Thursday, October 31, 2013

A ghostly tale for Halloween

Years ago when I was still in high school I read a collection of ghost stories called "Haunted Heartland." Most of them weren't a bit scary and were presented in  the dry  businesslike fashion of a folklorist who is merely collecting materials for a dissertation, but one tale stuck with me. It was the story of Fr. Louis Lesches, a priest assigned to St. Mary's College in Minnesota, who tried to kill his superior, Bishop Patrick Hefron. The bishop was saying Mass in the chapel one morning when he turned around and saw Fr. Lesches standing behind him. To the bishop's surprise, the priest was wearing a Prince Albert suit instead of his cassock or clericals. To add to this surprise the bishop quickly realized that  the priest was packing heat. Fr. Lesches fired a gun three times, hitting the bishop twice.

At that time Fr. Lesches was already the number one problem child of the diocese. Although he was said to be brilliant and had done well in the academic part of his seminary studies,  he was also overly emotional, insubordinate, and felt that the bishop was persecuting him. He'd failed at parish assignments and now the annoyed and apparently unsympathetic bishop was keeping a close eye on him.

 Bishop Heffron's vestments, orneriness, and his great physical shape probably saved his life.  Instead of dropping dead or swooning he yelled at his now panicked attacker and chased him out of the chapel. Fr. Lesches was captured and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital.

 Students have been claiming to see the ghost of Fr. Lesches on campus for decades. It's a spooky tale but I hope everyone who hears or reads it will stop and say a prayer for this poor, strange, unstable man who never should've been ordained but is a priest forever and one who probably really needs our help now. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mass without pews---wartime edition


Looking at these battlefield Masses was really fascinating.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

random thoughts on a Saturday afternoon

*Thalidomide was the 1950s, wonder drug from Germany that was touted as being a perfect cure for morning sickness.  Dr.  Frances Oldham Kelsy was a pharmacologist, doctor and drug reviewer  for the FDA who realized after time and study that the drug worked but also attacked the fetus. There was pressure put on  Dr. Kelsy by the pharmaceutical company and by lobbyists who claimed the US was just keeping women down, being backwards sticks in the mud and pointing out that the sophisticated Europeans and the Canadians already had Thalidomide. A few American women with the financial ability got on the plane to Europe or had friends sneak the drug back for them. Frances Kelsy stuck to her guns and millions of American children were spared being born with no limbs. In 1962, Frances got a medal from President Kennedy.

Today we hear the same kind of talk about new wonder pills for women and girls and we're told that anybody who says "Hold up. Is this thing safe?" is a fuddy duddy who is just trying to keep women down. Shirley Bassey was right. The next big thing really is just history repeating.

*Georgetown is not a Catholic school anymore. It hasn't been for decades. Think of all those poor parents who were suckered into putting second mortgages on their homes in order to send their kid to a place that seems to be doing everything it can to suck the souls right out of them.

* The  way you dress is powerful. It tells people who you are and what you stand for.

* Rest in peace, prison angel. Mother Antonia was an awesome woman. She walked away from a comfortable life in Beverly Hills and willingly went to one of the worst places on earth to serve,  and save the souls of some of the most dangerous men on earth. She founded the Eudist Servants of the Eleventh Hour, an order of nuns made up of older women -- in their eleventh hour  and is another Mother Theresa. She was 86.

*Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, that there are three kinds of people at the foot of the Cross: purity, represented by Our Lady, the penitent, represented by St. Mary Magdalene, and priesthood, represented by St. John, the only apostle who after running away in Gethsemane, came back and openly followed Him to His crucifixion.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rest in peace Fr. Pablo!

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mass without pews--wartime edition

 Khe Sanh 

Fr. Robert Brett was a Marist Priest from Philadelphia. Private First Class Alexander Chin was from Baltimore. They were an incredible team. They  died together a few weeks after my first birthday in February 1968, in Khe Sanh Provice Vietnam and  they buried side by side in Arlington Cemetery. After reading their story I was struck with genuine awe and shed tears.

Eternal rest grant unto them Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

random thoughts on a sick day

  • I'm sick at home. My nose started running at work yesterday like a waterfall. Since I was sitting at the reference desk that was a nuisance. My eyes are running, my joints ache and I weaved a couple of times while walking to the bus last night. So, I'm giving myself up to bed, Tylenol Severe Cold medicine, weird fever dreams and Net surfing.

  • Rorate Caeli has stopped allowing comments. On one hand I think it was a shrewd move but truthfully the blog  isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be.

  • I was reading a extreme (their description, not mine) prepping site last week and got disgusted after a few minutes. Too many of the posters seem to be looking forward  to a total break down of society and plan to let their inner wild man go free.  That's a totally different mindset than  being  prepared for civil  unrest and natural disaster.

  • Certain people are making themselves look ridiculous concerning Pope Francis' interview with the old atheist.  They are so desperate to make what the Holy Father said go away that they are attacking the 89 year old reporter as being either a liar or senile.  Okay, let's say the quite elderly man  made it all up.  That's possible and he is an atheist with an agenda after-all. And yet, if that's true, why hasn't the Vatican issued a statement to that effect? Perhaps the old man's mind is going, although I doubt that, but there was ample opportunity for a Vatican spokesman to say gently, that the reporter got some stuff wrong. This frantic explaining away everything the Holy Father is embarrassing.

  • Rest in peace Nancy Verhelst. What a tragedy. Poor, poor little unloved girl. People have reacted in justified horror at the callous words of Verhelst's mother but it's obvious that her father failed catastrophically as well.

  • Regina magazine is a very pleasant read.

  • In all the years I've been going to Mass I've only heard two priests who repeatedly preached strongly against abortion and they were considered rare birds by many people. The latter had to put up with rudeness from by the Baby Boomers in the parish who wanted him to preach happy talk instead. I thought of that when I listened to Michael Voris this week.


Monday, October 07, 2013

Sacred Heart

The unknown artist who painted this work depicts Our Lord wearing  the rope of  his captors and the red cloak used to mock His kingship being adored by Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the two promoters of the devotion to His Most Sacred Heart.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Mass Without pews---wartime edition

 Mass for Marines in Khe Sanh, Vietnam

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Novice

William Frith Powell was English but didn't seem to be affected by the usual unapologetic anti Catholic sentiment at least in the beautiful rendering of this painting. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Crying in the Chapel

This song reached number one on the R&B charts. The Elvis Presley version was number three on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and number one in England. Other recordings, including the original which was sung by the author's son, were big hits in Country Western, Gospel and Ella Fitzgerald had great success with a Jazz version. Can you imagine this happening today?

random thoughts

  • Oh dear. Rod Dreher is whining again. He will never get off the pot and go on with his life. He's just going to sit there screaming for  our attention.
  • New Yorkers really aren't all that tough. They just look the part.  Baltimoreans call you honey and baby but they really are tough.The Church is in no better shape in Latin America than it is here and most middle class people have no idea of what they speak when they talk about the poor.
  • People here in Northern Virginia are freaking out over the government shut down. You'd think the Federal workers were in danger of starving.

  • I'm a librarian (law, not public), but I have no problem with censorship of children's books. If you want Fifty Shades of Gray in the teen section of the public library I think decent people should refuse to acknowledge your presence in a room. I read  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and yes, it is a gripping, unforgettable book but an innocent nine year old doesn't need to read it. A little girl or boy doesn't need to know about what life is like with a mother who is a harlot or what being raped by that mother's vengeful rejected boyfriend is like. Yes, Maya Angelou triumphs (in part) over the nightmare episode of her childhood but this is NOT a child's book.  I think kids should be protected. Oh and those Twilight Moms are creepy. If you are okay with your twelve year old dreaming about sex with a six foot tall, sparkly reanimated corpse  buy the books your own silly self. Don't demand that they be in the youth section of the public library.

a madonna