Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Laredo Kid gets ordained

"Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are.
Believe what you read.
Teach what you believe.
Practice what you teach."
From the deacon's ordiantion rite

One of our friends was ordained as a deacon yesterday at the Basilica in DC. The Laredo Kid (um, no that aint his name, it's what I call him) will be a deacon for a year and then next year he'll be ordained as a priest. Thanks be to God.

Afterwards friends and family went back to the Kid's seminary for a beautiful reception. I enjoyed the food far too well and happily ate more than I usually do. My scale showed the result this morning. Ah well. Two things really struck me: After looking down at the floor for a while and studying the feet of of the priests and seminarians I noticed that there are a vast array of sensible black shoes for a man to buy. The second thing that I noticed was how badly young Catholic women dress. Who told us that we have to wear shapeless schmattas in public? Who ever said that unkempt hair was virtuous? Ugh!

After the reception we went to the Newman bookstore. It's the biggest Catholic bookstore in DC and it was a feast for a book lover. After that we headed over to the Icon and Bookstore that is run by the Holy Cross Monastery. If you go to DC please stop by. It's an incredible place. I was astonished by the beauty of the icons and the dear lady who runs it is a charmer. Rocky and I plan to go back as soon as we can.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My King

My King!

Friday, March 21, 2008

By the cross her station keeping, stood the holy mother weeping

Close to Jesus, to the last.

Stick close to Mary, she'll never take you anywhere but to her Son.

night of seven churches -- Maundy Thursday

Last night was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Rocky and I went to Holy Thursday Mass at our parish, St. Rita's. It was gorgeous. All of the altar boys served and I have congratulate Fr. Scalia and the layman who train them. Those boys were fantastic. Not a single mistake, no fooling around, total concentration. I was proud of them. After Mass they stripped the altar with remarkable speed and silence. And I do mean stripped. They took away everything that wasn't nailed down, chairs, rugs, pedestal... everything.
One odd/funny thing happened. Last year a man sat behind us and gave a play by play explanation of the Mass to his child. This year, we got the same guy! Once again, he did a running commentary for his little boy. I wanted to tell his to shut the heck up but that would've been unkind. At least he had his kids at Mass and was trying to teach them. Last year one of those kids couldn't resist petting my hair under my veil. This year, one of them has discovered the joy of spitting. He didn't get me but I hope somebody cleans his pew today.

Father Donahue, our pastor gave a moving homily. He pleaded with us to go to confession, to heal our broken hearts and if anyone was far from God ;to take the precious opportunity to return to Him, tonight. He asked us to remain with Jesus at the alar of repose for a while and asked us to be thankful for the great gift of the Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist is the medicine of immortality and the antidote to death, so St. Ignatius of Antioch said. Fr. asked us to go to communion as often as we can and reminded us that there is nothing to keep us away except for mortal sin. This is one of the many times when I wish somebody was recording Father's homily. I wish this one could be saved for the future.

I was so carried away with love that I almost bit the parochial vicar during communion. It sounds weird, I know but I usually don't see or feel very aware of the priest at communion. I see myself at the foot of the cross, I hear the words, "Body of Christ" and I recieve. This time I was so far away, so mentally in Jerusalem that I heard the words almost in slow motion. My teeth came together with a bit of force and Fr. pulled back in time but lost his balance with the Host. It's a good thing he's young and has good reflexes. The save was made and communion went on without incident. Anyway.... after Mass Our Lord was carried in a slow, solemn procession around the church and then placed in the altar of repose. The rest of the church was darkened. The only light came from the white drapped altar of repose. I was gratified to see that quite a few people staid to watch and pray after Mass.

Rocky and I then went to Blessed Sacrament and prayed at the repose altar there. Blessed Sacrament is an incredibly ugly church but the parish is blessed with very good priests and someone put a ton of love into making the repose altar beautiful. It was touching. I thought of the scene from The Passion of the Christ where Jesus is in the dungeon at the high priest's home. Mary lies prostrate on the floor and Jesus in the dark dungeon below looks up. There is just a tiny bit of light and it's coming from him. No words are spoken, the only communication is love.

After Blessed Sacrament we stopped to pray at Queen of Peace. I was sad to see that there was no-one there. Not even a priest. I wasn't shocked though. The worst Mass I've ever sat through was at Queen of Peace so nothing there startles me anymore. Next we went to St. Anthony's. That was amazing. I saw young men, tough looking guys on their knees. I saw young couples and whole families. White people, Hispanics, black Americans, Africans, and Asians were all there next to Jesus. Their altar of repose reminded me of the upper room where Jesus said the first Mass.

From St. Anthony's we drove to St. Thomas Moore Cathedral. I don't have a high opinion of how the cathedral is run by the lay staff. I really didn't expect it to be open but it was and the repose altar was beautiful. Again, Catholics of all races and ages were there sitting, kneeling, lying prostrate before the Lord. Bishop Loverde sat there too, praying from his breviary. It was good to see him.

Our next stop was Queen of the Apostles. It's also a relentlessly ugly 1970's styled church. It's like a big bowling alley with dirty looking white brick and amphitheater type seating. However, the parish has been blessed with good men for priests and somebody tried very hard to make the area around the repose altar look soft and lovely with masses of flowers and candles. We saw two orders of nuns praying. Some people sat and prayed. Others knelt or lay prostrate.

Finally, we ended up at St. Mary's in Old Town. Three priests sat praying near the altar and we saw a young man who looked like he ought to be rocking on the stage at Madison Square Garden. He was on his knees praying before the altar. God calls everyone. At St. Mary's we saw people of various age groups. At midnight the pastor stood up and grunted at his parochial vicar. They walked to the sacristy and returned with his humeral veil and I think, incense and Jesus was removed from the altar in slience. I felt like Mary Magdalene... "they have taken Him away."

We've wanted to do the seven churches prayer circuit for a while and we were delighted to be able to do it this year. It's a profound prayer experience.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen on the Fr. Skippy problem

Warning! The guys at the Lair are tough but gallant Catholics and they use harsh language. If you are tender minded don't click on this post, okay?

The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen

Fr. Vincent Capadano, pray for your brother priests. Especially the ones who have forgotten the whole manhood thing.


Last night Rocky and I went to Tenabrae at the Franciscan Monastery in DC. Usually we go to the Holy Wenesday tenenbrae at St. Matthew's Cathedral but there was a bomb threat-- suspicious package--right in front of the cathedral. There were anti-war protestors in DC yesterday. This is the second bomb threat in the area this week. It's ironic how violent anti war people really are.

Anyway, we went to the monastery and it was lovely. The singing was done by the Suspicious Cheese Lords. I've wanted to hear them for some time and they're great. They will be singing at the monastery for all the Holy Week services. Rocky later said that he thought the tenebrae service at the monatery was actually better than the one at St. Matthews. Tonight we're going to the Mass of the Lord's Supper at St. Rita's.

Happy Holy Week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holy Week begins

I saw this picture on Terry Nelson's Abbey Roads blog. He somehow finds photos of the most magnificent statues of Jesus. I don't know where this is or when it was made but I suspect it's Spanish. Although it is not bruised or scarred enough to be realistic it does show a bruise under Our Lord's eye that corresponds with what is shown in the Shroud of Turin. Nice touch.

Pope pic

No particular reason for posting this except that seeing our dear Papa makes me happy.

An unpleasant fact: Obama's preacher man aint all that unusual

A number of sweet, innocent and decent hearted people are shocked because it looks like Barrack Obama's preacher, Jerimiah Wright hates white people and America in general. They wonder how Obama could sit in that church for 20 years unless he agrees with Wright. Well, I don't know what's in Obama's head but I can tell you this: Rev. Wright's views (thank you Fr. Philip for posting this on your most excellent blog) are actually pretty common. Visit a black Protestant church and you'll probably hear something similar. Perhaps it will be a little bit more polite or perhaps it will have more oratorical flourishes but it will be essentially the same. Rev. Wright was formed in the pre Civil Rights era. He's probably seen some bad stuff in his day and bears the scars.
I remember going to an AME Zion service back in 2003 (I had to, the church was founded by my ancestors and my family was there for our reunion and it was the last time I went to a non Catholic church on Sunday) and the preacher spoke about the wickedness of America and how God would punish us because poor Saddam Hussein's sons were dead. He also bemoaned the fact that so many black boys were in jail. I wanted to stand up and say "Hey Rev! What about all the black women who have been raped, robbed and killed by those black "boys". Don't we count for anything? Or are we supposed to take being victimized and not call the police?" I didn't want to cause a problem with my family so I remained in cowardly silence. It wasn't my best moment. Perhaps I should have gotten up and gone outside or perhaps, like my cousins who had white spouses and were warned that things might get uncomfortable during the service; I should've simply should have made and excuse and not gone at all that morning.
I still remember listening to my mother's people applauding and shouting "Amen" and realizing how different I was my own kin. Don't be surprised at Rev. Wright. His damn America sermon was probably one his more mild ones. So what's the answer to this? The usual: love, patience, mercy, tolerance (real tolerance--- not ignoring ugliness) and facing up to reality. The racial situation in America is not as bad as it used to be but it's not pink ponies and rainbows either.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

May God have mercy on his soul

It looks like Archbishop Bishop Paulos Faraj Raho of Mosul has been murdered by the filthy scum who kidnapped him.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Revelation 2:10

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

some times my fellow Catholics embarrass me

A nun has actually petitioned the UN to help get a pedophile -- a man who found sexual satisfaction in forcing himself on a nine year old girl--released from prison. You can read the about this disgusting development here.
Can you imagine St. Therese asking that child rapist be released? She'd pray for his convesion and final repentence but released? Released to rape again? Never.
If this nun is a typical Sister of Mercy then the order needs to be destroyed because this is not at all what the foundress, Venerable Catherine Elizabeth McAuley had in mind.

old sins

My parish, the most wonderful parish in Virginia is having a mission this week. Tonight is the last night. The priest leading it, is from Connecticut and he's a very fine speaker and confessor. Two nights ago while listening to him talk I remembered an old sin. I'd already confessed it long ago but on this night it suddenly hit me how pathetic it was. I didn't mean to wound the heart of Christ when I committed this particular sin--- far from it. I was able to compartmentalize God in those days and I just wanted to be like all the other "sophisticated" girls.
The people she hangs around with, the books and magazines a girl reads can be deadly.
Thank God for His mercy! A year or so later He arranged for Rocky and I to meet and my life has been amazing ever since. God has been very gentle with me all these years.

Mormon weirdness

Two Mormon missionaries descecrated a shrine. Great way to advertise for your faith guys and taking pictures of yourselves was just the icing on your rotten cake.
The trouble with Mormon missionaries, besides the whacky theology they're peddling, is that they are mostly just boys who have never seen or heard of anything outside their own little insular culutre.
The years of 18 to 20 are the dumb years and I can't say that I'm surprised. Considering the stinking crap that's been force fed to these guys for their whole lives it's no big shocker that it backed up and spewed out for the world to see.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Don't marry him!

Just because you are pregnant. Years ago couples did the shot gun wedding thing all the time. Sometimes it worked out. Usually it was a recipe for household hell. If you don't want your child to be a bastard don't have sex outside of wedlock.

Don't marry a last chance man. Women's fertility is finite. The feminists lied to you, sweetie. We bloom like roses and then decline. By the time you hit your 30s there aren't too many more shopping days until Christmas so to speak. Don't pick a man just because you want him to be a stud. Studs usually move on to other females and you may find that settling for a man because he's your last chance to be a mother is more than you ever bargained for. Besides, it's unfair to the man. You should marry a guy because he's the one, not because he's pleasant enough, has a job,is good with kids and has working parts.

Don't marry because you're lonely. Figure out why you are alone or embrace it but don't misuse the sacrament.

Don't marry for sex.

Dedicated to Fr. Francis Mary Stone

Thou Art A Priest Forever
To live in the midst of the world, without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none;
To share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds;
To go from men to God and offer Him their Prayers;
To return from God to men; to bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity;
To teach and to pardon, console and bless always--
What a glorious life! And it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!
Author unknown

We need you Fr. Get back to work!

Pray for our priests!

Nobody seems to care much in the Western media but Catholic Archbishop Faraj Rahho was kidnapped in that suburb of hell, currently known as Iraq. I don't even want to think about what this poor man is suffering right now.

Our priests are under constant physical, mental and spiritual attack from the evil one. Some fall on the battlefield.

Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify Thy priests and sacred ministers.

. . . . You must never forget that priests are, and that they remain, men.
God does not perform a miracle to wrest them from the human state.
The priesthood does not of itself give a person the power to do everything or to excel in everything. It is important to remember this lest you fall into a very old error . . . that of dehumanizing the priesthood and consequently of setting the priest outside of ordinary life.
That does great harm for by thus isolating him, as unbelievers do, to the exclusive realm of ceremonies . . . he is deprived in good part of his reason for being. If men refuse to pass through him, he no longer can be, at least fully, their mediator.
Cardinal Suhard