The discussion centered on his translation of “Body and Blood of the Lord, with Letter to Fredugard” and the Faith of the Church
On a recent segment of “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan”, Cardinal Timothy Dolan invited John F. Kennedy Catholic Preparatory School President Father Mark Vaillancourt to his show. Their discussion centered on Father Vaillancourt’s recent publication, “Body and Blood of the Lord, with Letter to Fredugard”, the first English translation of the first monograph written on the Eucharist by the Carolingian theologian Paschasius Radbertus. This early work provided the foundation for the development of the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Father Vaillancourt explained that, for him, Latin translation is the key to a deeper understanding of Theology. The opportunity to study the Fathers of the Church, particularly the Priest Scholastics, has informed his teaching as an adjunct at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Somers and administrator at Kennedy Catholic. He told Cardinal Dolan that he has “always found Latin and the Latin language to be something that opens the doors to a deeper conversation with the faith of the Church.”
Saint Paschiaus Radbertus
Writing in the 9th century, Saint Paschiaus Radbertus formed an early articulation of transubstantiation. Father Vaillancourt explained that his research and translation work began when he realized that, despite being much of the foundation of the theological debate of the era, Saint Paschiaus Radbertus’s work was not available in English. He sums up some of the text’s meaning to be: “Christ is there bodily but feeds us spiritually.”
Cardinal Dolan noted that many faithful have approached him and expressed their grief about their inability to receive the holy sacrament of the Eucharist during the pandemic. While the spiritual communion with Christ is ever-present and available to us, His Eminence asked Father Vaillancourt to explain the advantage of receiving the Holy Eucharist and the sacramental presence of Christ.
Unity with Christ
“The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the Eucharist,” said Father Vaillancourt, referring to the unity created by the sacramental reception of the body and blood of the Lord during which “we are drawn into Christ himself. And Christ draws us all together in the mystical body… which fills the soul with the life and energy of Christ himself.” He concluded that sacramental reception of the Eucharist is the real encounter of Christ to which nothing can compare.
Cardinal Dolan asked after Kennedy Catholic and the graduating Class of 2020 and Father Vaillancourt noted that while the seniors did suffer the loss of their spring season, they would celebrate some form of commencement celebrations before they began the next leg of their journey.
The interview ended with a blessing from His Eminence as he looked forward to the Blessed Trinity Sunday, which he described as God’s revelation of Himself as a communion, as a family, as a community. He prayed: “The blessed Trinity gives life and, dear God, help us protect the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life.”
To learn more about “Body and Blood of the Lord, with Letter to Fredugard”, visit the Brepols Publications website.
To listen to the full conversation, please see the video below.