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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

St. James Cathedral


We haven't had a cathedral for a while, so here's St. James Cathedral in the diocese where I was born, Brooklyn, NY. St. James was the third church built in New York City, and the sixth in the state of New York. The cornerstone was laid in 1822. The first Bishop was installed in 1855; in 1982 St. James was designated a basilica.
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Feast of St. Leander


St. Leander was the Bishop of Seville, Spain in the late 1500's. He is generally credited with introducing the practice of reciting the Nicene Creed during the Mass.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Class Discussion, February 25th

Yesterday, we talked about Gethsemane and Golgotha, and what happened at each place. I briefly talked about the new movie, "Amazing Grace", William Wilberforce and John Newton. Finally, we went through the Stations of the Cross and reviewed the concept of indulgences.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Feast of St. Ethelbert


St. Ethelbert (552 AD - 616 AD) was the King of Kent and worshipped Odin until relatively late in life. Even though not a Catholic at first, he was a firm believer in the freedom of worship and even gave an old Roman church to the Catholics in Canterbury.

When he converted to Catholicism in 597 AD, as many as 10,000 of his countrymen followed his example. He became the protector of the Church in England.
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Quiz for February 25th

It's an easy one.

Gethsemani and Golgotha. Who, what, when, where and/or how?

Friday, February 23, 2007


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From Catholic Online:

LOUISVILLE, KY (Catholic Online) – The head of the company internationally known as a fast-food chicken vendor has made an appeal to Pope Benedict XVI to bless its new fish offering.

In a statement released Feb. 18, Ash Wednesday, KFC said its president, Gregg Dedrick, sent a personal letter to the pope asking for a papal blessing for the KFC's new Fish Snacker Sandwich, noting that the fast-food item “is ideal for American Catholics who want to observe Lenten season traditions while still leading their busy, modern lifestyles.”

The company’s statement noted that Vatican officials confirmed receipt of the request concerning the $0.99 (USD) sandwich, adding that KFC “is hopeful to get the pope's blessing this Lenten season.”

"People can enjoy the flavor of the new Fish Snacker any day of the week, but we believe it will be especially popular on Fridays," said James O'Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC.

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., has more than 14,000 franchised outlets in more than 80 countries and territories around the world, serving some 12 million customers each day, according to company figures.

Snow White and the Seven Latin Dwarfs


Left to right: Somniculosus, Beatus, Mediculus, Fatuus, Severus, Verecundus, and Sternuens.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter


A feast day for a piece of furniture? What's that all about?

A hint - it's not about the chair. It's about the person who filled the chair, St. Peter - the first pope and Prince of the Apostles. Christ told him, "You are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church" and "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

After the Ascension, Peter was unquestionably the leader of the Apostles. He chose the replacement for Judas Iscariot, was the first to preach to the crowds after the Holy Spirit descended at Pentacost, and was the first of the Apostles to perform miracles in God's name. He encouraged others to preach to the Gentiles, leading to the "universal" church.

Peter has two other feast days - June 29th and November 18th.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday, Part II

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Let us remember what Aelfric of Eynsham said:

"We read", he says,

" in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast. "

And then he enforces this recommendation by the terrible example of a man who refused to go to church for the ashes on Ash Wednesday and who a few days after was accidentally killed in a boar hunt (Ælfric, Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, I, 262-266).

Ash Wednesday

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Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feast Day of St. Eucherius


St. Eucherius was born in Orleans, France, but after his wife died, he entered a monastary and eventually became the Bishop of Lyon.

Orleans was a busy place, saint-wise. St. Euchirius was born there, as was St. Isaac Jogues. Joan of Arc got her first major battle victory during the Hundred Years War here in 1429. Some of the side altars in Orleans' Cathedral of Ste.-Croix (pictured) date from the 12th Century!
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Trivia Question for February 18


Popes are the subject of today's quiz...

1) How many Popes have there been in the history of the Church?

2) Name the last FIVE.

3) Tell me something about them ...not ALL of them, just the last five (just a sentence or two).
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Soccer and the Church


My 4th grade teacher, Sister Gemma, used to tell us that "Idle minds are the devil's workshop, and idle hands his tools." I am therefore concerned about this.
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Regarding Saints and Feast Days...

I do my best to be accurate when I write about the saints, but there are very often discrepancies in the research I do.

Let me give you an example:

Onesimus was converted by St. Paul - of this there is little doubt. But did Onesimus:

1) Seek out St. Paul on his own?
2) Get introduced to St. Paul by someone?
3) End up in prison for stealing from Philomene and meet St. Paul while incarcerated?

I usually go with the commonly accepted information. In the big picture, does it matter? To me, no. The important thing is to think about the piety, sacrifice, and holiness of these remarkable men and women and to aspire to be more like them.

Although I would prefer not to be crucified, stoned, beheaded, burned at the stake, raked with sheep combs, or thrown to wild beasts.

Feast of St. Onesimus



St. Onesimus was a Saints Philemon and his wife, Saint Apphia. He ran away after stealing from his owners to try to find St. Paul - which wasn't hard to do, since he was in prison. St. Paul converted Oneimus and then sent him back to Philemon to apologize, with a letter written by Paul - now known as the "Epistle to Philemon".

Philemon freed Onesimus, who returned to St. Paul and became an apostle. He was martyred in 95 A.D.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Holding Hands During the Lord's Prayer

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I am not a fan of holding hands during the Our Father at Mass, although I have no problems if YOU want to. To avoid conflict, I am going to order one of these:

"The "Our Father Holding Hand" is a one-size fits all that you can easily slip on your real hand and then slip it off discretly so the progressive congregant to your left or right has a hand to hold. Meanwhile, your real hands are now reverently folded so that you can pray the Lord's Prayer without getting stuck in that giant 60's style peace chain."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Feast of St. Cyril


St. Valentine gets all the press, but it's also St. Cyril's feast day today. Valentine is responsible for a lot of really bad poetry; Cyril, on the other hand, invented the Gagolitic alphabet!
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Time for Jeopardy!


OK, you smartie pants 7th and 8th graders, here's your trivia for February 18. Remember, you must answer in the form of a question.

The answer is Hanno, the white elephant.
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Feast of St. Catherine de Ricci


St. Catherine de Ricci settled in the city of Prato, whose Cathedral is pictured above. The cathedral was built not long after her death and is the home of some stunning frescoes.

Here's what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about St. Catherine de Ricci:

"She is chiefly known to the world for her highly mystical and miraculous life, and especially as the subject of a marvellous, but fully and most carefully authenticated ecstasy, into which she was rapt every week, from Thursday at noon till 4 p.m. on Friday, for several years. In this state she went through all the stages of Our Lord's Passion, actually realizing, and showing forth to others with wonderful vividness, all that His Blessed Mother suffered in witnessing it."
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Monday, February 12, 2007



Ameren's rate increase has affected more people then I thought.
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

And Now, A Message From Pope Benedict

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Quiz for February 11


What is this called, and what is it for?
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A Church I'd Like to Visit

It's in Australia, just outside of Sydney. They are looking for the "crest of honor" from the U.S.S. Patterson for display:

Regina Coeli Parish Beverly Hills was established as a Parish in 1946. The first Parish Priest was Father William Evans who during the Second World War was a Chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy. He served on the HMAS "Canberra" and was on board when the "Canberra" was sunk off Savo Island in August 1942. He was rescued by the USS "Paterson" and was also present at the battle of the Coral Sea. This experience naturally had a great effect on Father Evans who developed a deep respect for the Americans and a desire to commemorate the friendship between Australia and the United States. The Parish Church commemorates Australian and American friendship in war and peace, and is also a war memorial to those who gave their lives in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The foundation of the church was laid by His Eminence. Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, on Coral Sea Sunday, 6th May 1962 and the church was officially opened on Coral Sea Sunday, 5th May 1963.

Feast of St. Scholastica

Afraid of thunder storms? St. Scholastica can intercede for you!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Faith and girls basketball

From ESPN:

With nothing for certain, the people work, they dream and they pray. They get up early and go to 7:10 Mass, kneeling in their Wranglers. One morning before the tournament began, the priest looked out over the toughest people he'd ever met, and he read from the Gospel.

"All you see here," he told them, "the day will come when you will not see another stone upon a stone."

"When you die here, 400 people walk you out of that church," says Nazareth native Darryl Birkenfeld.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Butter Tower of Rouen


A while back, I posted some paintings by Monet of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen, France. It's where parts of Richard the Lionheart are buried. The tower on the right is the Tour de Buerre (Butter Tower) which was built around 1500 AD. It's called the Butter Tower because it was paid for by Catholics who were willing to pay the Church to be allowed to eat butter during Lent!
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Last Sunday's Class

Last Sundayour discussion centered around the coming of the Lenten season. In particular we focused on the idea of fasting and how the concept of fasting has changed in the Church. During the Middle Ages, fasting was expected every day during Lent. Meat and other animal products were forbidden - which included eggs and lard. So it made sense that the weeek leading up to Lent was a time to clean out the fridge (I know, I know - they didn't have refrigerators). The day before Lent is called Pancake Day in England (gotta use up the eggs!) and Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in a lot of locations. New Orleans throws a big Mardi Gras Carnival. Carnival?

The word carnival has Latin roots - either "carnem" or "caro" for meat and either "levare" for lighten or "vale" for farewell. Either way, it means no meat for a while.

Lent lasts forty days, so we also talked about the symbolism of the number 40 and thought of examples from the bible.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quiz for Febuary 4

Sorry, gang...I had to work yesterday and ran out of time.

Mea Culpa.

Thursday, February 01, 2007



Where St. Brigid (for the most part) and St. Patrick are buried. Do I need to remind you that it's in Ireland?

I have seen it referred to as Down Cathedral, Downpatrick Cathedral, and the Down Cathedral in Downpatrick.
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Feast of Saint Brigid

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St. Brigid is the Patroness of Ireland. Some say she was baptized by Saint Patrick. Pictured above is St. Brigid's Cross which arises from this legend:

"A pagan chieftain from the neighbourhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Brigid to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Brigid sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Brigid stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing

Afte she died, three knights took her skull with them when they went to fight in the Crusades. The skull is now intered in a small town near Lisbon, Portugal - except for a small piece which has been returned here.