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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Nun Plays Ping Pong

Not really. Sorry Sister Elaine.

I just thought it was funny.

Catholics for Obama, Part 3


The REPUBLICAN party has elected Michael Steele Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Who is he? CollegeNews reports:

"Steele is a staunch social conservative: devoutly Catholic, pro-life, anti-embryonic stem cell research, etc."

And Fox News says:

"He spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine in preparation for the priesthood, but ultimately chose a career in law instead."

53% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama.
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The Pope and the Lion Cub

I wonder if the Pope was praying "St. Daniel, please protect me from this lion."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guardian Angels..boy or girl?


Last Sunday we talked about angels in general and guardian angels in particular. We know we have a guardian angel...but is it a he angel or a she angel? Or neither, or both? I wondered because all the Christmas tree angels are female, and also most depictions of angels are female (see above guardian angel).

I don't know the answer. But let's review...their are three archangels mentioned by name in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Leonard. No, not Leonard - Raphael. And sometimes Uriel. The Eastern Orthodox believers name 3 others: Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel. All guys.

But we read a little of the Old Testament (Zechariah 5:9) which says:

Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.

I guess that means angels can be either male or female.

What got me thinking about it again was I read this from St. Theresa of Avila:

"Beside me on the left appeared an angel in bodily form . He was not tall but short, and very beautiful; and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest ranks of angels, who seem to be all on fire . . . In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my entrails."

A guy angel! Don't worry, St. Theresa ended up feeling good about the whole thing. Interesting person, that St. Theresa Avila...

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Feast of St. Blath, January 29

It's pronounced "blah" and it means "flower". St. Blath was the cook at St. Brigid's monastery in Kildare, Ireland. Kildare is derived from the Old Irish Cill Dara, or "Church of Oak".

Brigid had the habit (Get it? Habit?) of inviting one and all to meals, so St. Blath somehow had to come up with a way to feed the multitudes without having the ability to miraculously multiply loaves and fishes.

Just as St. Balthild's feast day quickly follows St. Odo's, St. Brigid's feast day is coming right up (A cooking joke!) on February 1.

Catholic Store Finder

Are you having trouble finding a St. Odo medal on-line? Maybe they have them at a local Catholic Store.

Unfortunately, there are none within 100 miles of Cobden.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Catholics for Obama, Part 2


53% of Catholics voted for Obama.

President Obama tries to enter the White House through...a window.
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Feast of St. Odo of Beauvais


Oh sure, it would have been easier to talk about St. Thomas Aquinas (who shares the Feast of St. Odo), but since I am trying to help the youth of my PSR class to find a good confirmation name I have chosen St. Odo instead.

St. Odo was a Benedictine monk at the Corbie Benedictine Monastery (above). He tutored the sons of Charles "The Hammer" Martel, who whupped the Muslims in the Battle of Tours in 732 A.D.. Odo eventually became Bishop of Beauvais and became famous for making chums of Pope Nicholas I and Archbishop Hincmar of Reims after Hincmar's deposition of Bishop Rathadius of Soisson.

Bonus facts:

1) A deposition in this sense is a penalty inflicted on a cleric, who is deprived of his office and may not exercise the functions of his order. It is (for the most part) irrevocable.

2) Charles Martel's father was known as Pippin the Middle.

3) The Abby at Corbie seen above was ordered built by St. Balthild, wife of Clovis II, the King of Burgandy.

4) St. Balthild was canonized by Pope Nicholas I (see Odo).

5) St. Balthild's feast day is January 30!
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Feast of St. Paula, January 26


We follow the conversion of St. Paul (yesterday) with the Feast of St. Paula (347 A.D.-404 A.D.). St. Paula was married to a guy named Toxotius and had 5 children. After Toxotius died, Paula began working with the poor. She struck up a friendship with St. Jerome. They both ended up in Bethlehem, where Paula built a hospice, monastery, and a convent (which she governed).

Toxotius and Paula's children were named Toxotius (Jr., I guess) Paulina, Blesilla, Eustochium, and Rafina. Eustochium became a saint, too, working with her mom in Bethlehem. That her in the painting with Paula and St. Jerome.

St. Paula is the patron saint of widows.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Feast of St. Francis De Sales


Doctor of the Church.

St. Francis wrote "Introduction to the Devote Life" which was a best seller in 1608 (even though a lot of preachers tore it up because it didn't condemn jokes and dancing). In it, he showed that living a devote life was not limited to priests and nuns, but ordinary people too. Along with St. Jane de Chantel he founded the Visitation of Mary sisters.

That's Sister Mary Jane Frances Williams in the photo. She's Mother Superior at the Monastery of the Visitation in Snellville, GA. She joined the monastery after her husband died. They had been married for 42 years, and she has nine children, 29 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

It's never too late!
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Catholics for Obama

53% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama.


"President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on sending U.S. government funds to organizations that provide abortion counseling with money from other sources as part of overseas family planning programs."

"U.S. government spending"? That would be my taxes, and Father Fed's taxes, and Bishop Braxton's taxes.

“It is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development,” Obama said in a statement."

Because babies are expensive, I guess.

There were 42 million abortions performed world-wide from 1995-2003. One fifth of all pregnancies end in abortion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama

Yesterday, the most pro-abortion President ever was sworn in. I hope someone shows him this before he signs the Freedom of Choice Act.

Feast of St. Agnes, January 21


St. Agnes drew the attention of lots of men - but she had promised God that she would stay faithful only to Him. This angered the son of the governor, Procop, so much that he ratted her out as a Catholic to his dad. The governor tried to get her to renounce God first with gifts, and then by placing her in a ...well, we'll call it a place of sin. An angel protected her from debauchery, and Agnes never gave in.

St. Agnes was martyred by beheading at the age of 13. She's the patron saint of young women and purity.

This is interesting:

" There are many old customs prevalent on the Eve of St. Agnes that concern rites in which the young village maidens discovered their future husbands. Dreams were also important on the Eve of St. Agnes. If a maid went supperless to bed or fasted all day and ate only a salt-filled egg at night, she would certainly dream of her future husband. Another custom was to take a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme, sprinkle each three times with water, and put one in each shoe. Then a shoe with its sprig was put on either side of her bed, while she repeated:

"St. Agnes, that's to lovers kind,
Come, ease the trouble of my mind."

She then was certain to dream of her husband. Yet another custom was for a young woman to take a row of pins, pull them out one by one, and stick them in her sleeve, while singing a Pater Noster (Our Father). Other customs included an unmarried woman to go into a different district from that in which she lived and spend the night. Before going to bed, she was to take her stocking from her right leg and knit it to the garter from the stocking on her left leg, singing as she did so. Then she was to lie on her back in bed with her hands under her head. She was assured that her future husband would appear to her in a dream and press a warm kiss upon her lips.
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Feast of St. Sebastian, January 20


Oops. The holiday on Monday threw me off. Yesterday was the feast of St. Sebastian. Sebastian was a Roman soldier in the time of Diocletian, one of the great Catholic haters of all time. Sebastian was found out by Maximian (who took over for Diocletian when he went east to fight) who ordered him put to death. Sebastian was shoot up with arrows and left for dead. Only the nursing of St. Irene saved him; but he was eventually beaten to death. And Irene died from an arrow through the neck.

Sebastian is the patron saint of archers, soldiers, and athletes.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good Advice From Sister Mary Martha

"Meanwhile, I have one other piece of advice for you. Find the shift key. Just because you text all the time is no excuse for being lazy. How much effort does it take to capitalize things that are supposed to be in capital letters? It's just a tiny movement of the pinkie, in heaven's name!"

Farewell, President Bush

Our most Catholic President ever.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Church of the WHAT?

"Monsignor Richard Stika of the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue has been tapped by the pope to be bishop-elect of the diocese in Knoxville, Tenn."

Annunziata is the Italian feminine word for "Annunciation". OK, got it. By how did a church on the outskirts of St. Louis get named like that?

Yet another mystery of Mary.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Compare and Contrast


A Kelp Gull (Larus Dominicanus).
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Compare and Contrast


A Dominican Friar.
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Feast Day of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys


St. Marguerite Bourgeoys is considered one of the founders of Montreal. She arrived in New France in 1653 and founded a school to teach French and Indian children in a stable that had been donated by the governor.

There was a problem...St. Marguerite had founded the Congregation of Notre Dame, an association dedicated to teaching. In 1679, the bishop ordered the Congregation to merge with the Ursulines - a cloistered community. Marguerite persuaded the bishop otherwise, and she went on to become Canada's first woman saint. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feast Day of St. Dermot, January 10


"You can call me Dermot, or you can call me Diarmis, or you can call me Diarmaid..."

Whatever you call him, St. Dermot founded a monastery on Quaker Island (or you can call it Innis Clothran or Inchcleraun) in Ireland. St. Dermot also was a teacher of St. Ciaran who founded the famous Clonmacnoise Monastery.

The island is named after the ancient mythical figure Clothra. No, not the giant moth of pretty much the same name, but the sister of Queen Maeve. After Clothra's husband died, she supposedly settled on this island and lived a peaceful life until she got bunged in the bean with a rock thrown by that rascal, Fergus.

If you go to Quaker Island (you can't miss's right there off the shore of Loch Ree) you can see the remains of St. Dermot's monastery (built in 540 A.D.)and 6 other churches. You might want to stay away from the smallest church, though. It's called Templemurray, and the superstition is that women who enter it die within 12 months.

What was a Jewish guy doing building a church anyway?
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Non-Catholics and Communion


What do you do if you are a Buddhist or Baptist(or non-practicing Catholic for that matter) attending a Catholic Mass during Communion? You can sit tight and pray (or try to figure out what is going on) OR you can approach the altar and receive a blessing from the priest. You should cross your arms over your chest so the priest gets the message (see President and Mrs. Bush in the photo). Little kids who have not received their First Communion can do so, too.

I attended a Mass on The Feast of the Holy Family in another place where there were three extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist - all of them women. There were lots of little kids going up to them, and the women put their hands on the kids' heads and "blessed" them.

No problem, right? Problem:

From the Vatican:

"1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; can. 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands—which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here—by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
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Feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, January 6


Have you heard the one about if you want to sell your house, you should bury a statue of St. Joseph in your yard? You can even order an "Underground Real Estate Agent" kit with a 4" or 8" statue, and a book called "St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent"!

Some believe that Blessed Andre Bessette is to blame.

Andre Bessette was the 8th of 12 children in his family. His father and mother both died when he was young and he was adopted by a farmer who put him to work. Andre was a hard worker - beside farming, he tried shoemaking, factory work, baking and blacksmithing. He tried to join the Congregation of the Holy Cross - priests and brothers dedicated to teaching - but Andre couldn't read, which kind of held him back. So they made him the doorman at Notre Dame College in Montreal.

He could see Mount Royal (or in French, Mont Real...get it?) from his room, and vowed to someday build a basilica to St. Joseph on top of it. He prayed that the Congregation would buy the land, but the owner wouldn't sell. Andre would hike to the top to pray and bury medals of St. Joseph.

You can figure out where this going....
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Feast of the Epiphany,January 4


Did you know that while on the way to find the Christ child, the Magi stopped for directions? The Italians think so. The story is that the Magi stopped at LaBefana's house and asked her where they might find the baby Jesus. She didn't know, but asked the Magi to spend the night, which they did. The Magi asked her if she wanted to journey with them but she declined - she had housework to do (she was considered a most excellent housekeeper).

A while later she regretted her decision and struck out to find the Christ child on her own. And her search continues to this very day...

On the night of January 5th (the night before the Epiphany) she flies around on a broom stick, drops down chimneys, and leaves gifts for kids - candy for the good ones, coal for the bad. OK, not really coal - rock candy that is darkened with caramel coloring. She also (and I like this idea) sweeps the floors.

As a reward, kids leave out a glass of wine for her. Which explains why she's smiling...
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

First Friday Eucharistic Adoration


On the first Friday of every month, our church holds Eucharistic Adoration from 8AM until an Adoration mass at 7PM. So what's that all about? This is from a blogger called the Anchoress:

"At first, what you hear in the silence is the endless monkey chatter of the brain: what to do, what needs doing, where to be - “I must do this, I hate doing that, oh, I forgot to set my TIVO, what to make for supper. I like that blouse she’s wearing…” If we can sit still long enough to get past that, we hear “I’m sad. I’m mad. I’m scared,” and sometimes, “I’m glad.”

That’s when Adoration becomes uncomfortable for many, when - in facing the Lord - you must also face yourself. As we heard from Chesterton, “the self is more distant than any star” - and most prefer to keep it that way. Silence forces a confrontation, for most of us an uncomfortable one. Adoration places the encounter in the physical Presence of the Lord, which just makes it all the more honest and thus thorough and grueling.

The old saying about Adoration is: “I look at the Lord, and the Lord looks at me.” True. But further, “I look at me through the eyes of the Lord.”

The photo is of some of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, also known as the Pink Sisters.
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Friday, January 02, 2009

Find the Catholic!

Not really about religion, but nice to know that my head is as big as Martin van Buren.

Feast of St. Munchin, January 2


For every big saint, there's a bunch of small ones. Besides being the feast day of St. Basil the Great, it is also the feast day of St. Munchin the Wise. Not much is known about St. Munchin , but he is the Patron saint of Limerick, Ireland. He may have been a bishop, which is in doubt because he was known as "Maincin", or "Little Monk".

He later went on to star in "The Wizard of Oz" as the mayor of Munchinland.
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Feast of St. Basil the Great, January 2


St. Basil is a Doctor of the Church. He was born around 330AD in Cappadochia (Turkey) to St. Basil and St. Emmelia. No pressure to be behave there, huh? St. Basil went on to found a monastery (he wrote the rules) and defended the Church against Arianism. St. Basil is also the patron saint of hospital administrators. He was an all-around force in the early Church. His dad became known as St. Basil the Elder. Bummer for him.

Pictured is St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow, one of the most famous church's in the world. I've been there and it's really, really small inside - probably because the walls are a couple feet thick.
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