Holy Rosary, and by having the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by a true priest for the repose of his immortal soul.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all of the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Our Lady of the North American Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us!
Saint Rene Goupil, S,J., pray for us.
Saint John Lalande, S,J., pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemant, S.J., pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, S.J., pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, S.J., pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, S.J., pray for us.
Saint John De Brebeuf, S.J., pray for us.
Saints Cyprian and Justina, pray for us.