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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dominican Sisters of Mary on the Today Show

Girls of the 5th and 6th grade class:

Since you don't want to serve Mass, would you at least consider this?

And by the way - becoming a nun (or priest, or even server) is NOT about what you give up. It's what you GAIN that counts!

Quiz for April 1st

Congratulations! You have been named Pope!

After a long and faithful reign, you are old, sick, and unable to keep up the pace. So you think about retiring...

The question is:

Can a Pope retire or resign? If so, is there a special term for such an act?

Feast of Saint Benjamin

St. Benjamin was a Deacon who was martyred in 424. He was a Persian (current day Iran) who was arrested and tortured, but finally gained his freedom as long as he promised not to preach anymore. St. Benjamin couldn't do it; he was re-arrested, tortured, and finally impaled on a stake.

Not to be confused with the son of Jacob and Rachel and forebearer of one of the tribes of Israel...

Friday, March 30, 2007

SAINT John Paul II?

He may have moved a step closer to sainthood with the announcement that Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre has been cured of Parkinson's Disease after she and the other nuns in the Order of the Little Sisters of Catholic Maternities prayed to Pope John Paul II for his intercession.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pope Says You CAN Go To Hell!

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According to The Australian newspaper...

HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, the Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the inferno".

Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more".

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Feast of St. Catherine...and a QUIZ!


Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Sweden, whose mother Bridget is also a saint. The painting is based on the revelation by the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bridget that she gave birth to Jesus while kneeling in prayer and felt no pain.

So the quiz question is:

Can you name another mother-daughter saint combination?
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If You Lived in Phoenix, You'd be Confirmed Already

PHOENIX (CNS) -- Nearly two years after parishes in the Phoenix Diocese were asked to restore the order of the sacraments of initiation and begin confirming third-graders before they receive the Eucharist, students, families and parish leaders are still adjusting. Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said the restored order "has gone remarkably well," thanks to everyone working together. He detailed the reasoning for the changes in a 2005 pastoral letter. Restoring the order means that, after being baptized, young Catholics are next confirmed and then, at the same Mass, receive first Communion. Changing the order of the sacraments and the age of confirmation has required parishes to host programs for young Catholics ages 8-16. This is the last year in the process. Carol Gastelum, associate director of catechesis for the diocese, said many Catholics viewed confirmation as a sign of maturity, but it isn't. "It's a seal on one's baptism," she said. The early church recognized the link between the first two sacraments of initiation when Christians received confirmation immediately after baptism or in childhood. The Eucharist was then the final sacrament of initiation.

Friday, March 23, 2007


The Philadelphia Church of God has caught on to our Master Plan to take over Europe!

"The Catholic Church is seeking to unite Europe under the power of religion—the Catholic religion, and Catholic laws. The Bible prophesies that this powerful entity will yet gain the power to enforce the policies—including Sunday worship—it now calls upon Europeans to uphold."

Congratulations, Dr. Wacker!

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Dr. Raymond Wacker has been named the recipient of the Illinois CPA Society's Outstanding Educator Award and will be honored at a banquet in Chicago on May 31st! I am willing to bet he is the first harpist to win this prestgious award!

Feast Day of St. Turibius de Mongrovejo


While rather obscure, St. Turibius is becoming more popular because of his promotion of native rights in Peru. He's the patron saint of Peru and is credited with founding the first seminary in the Western Hemisphere. He also is credited with converting and baptizing St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres, and a HALF MILLION others. Busy guy, this St. Turibius...
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Feast of St. Joseph


St. Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church, and the patron saint of a happy death. Pretty cheery, huh? St. Joseph does not appear in the Gospels after Jesus turned 12 - during Christ's public life, at his death, nor at the resurrection. It is therefore assumed he died before all those events, which means he died in the presence of Jesus and Mary. Can't do better than that...

The painting is by the Spaniard, Francisco de Herrera and was painted in 1645. It is "representative of the transition from Mannerism to Baroque". Right.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Feast of St. Patrick


We spent quite a bit of the last class session talking about this wonderful Saint, the man responsible for the abolition of slavery in Ireland in the early 400s - around 1400 years before the rest of the civilized world got the message. I'm guessing that the fact HE was a slave after being kidnapped by Irish raiders had something to do with it.

Part of a prayer supposedly written by him:

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI, Music Critic

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From the U.K. Telegraph:

The Pope has demanded an end to electric guitars and modern music in church and a return to traditional choirs.

The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people.

However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irritated the Pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernise holy music," the Pope said, at a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."

Feast of St. Julian of Antioch

St. Julian was a 4th Century martyr (he died some time around 305 A.D.), one of the many killed during "The Age of Martyrs" of the reign of Diocletian, who died around the same time. Legend has it that St. Julian was tortured for a year before being tied in a sack full of scorpions and poisonous snakes and then thrown in the sea.

Feast of St. Louise de Marillac, March 15


St. Louise was an associate of St. Vincent de Paul in France, circa 1630. He had organized a group called "Ladies of Charity" to minister to the poor, sick and neglected. St. Louise took over and soon the Sisters (or Daughters as St. Vincent prefered) was created. She is the Patroness of Social Workers and was cannonized by Pope John XXIII in 1960.

Sister Henrietta is shown here in full D. of C. regalia. The look has gone out of style now - if you go the Daughters of Charity website you'll see mostly women in secular dress. Too bad, really. I was taught by Daughters of Charity when I was at Seton Catholic High School - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton merged her Sisters of Charity with the Daughters of Charity in 1850.

The lid the good Sister is wearing is called a "cornette" which is a type of "whimple" ( a type of cloth worn during the Middle Ages by women, and covering their head, neck and chin).
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007



And the winner is...Lance Mackey! His dad won the race in 1978; his older brother, Rick, won it in 1983. Lance covered the 1,150 mile course in 9 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds - the thrid fastest time ever. Paul Gebhart finished more than two hours later.

When his dad, Dick, won the race he won by ONE second. Imagine driving your dog team 1,150 miles and LOSING by a second.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Guy is Amazing!

And all this time, I thought the Pope was a Fisher of Men!

Living Lent: The Third Sunday - Cardinal Rigali

Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia wants to tell you about last Sunday's Gospel. Pay attention class!

Monday, March 12, 2007


The Pontifical North American College Martyrs clobbered Pontifical French Seminary, 4-0, in the Clericus Cup. I loved this from the article:

"No fouls were called, and the game was a model of sportsmanship. The tiny grandstand was filled with Martyrs fans, who waved American flags and sang "God Bless America" at the end of the game.

Next to them were six French seminarians, who showed up in clown noses, wigs and loud horns to cheer their team on. Their chants of "Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!" subsided as the game progressed."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

When is a Fish Not a Fish?


When it's a muskrat! Served with a side order of sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and gravy!
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How to Make PSR Teachers Better


It's easy! Just have someone like, say, the Pope watch from an adjoining room. Done!
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Do Popes HAVE to Change Their Names?

That was a question on the excellent "Ask a Franciscan" site recently. The answer is no, they don't:

"According to J.N.D. Kelly’s The Oxford Dictionary of the Popes (Oxford University Press), the first man to change his name on being elected pope was John II in 533."

Why did he change his name? Because his real first name was Mercury, the Roman/pagan god of commerce.

Although "Pope Mercury" sounds pretty cool...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Clericus Cup

Priests and Seminarians from around the world are squaring off in the Vatican's Clericus Cup tournament. Here's an update.

Quiz Question for March 11

From the Diocese of Lake Charles (Louisiana) website:

"LAKE CHARLES -- The Rev. Msgr. Glen John Provost, until now Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Lafayette, has been named the third Bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The announcement was made Tuesday, March 6 by the Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, in Washington D.C. Bishop-elect Provost will be ordained and installed on Monday, April 23 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception."

The position of Bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles has been vacant since March 15, 2005.

The question - who was the last Bishop Of the Diocese of Lake Charles, and what happened to him?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Iditarod


It's the end of the fourth day of racing in the Iditarod. The what?

The Iditarod is a sled dog race from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. It's called "The Last Great Race on Earth". Sledders run their dogs over 1,100 miles in conditions that are beyond belief.

What does this have to do with our class? Nothing, really. I fell in love with this race after reading a book called "Winterdance" by Gary Paulsen.

You can learn more here.

If you love dogs, history, courage, and intense competition...this race is for you!
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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quiz for March 4

From the Catholic World News:

In a meditation preached during the Lenten Retreat for Vatican leaders this week, the outspoken Italian cardinal (ed. Cardinal Giocomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna) cited the vision of the Russian philosopher Vladimir Soloviev. “The Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist,” he said.

What's an ecumenist?

Feast of St. Katharine Drexel


Born in 1858 to a wealthy family in Philadelphia, St. Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (For Indians and Colored) in the early 1890s. To understand the significance of her mission you have to look at the historic perpective. The Civil War and the ending of American slavery was fresh in the minds of the population; Custer and the Little Big Horn occured in 1874. St. Katharine spent between $7 and $12 MILLION dollars of her own money to administer to the needs of the opressed. She founded the first university for Blacks (Xavier University) in New Orleans. By 1943, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had organized and were running Black Catholic Schools in 13 states, 43 missionary centers, and 23 rural schools.

St. Katharine died at the age of 96 in 1955. She's buried in Bensalem, PA.

Cool facts:

In 1889, she wrote to Bishop O'Conner that, "The Feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and Colored."

She met with Sioux Chief Red Cloud.

In a convergence of saints, she met with Mother Cabrini to discuss ways to get her "Order's Rules" approved by the Pope.
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