Friday, September 01, 2006

Hey, How About Those BC Eagles, Huh?

Admittedly, BC isn't very much of a Catholic college anymore. But I am an alum, and proud of its football program, which has been huge since my undergraduate days (I graduated with Doug Flutie).

And last night, they kicked off their second season in the ACC with a convincing 31-24 road victory over Central Michigan.

The rest of their season looks like this:

Sep 9 - vs. Clemson, 3:30 PM, ET
Sep 16 - vs. B-Y-U, 12:00 PM, ET
Sep 23 - at NC State, TBA
Sep 30 - vs. Maine, 1:00 PM, ET
Oct 7 - Open
Oct 12 - vs. Virginia Tech, 7:30 PM, ET
Oct 21 - at Florida State, TBA
Oct 28 - vs. Buffalo, 1:00 PM, ET
Nov 4 - at Wake Forest, TBA
Nov 11 - vs. Duke, TBA
Nov 18 - vs. Maryland, TBA
Nov 23 - at Miami-Florida, 7:30 PM ET

For Boston, for Boston,
We sing our proud refrain!
For Boston, for Boston,
'Tis Wisdom's earthly fane.
For here men are men!
And their hearts are true,
And the towers on the Heights
Reach to Heav'ns own blue.
For Boston, for Boston,
Till the echoes ring again!

For Boston, for Boston,
Thy glory is our own!
For Boston, for Boston,
'Tis here that Truth is known.
And ever with the Right
Shall thy sons be found,
Till time shall be no more
And thy work is crown'd.
For Boston, for Boston,
For Thee and Thine alone.

OK, if you think that's obnoxious, just wait until St. John's Prep starts playing football!

St. Michael isn't the only righteous butt-kicker!


September in New England, and old England, and Ireland and Normandy for that matter, is the start of the apple harvest.

Important feasts celebrated during September include:

3. St. Gregory the Great
2. The Martyrs of September
5. Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta
8. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
9. St. Peter Claver (USA)
12. Most Holy Name of Mary
13. St. John Chrysostom
14. Exaltation of the True Cross
15. Our Lady of Sorrows
16. SS. Cornelius and Cyprian
17. St. Robert Bellarmine and Bl. Hildegard von Bingen
21. St. Matthew
22. Martyrs of Valencia
23. St. Pio of Pietrelcina
24. Our Lady of Mercy and Our Lady of Walshingham
26. SS. Cosmas and Damian
27. St. Vincent de Paul
28. St. Wenceslaus
29. Michaelmas
30. St. Jerome

The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, the feast being on September 15th.

The Michaelmas Embertide takes place on Wednesday September 20th, Friday September 22nd, and Saturday September 23rd. The entire month of September is within the Time After Pentacost, or Ordinary Time.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's published prayer intentions for the month of September, 2006 are:

General: That those who use the means of social communication may always do so conscientiously and responsibly.

Missionary: That in the mission territories the entire People of God may recognize that permanent formation is their own priority.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Red Sox Packing It In For 2006

David Wells has had some effective starts since he came off the DL a few weeks ago. So, naturally, the Sox are trading him for a catching prospect. The players packed it in weeks ago, before being swept by the Yankees. Management is now recognizing that not even the AL Wild Card is a possibility with a team this badly patched together. And even without the injuries to Nixon, Varitek, and Wakefield, it doesn't appear that the team would have been strong eonough to really contend this year anyway. And they have no one else to trade, really, but Wells, who wants to go back to San Diego.

So now it really is time to focus on BC's second season in the ACC, which begins tonight, and the Patriots, who have their last pre-season game tonight.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

Last summer, I read a few books on the subject of English parish church architecture, and photos of one church in particular caught my eye then. St. Patrick's church in Patrington, Yorkshire seemed to me the perfect embodiment of a Gothic English parish church. Patrington is in the East Riding of Yorkshire, near Hull. It was built in the 1400s, in the last halycon days of English Catholicism depicted by Eamon Duffy in The Stripping of the Altars.

"The Queen of Holderness" was, of course, a Catholic church before the protestant rebellion, and serves as the local CofE church now. There is now a Catholic parish with its own church in Patrington now. Oh, but to have this lovely Gothic parish church restored to its proper owner!

Last summer, I could not find on line any good images that captured St. Patrick's. But now, I have been luckier. It sometimes pays to remember post ideas you had a year ago.

We'll start with a nice aerial daylight view, which shows the high steeple to advantage.

A slightly eerie view in the dusk, with the gravestones in the foreground.

A typical day in Yorkshire

Very Gothic, eh?

Detail of the base of the steeple

If I were ever to design a church, I think this cruciform Gothic parish church would be the model

Moving inside, we see what remains of the Rood Screen after the protestant vandals removed the Rood and the figures of Mary and John

Behind the Rood Screen, the Sanctuary still has a lovely stained glass window and reredos

A closer view of both

That reredos is crying out for a lovely tabernacle underneath housing the Blessed Sacrament, with a true golden Crucifix, not a wooden protestant cross on the protestant communion table!

Easter sepulchre, where the Blessed Sacrament used to repose from the end of Maundy Thursday's Mass until Easter. So many Catholics vied to be buried near these Easter sepulchres! The loss of this custom, and the new habit of reposing the Sacrament in the sacristy in most parishes is a loss to our Catholic cultural heritage, but one we have only ourselves to blame for.
Thanks to this photo essay, I have a new banner illustration, photographed by Ian Britton of FreeFoto.com.

Deanna L. Galante

Remembering our dead. That is part of what it means to be a Catholic. Remembering them at prayer time. Praying for their souls. Having Masses said in their names. Giving alms in their names.

Deanna L. Galante was a 32 year-old New Yorker from Staten Island who was working, and died, at the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. She was working for eSpeed at Cantor Fitzgerald as a personal assistant. She was married, and was carrying her first son, who she had already named Matthew, when she, and he, were murdered.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine.
R. Et lux perpetua luceat in eis.
V. Requiescant in pace.
R. Amen.

If you have a blog, and wish to honor the memory of one of the victims of September 11th, sign up at this site, which I found via my blogging partner Ginny.

Prayer Request

Please keep Henry, the father of my friend Bill, in your prayers. Friday night, he checked himself into the hospital, and after examination the doctors decided that he would need a wire to regulate his heart. But after the initial surgery to install the tubing for the wire, Sunday night, he took a sudden turn for the worse, and his kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs shut down. He is right now being kept alive solely by artificial means, and his family will meet this afternoon with his doctors to decide what is to be done next. Henry is only 65, and has not been a professed Christian, though Bill performed an emergency baptism on him while he was still conscious, and he did not resist.

Lord, please grant recovery to Henry and peace to his family. But if that is not Thy will, please grant him the grace of a happy death and mercy at his judgment, as well as consolation and harmony for his family and loved ones. Through Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Penal Times Are With Us Yet

A soccer player in Scotland charged with a breach of the peace for MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS!!!

This Is Funny, And True

42 Things In The Life Of An Italian Child

For a fair amount of it, even though I grew up in a "mixed family" (Irish and Italian), I can still say, "Been there, done that, got the (spaghetti-gravy stained) tee-shirt."

Outing Noisy Parishes

A young fellow from Britain has set up a site allowing frustrated parishioners to do just that.

Most of the parishes and chapels I have attended have been very reverent, but I have a few examples, too.

Off the top of my head, though this goes back 8 years, is Immaculate Conception parish in Salem. I used to live very nearby, really just around the block in downtown, but after a few Masses with people at the back chattering away with each other through the pre-Mass, and on into the Mass itself, I decided that wasn't the parish for me. I like silent prayer before Mass, not chatter.

Ever go for an early morning holy hour to the Carmelite Chapel in the North Shore Mall? during the day, it is the perfect place to stop in for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. But if you go just at the time the chapel opens, the "regular" blue-hairs who are there at that time regard it as their social hour. No amount of angry glares or loud throat-clearing shuts them up. They just go on gossiping about this and that as long as they please. There is a place for that at the Mall: the food court. Not the chapel.

And I will never forget, almost 10 years ago, at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Lynnfield, the parish I grew up in, when the pastor (!) decided to ignore the fact that we were kneeling down praying before Mass, and thought this was a good opportunity to introduce himself and chat with people he did not recognize (because his liberalism had ticked me off when he was first appointed back in 1991, and I had stopped attending there).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Catholic Eye Candy Alert

Check this out!

New images of the side chapels, and other features of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, over at Rome of the West.

Saint Augustine

St. Augustine by Botticelli, c. 1445
Here is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Augustine.

Here is a short biography of this great doctor of the Church.

Saint Augustine's Threnus Prayer
It is sometimes called A Prayer For Those In Tribulation.
This is one of the very best penitential prayers I have ever come across and it reflects a deep understanding of fallen human nature.
(based on the translation by Michael W. Martin of Thesaurus Preces Latinarum). I love to make regular use of this prayer during Lent and during Embertides.

I would be wise to place before Thine eyes, O Lord,
My misdeeds and the wounds I have received.

For if I do, the less I suffer
And the greater I merit.

I feel the punishment for sin,
Yet I do not shun my obstinacy in sinning.

My fragile nature is shattered by Thy scourges,
Yet my evil ways remain unchanged.

My sick mind is wrenched,
Yet my stiff neck is not bent.

My life sighs in pain,
And yet, it does not amend itself.

If Thou waiteth, I do not reform,
If Thou punisheth, I do not last.

When accused, I admit what I have done,
Yet when punished, I forget.

If Thou punisheth, I make promises;
If Thou holdeth back the sword, I do not carry out my promises.

If Thou striketh me, I cry out that Thou might spare me;
If Thou sparest me, I again provoke Thee to strike me.

If difficulties come, I ask for a time for repentance.
If mercy comes to my aid, I abuse Thy patience which has spared me.

Even when my wounds are scarcely healed,
My ungrateful mind forgets.

If Thou hearest me quickly, I become haughty from mercy.
If Thou art slow, I complain bitterly out of impatience.

I am willing to serve Thee because of what Thou hast done,
Yet I do not fear to neglect what Thou willst have me do.

Thou hast in Thy power, O Lord, this guilty wretch who has confessed;
Be merciful, for Thou art kind and loving.

I have known that, unless Thou forgiveth me,
Thou shalt justly punish me.

But with Thee is much pity
And abundant forgiveness.

Grant, without any merit on my part, what I ask,
O Thou, who hast made from nothing him who asks Thee.

Have mercy on me crying out to Thee, O Lord.
May my faithful and tearful voice stir up Thy mercy.

May that forgiveness not consider that I sin,
But may it reflect on the fact I implore mercy.

Since it is a great misery that I am accused,
May the fact that I am miserable make Thy mercy be the greater.

I beg Thy help,
And before Thee I place the evils and sorrows of my crimes.

By my prayers I look for Thy mercy,
The very mercy which I have spurned by my sins.

Raise me up in Thy mercy, O Lord our God,
So that in the fellowship of salvation and the joy of charity,

While I long to be saved,
I may rejoice in the faith and peace of all the nations.

Through Christ our Lord Who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost,
One God, world without end.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

If Today Were Not a Sunday

Today would be the feast of the persistent mother of Saint Augustine, Saint Monica. This holy woman prayed incessantly for 17 years for Augustine's conversion. A year before she died, her prayer was granted, and the Church obtained one of its greatest doctors. But her constant prayers also obtained the conversion, on his deathbed, of her abusive husband. She is a patron saint of alcoholics, of people in difficult marriages, and of abuse victims.

Formerly, her feast was May 4th, but it was moved to the day before that of her son, in one of the changes in the Ordo that makes sense emotionally, if in no other way. Her son's feast day is tomorrow.

Here is a short biography of Saint Monica from Catholic On Line:

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370· He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, "it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish." This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

Saint Monica, pray for us!

Novena Prayer To Saint Monica:

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
Thou perserveringly pursued thy wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced thy heart
During thy lifetime.
Yet thou never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
Thou prayed daily for the conversion
Of thy beloved husband, Patricius
And thy beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea

[State your petition here.)

And grant me the grace
To accept His will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Ghost,
One God forever and ever.

(I know it is a little late, as you usually begin a novena 9 days before a feast day, but I think this is a novena mothers of children who have strayed from the Faith can and ought to make anytime.)

The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B.

On this Sunday, which is their twelfth of Saint Matthew, the Greeks read in the Mass the episode of the young rich man who questions Jesus, given in the nineteenth chapter of the Saint’s Gospel. In the west, it is the Gospel of the Good Samaritan which gives its name to this twelfth Sunday after Pentecost.

The Introit begins with that beautiful verse of Psalm lxix.: ‘Come to mine assistance, O God! O Lord, make haste to help me!’ Cassian, in his tenth Conference, has admirably drawn out the beauty of these words, and shows how they are appropriate for every circumstance of life, and how fully they respond to every sentiment of the Christian soul. Durandus applies this Introit to Job, because the lessons for the Divine Office, which are taken from that Book of Scripture, sometimes, though not often, coincide with this Sunday. Rupert looks on this Introit as the fitting prayer of the deaf and dumb man, whose cure was the subject of our reflexions this day last week. He says: ‘The human race, in the person of our first parents, had become deaf to the commandments of God, and dumb in His praise; the first use he makes of his untied tongue, is to call upon the God who has healed him.’ The same words are the Church’s first address, each morning, to her Creator, and her opening of each of the canonical hours, both day and night.

The glorious promises mentioned in the concluding words of our Collect are described to us in the Epistle, which seems, at first sight, to be entirely in praise of the apostolic ministry; but the glory of the apostles is the glory of Him whom they announce; and this one glory, which is His, Christ, the Head, communicates to all His members, making it also their one glory. This divine glory flows, together with the divine life, from that sacred Head; and they both flow copiously through all the channels of holy Church. If they do not come to all Christians in the same proportions, such difference in no wise denotes that the glory and the life themselves are of a different kind for some from what they are for others. Each member of Christ’s mystical Body is called upon to form his own degree of capacity for glory; not, of course, as the apostle says, that we are, of ourselves, sufficient even to think anything as of ourselves—but, what diversity there is in the way in which men turn to profit the divine capital allotted to each by grace!

Oh! if we did but know the gift of God! if we did but understand the supereminent dignity reserved, under the law of love, to every man of good will! Then, perhaps, our cowardice and sluggishness would, at last, go; then, perhaps, our souls would get fired with the noble ambition which turns men into saints. At all events, we should then come to realize that Christian humility, of which we were speaking on the last two Sundays, is not the vulgar grovelling of a low-minded man, but the glorious entrance upon the way which leads, by divine union, to the only true greatness. Are not those men inconsistent and senseless who, longing by the very law of their nature for glory, go seeking it in the phantoms of pride, and allow themselves to be diverted, by the baubles of vanity, from the pursuit of those real honours which eternal Wisdom had destined for them! And those grand honours were to have been heaped upon them, not only in their future heaven, but even here in their earthly habitation; and God and His saints were to have been admiring and applauding spectators!

In the name, then, of our dearest and truest interests, let us give ear to our apostle, and share his heavenly enthusiasm. We shall understand his exquisite teaching all the better, if we read the sequel to the few lines assigned for to-day’s Epistle. It is but fully carrying out the wishes of the Church, when her children, after or before assisting at her liturgical services, take the sacred Scriptures, and read for themselves the continuation of passages, which are necessarily abridged during the public celebrations. It were well, if they did this all through the year. What a fund of instruction they would thus acquire! To-day, however, there is an additional motive for the suggestion, inasmuch as this second Epistle to the Corinthians is brought before us for the first and only time during this season of the liturgy.

But let us examine what is this glory of the new Testament, which so fills the apostle with ecstasy, and, in his mind, almost entirely eclipses the splendour of the old. Splendour there undoubtedly was in the covenant of Sinai. Never had there been such a manifestation of God’s majesty, and omni- potence, and holiness, as on that day, when, gathering together, at the foot of the mount, the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, He mercifully renewed, with this immense family, the covenant formerly made with their fathers, and gave them His Law in the extraordinarily solemn manner described in the Book of Exodus. And yet, that Law, engraven as it was on stone by God’s own hand, was not, for all that, in the hearts of the receivers; neither did its holiness prevent, though it condemned, sin—sin which reigns in man’s heart. Moses, who carried the divine writing, came down from the mount, having the rays of God’s glory glittering on his face; but this, glory was not to be shared in by the people of whom he was the head; it was for himself alone, as was likewise the privilege he had enjoyed of speaking with God face to face; it ceased with him, thus signifying, by its short duration, the character of that ministration, which was to cease on the coming of the Messiah, just as the night’s borrowed light vanishes when the day appears. And, as it were, the better to show that the time was not as yet come, when God would manifest His glory—the children of Israel were not able to gaze steadfastly on the face of Moses; so that, when he had to speak to the people, he had need to put on a veil. Though a mere borrowed light, the brightness of Moses’ face represented the glory of the future Covenant, whose splendour was to shine, not, of course, externally, but in the hearts of us all, by giving us ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.’ Light, living and life-giving, which is none other than the divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father, and which the energy of the sacraments, seconded by contemplation and love, makes to pass from the Humanity of our divine Head to the very recesses of our souls.

We shall find our Sunday giving us a second reminder of Moses; but the true and enduring greatness of the Hebrew leader lies in what we have been stating. In the same way that Abraham was grander by the spiritual progeny which was the issue of his faith, than he was by the posterity that was his in the flesh—so the glory of Moses consisted not so much in his having been at the head of the ancient Israelites for forty long years, as in his having represented, in his own person, both the office of the Messiah King, and the prerogatives of the new people. The Gentile is set free from the law of fear and sin by the law of race, which not only declares justice, but gives it; the Gentile, having been made a son of God, communes with Him in that liberty which comes of the Spirit of love. But, this privileged Gentile has no type which so perfectly represents him, in the first Covenant, as this the very lawgiver of Israel, this Moses who finds such favour with the Most High as to be admitted to behold His glory, and converse with Him with all the intimacy of friend to friend. Whereas God showed Himself to this His servant —as far, that is, as mortal man is capable of such sight—and as He was seen by him without the intermediation of figures or images so, when he approached thus to God, Moses took from his face the veil he wore at other times. The Jew persists, even to this very day, in keeping this veil between himself and Christ. The Christian, on the contrary, with the holy daring of which the apostle speaks, removes all intermediaries between God and himself, and draws aside the veil of all figures. ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord with face uncovered, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord,' for we become other christs, and are made like to God the Father, as is His Son Christ Jesus.

Thus is fulfilled the will of the almighty Father for the sanctification of the elect. God sees Himself reflected in these predestinated, who are become, in the beautiful light divine, conformable to the image of His Son. He could say of each one of them what He spoke at the Jordan and on Thabor: ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.’ He makes them His true temple, verifying the word He spoke of old: ‘I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you: I will walk among you, and will be your God; I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north: "Give up!" and to the south: "Keep not back!" Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth!’

Such are the promises, for whose realization we should, as the apostle says, be all earnestness in working out our sanctification, by cleansing ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, in the fear of God, and in His love. Such is that glory of the new Testament, that glory of the Church and of every Christian soul, which so immensely surpasses the glory of the old, and the brightness which lit up the face of Moses. As to our carrying this treasure in frail vessels, we must not, on that account, lose heart, but rather rejoice in this weakness, which makes God’s power all the more evident; we must take our miseries, and even death itself, and turn them into profit, by giving the stronger manifestation of our Lord Jesus’ life in this our mortal flesh. What matters it to our faith and our hope, if our outward man is gradually falling to decay, when the inner is being renewed day by day? The light and transitory suffering of the present is producing within us an eternal weight of glory. Let us, then, fix our gaze, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; the visible passes, the invisible is eternal.

The human race, delivered from its long ages of dumbness, and blessed at the same time with God’s gifts, sings, in the Gradual, the hymn of its warmest gratitude.

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