Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas, new arms!

A few years ago, as a gift for the 10th anniversary of my Priestly ordination, my pal, Fr. Guy Selvester (author of the blog Omniapost, Rector of the Shrine Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in our diocese, and a pretty well-known figure in heraldic circles in the U.S. and overseas) designed a coat of arms for me.  As I wrote in a previous blog entry, last October I became a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  My coat of arms changes to reflect this, and so Father Guy has reworked my arms to reflect the change.  Here it is:

  • The decoration of a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre is obviously the new addition.
  • The black galero (hat) identifies me as a Priest.
  • The ecclesial rank of "Priest" is shown heraldically by two tassels, one on either side of the shield.  The two tassels on either side identify me as a Vicar Forane (a.k.a. a "Dean", the Bishop's representative/liaison for a specific geographic territory), an office to which my Bishop has appointed me for a term.  When I am no longer Dean, two of my tassels will disappear.
  • The burning bush commemorates my roots in Judaism.  The moment in salvation history represents God's call given to Moses.  But the bush has also been seen as an foreshadowing of Christ.  Probably the most well known artwork which shows this adorns the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican, in a bronze and brass sculpture called "The Resurrection" by artist Pericle Fazzini.  No, the sculpture in Rome is not one of my favorite pieces of artwork.  It can mean God's call to me to enter the Catholic Church, His call to the Priesthood, or the constant call to holiness that all of us receive.
  • The top of the shield is black, the color most associated with Priests.  The gold fleur-de-lis are symbols of the Blessed Mother as well as the emblem of the Boy Scouts of America. The crescent, a symbol of the Immaculate Conception, appears in the coat of arms of Seton Hall University, at which I attended the College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Andrew's Hall.  The black upper is separated from the yellow lower by a series of small mounds, which represents my major Theology alma mater, Mount Saint Mary's Seminary.
  • The motto below, "Love in Deed and in Truth", comes from 1. John 3:18.
I want to publicly thank Father Guy for his artwork.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Feast of St. Stephen

"Grant, Lord, we pray,
that we may imitate what we worship,
and so learn to love even our enemies,
for we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors."

The Gospels are tough, and now so are Opening Prayers.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2011

A "heat event"?

This is a great link to a story I do not imagine the media will be covering, the possible discovery of the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Sacred Page: Sodom and Gomorrah Excavated: By far the most interesting session at the recent Society of Biblical Literature Congress in San Francisco was one I wandered into by chance...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"To go to a penance service, not tell your sins to a Priest, and leave thinking your forgiven is like going to the Emergency Room, not telling the doctor what hurts, and leave thinking you're all better!"

Last week's bulletin