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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How Does a Catholic Homeschooler Change a Light Bulb

From this site (I'm not a regular at this site so I can not vouch for its content):

How Does A Catholic Homeschooler Change A Lightbulb?

First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison, and write a brief narration.

Second, the Big Book of Saints is consulted to see whom are the patron saints of light and/or electricity and the kids argue over pronounciation of the saints' names.

Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles which brings to mind the Feast of St. Blaise and the blessing of the neck with twin candles held by the local parish priest which is coming up on Feb 3rd. This reminds everyone that Saint Valentine's Day is less than two weeks after that!

Everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.

On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill. This brings to mind President's Day in which brings up the discussion of holidays in which the older children tell the younger that this is really a Catholic word, Holy-Days.

Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, a quick prayer is said, and the light bulb is installed. And there is light...! Mom thanks their Guardian Angels that no one got electrocuted and St. Scholastica for her daily intercession and very appreciated patronage of which she could not do without. (St. Scholastica's Feast Day is Feb 10th)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Does this makes sense?

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This beautiful window is in the St. Mary, Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin, Australia...

"A feature of the Cathedral is the striking stained-glass window, representing Our Lady, Star of the Sea. The artist, Mr William Bustard of Brisbane, has brought this out by placing a star atop the window, from which rays radiate downwards. Immediately under the star is a representation of the Madonna and Child. Then there is an expanse of sky through which three seabirds are flying, and underneath a symbolic representation of the sea, with fish, and waves in blue.

Three cherubs decorate the apex of the window. One is black to represent the Aborigines among the congregation. The window was donated to the Cathedral in memory of relatives of the Byrne brothers of Tipperary Station."

Now why take a window as fascinating as this ...

St. Mary, Star of the Sea Cathedral


And put it in a cathedral that looks like this?
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Sunday's class

Yesterday we talked about the Gospels and the men who wrote them. We read the opening lines for each of the gospels. AND we talked briefly about St. Thomas Aquinas.

Remember when we got to the Gospel of St. John? The one who starts out talking baseball (In the big inning...)? And I told you that while we read "In the beginning was the Word" the original word "logos" could be translated to "logic or reason"?

Well, look what the Pope was talking about yesterday:

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2007 / 12:44 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI used this week's Angelus to return to one of his favorite topics: the relation of Faith and Reason. Citing the example of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day was Sunday, Benedict urged the faithful to remember that faith and reason are not exclusionary principles.

"When man limits his thoughts to only material objects . . . he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God," the Holy Father said. While modern science has granted mankind numerous benefits, he explained, it has also led many to believe that the only real things are those which can be experimented with.”

According to Benedict, man must "rediscover human rationality in a new way, open to the light of the divine Logos and His perfect revelation that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man."

Saturday, January 27, 2007


The pyx shown below has the symbols Chi and Rho on its face. What does Chi Rho represent?

Quiz for January 28


St. Jerome interpreted the four creatures mentioned in Ezechiel and Revelations to represent the four gospel writers. You know the writers, now tell me which creature is matched to each:

1) Man
2) Lion
3) Eagle
4) Ox
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Friday, January 26, 2007

When to Genuflect

"According to Msgr. Peter J. Elliot in Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (Ignatius Press), genuflection on one knee is reserved for: 1) Our Lord present in the Eucharist on the altar, in the tabernacle, monstrance or pyx; 2) the cross during its veneration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil; 3) a relic of the true cross exposed for veneration."

Wow! The monstrance and the pyx! Do you know what they are?

The Pyx


The pyx is used to transport the consecrated host.
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The Monstrance


The monstrance is a vessel used to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host during Benedictions and Adorations.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25 - The Conversion of Saint Paul


Today we contemplate the conversion of St. Paul.
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The painter is Caravaggio, considered at one time to be "the most famous painter in Rome." He was a trouble maker - after being inducted into the Knights of Malta, he was eventually thrown out for being "a foul and rotten member." He did two paintings of beheadings - David with Goliath's head, and St. John the Baptist's head on a platter. In both cases, he used his own image as the head. Pretty weird...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mystery SOLVED!


What a break! Peter Paul Rubens was there to paint the scene! It's a chasuble!
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This says St. Ildephonsus was given not a chasuble, but a chalice! What's going on? Did he get both?

Update to the update:

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "...the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honouring her."

Mary gave Ildephonsus a WHAT?


She gave him a chasuble. A chasuble is the outermost garment a priest wears when he offers Mass. The one pictured here (and a not a very attractive one, in my opinion) is a modern one. The more traditional version is called a "fiddleback" and has the front part scooped out and smaller than the back half.
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Feast of Saint Ildephonsus

He was from Toledo..not Ohio, the other one. Although it may not be true, this is a nice story:

"The legend narrates how St. Ildephonsus, going to the church by night, found our Blessed Lady seated in the apse ....with a choir of virgins around her who were singing her praises. Then St. Ildephonsus approached "making a series of genuflections and repeating at each of them those words of the Angel's greeting: `Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb'". Our Lady then showed her pleasure at this homage and rewarded the saint with the gift of a beautiful chasuble (Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B., saec V, pref., no. 119). The story, however, in this explicit form cannot be traced further back than Hermann of Laon at the beginning of the twelfth century."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today's Quiz

In the posting I did about Father VanAmburgh, I closed with some Latin. What does it say, and where is it from?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Father Donald VanAmburgh


Father Donald VanAmburgh died on December 26, 2006.

Father Van was my High School principal and my baseball coach when I attended Seton Catholic High School in Endicott, NY from 1969 through 1973. He was offered a chance to tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was smart enough to be an civil engineer,like his father. But he chose the priesthood instead.

Playing baseball for him was a treat. He was one of those guys who could hit balls one-handed anywhere he wanted them to go. I played centerfield when I wasn't pitching and he would hit fungoes to me during practice - but never AT me. Run to the left; run to the right.

My favorite memories of Father Van are the annual "State of the School" addresses. He would come on to the stage in his cassock to a standing ovation, and leave to another standing ovation. Think about that kids - the PRINCIPAL given a standing ovation!

In his later years, I would hear from him through my mom. I kept thinking to myself I should write him a letter and tell him what a huge influence he had been on my life...but never did. I regret it so I will have to tell him face-to-face in heaven. I know he'll be there; I've got some work to do.

"Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam."
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

World Freehand Circle Drawing Champion

From Wikpedia:
"In the fourteenth century Pope Benedictus XII was selecting artists to work for the Vatican, requesting from each applicant a sample of his ability. Although the Florentines painter Giotto (1266-1337) was known as a master of design and composition, he submitted only a circle drawn freehand, the famous "0 of Giotto." Yet he was awarded the commission. Why? What's so impressive about a simple circle?

There's more to a circle than just a curved line. It's a wonderful first glyph of nature's alphabet. Every circle is identical. They only differ in size. Each circle you see or create is a profound statement about the transcendental nature of the universe. Expanding from the "nowhere" of its dimensionless center to the infinitely many points of its circumference, a circle implies the mysterious generation from nothing to everything. Its radius and circumference are never both measurable at the same time in similar units due to their mutual relation to the transcendental value known as "pi" = 3.1415926 . . . When either the radius or circumference is measurable in whole, rational units, the other is an endless, irrational decimal. Thus, a circle represents the limited and unlimited in one body.

Giotto's perfectly drawn circle communicated this universal ideal."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Feast Day of St. Apollinaris

I stand behind no man in my admiration for Saint Apollinaris, but do we really have to close the Post Office and banks in his honor?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Congratulations to our Quiz WInner!

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Marriage at Cana


This work is by Giotto Di Bondone (1266-1337). I'm assuming that's St. John sitting two down from Jesus. He's the only Gospel writer to mention the wedding in his writings.
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Class Discussion, January 14

The quiz answers come first. I am especially interested in the answer to the third question. That will be followed with the weekly discussion of the saints.

We'll talk about the readings, especially the Gospel and the wedding feast at Cana. What does it mean?

If there's time we'll talk about the new wallpaper in the church hall. What's that tower in the middle of St. Peter's Square?

Feast Day of St Hilary of Poitiers


St. Hilary is a Doctor of the Church. He summed up the the conflict with the Aryan heretics this way: "They didn't know who they were."

Class, any idea what he meant?
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Another Major League Soccer Signing!


To keep up with the LA Galaxy and their signing of David Beckham, The Chicago Fire has signed Pope Benedict XVI.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quiz for January 14


Whoo! Talk about stylin'! It's another three part question. The photo shows a member of an organization commonly sighted in Rome.

1) In 1512, this group was given the title of "Defenders of the Church's Freedom". What is their more familiar name?

2) Who was the Pope who gave them their name?

3) Who would look better dressed like this:

A) Tom Cerny
B) Father Federico
C) Me

Good luck!
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quiz Winner!


Congratulations to Mary Blakley, who correctly answered all three parts to this week's quiz!
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Rock ON, Monsignor Frisila!


OK, "rock on" may not be right.

But the Monsignor has a groovy website!
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"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate"

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Rome monsignor has composed an extravagant musical version of "The Divine Comedy," featuring symphonic music in heaven, Gregorian chant in purgatory and hard rock in hell.

That's not a value judgment on rock music -- it just seemed to fit the spirit of rebellion in Dante's description of the inferno, Msgr. Marco Frisina told Vatican Radio Jan. 4.

Msgr. Frisina, a liturgy official for the Diocese of Rome and a well-known composer of religious music, said the new work, "The Divine Comedy: The Opera," will use a 100-piece orchestra, 50 dancers and singers, and more than 250 costumes.

I personally would go with rap music in hell instead of rock. But I wouldn't use "Brookalicious".

Monday, January 08, 2007

Reims Cathedral


I really like looking at Catholic Cathedrals (could you tell?). It reminds me of the history and pageantry that is part of our faith. This is the Cathedral Notre-Dame in Reims, France. Kings of France were coronated here, beginning with Clovis who was a convert to Catholicism and baptized here in 496AD!. Clovis is considered the founder of France -that was considered a good thing at that time.
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sunday, January 7 Class Plan

We'll start with a quick review of the two American Saints whose Feast Days were celebrated this week. Then we'll find out the answers to this week's quiz. That will wrap up the American history part of the program.

After that, we'll talk about the Mass readings and the Epiphany. What is an epiphany? Why is it important? Who were the "Three Kings"? And why were they smoking exploding cigars?

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Quiz for January 7

Click here.

Maybe There Aren't as Many Catholics As We Thought


If the sign holder is right, we lost Pelosi, Kennedy, Durbin, Kerry, and a bunch more.
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We're NUMBER 1!!!

The breakdown for the 535 members of the 110th Congress being sworn in Thursday:

Catholic 155; Baptist 67; Methodist 61; Presbyterian 44; Jewish 43; Episcopal 37; Protestant nondenominational 26; Christian nondenominational 18; Lutheran 17; Mormon 15; United Church of Christ 7.

Eastern Orthodox 5; Christian Science 5; Assemblies of God 4; Unitarian Universalist 2; African Methodist Episcopal 2; Buddhists 2; Evangelical 2; Seventh Day Adventists 2; Christian Reformed 2; Disciples of Christ 2; Church of Christ 2; Congregational Baptist 1; Anglican 1.

Reorganized Mormon 1; Quaker 1; Church of God 1; Muslim 1; Evangelical Lutheran 1; Church of the Nazarene 1; Evangelical Methodist 1.

No affiliation 6.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Feast Dayof St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first American born saint. She was born in New York City in 1774 at the above location; if you ever get to The City you can find it near Battery Park (which is where you get on the boat to visit the Statue of Liberty).

Ill tell you more about her in class!
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Quiz for January 7

Since we haven't held class for so long, I an going to give a THREE part quiz. The questions have to do with Catholicism in American history.

1) The earliest known Catholic Mass in what is now the United States was offered in this city. The city itself is named for a convert to Catholicism who later was named a Doctor of the Church. The state is named after the Spanish words for "flowery festival" which is usually used to refer to the Easter season.

2)The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace was dedicated in 1843 and is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in America. Where is it? Here's a hint - Father Damien was ordained in this cathedral.

3) Catholics were sparse on the ground in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Fifty-six men signed it...and only one was a Catholic. He was from Maryland, of course. This man ended up being the last signer to die, at the age of 95! Who was he?

January 3 - Feast of St. Genevieve


What this cartoon DOESN'T mention is that Attila decided to attack Orleans (future home of Joan of Arc) instead.
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

St. Mary's Church in Lancaster, PA


I was in Lancaster, PA. last week. Lancaster is a beautiful and very old (by American standards) city located in the Pennsyvania Dutch country. The original settlers weren't Dutch - they were German (deutsch).

The church in the pictures is St. Mary's, which was built on the site of a log chapel first used by German Jesuit priests to celebrate mass around 1742. St. Mary's is the 4th oldest Catholic congregation in what is now America.

Interestingly, by the mid-1850s the immigrant Irish outnumbered the Germans at St. Mary's so a new church was built for the Germans. The name? Why, St. Joseph's, of course!
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