Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday night

The view tonight just before Stations and Adoration. Myself and my two Deacons rotate who presides; it's nice to be able to just sit in a pew and pray.


From today's bulletin of the Vatican Information Service:

VATICAN CITY, 26 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:- Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Toamasina, Madagascar, raising the current diocese of Toamasina to the status of metropolitan church and assigning it the suffragan dioceses of Ambatondrazaka, Moramanga and Fenoarivo-Atsinana.

Hmmmm, Madagascar? new province? Anyone want to be a bishop? I know four guys.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mount Media

In response to someone who asked about where they can get the Abp. Dolan talks, here is a LINK to a website for a guy who records all the retreats. He also has some fine photos of the Mount, the grotto, and the Emmitsburg area.

Ode to the Church

In my trips to the gym, lately I've been listening to talks given by Abp. Dolan at a retreat he gave at Mount St. Mary's Seminary back in 2008. In the talk I listened to this morning, he read a poem by the Italian poet Carlo Carretto, entitled, "Ode to the Church":

Now much I criticize you, my church,
and yet how much I love you!
You have made my suffer more than anyone
and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.
I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
You have given me much scandal
and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised,
more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure,
more generous or more beautiful.
Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face -
and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!
No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you,
even if not completely you.
Then too - where would I go? To build another church?
But I could not build one without the same defects,
for they are my defects.
And again, if I were to build another church,
it would be my church, not Christ's church.
No, I am old enough, I know better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lent: Day 7

It's been a bit quiet here when it comes to blog entries. I mean, here we are at the start of Lent; you'd think I would have profound things to say?

So Ash Wednesday (for Priests, "Dirty Thumb Day") came and went, and so the Lenten season has begun. Like most other people, I began with great resolutions: spiritual, person, professional.

How's it been going for me? Nothing so stellar, yet.

But that's the thing with Lent: You can always start again. Lots of people make resolutions that, if they fall, have no intention of going back to it. Sort of a "Zero Tolerance Policy". Lent's not the Olympics: it's not about in what place you finish; it's about the fact that you finish.

Some things have already made me nuts (and these come from south of my locale - across the boundary line in another diocese, lest I be accused of "ratting out" my own diocesan brethren).

I hear a neighboring parish regularly has a Lenten parish penance service at which they give general absolution, and that many Catholics (amongst my parishioners) flock there to avoid individual confessions.

Some parishioners were telling me about a repast they attended after a funeral this past Friday (a Friday of Lent). They encountered a Deacon who was proudly consuming some chicken. When they asked him if a dispensation allowed them to eat meat on a Lenten Friday, this clergyman told them he could do it because he was "over the age" when he didn't have to follow the rules of abstaining from meat, and (checking them out) so could they. Someone needs to tell the Deacon that Canon Law says that being older than 59 can get you out of Lenten fasting, but that's all it gets you. Abstinence from meat, in Canon Law, is something for every Catholic 14 years and above. How long has he thought this way? How many people watched him eat meat and presumed, if a Deacon is doing it, they can do it as well? Would you accept your doctor or lawyer not knowing the rules? I don't know if he doesn't know the rules, or if he knows the rules and chose not to follow them. But either way, not good.

On another front: new bishops for Scranton and Ogdensburg today. I went to seminary with a few Ogdensburg guys, and the Scranton diocese borders part of my own diocese. God bless and sustain both bishops-elect.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

1 Cor 9:25

In a story related to the recent announcement about baseball player Grant Desme's pursuit of the Priestly studies, Yahoo sports has a STORY about Sr. Catherine of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, formerly olympic speedskater Kirstin Holum, and her journey from the life of a world-class athlete to religious life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Video of Dominican Sisters on Oprah

Click here for all four segments from the recent Oprah Winfrey show in which she interviewed religious from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. It was phenomenally positive.

Video of Dominican Sisters on Oprah

Snow in Rome

Anyone who has visited any of Rome's ristorantes, trattorias, osterias, or pizzerias, has seen it: the obligatory picture on the wall of the eatery after one of the rare snowstorms that occur in Rome. The other day one of those such "photo op" snowfalls took place, and Rome Reports has a story about it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

B16 today

From today's Ad Limina address to the Bishops of Scotland:

"Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest’s role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council’s vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church’s mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society."

In the end, it's not what we do, but who we are.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

WARNING - *P.O.D. pics to follow

* P.O.D. = "Piously Over-Devotional"

Today I spent part of my day off up in Newark, visiting St. Lucy's Church on 7th Street (in the shadow of the Cathedral Basilica), a gem of the Archdiocese as well as the State, in my humble opinion. When I was in the seminary, I learned the "POD" term as something used by enlightened liturgists who wrote articles about how "worship spaces" that were filled with such cluttering distractions were not really conducive to worship in a post Vatican II community. The great church historian, Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, used to say something like, "There are no new heresies in the Church; just old ones with new names." The movement in the 70s and 80s to make Catholic churches look like Quaker meeting halls was simply the iconoclast controversy with new window dressing.

Here are some pics I took which show a very POD church. If loving this is so wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

God love you, Blase, but...

... I can't get figure out what the attraction is to this very simple sacramental. I mean, there are your "regulars", and them being there I can understand. But add to the mix the Catholics (albeit bad ones) who don't think they have to go to Mass each Sunday, or go to Confession on a regular basis. Is it superstition? Should we capitalize on people wanting a blessing on certain feast days all year round (just imagine what we would bless on St. Agatha's feast day)?

Here in my little corner of the Lord's vineyard, I blessed throats three times today: once at the daily Mass at 8am, then when CCD was about to end at 5pm (a Liturgy of the Word service), and then for the commuter crowd coming home at 7pm (again a Liturgy of the Word). Morning Mass was more full than usual. The 5pm service had about 75 people (of which 40 were CCD students), and there were about 25 at the 7pm service. Not bad.

PS - poor St. Ansgar. Same feast day. Rarely celebrated.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Cast your nets [for a 3 pointer]"

This is Bishop John Barres of Allentown conducting a basketball clinic, I'm assuming, during Catholic Schools Week. Talk about creative "Thinking outside the box"!