Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall, the burnt orange season

This is my favorite time of year. The cicadas have gone to their destinies and no longer sing their nightly song of love and death. Now the big black crickets have their turn on the stage. The robins and doves have left us, but the blue jays have come to visit for a few weeks and Canadian geese have returned to spend part of their day in my building's picnic area. I watch them through the morning fog while walking to the bus. The fox, groundhogs and deer are more visible when we go for Sunday afternoon drives. The cherry blossoms of Spring and the daffodils of Summer are gone but now we have crysanthemums, my great grandmother called them October roses, and pumpkins.

Football is back and that's very fine. I really did miss Brett, Peyton, Troy and of course the whole Fox team.

The horrible Summer heat has broken and the tempreture drops below 80 again. Soon I'll be able to break out my thin Fall gloves and light sweaters. I love it.

Mass of the Ages

Rocky and I went to confession and the TLM at St. Rita's tonight. It's the feast of St. Jerome, one of my favorite saints and the patron saint of librarians. I've been to the Traditional/Tridentine Latin Mass before but tonight something I've read countless times really sunk in. The priest goes up to the altar of God and pleads our case. Next he comes down from the altar and brings merciful Jesus, our first and greatest Advocate to us. This happens at all masses of course, but somehow you really get it when attending a TLM.

There were several small children there tonight but if I hadn't seen them toddle in before Mass I never would've known that they were there. It was silent, hushed as if the whole world was waiting with baited breath to see the miracle.

Fr. Gee (we haven't come up with a nick name for him yet) will say the Low Mass every Thursday. If you're in Alexandria come on by.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things you can do in a dress or a skirt

Save Paris like St. Genvieve

Kick Moorish butt and save your country like Queen Isabella

Become a doctor of the Church like my friend, St. Therese

Help a pope like St. Catherine of Siena

Infuriate klansmen and garden variety racists like St. Katherine Drexel

Conquer the known world and look cute while doing it, like the Romans.

Indulge your inner wiseacre like me and mock the great pants debate . HT to In Haught Pursuit for giving me the idea for this post.

A night with Fr. Groeschel

On Thursday Rocky and I went to the Institute of Catholic Culture event featuring Fr. Groeschel. There were 1,100 or so people in attendance so Father's talk was at St. Thomas More Cathedral. I saw Pauline sisters, Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, four diocesan priests, two Byzantine priests -- they look really snappy in their cassocks, two Franciscan monks who came with Father, and I think I saw a Vietnamese Dominican sister. When Fr. Groeschel was helped into the church I caught my breath. He is very frail. Physically, he's as delicate as onion skin paper or two hundred year old lace. But then he spoke and you actually forgot what he looks like. Inside he's still the same tough minded, wise cracking New York boy he ever was.

His topic was the afterlife. He made us laugh when he told us that Americans are so afraid of death that we pretty it up --- Uncle Vinny in his casket looks sweeter than he ever did in life. Instead of praying for Vinnie's soul knowing full well that the last time anyone saw him express religious fervour was at his First Communion, we canonize him and blandly assume that he's in heaven. Or we go goth and glamorize death. We thrash about wildly and fail to see the great beauty, the great joy of making a good death and seeing the Holy Face.

Will there be sex in heaven? No, Fr. told us and I swear some of the older (?) folks looked disappointed. Sex is for reproduction and in heaven that won't be needed. Will we have wings and sit around on clouds looking smug and plucking harps? No, Father told us. He also added that to his mind that sounded a bit like hell which got a hearty laugh. Will we all go to heaven? No, of course not. He ended his talk with a blessing and one of the sturdy young monks that came with him and a layman helped him up and to the elevator. There was a reception and book signing afterwards but St. Thomas More has steep steps. Rocky's knee didn't need the pain and since I sprained my ankle I didn't need it either. So we went home and prayed that Fr. Groeschel have a safe, uneventful trip back to New York.

Rest in peace.

Julian and Charles Lewis.

It really, really bothers me that so many people slobber over killers and completely forget the murder victims. Julian and Charles Lewis died a horrible and painful death. Charles was just 25. Julian, his father suffered for some time before he finally died. I have not seen a single blog or news article express pity for them but I've seen several that expressed sympathy for the wife and stepmother who plotted their deaths. I couldn't even find a photograph of the victims.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I was browsing a fashion blog when I saw it. It was so completely vile that I thought for a moment that it was a piss poor joke. A designer has created very expensive, very ugly line of handbags using crucifixes. It's not meant as a devotion. At best the crucifix is used as a mere decoration, like a charm on a bracelet. At worst it's a "sophisticated" sneer at Christ. This wasn't fashion it was plain old blasphemy.

Prayer of Reparation

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners.

Blessed be God
Blessed be His Holy Name
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man
Blessed be the Name of Jesus
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Blessed be the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception
Blessed be her glorious Assumption
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother
Blessed be St Joseph, her most chaste spouse
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints

Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, pray for us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

something beautiful for God

The Mater Ecclesiae Fund helps men and women get to the seminary, monastery or convent. The fund pays off student loans. I think this is a brilliant idea.

Kol Nidre and God Will Take Care of You

The first time I heard the Kol Nidre was in the Jazz Singer movie. I think Johnny Mathis' version is better.

Rocky and I were in Lancaster, PA when we walked into the Mennonite run visitor's center. This sweet hymn was playing on the radio and I never forgot it. It beats the heck of 90% of the stuff that's played in most parishes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Behold, God

We went to adoration at Queen of Apostles in Alexandria. I looked at the mostrance and tears came to my eyes. Behold God! If people only knew how awesome, how powerful and magnificent adoration is the churches would be filled every night. God, in the guise of bread sits and waits for us to come to Him. We are in His Real Presence and He is with us. Do you know how inexpressable a miracle this is? If more Catholics knew this, they wouldn't go running to Medjugorje to see a miracle.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fr. Groeschel is coming to town

The Institute of Catholic Culture speaker schedule for the Fall has been posted. Fr. Benedict Groeschel is coming on September 23rd!

Christ in the arms of His parents

I don't believe I've ever seen a painting like this before. The medieval artist shows Our Lord taken down from the cross in the arms of God, the Father and Mary with God, the Holy Spirit hovering above,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What happens to the statues when a parish closes?

What happens to the art and statuary when a parish closes? I used to assume that these things were saved and moved to other churches, or church property. Not necessarily so. Sometimes there is ecclesiastical recycling and sometimes parishioners manage to save things but usually most of the stuff in a closed parish just gets thrown to the four winds. I've seen pews in restaurants, statues of saints as mere decorations in fashion magazines and tramps from Madonna (the singer), to Lady Gaga trying to be "edgy" whatever the heck that means with rosaries. I've seen altars, tabernacles and reqularies for sale on ebay and it's pretty disturbing.

One man has made it his mission to save church treasures. He's opened a museum. I thank him for his efforts but boy I wish more of our bishops were better stewards.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the pants debate--- oh not again

The annual and very tiresome great pants debate has broken out in Catholic blog land again. The woman in the above photo is St. Gianna Molla. She's good enough for me. Can pants be immodest? Yes indeed and I've been stunned many a time by the display of flesh I've seen at Mass. I've seen Catholic women and girls proudly wear stuff to church that my Baptist and AME Zion relatives would never dream of wearing in a holy place. Are all pants bad? No. Time, place, circumstances and the age and intentions of the wearer have to be taken into account.

Do I wear pants? No, they don't look good on me and I find them too confining. I've been in the mountains, swamps and woodlands in skirts and did just fine. I do own one pair of jeans that I reserve for nasty, dirty jobs but that's it. I saw that one blogger got over 300 comments after her vent about pants. I wish people would be that passionate about the liturgy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cardinal McCarrick continues to disappoint

The cardinal is a fascinating, mystifying man. He says all the right things during Mass, he is incredibly charming and looks like a wee leprechaun but it's only one aspect of the man. In speeches to private groups he says things that are frankly, disturbing when coming from the mouth of a prince of the Church.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rest in peace.

They have no memorial in New York. They've been failed so many ways over these last nine years. Eternal rest grant unto them oh Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord: Lord hear my voice. De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine: Dómine, exáudi vocem meam.

Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. Fiant aures tuae intendéntes: in vocem deprecationes meae.

If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? Si iniquitátes observaveris, Dómine: Dómine, quis sustinébit.

But there is forgiveness with Thee: because of Thy law I wait for Thee, O Lord. Quia apud te propitiátio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Dómine.

My soul waiteth on His word: my soul hopeth in the Lord. Sustinuit ánima mea in verbo ejus: sperávit ánima mea in Dómino.

From the morning watch even until night let Israel hope in the Lord: A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: specret Israel in Dómino.

For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plentiful redemption. Quia apud Dóminum misericordia: et copiósa apud eum redémptio.

And He shall redeem Israel, from all their iniquities. Et ipse redimet Israel, ex ómnibus iniquitátibus ejus.

Dies Irae

Thursday, September 09, 2010

You know what's pathetic?

Thanks to the American media, who were looking for a story that would make Christians look bad, a vatican spokesman, the president, a general and a former governor all pleaded with a jackleg, self proclaimed pastor of a 50 person store front type church not to burn copies of the koran. This story shouldn't have gotten beyond a few local papers in Florida. Now there are people all over the world, America included who are fearful of how the Islamic world is going to react. I once wanted to be a journalist when I was a girl. I changed my mind obviously because I'm a natural born librarian but I'm so glad I didn't go into such a degraded field.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Today Rocky and I watched an old B movie from the 50s. Anne Baxter played Monica, a loose living American woman who's on the run from a gangster in Paris. Her luck changes when she runs into a fellow American. He's a young stalwart man who's going to the seminary in a few days. He tries to help her and in the end leads her back to God.

We were particularly interested in a scene where Gregory, the seminarian-to-be and Monica run into a church. The rosary is being prayed and the church is not only packed but the priest, who is presented as a wise, noble man is leading it with four altar boys by his side. The thugs chasing Monica follow but take off their hats in church and when an usher frowns at them they sit down.

At the end of the movie Gregory is sitting in his cassock with his class listening to the rector, who quotes the following poem. As the old priest talks the camera pans up to a close up of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and then the picture fades to black. Bedevilled was not a great film. It wasn't meant to be but it was entertaining, suspenseful and showed a world that doesn't exist anymore. The priesthood, the religious life, and the Church were shown with respect. The hero is presented with two great problems. He must save the heroine and he must make it the seminary. The writers of the movie make it clear that if Gregory isn't at the seminary come Monday morning it would be a great tragedy. Can you imagine anything like this being made today?

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 suffering;
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.
My God, what a life;
and it is yours,
O priest of Jesus Christ.

—Fr. Lacordaire

Saturday, September 04, 2010



My love gave me a king's robe

mock purple and red

My love gave me a white coat

a fool's coat, He said.

My love gave me a weft crown of thorns for my head,

Because He is my true love,

He wore them instead

Sr. M. Madeleva Wolff

Pray for priests

In her book, St. Therese said that she became a nun to save souls and to pray for priests. Well, most of us can not join the cloister but we can all hold hands with Therese and pray for the men God has chosen to do His work.

Back at St. Rita's

I was too sick to go to Mass last week and it felt really good to get back today. We went to confession , and while Rocky prayed in a pew I walked around the church and visited our Infant of Prague statue, which looks more like the very serious Toddler of Prague. We have a new veil made by the Bennedictine nuns in Kansas for our tabernacle which is quite pretty.

Confession is such a wonderful gift. You go in, make a clean breast of things and come out in a state of grace.