Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

Click here for Arlo Guthrie's classic, "Alice's Restaurant".  A Thanksgiving tradition.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Catholic roots of Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving.  The feast of family, food, football, and "Black Friday".

But does it have Catholic roots?

This article gives some interesting history.  Check it out.

Canada wrap-up

I'm sorry that I'm only now getting around to putting fingers to keyboard, but time slipped away upon my arrival home last Monday. In my last entry I said I was heading off to Niagara Falls, which I did do, but upon my arrival I found a sign on the door of the hotel's Business Center which read, "Sorry, internet service not working".

All in all, it was a great trip up north. Some people don't think there is such a thing as a relaxing vacation in a cold climate, but there are things like hats and gloves and sweatshirts, y'know?   Others posit, "How can you go on vacation alone?" But let me tell you, while I do enjoy the times I go away with friends and family, there is something freeing about not having to wonder what the other person(s) on the trip want to do. Would anyone else want to spend 2 hours at the Hockey Hall of Fame? No way (unless I was being inducted). Of course, with regards to the supernatural level, one of the best things about being a Priest is that you can say Mass whatever time you want, without worrying about how far away the local parish is and what their Mass schedule is. But enough with me writing; how about some pictures...

Making my way through customs into Canada

Tim Horton's = the Dunkin' Donuts of Canada,
and my first stop.  I have arrived!

The entrance to the Hockey Hall of Fame

The Stanley Cup

The Air Canada Centre - home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I forgot my camera, so this was taken with my phone.

On the ground,
looking up at the CN (Canadian National) Tower

and...... the tower, looking down on Toronto

The XM satellite radio studio,
home to NHL Home Ice (channel 204)

The gang at "Hockey This Morning"
were great to welcome me

Outside St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto,
a plaque give its history

Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant
(try the meat loaf!)

I've got a Bachelor's and 2 Master's Degrees,
and I have no idea what this means.

Maple Leaf Gardens
home to the Leafs from 1931 to 1999

A view of Niagara Falls
from outside the hotel

The American Falls
and the Rainbow Bridge

The Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls

Me at the HSBC Center in Buffalo,
The Sabres are doing their pre-game warm up

Ryan Miller rocks!

In nearby St. Catherine's,
watching the Sudbury Wolves
and the Niagara Ice Dogs

Me and the youngest of the Staal brothers,
who plays for the Wolves.

The Carmelites have a retreat center
located above the falls.
Previously, it was Mount Carmel College.

The Carmelite chapel

The Carmelite cemetery,
located next door in the parish
of Our Lady of Peace

Next door is "Loretto House",
a former convent, boarding school and retreat house.
The sisters recently sold it.
(this was taken from the falls looking up)

Back to the USA

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No photos yet, sorry

Greetings from snowy Toronto. It's cold here, but I hear it's cold at home, too. It's been great wandering around the city.

Today's walk:
  • The museum at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre
  • the CN Tower
  • lunch at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant
  • a pilgrimage to the Maple Leaf Gardens

Tomorrow I'm off to Niagara Falls for the last part of my trip. More to come.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm having trouble uploading pictures at the moment, so you'll have to be content with text.

I just got back to the hotel after going to the Air Canada Centre for a game between the Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. My fingers are a bit numb from the weather, but it's a blast walking around Toronto. Today I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame and spent about 2 hours wandering about (pronounced "aBOOT" up here). I flew into Buffalo and drove up from there last night.

Oh, Canada! The land of Tim Horton's on every block! If I can figure out the pics thing I've got some great ones. If not, well, they'll wait until I get home. Tomorrow I head over the the XM radio studios for NHL Home Ice. They were nice enough to offer me a chance to check the studios out, so who knows, if you listen to XM205 at the end of Hockey This Morning or the start of The War Room, maybe they'll let me say hello.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the road

Starting this afternoon, I'm away for a vacation up north.  I don't know whether I'll have internet access.  So, this site might either get quiet for a week, or have some cool pictures.

Where to?  Ontario!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gutsy move

The Associated Press is running an article about Fr. Jay Scott Newman, the Pastor of Saint Mary's parish in Greenville,  South Carolina, who is attempting to teach his flock that "actions have consequences."  Check it out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feast of St. Leo the Great

Today's Feast day always reminds me that Pope Leo's altar is one of my favorite altars to say Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.  Some of you may remember the blog entry I did a few months ago about the "nuts and bolts" of saying Mass at St. Peter's.

I like it for a few reasons:
  1. It's in the back, left corner of the Basilica, a nice, quiet, out of the way place.
  2. I mean, c'mon, how great is it that this is you're saying Mass over Pope Leo's relics?  He was the first Pope to be buried at St. Peter's Basilica.  Before this, Pope were buried in a cemetery outside of town.  In the previous Basilica he was under the porch.  He was moved to his present location in 1606.
  3. The altarpiece is an excellent bas-relief sculpture of the meeting between Pope Leo and Attila the Hun.  It was completed in the mid 1600s.  I love Leo pointing up at the angry looking Sts. Peter and Paul, who look ready to pounce on Attila.  To see a really good closeup of it, click this link to the Web Gallery of Art, then go to the bottom index, and click on the letter "A".  In the list, click on Alessandro Algardi (the artist), then follow the links to the sculpture.
  4. If you're standing in front of the altar, about 7 yards away from the rail, look down.  You'll see a slab of marble, under which is the tomb of Pope Leo XII (who died in 1829).  The slab, which Leo placed there himself, has an inscription (which he wrote himself) that essentially says that he was the least of the Popes who were heirs to the name Leo.
Fogey Priests, when in Rome you need to say Mass at this altar (unless I'm there, then get out of my way!).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Memento Mori

A parishioner sent me these: Some clever things on old tombstones.

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, NY
1903 - 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down.
It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland cemetery:

Here lies an Atheist.
All dressed up and no place to go.

In a London cemetery:

Here lies Anne Mann.
She lived an old maid but died an old Mann.

In a Ribbesford, England cemetery:

Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Clark Wallace wanted a wife,
And the devil sent him Anna.

On a grave in Nantucket, Massachusetts:

Under the sod and under the trees,
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod.
Pease shelled out and went to God.

Another great NLM article

Regular readers may remember the posting I did entitled, "Armor", in which I discussed the supernatural dimension of the Mass vestments worn by Priests, as well as some commentary about the way sacristys have become "backstage before the show".

Well, whilst browsing the New Liturgical Movement website, I came across an article written (a week later) by Shawn Tribe which reinforces what I had written.  Definitely worth a read.

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

The gang at New Liturgical Movement have a great blog entry for today's feast day.

Also, the Sacred Destinations website has another nice entry.

Check them out.

OK, get back on the ledge.

From an Associated Press article which Drudge Report linked to:

"Presidents long have used executive orders to impose policy and set priorities. One of Bush's first acts was to reinstate full abortion restrictions on U.S. overseas aid. The restrictions were first ordered by President Reagan and the first President Bush followed suit. President Clinton lifted them soon after he occupied the Oval Office and it wouldn't be surprising if Obama did the same."

"Bush used his executive power to limit federal spending on embryonic stem cell research, a position championed by opponents of abortion rights who argue that destroying embryos is akin to killing a fetus. Obama has supported the research in an effort to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's. Many moderate Republicans also support the research, giving it the stamp of bipartisanship."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

OK, come off the ledge.

Things to ponder on "the day after":

1. We'll have a President named "Barack".  It's not exactly the most popular name you've ever heard.  But let's look at the bigger picture: When it comes to Presidents, we've had a Millard, a Ulysses, a Rutherford, a Chester, a Grover (he was so nice they elected him twice), a Woodrow, a Calvin, a Herbert, a Dwight, and a Lyndon.  Life goes on.  We'll adapt.

2. We'll have a Catholic Vice President who is not exactly the poster boy for orthodoxy.  Is he the first Catholic who thought he could treat doctrine like a "build your own sundae" bar?  Chances are we can all fire off the names of at least five people we see every day who do the same.  So is he the first high profile Roman Catholic in public office to think that?  Can anyone say Kennedy, Pelosi, or in New Jersey, McGreevey?  But as Catholics, we also believe that there's always hope for the sinner to come home.  I mean, really, one good confession and Biden is back, baby!

3. Catholics have crept one step closer to thinking that we can decide doctrine by popular vote.  This morning at daily Masses around the country, some Catholics are coming in with big grins on their faces like they snuck in after curfew without their parents' knowledge.  Other Catholics are coming in with faces that look like their puppy got run over.  Both may slip into feeling that this election somehow decided the fact that abortion is now somehow acceptable or permissible; It still is not.  Truth does not get determined by a popularity contest.  This election may have been about who gets to sit in the Oval Office as well as about five thousand other government agencies for the next four years, but it wasn't about who gets to say what's right and what's wrong.  That job was never on the table.

There might be more of these as the day goes on.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Souls spiritual reading

These all come from the Ignatius Press blog, so a thanks to them.

To Trace All Souls Day by Fr. Brian Van Hove, SJ, in St. Louis.

On November: All Souls and "Permanent Things" by Fr. James Schall, SJ, of Georgetown University.

Purgatory: Service Shop for Heaven by Fr. Anthony Zimmerman