Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Queen

Chapter Queen

England isn't the only place where royalty is showcased.  My T.O.P.S. Chapter honored our 2010 loses this year at the Country Club.
   Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a health support group I belong to.  We celebrated the "best losers" in different weight divisions.  We installed new officers.  And...

We honored our Chapter Queen.  The Chapter Queen has maintained her desired weight goal for the year 2010.  She did not have a loss of ten or more pounds from goal all year!  This is our Chapter Queen.

Congratulations Betty!T.O.P.S.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Father Gordon MacRae

Sight of a cell similar to the one where the i...Image via Wikipedia
Father Gordon MacRae is  the blogger of These Stone Walls.  These Stone Walls is about the life of a wrongly imprisoned priest.  Fr. Gordon has been imprisoned for over 20 years for crimes he didn't do.  He could have been released a long time ago, if he had said he was guilty. But he's not.  He is incarcerated in Concord, N.H.

When you read about what has happened to him, you'll shake your head with unbelief.  He is sentenced to 67 years in maximum security, which is twenty times more than if he had pleaded guilty.

The brothers who accused him are the only people who came forward.  They accused other priests, also.  It appears that these brothers are "serial" victims, instead of Fr. Gordon being a serial offender.  There are many questions regarding the truthfulness of the accusers, as well as the integrity of the entire investigation.

Read up on it.  I'm sure you'll agree that a travesty of justice is being perpetrated.  Please pray for Fr. MacRae to keep his hope and ministry positive.  Pray for justice.  Pray that he will win his appeal.  Pray that Father Gordon MacRae and other falsely accused priests find consolation in Christ the prisoner. Pray that bishops will support these priests.

It's a shame that the sex abuse scandal began with revelations from real victims from real abuse.  But it has morphed too many times into a money grabbing scheme.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where are you?

Study group tonight discussed the Passion, Triduum, and Easter.  This picture by Fra Angelico looking inside the empty tomb, pictorially depicted how I feel.  There are some unresolved issues in my life, that cause sadness.  But since I'm Christian, I have hope that God knows best and will resolve those issues for the good.

I don't think anybody in the group chose the Passion.  Although some do have physical ailments, but like myself, they trust in God.

Most felt the Resurrection in their life.  Praise God!  They saw God "risen," all around them.  This is how Christians should feel.  And I know I will feel that way, too.  We are Easter people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Married Saints

Marie-Azélie "Zélie" Martin née Guér...Image via Wikipedia
Zelie Guerin Martin
Thérèse de Lisieux in July 1896Image via Wikipedia
St. Therese of Lisieux

Louis Martin (1823-1894), beatified, husband o...Image via Wikipedia
Louis Martin
Talk about fairy tale lives.  But it's not a fairy tale.  This couple did live and they're both saints.  Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin lived in the 19th century.  They weren't necessarily looking to get married.  They had both tried the religious life, and for one reason or another, that didn't work out.  He had a steady job as a watchmaker.  She had a cottage industry, employing others, with her embroidery.  When they met Louis was 34 and Zelie was 26. They married after a 3 month courtship.

At first, they dedicated themselves to each others sanctification and did not engage in sexual relations, thinking that this would please God.    But after some spiritual direction, their thinking reversed.  They looked at marital relations as a gift from God and children as blessings.  They went on to have nine children!

And they set out to make them all religious.  The boys would be priests and the girls, nuns. Unfortunately, the two boys in the family died, and two of the daughters.

Someone once said to Zelie, "It would have been much better if you had not given birth to those whom you lost so soon after their coming."  But Zelie knew better.  Zelie thought "I do not find that the pains and sufferings can at all compare with the eternal happiness of my little ones, eternal happiness which, of course, would never have been theirs, had they never been born.  Moreover, I have not lost them for always.  Life is short.  Soon I shall find my little ones in Heaven."

See why she's a saint.

Both Louis and Zelie attended daily Mass.  And this was a time when one couldn't receive daily Communion. They gathered the family together for daily prays.  Most of all, they gave all their children a respect for religious piety, devotions, and love of God.

It's no wonder that one of their daughters was to become a saint, and a doctor of the church--St. Therese of Lisieux.

h/t Fr. Thomas Kevin Kraft, O.P. research on married saints
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Monday, April 25, 2011

No News is Good News

Father Peter tonight was comparing Christmas to Easter.  This led to looking at Easter as "Good News."  It occurred to me that people are always bemoaning the fact that good news never makes the news.  All you ever hear about is the bad news.

Think about this.  The reason the bad news is news, is because it's out of the ordinary.  The ordinary is good news.

If the ordinary news wasn't the usual good news...yikes!  That would mean that bad news was the usual and the news would then have to be the "good news."

We wouldn't want that.  Let's keep it the way it is.  Good news as usual.  Same old, same old.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


St. Justin Martyr

St. Justin Martyr, once listed all the things he could think of that are shaped like a cross--mast of a ship, plows, anchors, flying birds.  I could do that also.  I see crosses everywhere.

I first noticed this after a church meeting.  The meeting was unmemorable.  But at that meeting, I had a very memorable conversation with a lady.  She was helpful to me in a spiritual direction way.  You do know that the Holy Spirit is the best spiritual director, don't you?

Anyway, on the way home my headlights hit a cross on the way home.  ????  Oh, that must be a mailbox post--I'll look at it tomorrow in the daylight.  Then further down the road, someone's back porch light was on a cross.  What is that?  "Dunno."  And finally, at the intersection before home, was the intersection cross sign.  How come I never noticed that that sign was a "cross," before?

In the light of day, I saw that indeed the cross on the side of the road was a mailbox post.  The porch light was shinning on a cross type post for a clothes line.

And every time I see that intersection cross sign I pray, "Thank you, Jesus for loving me."

And I still see crosses everywhere: window panes, car insignias, barrettes in girls' hair, bow ties, clouds, flowers, ceiling crack in my dentist's office, etc.

God's way of telling me that He is omnipresent.

h/t to Magnificat, Vol. 13, No.1, Fr. Michael Morris, O.P., "Pick up your cross," pp. iii-vi.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Prisoners in Hell

Adam and Eve and JesusImage via Wikipedia
This morning's Liturgy of the Hours had a reading that just referenced, "From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday."  I found it to be Lectio Divina heaven; e.g.

Something strange is happening-----there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness...He [Jesus] has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep.  Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives of Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve...
    I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.  Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.  I order you, O sleeper, to awake.  I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell.  Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.  Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.  Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
     Rise let us leave this place.  The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise...The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

The world mourned then.  But I know the ending to this story and it's a happy one because I don't pray to dead people.  I pray to people alive in Christ.  Ora pro nobis.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Let me point out that the three days of the Paschal Triduum are NOT Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Rather, they are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, if you are considering the biblical meaning of a day beginning at night.

The Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of Friday, and the Easter Vigil, take the place of Night Prayer.  This means that the Easter Vigil is celebrated at the right time, so according to Br. Charles, contrary to what some think, that there is such a thing as Evening Prayer I of Easter Sunday, even if you do participate in the Easter Vigil.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Five Things I Love About Jesus

I was tagged for this meme by The Practicing Catholic .  I have only one question, why only 5 things?
The rules:
Those tagged will share 5 things they "love" about Jesus, or why they love Jesus.  Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.  Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.

1.  I love Jesus because He loved me first.  (right Fr. Aniello?)

2.  Jesus brought Dismas to heaven with Him, and Dismas was a convicted criminal, who never even asked for forgiveness.  This demonstrates to all of us that Faith is important.

3.  Jesus NEVER gives up on anyone.

4.  He is all merciful.

5.  I love Jesus because I can feel His love.

I tag:

Fr. Philip at Domine, da mihi hanc aquam

Br. Paul at Dominican Cooperator Brother

Mike at Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation

Fr. Mendoza at In Spiritu et Veritate

Chris at Christopher's Apologies

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amena Brown

Sweet!  I love this.  It's called Word Poetry.  The poet reading her poem Resurrection is Amena Brown.

Worse than Judas' Betrayal

Conscience, JudasJudas' Conscience               Image via Wikipedia

Ponder this.  What's worse than betraying Jesus?  Judas did it.  Peter did it.  People do it all the time.  Betraying Jesus isn't common place, but it's not unheard of.  But there's something worse.

It's despairing of God's mercy.  Once Judas knew he did wrong, he despaired.  So those that argue that someone had to betray Jesus, so God chose Judas as the instrument, forget about free will.  Judas did wrong, but he didn't try to right the wrong.  He didn't ask for God's mercy.  Scripture doesn't support the idea of someone had to do it.

What do you think of this idea?  Judas didn't despair of God's mercy; he despaired of human mercy.  Judas knew the disciples would never forgive him.  He also knew that God was all merciful, so he chose to face God, rather than the disciples.

There's no scripture reference to lead to that conclusion, either.  I guess will have to wait and ask him.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparing for Holy Week

I plan to do more Lectio Divina during Holy Week.  I hope to get to Confession.  I just want to make it better than my usual devotions.  Tonight, I was thinking of Our Lord's Passion.  In particular, I thought of the thorns that were smacked down in Jesus' skull.  It brought to mind the thorns that scratched me, while on vacation.

We were walking around Fr. Amsterdam, on Sint Maarten.  There was a dock in the middle of the bay, that I was trying to get a picture of.  But my angle made the dock look like it was attached to land.  The dock was surrounded by water because it was for divers.  The dock had a bar on it, where divers could get a drink, that's why it was in the middle of the bay.  So I was walking down the side of the hill, through bushes that were scratchy.  The thorns got worse and worse and when I felt blood drip down my legs, I gave up and turned around.  I thought of Jesus' crown of thorns then, and I think of them now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Help Send Kat to Rome

We are a strong and supportive community of Catholic bloggers and Rome has taken notice. This is a wonderful opportunity for us all. Rome has invited Katrina R. Fernadez of  "The Crescat"  to be among the 150 bloggers at the Vatican BlogMeeting. She'll be staying the next day for the "Other" blognic too.  How about clicking this link to view her blog and contribute to her Pay Pal Button.  

I'm sure she'll be blogging in Rome to keep us updated.  I'm excited, both for her and us.

Will she get to meet Gorgeous George?  How about a Swiss Guard?  If she doesn't, I'm sure it won't be from lack of trying.  Stay tuned the Crescat.

What is Holy Week

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Haven't I Seen You at the Well Before?

The Prior calls the student brother over and says, "Your homily is exactly the same as Brother Diotrophes."

Brother Tonto answers, "Well, it's the same well and the same Samaritan woman."

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The Importance of Words

This little video inspired me to pray for my brothers - when they looking for blame, for those who oppose the changes in the Roman Missal, for gossips, for the sarcastic, for the cynics, and just everyone whose choice of weapon is ad hominem.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Lady's Good Friday

The Madonna in SorrowImage via Wikipedia
During Lent, I've been reading the Little Black Book from the Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw.  I am enjoying their meditations.  Today, for instance, I learned something new.  It is the Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent, which is the Friday before Palm Sunday.  This Friday use to be known as Our Lady's Good Friday.

In 1482, the feast was added to the Roman Missal as "Our Lady of Compassion."  In 1814, the name was changed to Our Lady of Sorrows.  Eventually, however, in 1913, the feast was moved from the Friday before Palm Sunday to September 15th.  Sept. 15th is now the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Our Lady of sorrows,
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Does He Drop the Habit?

Brother Augustine Marie Reisenauer, O.P.
Brother Vito Martinez is a Capuchin friar studying to be a priest.  Sometimes he wears his habit to his college classes, and sometimes he doesn't.  He noticed that people act differently around him when he's in habit.  So he questions whether the habit is a  bridge or a barrier.

Some people like them, others look at the religious in habit like they're from Mars. I don't know where to stand on this, because like Bro. Vito, I can see where people scatter when you wear it, but others go over and say how much they like to see religious in habit.

My experience, unfortunately, has been negative.  I've brought religious in habit out to eat and people look at us like we're the KGB.  One time I brought a student Dominican friar out to a restaurant.  I saw a lot of people I knew from work there.  The next day, one of my co-workers asked me who the sheik was.  You see, their habits are white, like you see Arab sheiks.  So those people who think that wearing a habit is giving good witness had better ask, witness to what.  The Dominican brother was giving witness as a Muslim in his "sheik robes."

Yes, I did have the opportunity to explain who Brother was and what he represented, but that was ONE person.  No one else asked.  Did they think he was really a sheik?

Even Brother Vito notices that it was when he didn't wear his habit, that his classmates approached him and asked him about it.  But in habit they stayed away from him.

So I guess you have to wear it half the time, like Brother Vito.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dominican Speak

"Dominican Speak" is what my chapter calls "disputatio."  We are a Chapter of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominican (nothing to do with the Dominican Republic).  When we argue we don't out shout or put down anyone.  We try not to show the error of another's thinking.  We do agree with the truth of what one is saying, even if it is very little truth.  We're very conscious of community spirit, and that entails love.  Very often you'll hear us say, "Perhaps there is some truth in what you say."  This is our tradition.  We feel the times we have
to discuss and debate are valuable and we must express ourselves without fear of the truth.  Disagreement is usual in any group of Dominicans.  But we always assent to Magisterium.

What was on the table?  Such subjects as usury, slavery, altar girls, women priests, Tridentine Mass, Limbo, St. Christopher and Philomena, eating meat of Friday, condoms and B16, solving the problems of world hunger, poverty, war, etc.   I repeat; we may argue, but we always assent to Magisterium.

I'm still all jazzed up.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Washing Feet

Zenit today was giving instructions for priests that don't have the physical ability to perform this liturgical service. This brought to mind, John 12, where Mary washed the feet of Jesus.  It always struck me odd that Mary used her hair to dry His feet.  She was organized enough to make plans to get into this dinner, approach the men somehow, buy certain oil, wash Jesus' feet, etc., but she forgot a towel!

Doesn't that seem bizarre to you?

Now there's plenty of times when you use a rest room and find out after you've washed your hands, that there are no towels.  Have you ever used your hair to dry your hands?  No, you air dry them, or use your clothes.  Using your hair isn't even a consideration.

I think it must be a symbolic gesture, otherwise it's just not done.  But what it symbolizes, I don't know.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Jesus and Barabbas before the Judgment Seat of...Image via Wikipedia
Tonight my two favorite seminarians, Chris Wallace and David Napoli preached about love.  They were excellent, better than some parish priests.  Chris spoke of agape love (I always think of my husband in connection with "agape love," because that's the way he loves me.)  Chris obviously is becoming a priest because he loves God so much.  Chris, of course, prays like a pirate, so his reflections are deep.

David, conquered his "ah" habit and gave an excellent talk, also.  He talked about Christ love for us.  He loved us so much, He let Himself be crucified for us.  David told us to put ourselves in the crucifixion.  Who would you be?
Pontius Pilate?  Peter who denied Jesus three times?   Mary?  John?  Soldier who nailed Jesus?

Mick, my "cloistered brother" said he'd be Barabbas.

Yeah, think about it.  It really was Jesus who set him free.  Barabbas was freed.  We are freed from sin because of Jesus.

What do you think happened to Barabbas afterwards?
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!: Dummies Guide to Catholic Zombies

Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!: Dummies Guide to Catholic Zombies  I'm referring you to Fr. Philip Neri Powell's homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent.  It's a hoot.

He compares Catholics who just go through the motions to Lazarus.  Raising Lazarus from the dead is what Fr. Philip was trying to do to the Catholic Zombies.

He said, "Don't catch the disease."  Prevention is necessary, which includes reception of the sacraments and holy reading.  Don't you just love it?  I could really go to town with this theme.  Imagine.  The Eucharistic Host is the pill.  The Eucharistic Wine is the liquid form of the medicine.  Booster shots would be available in the Confessional Box.  Eucharistic Adoration would be spiritual therapy.  Going to Daily Mass would be necessary spiritual exercise.  Devotions would aid prevention.  Spiritual Direction would be the check-ups.

What about the bill?   Mmmm.  Oh, that could be tallied up on your Judgment Day.

Who painted this?

The fam was doing the tourist thing in Newport, RI.  One of the places we  visited was the Seaman's Church Institute on Market Street.  It's a place where seamen can stay for awhile, shower, and eat.  We spent some time in their chapel.  Although, it's nondenominational, it's heavy with Catholic imagery.  The blessed Mother is everywhere.

They had a quiet library and a couple of computers, too.  On the main floor, was a cafe.  We had made plans for lunch previously, so we couldn't stay.  But we noticed that it was the type of place where they'd accommodate whatever your taste.  So we promised ourselves that we'd be back.

The day we were leaving, we packed our things, checked out of the resort and went over to the Aloha Cafe in the Seaman's Church Institute.  We went for breakfast.  It was Friday, during Lent, so no bacon or ham or corned beef.  No problem.  They whipped up a cheese omelet with lots of vegetables.  Who needs bacon?

There was a huge picture on the wall.  A quick glance at it told me that it was the Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria.   It just looked like a big Spanish galleon with a huge red cross on it's main sail.  But while waiting for our food I had a chance to look at it more closely.

What caught my eye was the small red pennant on the very top.  It was the Holy Spirit.  Hmmmm.  I never saw that before, on a ship.  Below it, on one of the top small sails was the Eucharist--the host above a chalice. This is definitely Catholic.  I looked at its figurehead.  It wasn't sticking out, just a flat painting on the bow.  But it was the Madonna holding baby Jesus.  There was only one person on the ship and that was the helmsman.  Wait a minute!  That helmsman was no ordinary sailor.  He had a halo around his head.  I got up out of my seat and walked over to look more closely.  It was Jesus, Himself!  Of course, Jesus is steering His Church.  There's some sort of heraldry on the bottom left corner.  I couldn't identify it, though.

I love this place.  I love this picture.  And I loved the food.  It was perfect.  I love this place.  We were the only people in it, so we had the place to ourselves.  If I lived in Newport, I'd make this place my hangout.  If you're ever in Newport, go eat at the Aloha Cafe in the Seaman's Church Institute.  Visit their chapel, and definitely examine this painting in the cafe.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I'm praying Psalm 102.
God sends me reminders of how blessed I am to be His instrument.
Verses 20-21 are pertinent.

The Lord looked down from his holy height,
     from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
     to release those doomed to die.

...a friend of tax collectors and sinners.  (Matthew 11:19)

When I Die...

What do you think?  All the grave stone says is "I'm with him," with an arrow to her husband's grave.  Doesn't it make you smile?

I'm thinking of doing that.  Of course that's contingent upon my dying after my husband.  But I would put my name, and birth, and death dates, on the other side.  And maybe that will be done, yet.  Notice that Peggy's grave has just been dug.

BTW, these graves are near the Eisenhower home in Fort Adams State Park, in Newport, RI.  The cemetery is St. Joseph's cemetery, but it is known locally as the Barney Street Cemetery.  Note the Irish flags.  Most of the work to build Fort Adams was done by the Irish/Americans.  Just ask the Dugan's.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plugged in the Rosary

When  my friend Omega visits, we take the opportunity to pray together.  The Divine Office is suppose to be prayed in community, and so we do.  She came this weekend.

We also pray the Rosary together.  I expected to turn on Boston Catholic TV and pray with Fr. Robert Reed but it wasn't on.

Mmmmm.  I thought, and remembered that is always on.  I thought I would get my lap top and we could participate with others from around the world praying...or...I could get my CD of the Rosary, and we could pray along while we listened.

Omega looked at me like I had two heads.

"Why can't just the two of us pray?"

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Thursday, April 7, 2011


It is not enough said her dad to
Win the sports tournament
Take first place in the speech contest
You must become
The boy I wanted

It is not enough said her mother to
Graduate with honors
You must visit your dying grandmother
And fulfill the dreams I had for myself

It is not enough said her husband to
Give up your identity
You must be the managing director
Of my domain

It is not enough said her child
That you make cookies for school functions
And be a soccer mom
You must give up your life
And tend to mine

It is not enough said her minister
That you give your life to Jesus
You must teach Sunday School classes
Serve on all the committees
And organize the food bank

It is not enough “they” said
It is not enough
You are not enough
We need more of you

She became very very tired
As the demons in her head
Continued to claim her life
And dry rot her soul

One day
While sitting under a tree
These words were whispered
In her being

It is all a lie

She stood up
And began twirling around and around
While demons left
And angels sang
She kept on dancing
As her soul was restored
She claimed her life
                                                                                © Esther Armstrong

Excuse me. Who's the Bigot?

When I was on vacation last month, there was a hotel for same sex couples, only.  At the time, I just thought that was ironic.  However, after watching this Belgium Bishop get "pied," I'm giving the gay agenda more thought.  Why are those who perceive themselves as discriminated against, so intolerant of other's views?  It seems that the very first thing some of  those in minority do, once they are recognized, is proclaim intolerance of others.

I don't think it's ironic anymore.  It's sad.

Seriously, what do you expect a Catholic bishop to preach?  Think about it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

USCCB Butt of April Fool Joke

It all started on Twitter.  @VitaCatholic sent a tweet  that was suppose to be irony.  It didn't work and was thought to be a criticism of the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops.)  Then @VitaCatholic sent out a tweet requesting for Rules for Catholic Tweeters.  Then @sullijo tweeted in response with the crack, "Never send out a tweet without the expressed approval of the USCCB;"   and added the hashtag, "#CatholicRulesforTwitter."

...a meme was born.

Fellow Catholic tweeters started submitting their own #CatholicRulesForTwitter and retweeting those they found amusing. Over 400 tweets and retweets with #CatholicRulesForTwitter were shared within 24 hours. Others took notice and pretty soon there were #AnglicanRulesForTwitter and #LutheranRulesForTwitter. An online store was even set up to sell #CatholicRulesForTwitter merchandise, with all proceeds benefiting Catholic Relief Services (@CatholicRelief).

Never let it be said that Catholics don't have a sense of humor.  Ask Thomas Aquinas.  The USCCB eventually caught on and learned three lessons that they want to share:

(1)  The USCCB can laugh at itself.
(2)  Never underestimate the power of the internet to spread the word. If a small group can get a few humorous tweets to go viral, think about the difference large, concentrated online efforts could have in terms of evangelization.
(3) This joke-turned-Twitter-meme-turned-fundraising-effort serve as a reminder for all Catholics to do what Pope Benedict requested in his 2011 Word Communications Day message, which is “to make good use of their presence in the digital world.”
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Bitter Laments

The Madonna in SorrowImage via Wikipedia

I came across an ancient Lenten devotion that will make Protestants squirm.  It's very symbolic, and sensual, and ceremonial.  It's called the Bitter Laments. J. C. Sikorski's blog Sacra Cracovia+ describes it well.

Of course, another Lenten devotion worthy of mention, and unique to Krakow, is the Lenten devotion of the Archbrotherhood of the Passion of the Lord. This organization of laymen dates back to the sixteenth century, when the archbrotherhood was founded by one of the bishops of Krakow. Their solemn service is a reminder of man’s mortality and depraved state without Christ, and a very striking reminder to repent. The service takes place in the Chapel of the Passion, which is the chapel of the archbrotherhood that is now administered by the Franciscans. It is attached to the side of the basilica of St. Francis. Entering into the chapel from the rear, the members of the archbrotherhood, donning black, hooded cloaks, process in, chanting, “Memento homo mori,” or “remember death, oh man.” Now, when I say “black hooded cloaks,” I mean KKK style, complete with long, pointed hoods with slits for the eyes. The symbolism, of course, is that these are the clothes that executioners wore, clearly evident by the fact that the members of the archbrotherhood process in carrying stakes. Two of the stakes are crowned with human skulls, and the rest resemble the instruments of Christ’s passion, such as the spear with the sponge soaked in hyssop.

The members of the archbrotherhood chant this phrase repeatedly, and then alternate with the priest, who kneels at the altar, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and prays in reparation for all of the sins of mankind, for the sins of the country, and for all of the individual sins for which Christ chose to suffer and die. In the middle of the chapel, lies a huge crucifix, before which members of the archbrotherhood prostrate themselves completely, lying on the floor in the shape of a cross. This, of course, visibly expresses the depraved state of man, and the power of redemption—that God the Father, in His great love for mankind, chose not to condemn men, and allow them to justly suffer what they deserve, but rather, that He chose to “send His only begotten Son,” who endured the pain and suffering of all of the individual sins of all people throughout all of the ages.

At the end of the devotions in the side chapel, the black-hooded men lead the faithful in a Eucharistic procession. The presiding priest carries the monstrance under a canopy, through the main basilica and into the Franciscan monastery courtyard. There, young boys and girls join the procession, carrying banners depicting various saints, as well as images of Mary. The procession sets out through the courtyard, where one is surrounded by huge portraits of medieval (and modern) bishops of Krakow, which gradually fade as the incense from the thurible fills the dark hallways. Then, Franciscan friars begin the solemn singing, in Latin, of the traditional Marian sequence, the Stabat Mater. Processing in this fashion, the few hundred people enter into the basilica, and the procession ends at the high altar of St. Francis, in the front of the basilica. The members of the archbrotherhood process out, and the priest concludes with benediction and reposition.

In the earlier years of its four centuries of history, the Archbrotherhood carried out anothe custom on the Third Sunday of Lent.  After obtaining clemency or pardon for some of the prisoners in Krakow, the Archbrotherhood would at the Third Sunday of Lent announce the prisoners' names following Mass in a chapel above the prison.  The freed prisoners would afterward join the Archbrotherhood's robed brothers in a street procession to a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.  Here the prisoners prostrated themselves and begged forgiveness for their sins as everyone prayed for them.  The rite concluded with the induction of the freed prisoners into the lay fraternity.

Isn't this Lent?  Freeing of our souls coincided with the freeing of the prisoners.  I love that symbolism.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Master Comes Calling

Mr. Roman Gorski, OP (VP Region 1) Fr. Bruno Cadore, OP, Miss Marianne Jablonski, OP (Pres. Prov. St. Joseph)
The Master General of the Dominican Order came to visit my Chapter today.  We were thrilled and excited.  Do you realize he is the 86th Master since St. Dominic?

He is French, Fr. Bruno Cadore.  Our Spiritual Director, Fr. Nic was the Mass celebrant with Fr. Bruno concelebrating.  Because of the language difference, Fr. Nic was the main celebrant.  But I suspect Fr. Bruno had no trouble understanding.

He gave the homily and we were told that he had been practicing for awhile.  Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent and the Gospel was about Jesus healing the blind man.  Father Bruno said the blind man was born blind and couldn't see until he found Jesus.  This is just like us sinners.  We sin because we don't know Jesus, hence we are like the blind man.  But once we find Jesus, our blindness is healed.  We are free from sin.

After Mass, something bizarre happened.  Usually we ask visiting friars, how we laity can preach.  But before we had the chance, Fr. Bruno asked us, "How do you preach?"  Surprisingly, we answered: we minister at Mass, some draw, some write, some pray the Rosary, as always, we hope, by our example.  And what Fr. Bruno asked of us, was to pray.  Pray for our Order.

We are efficacious prayer warriors.  
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Friday, April 1, 2011

New Legislation

In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days.  His attorney filed a discrimination case against Christians, Jews, and observances of their holy days.

The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.  The case went as far as the appeal court.  After listening to the passionate presentation by the atheist's lawyer, the judge banged  his gavel to get everyone's attention.  He had made a decision.

The lawyer for the atheist asked to speak.  Permission was granted.  The lawyer reiterated that the Christians have Christmas, Easter, and other days.  The Jews, have Passover, Yom Kippur, and Hanukkah.  The Muslims, also, have Ramadan, yet my client, and all other atheists, have no such holidays.

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do.  Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."  The lawyer objected, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day.  Psalm 41:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.'  Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool.  Therefore, April 1st is his day."

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