ROXBURY — On Sunday, Nov. 29, Fr. Alfonso Galvez, a native of Spain and founder of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, had the occasion to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Rite at St. Norbert Church in Roxbury.
||Fr. Alfonso Galvez, founder of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, celebrates Mass according to the Extraordinary Rite at St. Norbert Church in Roxbury. (Contributed photo)
Father Galvez was in the Midwest visiting members of his spiritual family, including nine priests who have parish appointments within the Madison Diocese.
The homily during the Mass gave proof to the dynamic and prescient character of Father Galvez. He spoke stirringly, offering memories, exhortations, and predictions of hope for this country and the Catholic Church.
Thanks for warm welcome
Father began his homily by offering his deep appreciation for the warm welcome he received from the people of the area during his stay in Wisconsin. He commented that he has loved this country since his childhood and was happy to be able to offer Mass for the good people there.
He expressed with obvious sorrow that his own native country, Spain, as well as the rest of Europe, has renounced the faith, and he exhorted the congregation to “keep those fundamental principles of the Catholic faith” and to intensify living those principles ever more authentically, “taking into account that today’s world is a world that has practically renounced God and that the Church is going through the deepest crisis in all her history.”
Recalls time in Ecuador
Father Galvez poignantly recalled the days, years ago, when he was a missionary in Ecuador; he described the humble faith of the poor Indians who lived in the Andes Mountains and told of his great love for them. “I wish you had known how those poor, unfortunate, and wretched Indians loved Jesus Christ . . . They practiced their sacraments with an unbreakable faith.”
Father Galvez described with great tenderness the sufferings of those humble Catholics who came from great distances, some walking barefoot: “Sometimes they stayed in line for two or more days and nights to be able to go to confession; so much they loved this sacrament . . . sometimes I had to be sitting in the confessional for 20 hours in a row.”
Father Galvez remembers that he would rest for a few hours and go back to the confessional again. “I wish you had seen their great sincerity, devotion, and love for Jesus Christ with which they went to confession. You should have seen the peace of their hearts.” Father Galvez described with great affection their similar esteem for the Eucharist.
Crisis in Church today
In contrast, Father Galvez said that today, “in our civilized countries, where we have all the means at our disposal, sometimes we do not appreciate this marvelous, this wonderful and outstanding sacrament, instituted by Christ to bring peace to our souls and joy to our hearts, so that we feel again to be real children of God.”
Father Galvez exhorted the congregation many times during his address to them to “live deeply the principles of your faith that you have received from God.”
He lamented that the Church is presently undergoing the worst crisis in her whole history and indicated that effectively living the faith today requires a “heroic attitude.” He said that “the Church is going through a terrible crisis; many Christians are confused and disoriented.”
And Father Galvez reminded the people, “Do not forget, my dear brethren, that we must share the sufferings, the passion, and the death of Jesus Christ.”
Beauty of Catholic faith
But Father Galvez did not dwell on the negatives; rather he spoke with great fervor about the beauty of the Catholic faith; that “beyond the means of holiness, we also have Him from Whom all grace flows, all truth and all holiness comes: Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
He spoke of the intimacy experienced with our Lord in the Eucharist; and he commended the authentic Catholic lives of the people he has met in Wisconsin.
“I have found here married couples who believe in the integrity of and the fidelity in marriage until death. I have found parents who believe that children are, first, a blessing from God; second, an expression of their own trust in the principles of the Gospel and in the providence of God; and third, an expression of the trust that Providence Itself has in them, to whom It has entrusted with so many children.
“I have also found in this country generous and courageous young men and women who have not been corrupted and who live their purity with integrity and joy.”
Roles to be reversed
With that encouragement, Father Galvez expressed his thoughts about the future — that Europe, those countries that first colonized and brought the Catholic faith to America, will now be the one to be evangelized by this generation of American Catholics: “Would this not now be the very moment for the roles to be reversed? Wouldn’t now be the moment in which this country is called to . . . evangelize those countries which have lost their faith in God?”
Father Galvez continued: “If the history of the world is going to continue, then this is the moment in which I make my own that beloved and well-known expression: God save America; now is the moment for America to save the world.” He indicated that God will save the world, “using America as an instrument.”
Father Galvez commented that the United States is to be not only the guarantor of political freedom in the world, but, most importantly, also the last standing resistance against the onslaught of Satan as well as the future evangelizer of the rest of the world, through the efforts of the next generation of Americans: “The moment is indeed here for your children and the children of your children to go generously all over the world to preach Jesus Christ, this wonderful Jesus Christ who has given meaning to our life; He will put into first place the true values.”
Father Galvez finished his homily with prophetic and greatly inspiring and stirring words: “Ours are difficult times: times of crisis for the Church and difficult times for those who want to be true disciples of Christ and true priests of Christ.
“But war times are also times of victory. And our sufferings, our failures, and the difficulties we have to face are the guarantee that the grace of God will always be with us, and that we will triumph, and we will be the witnesses of Jesus Christ; and the Church will pull through.
“Sometimes we will suffer, and we will fail; and quite often we will be very tired because of the demands of living our faith, the opposition, our own failures and sufferings. But as that great general said: Battles are only won by tired soldiers. May God bless you all.”
The entire text of the homily by Father Galvez may be found at www.saint-aloysius.org