Pontifical Mass at St. Anthony's Oratory
Posted in Apostolates on December 19, 2013
Pontifical Latin Mass

The recent patronal feast of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was celebrated at St. Anthony of Padua Oratory, West Orange, New Jersey, with particular splendor this year in our newly renovated chapel.

A Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool, the first one in the history of the chapel, drew many faithful from the Garden State and beyond. The guest of honor was His Excellency, the Most Reverend Teodoro de Faria, Bishop Emeritus of Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal. His Excellency came from Portugal to the United States at the invitation of the Knights of Columbus councils of Aliquippa, PA, and Washington DC in order to speak about Blessed KARL of AUSTRIA. Bishop de Faria was the one to introduce in Rome the cause of beatification for Karl, since this last Emperor of the Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire died in exile on the Portuguese Island of Madeira.

After the death of his great uncle, who had responded to the 1914 assassination of the heir prince in Sarajevo by armed retaliation (to the great sorrow of Pope Pius X), Karl ascended to the imperial throne in 1916 at the young age of 26 in the midst of one of the cruelest wars in human history. The "Peace Emperor" relentlessly worked to end World War I, along with Pope Benedict XV. However, in the end the war was lost, the monarchy was abolished, and the Catholic empire, which was so hated by Freemasons and Socialists, was split up.

In 1911, Karl married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, whose cause of beatification is also underway. This would be the second beatification of a married couple, the first being the beatification of the parents of St Therese of the Child Jesus. Blessed Karl was passionately devoted to his wife and to his 8 children, as well as to his temporal duties at the highest summit.

In the most trying circumstances, he soared to the heights of mystic union with Christ, the King of Kings. Arrested, despoiled of all his goods, banished to the island of Madeira, he offered himself in union with the Divine Victim for the salvation of souls. He so edified the residents that his sojourn had produced more spiritual fruits than any sermon or mission, according to the Bishop. In 1922 when he died, in great poverty, thirty thousand people attended his funeral. Immediately the people of Madeira acclaimed him as "their Saint". To this day, his incorrupt body rests in the pilgrimage church Nossa Senhora do Monte in Madeira. Temporal crowns always fade before the eternal crown of God's elect.

It was therefore appropriate that under the auspices of Blessed Karl we made efforts to honor our King Jesus with all the solemnity possible in the liturgy of the Church.

His Excellency, Bishop de Faria was assisted at the altar of God by the Oratory Rector, Canon Jean Marie Moreau, as Priest assistant; Father Michael Barone, as Deacon and homilist; Dr. Tom Rossi as Sub-Deacon; the Masters of Ceremonies being Mr. Tom Gilmour and Julian Ptak. Under the direction of Mr. Henry Ptak, our choir of regulars helped us to beautifully acclaim the Lord of Lords. The Pontifical Mass was followed by an outdoor procession in honor of our Eucharistic King. The procession was led by our bagpiper, as well as by the Knights of Columbus in grand uniform and the members of the newly-erected Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, whose members carried candles under the leadership of their president, Miss Anne Tobak. After Benediction, the Canon Rector presented to the veneration of the faithful the first class relic of Blessed Karl which was brought by His Excellency from Portugal.

A warm reception was hosted in Father Paul Wickens Hall by our dedicated parishioners and our talented musicians. Mr. Ricardo dos Santos, leader for Portugal of the Emperor Karl Prayer League (Kaiser-Karl-Gebetsliga), spoke more about the life and legacy of the saintly Emperor. Then His Excellency ceremoniously cut the delicious cake in honor of Christ the King—the crowning moment of this festive reception. Bishop de Faria was then available to autograph copies of his book Charles of Austria: Remembering his Death in Madeira 90 Years Later. This 24-page book is dense with references to various Roman documents.

Finally, His Excellency gave us a last blessing. In an atmosphere of great devotion and fervor, we realized how blessed we had been to welcome Bishop de Faria. Such was the political pressure in Europe that, without the courageous intervention of the Reverend Bishop, Blessed Karl would have not been beatified. His beautification took place in 2004 by Pope John Paul II, whose father had given him the baptismal name of Karol in honor of Karl of Austria following a meeting between the two men on a battlefield during World War I.

Let us pray for our rulers and statesmen that they may find in the heavenly crowned Emperor Karl a model and intercessor. May we may all be granted the grace to be faithful to our duties of state, particularly as fathers and spouses, even in the most trying times.

Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!

St Anthony, pray for us! Blessed Karl, intercede for us!

Canon Jean Marie Moreau
Rector, St. Anthony Oratory

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