Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shrine of the Infant of Prauge, Wakefield Virginia

Rocky and I had a wonderful vacation. We spent hours at the Virginia Living Museum, went to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, the Naval Museum in Norfolk, toured Bacon's Castle in Surry, visited both Ft. Boykin and Ft. Huger and hung around Jamestown. Rocky got a good look at the ghost fleet from Ft. Huger and in Newport News we got a good look at a carrier that was being serviced at the shipyard. We lolled about on the boardwalk at Virginia beach and were delighted at how cool the temps were on the ocean.

We went to the Infant of Prague shrine in Wakefield, which is pretty close to where we stayed (Foursquare Bed & Breakfast, Smithfield, VA). The shrine is a little wooden church with a magnificent tabernacle and a beautiful statue of the Infant. Mass was wonderful. The locals are used to tourists and are genuinely nice people. We felt welcomed. People smiled and said hello. When the sign of peace came we got genuine handshakes, not the Northern Virginia cold jellyfish shake--- I hate the sign of peace but at the shrine is was okay. After Mass we chatted with the priest. He went to the seminary with our Bishop Loverde. The Catholic world is vast but very small too. If you're in the Tidewater area try to get over to the shrine. They only have one Mass there in the Summer, the 5 PM vigil.

Later in the week we went to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk. It's a historic Virginia landmark, and is Virginia's only basilica. Again, everyone greeted us kindly and I sang songs during Mass that I haven't heard since I was a child at St. Augustine's in DC.

Finally, I learned a good lesson abut traveling with a diabetic. Don't wait until they say they're hungry. At noon or at least one start looking around a for restaraunt or they'll feel sick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

vacation --

i have no idea what i did with my swimsuit last summer but me, Rocky and my mama are heading out to my favorite place in the world the Tidewater of Virginia.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In your charity, please pray for our dear Fr. Theoden

"Forth! Down fear of darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... and the sun rises! Ride now... Ride now... Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death!"

Mary Jo Kopechne died 40 years ago today

When Teddy Kennedy dies he'll probably be surrounded by family and friends. A priest, if not the cardinal will come to his bedside and give him Last Rites. Someone will croon French, (Rose Kennedy spoke fluent French and so did her son, JFK) or perhaps even Gaelic to him as he slips away. Later thousands will view the body in both Boston and DC and despite Church rules there will be eulogy after eulogy at the funeral. If the family asks for it, Danny Boy will be sung and the cardinal, his favorite priest and the Papal Nuncio will probably be co-celebrants. It will be one heck of a send off.

When I was a child Teddy ran a half hearted campaign for president. My father, a devoted Democrat said he'd vote for him but he'd never win. "Why", I asked. " A place called Chapaquidick," my father explained. A girl was killed accidentally in a car Ted was driving and although he'd always be king in Massachusetts, a dead girl was just too much for the rest of the country. My father said no more about the matter and I went back to playing with my Barbies.

When Teddy passes beyond the veil anyone who mentions Mary Jo's name will be sneered at as a meanie so I'll say it now and I'll say how sad it was that no-one was there to give the poor silly miss Last Rites or to hold her in their arms as she slipped away and no cardinal held her mother and father's hands at her funeral.

Friday, July 17, 2009

God bless you, Holy Father

Lord, keep Thy servant, Benedict close to you
as he carries his own cross.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some times I wonder

what has gotten into our bishops. They say we should welcome illegal immigrants with open arms because they are fellow Catholics and their faith is so much more strong and vibrant that ours. Because we Americans practice contraception we will be, the narrative goes, die out and the American church will joyously become Latinized as in Latin America. We should, we are told, embrace this and get with the program. The Whispers in the Loggia blog harps on this theme all the time.

Now, there is cause for concern about catechesis in America. Most Catholics don't seem to know or care about what the Church teaches. Many Catholics don't even go to Mass anymore except for Christmas, Easter and Ash Wenesday. But importing Latin American will not fill the pews or fix the problem. Do the bishops not read the newspaper or visit their own parishes? Gautemala, which like most of Latin America was once solidly Catholic; now it's half Catholic and half Evangelical. In Mexico, drug cartels have openly threatened priests and recently a priest and two seminarians were murdered there. All is not well.

The Charismatic movement seems to have gotten a toe hold in the Spanish speaking community here in Virginia and that is worrisome. Writhing on the floor to rock music doesn't have much to do with the faith of St. Juan Diego, St. Rose of Lima or the Holy Father. I know of a number of priests who find themselves in a dilemma. If they curb some excesses (I can't go into detail here because I don't want to get anyone in trouble) they'll be called a racist so they turn a blind eye and tell their American parishioners to hush the grumbling or to be patient.

Do the bishops not open their eyes when they travel? Little store front Spanish speaking only Protestant churches are everywhere. Not everyone from Latin America is a devout Catholic. That's a stereotype, baby. So far, I've seen two botanica (voodoo) shops in Alexandria and Arlington. The bishops are highly educated men, surely they know all this so why the constant happy talk?

Sure, welcome the legal immigrant who has skills that we can use and encourage him mightily. Welcome the legal immigrant to church and don't let him slip/or force him into a liturgical ghetto either. I realize how the liturgical ghetto thing happend. Catholics in Northern Virginia are not that friendly, period. If people are staring at Rocky and I when we show up for Mass what must it be like for someone from a different country?

But the current approach the bishops have taken isn't working and you don't need a degree in Theology to see it. The oxygen in the ivory tower must be too thin.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For the King of Friday

Jesus, sold for thirty pieces of silver, *
Jesus, prostrate on the ground in prayer,
Jesus, strengthened by an angel,
Jesus, in Thine agony bathed in a bloody sweat,
Jesus, betrayed by Judas with a kiss,
Jesus, bound by the soldiers,
Jesus, forsaken by Thy disciples,
Jesus, brought before Annas and Caiphas,
Jesus, struck in the face by a servant,
Jesus, accused by false witnesses,
Jesus, declared guilty of death,
Jesus, spat upon,
Jesus, blindfolded,
Jesus, smitten on the cheek,
Jesus, thrice denied by Peter,
Jesus, despised and mocked by Herod,
Jesus, clothed in a white garment,
Jesus, rejected for Barabbas,
Jesus, torn with scourges,
Jesus, bruised for our sins,
Jesus, esteemed a leper,
Jesus, covered with a purple robe,
Jesus, crowned with thorns,
Jesus, struck with a reed upon the Head,
Jesus, demanded for crucifixion by the Jews,
Jesus, condemned to an ignominious death,
Jesus, given up to the will of Thine enemies,
Jesus, loaded with the heavy weight of the Cross,
Jesus, led like a sheep to the slaughter,
Jesus, stripped of Thy garments,
Jesus, reviled by the malefactors,
Jesus, promising Paradise to the penitent thief,
Jesus, commending St. John to Thy Mother as her son,
Jesus, declaring Thyself forsaken by Thy Father, Jesus, in Thy thirst given gall and vinegar to drink,
Jesus, testifying that all things written concerning Thee were accomplished,
Jesus, commending Thy spirit into the hands of Thy Father,
Jesus, obedient even to the death of the cross,
Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Jesus, made a propitiation for us,
Jesus, taken down from the cross,
Jesus, laid in the sepulcher,
Have mercy on us.

Friday, July 03, 2009

i noticed an odd thing this week

Many Catholic bloggers weighed in on Michael Jackson's death, to plop loose green shit on his corpse mostly but very few bloggers had anything to say about the Caritas scandal in Boston. Perhaps it's because taking a shot at Jackson was easy and seeming to pick on good ole Cardinal Sean seemed hard. But the Caritas scandal was not about picking on Cardinal Sean.

The cardinal, in order to keep his health care operation going was apparently going to accept the state's requirement that abortion services be provided to patients who requested them, even if it was "just" referring them to abortionists off site.

The entity that was going to handle this was CeltiCare. 49% of CeltiCare was owned by Caritas. Although the archdiocese denied it repeatedly, Caritas was essentially going to be involved in the abortion business.

Let that roll around in your head for a minute. Let it boggle your noggin. Now think about the early martyrs who died horribly rather than offer incense to Caesar. Think about Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Anastasia, Perpetua and Felicity. Think about the martyrs whose names are now known only to God who were told, "Look, you are young and handsome. Why give your life over a technicality? Just whisper to me that Caesar is lord and I'll let you go. Cooperate with the system and you will live." The Caritas deal was an insult to the memory of the martyrs. It was an insult to every pro life worker in Boston. It was an insult to every slaughtered in the womb, baby.

Well now, the deal is off. A few bloggers have mentioned the story in the last two days to congratulate the cardinal on doing the right thing but they fail to mention that it was a bunch of inelegant, unsophisticated Joe and Jane in the back pew lay people who kept asking annoying questions and kept publicizing the story who are to be congratulated. They are the reason Caritas won't be involved in abortions, not the cardinal. I say this, not to pick on the cardinal but to give credit where it is due. Jane and Joe in the back pew, you rock. If I drank beer, I'd raise a Dos Equs in your honor.

Now every blogger writes about what means the most to them. That's the beauty of the blog. Sometimes you get stories about the blogger's cat and sometimes you get stories about Catholics in Siberia. It just struck me as weird that the big time professional, serious issue, serious Catholic bloggers took time to mock Jackson, which should've been beneath them (see footnote) and had nothing to say about a stunning Catholic scandal, that could've had national implications because if Caritas had gotten away with this don't think it couldn't happen in your diocese.

And the most puzzling comments came from ultra serious people who claim to know nothing about pop music or the national zeitgeist. You know, the folks who swear they haven't' watched TV or seen a movie in years, sew their own deliberately ugly dresses, and who grow heirloom tomatoes and for fun reenact the Battle of Hastings in the back yard with their perfectly perfect kids. And speaking of the kids, each one was conceived after grimly praying Tobit's prayer, consulting the chart and stoicly going into the marital embrace.

To each his own but for someone like that to talk about pop music is kind of like an Old Order Mennonite telling young Elvis how to shake a leg or a Mormon telling Sonny Boy Williamson how to play the harmonica. All in all, I would've preferred to have read about their cat, Benedictus.

Foot note
(I once was in a car pool with a Jehovah's Witness. She was a bore but no hypocrite. When she turned on the car radio and heard Boys to Men singing a sweet love song she cried out, "The devil's music!," turned off the radio. She neither knew nor gave a damn who was on the music Top 40 list. Ole Bessie said pop music was beneath her and refused to talk about it. Anyone fool enough to mention Prince, Cameo or even Earth Wind and Fire to her would've gotten a basilisk stare and an offer to conduct a Bible study. As I said, ole Bessie was a crashing bore but she walked her talk)