Wednesday, November 30, 2016

No Vacancy

Pauline Books & Media have this great book for resources for Advent & Christmas.  It's called The Advent-Christmas Book by Joan Marie Arbogast, illustrated by Virginia Helen Richards, fsp and Photos by Mary Emmanuel Alves, fsp.

Since I'm doing faith formation for adults, I've adapted the book's version--"No Room at the Inn," to "No Vacancy."  Here's what I'm doing:

Write “No Room” on seven sheets of paper.  Have tape ready to secure the papers.  You will be attaching these signs to seven of the ten chairs needed for this demonstration.

10 chairs                      7 No room signs            Christmas music        tape for the signs

This is the opposite way of playing “musical chairs.”  Instead of one person being eliminated, one by one, at a time.  Seven out of ten people are eliminated at once!  Only three are left and eventually only one.  Follow these steps:
1.        Set up ten chairs.
2.       Stick seven “No Room” signs on seven of the ten chairs, leaving three chairs sign less. 
3.       Ten volunteers circle the chairs to the music.  They are journeying to Bethlehem.  When the music stops, three people scramble to sit on a chair without a “No Room” sign.  Everyone standing is out of the game.
4.       Remove one of the three chairs and repeat the process of music and circling the chairs.  Stop the music.  One of the three people is eliminated.  Remove a chair—one chair is left and two people.  Repeat the process of music and when the music stops only one person can sit on the chair. He/She wins the last room in the Inn.  

    Afterward, I'll explain that this was only a game.  But looking for a place to stay and passing motel after motel, inns, and bed and breakfast homes, with signs that say No Vacancy, is not a pleasant experience, especially when your tired.  Imagine if you were pregnant, tired, and in beginning labor.
   Ask if anyone has ever experienced looking for a place to stay and met with "No Vacancy" signs.  This has happened to me twice.  One time I went back home and the other time I had to leave the area and settle for a cabin on a camp site.  I made do--which is what the Holy Family did.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vatican Christmas

As Vatican Christmas tree goes up, pope's Christmas schedule released: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As a towering spruce tree was erected in St. Peter's Square, the Vatican released Pope Francis' liturgy schedule for Advent, Christmas and the month of January.


The tradition of placing a Christmas Tree as well as the life-size Nativity Scene in Saint Peter's Square started in 1982 during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II,[1] when the Polish-born Pope introduced the northern European symbol of Christmas spirit.[2] The tradition of erecting a Christmas Tree was celebrated in northern Europe and in PolandPope John Paul II's country of origin, but not in the Vatican at the time.
The first tree came from Italy. Since then, the offering of the Christmas Tree to the Pope has become an honour, and each year the Vatican accepts a tree donated by a different European country or region.[1][3]
The Christmas tree is installed in the centre of Saint Peter's Square, together with a life-size nativity scene that is unveiled on Christmas Eve.[1] The nativity scene has seventeen life-size statues. Of these, nine are the original figures donated in 1842 by Saint Vincent Pallotti for the nativity scene in the Roman church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, and the other eight figures were added over the course of the years. In 2006 the Italian province of Trentino, and the local council of a village of Teserohave provided a further thirteen sculpted wooden figures and animals, as well as household utensils for the depiction of daily life.[4]

-- The pope will celebrate Christmas Mass at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 24 in St. Peter's Basilica.

-- Christmas blessing "urbi et orbi" noon Dec. 25

-- Dec. 31 Evening Prayer, "Te Deum" in thanksgiving for the year that is ending.

-- Morning Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Jan. 1, the World Day of Prayer for Peace and the feast of Mary, Mother of God.

-- On Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany Mass in the Sistine Chapel and baptize several babies.

-- Pope Francis will preside over an ecumenical evening prayer service Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The service concludes the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bad Start

It's not good.  It started when I arrived at church early to change the table cloth in the prayer room.  The door downstairs was locked.  OK, I went around, up all the stairs, into the main church.  I walked all the way through the church, down the back stairs, all the way through the downstairs chapel, through Sacred Heart Hall to the prayer room.  The door was locked.  The connecting door to the next room was locked.  Lord???

OK.  I walked back through Sacred Heart Hall, the chapel, and up the back stairs.  I was reading at the 7:30 Mass.  I opened my pocketbook to take out my reading glasses.  They weren't there.  Lord???

I reasoned that I did know my reading.  After all, I had practiced reading it all week.  I even did a Lectio Divina on it.  But it was the announcements and prayer of the faithful that I couldn't see to read.  What if my fellow lector didn't show up?  But she did.  Thank you, Lord. Katie read everything except my Second Reading.

No altar servers showed up.  Lord?

Katie and I did double duty, serving as lectors and acolytes. It was fine until the very end.  We looked at the recessional cross and then Katie said, I don't think I can lift it out of its stand.  "But the kids, do."  "Then you carry it."  I thought about it.  Lord?  No one carried it; we went without.

Two of our breakfast group couldn't come.  I was alone.  Lord?  But two were left so we went to Bay Leaf Crossing for breakfast.  It was good, too.  Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The First Gold Mass

Faith and reason celebrated at first Gold Mass for scientists: CAMBRIDGE -- The newly formed Society of Catholic Scientists held their first ever event, a Gold Mass for scientists, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's chapel, Nov. 15th.

Why specifically Nov. 15th? Glad you asked.

November 15th is the Feast Day for the patron of scientists--St. Albert the Great.

Why gold? Glad you asked.

St. Albert the Great was an alchemist, and in his time scientists were trying to make different metals into gold.

Another important feature of this historic occasion is the Mass celebrant, Father Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. Not only is he a scientist, himself, he is the spiritual director of my Lay Dominican Chapter. He's a special guy, for sure.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Annoying Press

The pope said he was annoyed at the way the press handled the press release on women deacons.  As usual, they twisted and put a spin on Francis' words.  The subject is not what interested me; it's the pope's reaction to the press.  I figure women deacons will come if it's the will of the Holy Spirit.  Read the article in Zenit, here:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

In the Shoes of a Prostitute

How an ex-prostitute's horrific suffering moved Pope Francis: Vatican City, Nov 20, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis still remembers his meeting with a former prostitute who had suffered much.

This story in the Pilot reminded me of another one, where a little girl who lived in a bad neighborhood, frequented by prostitutes and their clients, said she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute. When asked "why?", she said, "because they dress in sparkly clothes and high heels."

Well, I think all little girls should read this article.

Get Sex Out of my Face

This is my reading for the.First Sunday in Advent


Reading 2ROM 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.


Paul is giving instructions.  Since the early Christians expected the Second Coming to come very soon, Paul admonishes them to be vigilant.  Note these particular admonitions; they have to do with sexual immorality.  Christians view love as thinking of the beloved first and not self-gratifying.  That is not Christian love.  


Paul's admonitions are needed today.  I think sexual gratification is glorified too much nowadays.  Due to visual aids: pictures, videos, movies, magazines, the internet, etc. sex is considered the goal  most desired.  It has given rise to pornography, which is too easily available.  We put need to Our Lord first.


Lord, encircle your people with a cincture of chastity.  Put blinders on our eyes to see only You.  Direct our minds to reflect on You.  May you  be our  all and end all.


Lord, I want to only think of You, speak of You, and act for You.  So help me God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Typology is a type of biblical interpretive reading that searches for connections between one reading to another reading.  CCC 128 & 130  Jesus did this constantly.  The rabbi teachers prepared the people for their coming Messiah by referencing the scriptures.  Jesus taught the Apostles to understand Him by using typology in their understanding of scripture. That's why we have the references to Old Testament readings when we read the New Testament.

I knew that and I didn't know that.  Whenever one starts learning about Jesus, it is explained by referencing the Old Testament.  I may not of learned the word--typology--but I was hearing, learning, and doing it.  And I probably was introduced to the word, typology, itself.  But the term didn't stick.  I never had occasion to use it.  Until now.

Typology is helping me understand Mary.  I have a new understanding of her and reverence this typology of Mary.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mary. The next World Youth Day will focus on Mary. This touches me deeply. Currently, I'm reading and participating in Scott Hahn's on-line course for Advent which is about Mary. I've started to read Hahn's book, Hail, Holy Queen. This morning I was brought to my knees by this realization: "Whatever made the ark of the covenant holy made Mary even holier. If the first ark contained the Word of God in stone, Mary's body contained the Word of God enfleshed. If the first ark contained miraculous bread from heaven, Mary's body contained the very Bread of Life that conquers death forever. If the first ark contained the rod of the long-ago ancestral priest, Mary's body contained the divine person of the eternal priest, Jesus Christ."
Dr. Scott Hahn

Monday, November 21, 2016

Don't Step on my Tradition

Same ezine, two references, but their views are different.  I'm talking about Aleteia.  Today is the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary.  I pay attention to this feast because for four years I went to  a high school which was named Presentation of Mary Academy -- PMA.

This is the day Catholics celebrate Mary's presentation in the temple, dedicating her to God, by her parents.  Because Mary was obedient, many religious people make their vows and promises on this day.  It is called Pro Orantibus Day.

Then in the same ezine, is an article by Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S. who makes a big deal that this presentation may never have happened.  Br. Silas claims that only the apostle James mentions it.  This presentation of girls is not found anywhere else.  Only James tells the story of Anne and Joachim presenting Mary in the temple in a text known as the Protoevangelium.  But I always understood the Protoevangelium to be called the First Gospel, meaning Genesis 3:15.  There the story of creation and the fall begin the events leading up to the birth of Christ.  

Since the early Christians, this memorial has been celebrated.  It is part of Catholic tradition, maybe not Tradition, meaning we must believe, but it is part of our celebratory remembrances that is rich in meaning.  And I don't like Br. Silas belittling something near and dear.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bishops Approve Four Possible Saints'

Bishops approve moving forward four possible saints' causes: BALTIMORE (CNS) -- During the U.S. bishops' fall general assembly Nov. 14-16 in Baltimore, they approved by voice vote the sainthood causes of four men and women.

When you read this article, go to the last paragraph. Here you will find the process for canonization. These four have just been accepted as Servants of God. Their causes will be presented to Rome for approval. Once approved they are called Venerable. After a miracle, they are beatified and are called Blessed. One more miracle and they are canonized as Saints.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal: Lay Dominican Fraternities

In this newsletter is a wonderful idea. Read down to a "Modest Proposal." Since my world consists mostly of our Lay Dominican "cloistered brothers," and former "cloistered brothers" who are now regular, outside, Lay Dominicans, they encounter problems similar to England's Lay Dominicans.

Let me explain. The usual path to a vocation as a Lay Dominican is one similar to the one I took. I had an average life consisting of spouse, family, work, and my whole life comfortably fit in that arrangement. And when I felt the call to become a Lay Dominican, it was fairly easy to fit another component into that equation. I had reached a time in my life where my spouse and children were settled comfortably into their own worlds. I had been married 30 years or so. My children were adults and had moved out of the nest. Work also was not something I needed to worry about. Everything was so settled that it was quiet--quiet enough to hear God's whisper.

However, our "cloistered brothers" do not fit into that category. They live their "cloistered life." They enter the Order while they're living life in the "cloister." If or when they leave, they, as Lay Dominicans are hit with LIFE! We had a life before we became Lay Dominicans.

First they have to find living quarters. Then they need a job. In order to join a chapter they need a car. What if they meet someone they might want to marry; other demands are placed on them. Imagine adding children to the mix.

IOW, their vocational path is the opposite of the usual one. The average one is life happens and we then are called. It is the opposite for our "cloistered brothers." They are called and then LIFE hits them. It is extremely difficult for them to juggle all the balls.

Our religious assistant suggests phone contact. Face time and Skype are excellent but not all phones have that capability. But the point is to keep regular communication constant because community is important. We try to reach out, not only by phone, but by internet newsletter, and snail mail.

This Modest Proposal is welcome. I for one will promote the idea on this side of the pond.

And that's exactly the point in "A Modest Proposal." Modern methods of communication are needed not only to preach, but for another important pillar--community.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Enjoying the sun.
My sister and I were reminiscing.  Bette is 10 years older than I and often served as my babysitter.  Every time we talked about our childhood I always brought up her sunbathing story.

It was one of those unseasonably early hot spring days.  I was just a toddler and she must have been about 12.  Bette was stretched out on a chaise lounge trying to get a tan.  I toddled around.  Our back and side yards grew into the woods.  I meandered about along the edge.  I remembered being attracted to some bright yellow and red colors. 

As I bent down to touch those colorful jewels, the ground moved.  In fact, my little chubby legs with dimpled knees were swept up in the air.  I was upended! 

Lying on my back, snakes slithered all over me, as I screamed shrieking horror! 

Bette came running, but only so far.  When she saw all the snakes, she stopped.  It may have taken a minute, but it was an interminable terrifying moment.  Then Bette grabbed me and hugged me.

I remember crying hiccups.  I remember my heart racing and slowly beating down to its natural rhythm. I remember shivering and the day was sweltering hot.

 I remember everything all too well.

I don’t remember my mother’s reaction when she heard the story.  I don’t know if she ever knew the story.   Bette may never have told her; after all, I was only about two and certainly didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate the horrific event.  Did I even know what a snake was, at two?

Anyway, I often reminded my sister of her inattentive babysitting.  However, one day when I was looking at my grandchildren’s growth statistics, I began to question my memory.  All my grandchildren’s heights were in the 90% range, when compared to other children’s.  So were my own children’s (I looked them up in their baby memory books.)  My own baby height must have been 90%, also.  I was always one of the tallest in my class. 

My children and grandchildren, however, were only in the 50% range for weight.  I was a skinny kid, too.  Did I ever have chubby legs with dimpled knees?  I don’t have that many baby pictures of myself but those that I have show a skinny baby, toddler, and child.

Besides, children don’t remember much before their fifth birthday, never mind before they’re three years old.  How could I remember what happened when I was a toddler?

Then when I did a google search of snakes found in northern Massachusetts, I didn’t see any pictures of the snakes that I remembered.  Not until I saw a coral snake, did I recognize my old assailant.  There was the red, yellow and shiny snake that I remembered.  It’s a coral snake.  But they only live the southern states.

Was it possible that my walking into snakes sunning themselves in the sun was just a dream?  Could a  dream be so vividly frightening to seem real to a child?  Is it possible?

When I questioned my sister about it, she just shrugged her shoulders.  I talked about it so much that she thought it must have happened, too.  There’s a famous quote “If you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will eventually come to believe it.”   I guess I just proved it true.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First 'Gold Mass' for Scientists to be held at MIT Nov. 15

First 'Gold Mass' for scientists to be held at MIT Nov. 15: CAMBRIDGE -- St. John Paul II wrote about faith and science. There are Masses for doctors and lawyers. It's about time scientists have a Mass. It will be called a "Gold Mass."  The Mass will be appropriately celebrated on the feast of the patron of scientist, St. Albert the Great.
St. Albert the Great pix from The Pilot

My Business versus Your Business

At  first, I intended this post to be a Lectio Divina for 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-12, since I'll be reading that this morning, at Mass.  But the verse, "We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others," reminded me of something my granddaughter said.

Yesterday, I went to pick up my two-year-old granddaughter for her swimming lesson. Of course, I said "Good morning," to everybody else.  The two-year-old's sister wasn't in the room but I could hear thrashing noises coming from the play room.  I went in there to say, "Good morning."  But her response shocked me.

"Is this any of your business?"

"Oka-a-a-y.  Goodbye."  And I left.

I found out that this morning she wasn't allowed any TV or anything until she cleaned up her play room.  So that was her business and not mine.

Similarly, the Thessalonians should have been tending to their own work and not wasting time.  Paul offered his example to follow: "For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone.  On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you."

Far be it from me to stress out my older granddaughter doing an unpleasant task.  I had my own assignment to fulfill.  As Paul would scold, "Hush and go do your job!"

(Maybe Coach Belichick gets that expression from Paul.) 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Five Ways To Improve Our Reception Of Holy Communion

Five Ways To Improve Our Reception Of Holy Communion: The greatest and most sublime action that the human person can do while living is to receive Holy Communion, in the state of grace, in a most worthy manner. The angels in heaven experience a holy envy for us mortals on earth: we can receive Holy Communion, whereas they cannot! A key concept in sacramental …

Read the article from Catholic Exchange to see how the Eucharist is medicine.

God's Kingdom

MEK drawing, BTW, that's me calling everyone to the Kingdom of God.

Today's Gospel in Luke has the Pharisees asking Jesus a question that is often debated.  The question was, "When is the Kingdom of God coming?"

Monsignor Moran doesn't take Jesus' answer as a future reality.  Msgr. says it's within us.  Jesus is answering the Pharisees:

     ...for behold, the kingdom of God is within you...

Well, since He's conversing with the Pharisees, He can't be telling them to look inside their hearts.  Instead, He means Himself.  He is standing in front of them.  God touches everything, i.e., the Pharisees' thoughts, relationships, the world.

In Jesus, we can live in the Kingdom of God.  That's the closest we can get on earth.  It's not as complete a kingdom as living eternally with God.  But in trying to live according to God's teachings, we are almost there.  When we receive the Eucharist we are experiencing God's kingdom, now.  Through Jesus, we live under the reign of God.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It's All a Dream

Internet image of Dr. Rudolfo Llinas
Dr. Rudolfo Llinas, who has made a study of dreams says, "If you are asleep, it is called dreaming.  If you happen to be awake, and it's very strong, it's called daydreaming.  If you are aware of what is happening outside at the same time, it is called thinking."

IOW, we're in a constant dream state.  We have to be aware, however, of the difference between being awake versus being asleep, or the difference between dreaming and thinking.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I wrote a paragraph from one of my posts and asked this site to analyze my writing style and the result was that I write like James Joyce. Not too shabby! The trouble is, James Joyce wrote in various styles but he is known mostly for writing in stream of consciousness.

 Stream of consciousness writing is where the thoughts and feelings of a character are presented as they happen. Well, yes, the character is telling what he thinks. Specifically, I gave the analyzer this passage:

  The story of the Father Thomas McGlynn, O.P. making the statue is in an out of print book, Vision of Fatima, by Thomas McGlynn, O.P., Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1948. It tells the story of Father McGlynn visiting with Sister Lucy and sculpting the statue under her direction. I remember that one time, Sister became annoyed at the number of times she had to explain, so with her fingers, she took the top of the clay veil and pulled and flattened it. That's a big "NO, NO!" to a sculptor. But what could Father do? He left her finger print on the veil. That's the picture with Sister and the statue.

 I use to own this book, but I lent it to a friar friend and he died. I have no idea where the book is now. I hope it's in the nursing home's library, and not in somebody's yard sale. This book is where I learned that McGlynn's statue is the authentic apparition. The one that travels around is much fancier. That's the traveling Pilgrim Statue. McGlynn's statue is the white marble statue in the niche above the entrance to the Basilica. I usually can pick it out because there's no crown and Mary's heart is outside her clothing surrounded by thorns.

Catholics Must be a Source of Post-Election Unity

Pilot image

From the Pilot: Following a tumultuous and divided election season, Catholics in the U.S. should find ways to create unity and healing, said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus.

Further, Anderson offers six ways to regroup the people. Please refer to the article.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Let Perpetual Light Shine

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless.  Finally the woman also died.  Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.  That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Lk 20:27-38)
The Sadducees don’t believe in life after death, because they believed only what was revealed in the written Torah. They think they have given Jesus an impossible question and hope to embarrass him. That number seven is to stress the detail that she had many husbands. They also cite the Law of Levirate marriage (see Deuteronomy 25: 5-10) that was established to ensure a man who married but died childless was not left without heirs; they set out to trap Jesus with a story of a woman who marries many times. The Sadducees think the crowd will be curious and amused by their trap. But Jesus doesn’t react as they predicted. He ignores their simplistic logic and explains to the delight of the crowd that while marriage is the way of life that “this age” understands, those worthy of resurrection will not be bound by “this age’s” definitions. Immortal beings don’t need to reproduce; only humans do to ensure the continuity of the family. Life in heaven will transcend categories and death will be no more. We won’t be married. “We will be children of God.”

Then Jesus cites their own Law (Deuteronomy 3:6). How could Moses refer to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if those patriarchs are no longer living? This declaration shows that the Lord is “not God of the dead, but of the living”. The Sadducees must have winced at Jesus quoting the Torah to the Sadducees, themselves. But some of them, (probably Pharisees) publicly honored Jesus for winning yet another argument against the Sadducees. “Teacher, you have put it, well!”
Verses 39-40 states that some of the Scribes said “Master, you have put it, well!” But this success will contribute to His death. Jesus knows this and does not alter His Father’s Will. He continues teaching. Mentioning the names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, shows us that those who are judged worthy will have eternal life. Eternal life depends on our life on earth. We should prove ourselves as worthy as the patriarchs and we will live forever.
Father, we know our deaths are just a beginning. Our lives are just changed, not ended. Call us by name, Father, and we will work towards reaching You, through the help of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Amen.
Father, give me the strength to follow Your light towards perpetual brilliance.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Preserving History

The recipe for preserving history: The archive is home to many treasures. While searching the archive, we sometimes find pieces of our history that have been lost to time, whether intentionally or unintentionally. What to save is up to the archivist.  In the Archdiocese of Boston, the archivist is Thomas Lester.

As the archivist and records manager, Lester’s main responsibilities include ensuring the long-term preservation of Archdiocesan records, organizing collections to make them more accessible, and assisting researchers.  He also writes a biweekly column for The Pilot, the Boston Catholic newspaper, highlighting historical events and the archive’s collections.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Our Lady of Confidence

Tomorrow, I'm presenting saints and I always like to conclude with prayer tidbits most people don't know.  For example, after talking about saints I'm going to talk about novenas.  I did a little background research, just in case, someone asked, "Is it biblical?"  It is more traditional than biblical, but yes, it is biblical.

There's no doubt that everyone is exhorted to pray throughout the Bible.  The nine days is traditional.  Somehow, the people picked up the habit of praying for specifically "nine" days for certain intentions.  They probably picked up the idea from their pagan neighbors.  (Don't freak, praying is good.)  Also, nine is recognized as the time for a baby gestation.  And if you want a Bible reference:  it is believed that the time between Jesus' Ascension and Pentecost was nine days.  And in Acts we see the disciples gathered together in prayer (Acts 1: 12-14)

So if the disciples prayed from the Ascension to Pentecost, they invented the first novena.  The people--lay people continued praying throughout our centuries for nine periods.  It wasn't a church initiative.  Finally, sometime in the nineteenth century, a pope proclaimed that novenas were acceptable and even admirable.

Well, you know how it is.  As I read the comments on the site, a commenter happened to write about his favorite novena to Our Lady of Confidence.  So I spent more time googling Our Lady of Confidence.  This is from Spirit Daily.

As a little prayer card explains, "Our Lady of Confidence has a long record of granting many remarkable favors through the veneration of her under this title. She has been revered in Italy in many churches, but the most notable shrine in her honor under this title is the Chapel of the Major Seminary in the Lateran Palace in Rome.
"Pope John XXII, an alumnus of this seminary, often prayed before the picture of Our Lady of Confidence in this chapel and celebrated his first Mass there and as the Holy Father he was still a frequent visitor.
"Twice in past centuries, the city of Rome was saved from the ravages of cholera after the people prayed to Our Lady of Confidence. During  World War One, the superiors and students of the Roman Seminary placed under her protection the 124 seminarians who were called to serve in the armed forces. All of them returned safely to the seminary.
"In 1941, a Dominican sister in Michigan made a remarkable recovery after the sisters at her bedside invoked the help of the Blessed Lady with the aspiration, 'My Mother, My Confidence."
This devotion has ecclesiastical approval:
"O Mary Immaculate, the precious name of Mother of Confidence, with which we honor you, fill our hearts to overflowing with the sweetest consolation and move us to hope for every blessing from you. If such a title has been given to you, it is a sure sign that no one has recourse to you in vain. Accept, therefore, with a mother's love, our devout homage, as we earnestly beseech you to be gracious to us in our every need. We pray that you will make us live in constant union with you and your Divine Son Jesus. With you as our guide, we are certain that we shall walk in the right way and that it will be our happy lot to hear you say on the last days of our lives those words of comfort: 'Come, my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord."


Have Souls in Purgatory Visited?

Have souls in Purgatory visited people on earth?: Vatican City, Nov 4, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Nestled in Rome just outside the Vatican, a small unassuming museum dedicated to the souls in Purgatory displays simple items such as prayer books and clothing supposedly from deceased souls begging for prayers.

In 1869, Father Victor Jouet founded the Association for the Suffrage of the Sacred Souls in Purgatory. The chapel the Association met in, caught fire in 1869.  Father Jouet rushed in to see what could be saved and saw the face of a very sad man burned in the wall.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Pope Loves Prisoners

November 5 and 6, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass with prisoners.  It is a Jubilee for prisoners.  Too bad he can't free them all like a real Jubilee Year of Mercy.  Remember the bull declaring a year of mercy, Pope Francis said,

“My thoughts also turn to those incarcerated, whose freedom is limited. The Jubilee Year has always constituted an opportunity for great amnesty, which is intended to include the many people who, despite deserving punishment, have become conscious of the injustice they worked and sincerely wish to re-enter society and make their honest contribution to it. May they all be touched in a tangible way by the mercy of the Father Who wants to be close to those who have the greatest need of His forgiveness. They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom”.

and the pope hopes all cardinals visit prisons on Nov. 5 & 6.

The Caravaca Cross

This cross with two arms is unusual.  I did a little searching and learned its interesting history.  Caravaca de la Cruz is a town in southeastern Spain.  It is the fifth holy city of Catholic Christianity, having been granted the privilege to celebrate the jubilee every seven years.
The town is dominated by the castle of Santa Cruz and contains several convents and a church with a miraculous cross celebrated for its healing power, in honor of which a yearly festival is held on May 3.  The cross, itself, is a double-cross-barred crucifix on which Jesus is hung.  Two winged angels are kneeling on either side of the cross.  The cross first appeared in Caravaca de la Cruz in the 14th century.  People believe it contains  Jesus' True Cross. 
Since the town has such ancient religious history, legends abound.  The Knights Templar are credited by some for bringing the cross to the church.  Others say two angels brought the cross to the church.  The area is well known to archaeologists as one of the oldest settlements in Spain.

The cross was brought to Mexico, by the early colonists, maybe even Padre Junipero Serra, himself.  However it came to America, it still plays an important part in Mexican religious folklore.
But since some Mexican and African Catholic religion has been corrupted by Santeria, voodoo, etc., one has to be careful that the devotion to the caravaca cross is reverential honor and not just wish-fulfilling superstition.

Flaminio Cemetery

Credit:Catholic News Agency picture which credits  L'Osservatore Romano.
This morning's article in Catholic News Agency, November 3, caught my eye.  It's a picture of Pope Francis walking through an aisle of ... of ... (I don't know)... flowers in boxes.  I read the article to learn what was going on.  The article is by Hannah Brockhaus and titled, Pope Francis at Cemetery: Christ gives us hope -- even in death.  The picture is of Pope Francis walking through a cemetery.

Yes, the aisle the pope is walking through are the graves.  The cemetery is Flaminio Cemetery, also known as Prima Porta Cemetery.  Roads travel right through for daily commuters. There are buildings housing the graves surrounding the roads.  It's a new concept for cemeteries.  What do you think?

I don't know what I think.  Death is part of life, so this arrangement makes death seem very ordinary.  I mean if you commuted to work twice a day through Flaminio, you'd forget that it's a cemetery.  But on second thought, do you want to forget your dead?

Would it be acceptable to post signs?  Caution--grieving people crossing.  Pray!  Slow--respect the dead.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Not a Kindle Book

For the past year, I've been reading Church of Spies: The Pope's War Against Hitler by Mark Riebling.  I was reading it on my kindle.  It was not a good experience.  I found that there were too many characters to keep straight and it's not easy to flip pages back and forth, on a kindle.  Yes, you can do it, but not as easy as a real book.  Additionally, the book is heavily notated.  It was too much trouble to go look up the referenced notes, so I didn't.  I gave up on the book.

That is until it was selected as a book for my book club.  OK, I gave Church of Spies another shot.  Let me tell you, it ended up being a good spy thriller.  I couldn't put it down.  And was I surprised when I came to the end and I had only read 48% of the book.  All the rest were the notes!  

Well!  I was impressed and so will you be when you read Church of Spies: The Pope's War Against Hitler.  But don't buy it for kindle.

A Priest's Day

Here is the book review I promised on Monday, for Death Comes for the Archbishop , by Willa Cather.  She really gets into the nitty-grit...