Monday, April 30, 2007

Two churches in our diocese

So far, Rocky and I have now visited 25 churches in our diocese. We went to Our Lady of Good Counsel on Sunday and it was hideous. The whole church looks like something out of the 70s. I felt like a time traveler. The tabernacle was in a corner and was "decorated" with dead lillies. The few people we saw looked surprised to see us. Either they don't see to many black Catholics or they just don't get too many visitors. A group of teenagers came in carrying four bongo drums and an electric guitar. We fled.

After that we decided to visit St. Catherine of Sienna in Great Falls. After OLGC this was a real blessing. St. Catherines's is gorgeous. Jesus in in the middle of the church, they have real stained glass with pictures that make sense instead of those weird distorted images that seem so popular in churches today. They have windows on the glorious and joyful mysteries and depicting the big events in St. Catherine's life. They also a have a relic of St. Catherine on display. There are statues of St. Therese, Mary and the Divine Infant. I fell in love. Plus the people we met were friendly. If you're ever in Great Falls check this church out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Show us your veil week

It's Show Us Your Veil Week (HT A Thorn in the Pew and The Walled Garden) and here's a pic of my favorite one. It's Spanish and comes from Halo-Works. I bought the child size because the ladies size is too big for me. I love this veil. It's so sheer and light and stays on my head without pins and it even stays in place when I bow down to the floor in adoration.
I also have a pretty nice veil in light blue from EWTN. It was only six bucks but does not look cheap at all. My other veils are vintage from Ebay or come from a seamstress.

porn nation and a remedy

I was at the hair salon yesterday and someone turned the TV on. The show playing was The Girls Next Door, at reality show about the three Playboy Playmates who are being paid to be Hugh Hefner' "girlfriends". It showed them romping around the house in various stages of nudity.

The owners of this salon are Catholic. Most of the customers are either Ethiopian Catholics, Orthodox, American Baptist/AME Zion or Muslim. Guess what? Had I demanded that the TV be turned off I would've been shouted down. Most of the ladies even the old ones couldn't take their eyes off the TV. They were fascinated, laughed and smiled the whole time. I listened to music and read St. Thomas Aquinas. I don't think I ever truly realized how pornified this country has become until then.

Later, Rocky and I went to St. Rita's for the Vigil Mass and I was comforted. It's Good Shephard Sunday and Fr. Theoden (a very saintly and one of the kindest priests I've ever met) preached about the love our Good Shephard has for us and how He will search to bring us back no matter how badly we've strayed if we just repent. He talked about Project Rachel and how many of the women he's counseled felt at first that they had done something too disgusting to be forgiven. Fr. reminded us that many of these poor women were pushed into abortion by the men in their lives or by their parents. Many got pregnant in the first place because they were trying to be what passes for "normal" in this horrifyingly porn drenched nation.

Dear Jesus have mercy on all the girls and women who watch The Girls Next Door and think this is something to aspire to. Merciful Lord, have mercy on all the girls and women who think that in order to be with the in crowd they have to debase their bodies and besmirch their souls.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Goodbye Miss White

The peppery Hilary of The Devout Life blog has apparently decided to hang it up. It was a fascinating blog written by one of the toughest women in the Catholic blogosphere. I hope she finds what she's looking for one day.

an evening with Fr. Groeschel

On Monday Rocky and I went to Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria for Mass and to hear Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Blessed Sacrament is one of the uglier churches in Virginia but it's a good place.

The Blessed Sacrament is kept in a dignified chapel ( I would prefer to have Jesus on the altar but this is better than a corner or down the hall in a dusty room which I've seen in other Virginia churches). The pastor, Fr. Cregan used to be a Marine and like John Wayne he takes no mess off anybody. Fr. Jaffe, is a big, hearty man's man. Rocky thinks very highly of him. Fr. Workman is a good guy as well. The choir is terrible and they have altar girls (ugh) but the Mass is celebrated reverently and the testosterome level is high.

Now, as for Fr. Groeschel. He is so fragile looking now that I almost gasped when I saw him. He couldn't sit down easily and actually fell into his chair. The impact shook his whole body and it looked like it hurt. This will be the last time I see him, I thought. But then he began to speak and I forgot his infirmaties. His body may be weak but his spirit is still like a young lion. He had planned to talk about living the spirtual life but because of Virginia Tech massacre he spoke about mental illness and evil instead. The church was packed and we were delighted to see a bunch of Missionaries of Charity (they are so tiny) and another order whom I couldn't identify, dressed all in white. There were numerous young priests in attendence and of course there were delightful young friars in the pews. I'm glad we went.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

a failure to communicate

I was in a large and very conservative Catholic bookstore and was appalled to see that it had more Medjugorje books than books on Lourdes, Guadalupe or La Sallette. The Vatican, I'm sorry to say really failed on this one. By saying practically nothing and watching as Medjugorje became a phenomenon totally unlike any other apparition John Paul II (whom I dearly loved and whom I believe to be a saint) made a mistake. True, he never made a public statement praising the apparition or the so called visionaries but we also have no evidence that he rejected it in private either. JPII was a strongly Marian pope. If he had said yea or nay that would have been the end of the controversy for many people.

Although the local bishops have strongly condemned it Medj has become a "people's choice." Look in your diocese paper under the pigrimage section and you'll find pilgrimages to Medj. Priests and nuns ---- conservative ones, mind you --- openly attribute their vocations to Mary's "messages". One fantastic young priest says he didn't even start living a Christian life until he found a book on Medj and began to read. A statue of Gospa is displayed prominently at the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Sr. Briege McKenna enthusiasticly embraced the apparition as did the now disgraced Fr. Ken Roberts (he wrote the Playboy to Priest book about his coversion back in the 60s)

There is a couple in my diocese who are completely devoted to Medj. and they and and their rosary business were written up in a loving tribute in my diocesan paper. I was reading a beautiful prayer book given to me by Poor Clares (!) that includes a prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary. One of the lines says "you appeared in Lourdes and Medjugorje..."

What's even more disturbing to me is how many priests flat out won't condemn Medj. now. Even a lion like Fr. Corapi simply stated that he only talks about approved apparions---- not endorsing but not openly, clearly saying that the whole thing is a hoax either. Ask your parish priest what he thinks of Medj. and you'll probably get either entusiasm or a wishy washy avoidance.

By letting this thing go on so long the Church allowed it become "normal." and that was a horrible disservice to Jesus' lambs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

tuesday night thoughts

In the wake of the whole Don Imus thing many people argued in this defense that he didn't say anything that isn't said repeatedly in rap music. This got me to thinking about why rap is so misogynistic.

I personally think it is an infantile form of protest. America has been feminized to the point where men will stand still and shamefacedly ignore a woman being beaten right in front of them. The average black male under the age of 30 was raised by a single mother. Most black pregnancies are out of wedlock. Most black women will never marry. So they raise sons who listen to them complain about black men and who watch them play the dating game with all that entails.

Can you imagine knowing that your shoes, your winter coat, your rent is all being paid by your mom's various boyfriends? That's a common lower class black arrangement. Imagine waking up and finding a strange man eating in your kitchen on Saturday morning. Is this your new "uncle" or is he just some guy who will not be around for lunch? Imagine being smacked around by your mom's current man for no particular reason. These are also all too common scenarios.

Motherhood is sacred in the black community. It is beyond taboo to criticize your mama and making fun of someone else's can get you shot and yet, imagine the anger all these young boys must feel. They can't speak against mama---- besides they love her but they can spew that rage onto black women in general. Consider how many rappers come from lousy homes. Song after song talks about drug addicted or drug selling mothers, absent fathers, poverty, bitterness and shame. You can't have a whole segment of the population living like that and not expect it to spill out into the wider culture especially when it comes in form that has a good dance beat.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Oh my God

33 dead at Virginia Tech. College life being what it is; how many of them were prepared to enter Eternity? May God have mercy on their souls and may He send comfort and peace to their families.

A visit to St. Philips

One of Rocky and my hobbies to try to visit every single church in our diocese. Yesterday we made a holy hour at St. Philips in Falls Church, Virginia. The actual church seems to be under renovation so Masses are held in the school cafeteria and in the chapel. We sat with the Blessed Sacrament and were impressed at how hard somebody must have worked to turn a classroom into a santuary. They did a good job. On the down side, the Neocatechumical Way is huge at this parish so I don't think we'll ever attend Mass there.

I just bought this

I like to keep a small notebook in my purse for grocery lists, sins to confess, phone numbers, project plans, ect. I just bought this one and it's adorable. Plus, since I have about ten mantillas in my collection it made me laugh. You can order one here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

saturday thoughts

  • I'm so proud. My blog site is blocked in China!

  • I saw this on The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. If Italian Catholics are so ignorant of their Faith when the Vatican is right in their midst what does that say about the state of catechesis. I keep hearing that the New Springtime is right around the corner (along with the freeing of the Tridentine Mass) but so far things look pretty darn frosty to me.

  • Getting back to my concerns about my darling mother I just read this on Lair of Catholic Cavemen which brings up what VatII had to say about salvation outside the Church.

something I've been brooding about

My mother is a Baptist. She thinks it's great that Rocky and I are Catholic, she's always happy to go to Mass with us, she's been through RCIA but she won't convert. I think she feels it would be something of a betrayal to her parents memories.

I've spoken to four priests about Mama. One, the youngest, clearly didnt' want to distress me but clearly didn't want to say "don't worry about it". The others --one an old priest, the others were in their early 30s--- all told me not to be concerned. The church, they told me has taught since the 40s that Mama is part of the Holy Catholic Church because she is a Christian. She does not know this and obviously doesn't have the fullness of the Faith but what she does have is enough to get her to Heaven. I want to believe this but didn't Pope Leo (I forget which one) say that heretics shall not enter Heaven? I'm going to keep praying that if it is necessary for her salvation that Mama converts one day.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Exultet from Easter Vigil

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered!
Glory fills you!Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,echoing the mighty song of all God's people!
My dearest friends,standing with me in this holy light,join me in asking God for mercy,that he may give his unworthy minister grace to sing his Easter praises.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast,when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers :you freed the people of Israel from their slaveryand led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is night when Christians everywhere,washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault,O necessary sin of Adam,which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:"The night will be as clear as day:it will become my light, my joy."The power of this holy night dispels all evil,washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,brings mourners joy;it casts out hatred, brings us peace,and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earthand man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God. Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mass of the Lord's Supper.

We went to Holy Thursday Mass last night and it was beautiful. Fr. Théoden gave a long and soul stirring homily. He is a very kind and saintly man and is a wonderful confessor. All of the altar boys served from the A team down to the newest recruit. The boys' did very well and must have practiced hard to get everything right.

Fr. Théoden washed the feet of twelve altar boys, (I hope they all washed first, cause few things are stronger on earth than the odor from a teenaged boy's feet) and after Mass young Fr. Aragon carried the Lord in a procession around the church. The altar was stripped of all decoration including candles, nothing remained except the flowers and candles at the Altar of Repose. We sat there until around ten PM remembering that terrible night when Our Lord sweated blood in the olive garden and suffered unspeakable mental anguish for our sins.
I suddenly had a glimpse of how totally and wildly God loves us. Wonderful, astonishing, incredible love for me and for you.

What Wondrous Love is This?

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!What wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of blissTo bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,

When I was sinking down, sinking down,

When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,

Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,

Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.

To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;

While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;

While millions join the theme, I will sing.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;

And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;

And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Chrism Mass and other thoughts.....

Chrism Mass

Rocky and I went to the Chrism Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in DC. It was glorious. Archbishop Wuerl was there and I was startled by his appearacnce. He looked like a piece of chewed on leather. Has he not been well lately? Cardinal McCarrick is a couple of decades older than him and looked just as pink cheeked and perky as a youngster. The music was magnificent. The Cathedral's schola choir is always impressive.

There must have been over 100 priests in attendance and it was beautiful to see them. There were old priests, grown grizzled and gray in the service of the Lord, one was so frail that he had to be led. There were tall priests, short priests, thin ones and one so fat and jolly looking that he reminded me of the Pillsbury Doughboy. There were Benedictines, Franciscans and Domincan priests and priests from other orders I couldn't identify. There were young priests and many, many young seminarians.

These young men were a special delight. Many of them wore cassocks and all seemed excited to be there. I saw the Missionaries of Charity nuns, the Virgin of Mattara Sisters and a few Dominicans and Franciscan nuns as well. After Mass the mood was a joyful one. It was like a class reunion.


I just had a thought. Let's say that the Tridentine Mass really is going to be set free. Will my bishop obey? Will yours? Will the average Catholic finally be able to go to a nearby parish (if not his own) and attend the Tridentine Mass? I predict that many of our US Bishops will simply ignore anything from Rome.

The great horror is almost upon us. Ladies, the quest for a swimsuit that looks modest and cute and in no way resembles a flour sack begins again for another Summer. So far as much as I respect what these people are trying to do I found a number of suits that would make me ill if I had to put them on. For example this one is well.... HIDEOUS.

I found it at Wholesome Wear.

Then there's this one which is sweet but impractical.

I didn't mind this one but it comes in such revolting patterns.

Finally, there's the suits at this site which are cute for little girls but would look silly on me.

I'll probably buy something from LL Bean or the Esther Williams collection. The Esther Williams suits are retro so I'll be decently covered but none of her things make you look like something so lumpish and ugly that you should be covered up for the safety of the public.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

I was exhausted this Palm Sunday but it was a beautiful Mass. Fr. Aragon was the celebrant and his homily was so amazing that I really wish I could've typed as he spoke. He spoke on Peter and how his fall came about. I'm paraphrasing but it went something like this :

First, Peter followed Jesus at a distance when He was arrested. How many times do we follow Our Lord from a distance? We love Him, or at least we say we do and yet, when someone cracks a flithy joke about the church or says something ignorant about the Blessed Virgin we remain silent lest the person think we're "too religious" or just not sophisticated. How many times do we bite our tounges when our fornicating relatives come to visit bringing their current lovers with them?

Second, Peter stumbled into temptation by looking for comfort. He sat down to warm himself by the fire in the courtyard of the high priest. The people sitting around the fire were servants of the Temple or the high priest. They were in the service of the people who were going to kill Jesus. This was the last place Peter should've been. How many times do we choose comfort instead of Jesus? Do we stay in bed on cold Winter mornings with the intention of confessing our sin later? Do we pour ourselves into provocative clothes because they'll fashionable and we want the pleasure of looking like all the other women we know? How many times have we partied with people we know are antiChristian becuase they are great company, throw the best parties and amuse us to no end?

Third, when being associated with Jesus seemed dangerous Peter denied Him. We deny Our Lord each time we sin.

If we're honest , we know that we are all no better than Peter was on Good Friday but if we figh the good fight we can be like Peter was when he recovered himself. He turned, he repented, he took shelter in Our Lord's blood and wounds and became the leader of the apostles and the church.