Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter

Sometimes there are too many things to blog about. Shall I review the St. Francis deSales Oratory Gaudete Gala which took place Saturday evening? The boys' school choir recital at a nursing home? The boys' induction into the St. Stephen's Guild last Sunday? All of these topics are most blog-worthy but, alas, I am occupied with preparations for Christmas, and blogging must take a back seat to these.

But we are in Advent! And certainly it is a time of anticipation and preparation, both externally in our card-sending, gift-wrapping, decorating and menu-planning, and, perhaps more importantly, interiorly in our prayerful meditation, reading and pondering of the events leading up to the Nativity of the Christ Child.

And so, I leave you with one of my favorite seasonal poems. A beautiful meditation in itself!

* * *

In the Bleak Midwinter

By Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

* * *

A blessed Advent one and all...His coming is nigh!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday-After-Thanksgiving Dispensation!

For my American* readers who follow the traditional Friday abstinence I offer a reminder that Pope Pius XII granted us a dispensation to refrain from abstinence on the Friday following Thanksgiving Thursday.

Enjoy those turkey leftovers today!


*My blog stats show me that I do indeed have international readers dropping in now and then!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. The time of year, the chill weather outside, the cozy warmth inside, the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen, the delightful sounds of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker filling the air, it all comes together in such a comforting way! It's how I remember it growing up, and it's now what our boys expect each year.

I especially love the day before Thanksgiving when all the preparations begin. Our Thanksgiving is usually small, with just the four of us plus Grandpa, but we put on a feast like we're cooking for a crowd, because who doesn't love lots of leftovers?!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce is always the first dish I make. The simmering and popping berries with the spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves; can you just smell my house?!

Next we'll bake the pumpkin pies, chop-ahead all the stuffing ingredients, and boil the sweet potatoes for a sweet potato casserole that is more like dessert than a side dish. The rest of the menu will be taken care of in the morning, along with the setting of the table complete with my turkey candle-holders. The table would not be our Thanksgiving table without them.

By the way, I do make my own stuffing, but I never stuff the bird. I have used this excellent stuffing recipe for years and like it for many reasons. It is cooked in the crockpot so once it's in the pot, it can be forgotten until dinner is served; it doesn't take precious oven space; and finally, after cooking as it does for hours it tastes just like it came out of the turkey! It is so flavorful, especially topped with homemade gravy made from those delicious turkey drippings.

This day before Thanksgiving also gives me pause to be thankful for all of Our Lord's blessings on us. We have our health, we have each other, and most of all we have our beautiful Catholic faith and a traditional church and school in which to freely raise our family in the Faith. And in these days, more than ever before in my lifetime, we cannot take these things for granted. Indeed, we must redouble our prayers for our Church and our nation, that we will continue to have the freedom to worship as Catholics, upholding and living by our Creed. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Let me say too, I am thankful for these men in my life, big and little! Without all three of them I could not begin to put on our Thanksgiving feast, for when my own are not equal to the task, my boys and my husband are my arms, my legs, my hands..... my heart, my soul, my life. God love 'em, I sure do!

And so, on this chilly, foggy day before the holiday, I want to wish each and every one of you a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

C'mon, boys, let's get cookin'!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feast Day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary--Our Story

Every year when this feast day rolls around I consider blogging about my 'St. Elizabeth' story here. I've never waxed eloquent--nor lengthy!--on the whole story. And so, with hopes it will inspire others, here we go......

Eighteen years ago, at about this time of year, as an assignment for my RCIA (Catholic converts) class, I was researching the saints in order to find one whose name I would take at my Confirmation. This was a task I took very seriously because I wanted to find THE saint on whose prayers I could depend for a specific intention I had at that time in my life.

I was 31 years old and single. All of my life I had only desired to be married and to raise a family, and so I wanted to find a saint who knew what a good, loving, God-centered marriage was. Not marriage for the sake of getting married, but marriage to the right man, for the right reasons, not someone who I could live with, but someone who I could not live without.

In perusing the saint books, I came upon St. Elizabeth of Hungary. I learned that in her very short life of 24 years she had a lovely marriage. She was betrothed to her husband at a very young age, but she had a depth of love and devotion for him that was to be admired, and their marriage was known to be a happy one. They had three children before he was killed on a Crusade to Palestine. It is said that when she learned the tragic news of her husband's death she cried, "The world with all its joys is now dead to me."

I knew I had found my saint. And thus began my prayers to her, asking her intercession for me.

I came into the Catholic church at Easter, 1995. In the summer of 1996 I purchased a computer and for the first time in my life I began surfing the 'net. I had AOL at the time and it was not long before I found a Catholic message board there. I decided to post something about myself, just to see what would come of it. I received several responses, mostly just friendly people with whom I'd exchange one or two emails.

Then Thankgiving Day, 1996 came. My whole family had spent the day together celebrating the holiday. Two of my brothers had their young families there, and I wanted to be like them, going home to my own house with my own family. That night I knelt down beside my bed, tears filling my eyes for that which I so-desired--but at age 33 had still eluded me--praying and asking yet again for God to answer my heart's desire.

Before I got into bed I decided to check my email one last time. I logged on and heard those three familiar (at that time) words:

"You've Got Mail!"

I opened it up and it was a response to my AOL post af a couple of months back. But this one was different than any I had received before.

We began writing daily, he and I, sharing stories about ourselves in a manner so easy, so comfortable. There was just something in his letters that drew me to click the reply button and to respond to whatever the topic of our discussion was.

As we became more acquainted with each other I offered the story of my conversion to Catholicism. As I relayed it to him I told him I chose St. Elizabeth of Hungary for my Confirmation saint (being careful to EXclude my reason for choosing her!) In his email back he wrote, "My jaw about hit the keyboard, I go to St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish! What a coincidence!"

Umm, his jaw nearly hit the keyboard? Mine was on the floor! But cautious girl that I always have been, I kept my surprise to myself, not wanting to jump to premature conclusions. With that 'coincidence' on my mind, we just kept writing each other.

Weeks turned into months and emails were added to by sending each other .wav files of our talking to each other (remember, folks, this was only 1997!) Next we added weekly phone calls. This went on for many months until October of 1997, nearly a year since our first letter, when he made a business trip to the west coast and tacked on a leg to Portland, where we finally met each other in person.

From this time on we began seeing each other every couple of months when business trips brought him west or took me east, or vacations provided a little extended visiting.

Our relationship was not free from possible challenges though. Early in our correspondence I had told him of my then-recent MS diagnosis. He was unshaken though and our relationship only grew, though my symptoms were slight at the time and pretty easy to forget about. But on New Years Day 1998, on a rainy walk along the Oregon coast my legs decided to give out and he had to carry me back to the car. And yet he was undaunted. The coming months proved it further as he was also there for me when I experienced my first side effects from a potent MS drug that I tried for a time. He was my rock, even then.

Our long-distance relationship, long letters, lengthy phone calls, all worked together to help us get to know each other without the distractions of dating and being entertained, as nice as it would have been to have had that. With the exception of our infrequent visits, all we had was communication. And over the months and years it was very apparent to us that this relationship we shared was certainly no coincidence, but that we were destined to be together.

And so, on Labor Day of 1998 at Multnomah Falls, OR, in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, he who was to be my husband asked me to be his wife. And on April 10, 1999, at the ages of 39 and almost-36 respectively, he and I were married at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church. We have been and still are truly blessed.

I will never be able to sufficiently thank St. Elizabeth for her prayers for us this side of eternity. But hopefully the telling of our story will inspire another young (or not-so-young) lady's devotion and prayer to this great saint for this worthy intention. Do not despair, God knows your heart. Yes, it IS worth waiting for. And I believe you have an advocate in St. Elizabeth of Hungary!

* * *

Thanks be to God for the saints in heaven who pray for us if only we will ask them!
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, thank you for your prayers; pray for us!

Happy Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Woo Hoo!! Look what came in the mail today!

We have been looking forward to this all year!!  If you had the distinct pleasure of attending St. Francis deSales' First Annual Gaudete Benefit Gala, then no doubt you have been looking forward to this too.  It is Catholic Culture at its very finest with the grandest of music, food, and Catholic fellowship.  From St. Louis Catholic blog on last year's event:

From the jazzy welcome which greeted the first arrivals at the cocktail social, to the resounding “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that closed the evening, this “magical evening” was a delightful interlacing of skillfully performed music and a delicious banquet. The overture, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” captivated the audience just before the first course, Winter Beef Soup, was served. Thereafter, choral and instrumental pieces by classical masters as well as contemporary composers were enchantingly interwoven with the elegant dinner, served in a joyful atmosphere.

Who can forget the Chocolate Oblivion Flourless Torte paired with timeless Christmas carols, sung with energy and expression by the Oratory’s choristers?

The Second Annual Gaudete Gala will be held Saturday, December 15.  If you are able to attend this year, act now and get your tickets - they will surely go quickly.  For more details, call the Oratory at (314) 771-3100.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween/All Saints Day/All Souls Day

It's been a fun week for the boys at school. (I know, I've never posted about our switching from homeschooling to putting the boys in a traditional Catholic school this year. Perhaps I'll do a catch-up post one of these days; we'll see....)

Anyway, with the Holy Days this week there has been a party at school including pizza, costume contests, home-made angel contests, and games and goodies for All Saints, a day off school for the Feast of All Saints, and a  half-day today for All Souls/First Friday with an all-school visit to the nearby cemetery taking up much of the half-day. That's the kind of week all school kids love!

Our boys dressed up as St. Louis IX, King of France and St. Acasius, Martyr (patron saint of soldiers) for their All Saints party. They had a great time! St. Acasius (pictured above with Fr. Kurtz and Fr. Pieroni) won for both best costume and best angel for his age group! 

Just as an aside, if you're ever in need of good saint costumes and lack the time or energy to pull them together, here is a great link for Catholic saint costumesI've used them several years and have always been very pleased. Ideas, saint info, costumes, props, it's all there.

On Halloween night, 'St. Louis IX' decided he'd rather use last year's outfit and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood as "The Scream". Fine... St. Acasius kept his costume and went as a gladiator. And they made a haul. Our neighborhood does Halloween well; one house puts on a pretty elaborate haunted house, and there are many fire pits blazing (reminding me of the Beacons of Minis Tirith--"Gondor calls for our aid!!", but I digress...) and  lots of very corny joke-telling.

And speaking of that... joke-telling. I didn't grow up here, so this was a Halloween custom unknown to me when we started taking the boys around. Where I grew up, out in Washington state, we rang the doorbell and when someone answered the door we simply said "Trick or Treat!", they gave us our candy and on to the next house. Here, though, the kids have to be prepared to tell a joke before receiving their treat. Huh?! Never heard of that! But it is a fact. At most houses we go to, the candy bowl holder asks, "You got a joke for me?" 

This year we had to come up with a couple of jokes last-minute. "The Scream" told this gem that I still remembered from one of my brother's joke books from when I was about 7:

Q: "What is the difference between here and there?"
A: "The letter 'T'!"

Gladiator told this one (with a hat-tip to Fr. Kurtz!):

Q: Why did the scientist put a knocker on his door?"
A: Because he wanted to win the Nobel prize!"

Nobel... 'no-bell'...ok, you get it....

It's really kind of a fun custom, the whole joke-telling thing. The kids enjoy it and it's enjoyable to stand back and watch/listen. Last year our #2 son did a variation on the "impatient cow" joke:

Q: Knock-knock.
A: Who's there?
Q: Impatient Ghost
A: Impatient Gho....

Often in our neighborhood there is quite a line of kids at each door, so we parents stand and wait out at the sidewalk. But we always knew when our boys were at the door because out of the relative quiet we'd hear a sudden, "BOOOOO!!!!" On to the next door....

For post trick-or-treat fun, each year our next-door neighbors light up their fire pit and all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac sit around and eat roasted hotdogs and snacks. It's a good time with us all together at once sitting and chatting together. That actually only happens this one time a year, so it's always kinda nice.

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, known and unknown, and today our thoughts are on All Souls, those dearly departed who have gone on before us. In fact, there are indulgences available for the next 8 days (octave) for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead and indeed, the Church dedicates this entire month of November to the remembrance of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Fisheaters website is a good resource for more information about praying for the dead and indulgences in general.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


* * *

And so, the leaves are past their vibrant color and are rapidly filling our yards, the temperatures are crisp, justifying those cozy evening fires in the fireplace, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Advent is on its heels, ringing in a new Church year and the glorious coming of Our Savior. Every season of the year has its own unique beauty, but Fall into Winter has to be my favorite.

God bless you all during these and the coming Holy Days!

Monday, October 29, 2012

For Those on the East Coast

Here is the powerful prayer against storms in consideration of those in the path of storms to the east. May our Lady watch over all during this time.  Lord, have mercy on all those affected!

The Prayer or Blessing Against Storms
(found on page 28 Pieta Prayer Book)

At each '†', make the Sign of The Cross

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace.† God became man,† and the Word was made flesh.†  Christ was born of a Virgin.† Christ suffered.† Christ was crucified.† Christ died.† Christ rose from the dead.† Christ ascended into Heaven.† Christ conquers.† Christ reigns.† Christ orders.† May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning† Christ went through their midst in Peace,† and the word was made flesh.† Christ is with us with Mary.† Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Juda, the Root David, has won.† Holy God!† Holy Powerful God!† Holy Immortal God!† Have mercy on us. Amen!

God bless you and keep you safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Feast of Christ the King

Today is the Feast of Christ the King! 

Up until Vatican II the Feast of Christ the King had always been celebrated on this day, the last Sunday of October, in the middle of the time after Pentecost.  After Vatican II the liturgical calendar underwent major revisions, one of which was moving the Feast of Christ the King to the last Sunday of the liturgical year (the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent). The placement of this feast is important because as traditionally celebrated it is symbolic of Christ's Kingship happening now, during our lives, or it should be if it is properly acknowledged. But placed at the very end of the church year it may be recognized as symbolic of Christ's kingship coming at the end of all things. Certainly we do not await His Kingship!

It is also fitting that in the United States it happens that this Feast day falls a week or so before major national and local elections, for indeed, Christ's social Kingship should always significantly influence the Catholic voter in the voting booth. And so it is today that a Novena to the Holy Ghost is offered on the cusp of our national election.  May Christ truly reign in our hearts and in our country.


Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come.
From thy bright heavenly throne!
Come, take possession of our souls,
And make them all Thine Own!

Thou who art called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The Living Spring, The Living Fire,
Sweet Unction, and True Love!

Thou who art sevenfold in Thy grace,
Finger of God's right hand,
His Promise, teaching little ones
To speak and understand!

O guide our minds with thy blest light,
With love our hearts inflame,
And with thy strength, which ne'er decays,
Confirm our mortal frame.

Far from us drive our hellish foe,
True peace unto us bring,
And through all perils guide us safe,
Beneath thy sacred wing.

Through Thee may we the Father know,
Through Thee the Eternal Son,
And Thee the Spirit of them both --
Thrice blessed Three in One.

Now to the Father, and the Son
Who rose from death, be glory given,
With Thee, O Holy Comforter,
Henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray:
O God, who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the
Holy Ghost, grant us in the same spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. Immaculate Heart of Mary. (x3)
R. Pray for us.

V. St. Pius X
R. Pray for us.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Being a Mom is something I will never take for granted. I celebrated my first Mother's Day 12 years ago, in Portland, OR. I remember going to Mass at Holy Rosary Church that day with my husband and 3 1/2 month old baby boy and receiving a lovely pink carnation. Though it doesn't now look so lovely, I have that dried carnation in my curio cabinet to this day.

I remember so very many Mother's Days before that one. I would watch other moms celebrating the day while I was left with the yearning in my heart to join them. It seemed like years came and went until finally I was honored beyond words to be among the moms on that Mother's Day in 2000. I was 36 years old.

God has blessed us richly with our two sons, now 10 and 12. Being a mom is ever-challenging, ever-rewarding, often difficult, but so very satisfying. After so many years of longing, I can now imagine doing nothing else. All my humble thanks to Our Lord in Heaven for honoring me with this vocation.

And a special prayer to Our Blessed Mother for that young woman out there who is still longing for motherhood as I did for so many years.  Hail Mary...

A Blessed and Happy Mother's Day to all moms!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Crowning at Saint Mary's Assumption, and Novena

The month of May is dedicated to Our Lady.  Here are a couple of photos from the beautiful procession and crowning at Mass today.  

Also, Father Arnaud Rostand, U.S. District Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X solicits the generosity of the faithful in offering a Novena to the Holy Ghost with the intention of the graces of light and strength to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI and the Superior General of the Society, Bishop Fellay as the discussions between Rome and the Society continue.  The novena, starting on May 8 and ending on May 16 (the Vigil of the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord) consists of praying the "Veni Creator Spiritus" and adding the "Memorare". -HSDad

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts overflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur:
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Oremus: Deus qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray: O God, Who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost: grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum.
Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto.
Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help and sought Thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother; to Thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Baseball Moms

The boys of summer are back! It is baseball season once again, and what a great start our World Champion Cardinals are off to! They have at this writing, 9 wins, 4 losses and haven't lost a series yet. Lots of good times for Cards fans!

But this week there are a couple of great baseball stories coming outside of Cardinal Nation. And as I think about the players involved, I wonder just how proud their moms must be of their boys.

The first great story is that of Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies. He got his first win of the season this past Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres, giving up two runs in seven innings pitched. But the real story is not this fairly ordinary sounding win but that Moyer is now, at age 49, the oldest Major League Baseball player to win a game! I love stories like this, but perhaps even more so when I realize that Mr. Moyer and I very likely graduated from high school the same year. Add to that a bit of trivia: in attendance at the baseball game were his wife and seven of his eight kids; the Moyers are also devout Catholics. I think I'll be following him this season!

The second story happened just today. The Chicago White Sox pitcher, Phil Humber pitched a perfect game today! That is only the 21st time in MLB history--that's an impressive stat!!--that a pitcher has successfully retired 27 consecutive batters. Wow! Congratulations, Phil Humber!!

I can only imagine how proud these players' moms must be. I'll bet they find themselves reminiscing back to their sons' Little League days and wonder how they made it all the way to the top of their game as professional baseball players. I'll bet they remember way back when, but not so very long ago, sitting on those hard bleachers with a lot of other parents cheering their own kids on. Seasons have come and gone, games have been won and lost, and their boys are still after all these years, their Mom's favorite ballplayer.

I will likely never know what they feel like today, their grown sons playing professional baseball. But I do know the feelings they had watching their young sons play ball. Today our youngest played the first game of his season. The team lost the game, but our son had a great day, and I was a proud mom!

His first position on the field was 2nd base. The first inning out there the batter hit a high fly ball to him and he caught it, and held on, falling to the ground. He got up and touched second base, putting out the runner who had not tagged up. Woohoo!!! What an exciting play for a 4th grader!

In the next inning, Coach needed another catcher. Since our son was the only other kid who had come 'equipped' to play the position, he began gearing up. He caught well, but the play of the game was when a batter on the other team hit a fly ball to the outfield. Several players were involved in getting the ball back in, and by this time the runner was rounding 3rd base for a possible in-the-park home run. Well, in comes the ball right to our son who is standing ready in front of the plate on the third base line. He catches the ball and just like Yadier Molina, tags the runner coming down from third. He's OUT!! And the crowd goes wild! (OK, maybe not wild....)

In yet another play he picked off a runner at 1st base. He was definitely thinking as he played, and all the hours of watching baseball and listening to the radio have helped him to know his game. I even noticed as he held his glove up to catch the pitch, he would wiggle his right hand fingers, as though giving signs to the pitcher. Nobody else noticed, but I did, and I had to smile.

What a game! Our guy was flying high all the way home. After we got home and had dinner, he was sitting in his place at the table, just staring into space, and he said somewhat dreamily, "I just love playing baseball." Yeah, and I love watching you play, little guy! 

There is just something about this time of year when once again the boys come out to play the game of baseball. There is just something altogether better when your own boy is on the field. He will not always have a great game like he did today, but just as I'll bet Mrs. Moyer and Mrs. Humber feel about their sons this week, today, and at all of his games, he is my MVP.

Play ball!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Laetare Sunday

Again, HSMom is gracious enough to let her husband place a quick post of the events of today, Laetare Sunday.  We were fortunate today to assist at Father Daniel Chavarria's first Mass at St. Mary's Assumption in St. Louis.   Unfortunately I had only a camera phone so the images are not up to par, but the Mass was beautiful nonetheless.  The faithful were graced with the new priest's blessing after Mass.

Let us all pray for regularization.  These are dark times for the Church and indeed Western civilization.

Lord give us priests.  
Lord give us holy priests, 
Lord give us many holy priests and religions vocations.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Taking of the Cassock and Clerical Tonsure on the Feast of the Purification

Wow - that title is a mouthful, but so it was on the second day of February in Winona, MN.  Once again HSMom readers, I am permissioned to guest-post on her blog ... maybe it was because my birthday just happens to fall on this feast day, maybe it is just out of blind charity (which is actually what I suspect).  In any case though, the caveat is that HSMom is more refined, better practiced in the virtues and much more benevolent than I  (as my wife, I got the better of the deal, to be sure).  That said....

My family and I were blessed to have witnessed the beautiful ceremony of the Taking of the Cassock and the Clerical Tonsure at the seminary chapel on the high hills of Winona on a foggy, chilly February second.  My nephew was one of a significant number who received his cassock on this day, which is but one of many steps in his journey towards the Priesthood.  Such a beautiful ceremony and we the faithful who attended were privileged to have been a part of it.

It is edifying to witness the deep spirituality which these  young men exhibit, for they are preparing themselves for the tasks which our Lord  will place before them in their journey towards Holy Orders.  And this joy resounds far beyond the confines of  the chapel.  From the programme, "Ordinations have a profound significance for  Catholics.  The young clerical student sees in them the fulfillment of his  youthful visions, the goal of his aspirations and labors during the many years of  his college and seminary life ... ". 

I reflected on the day.  The ceremony - most of which was devoted to the Clerical Tonsure, took nearly 4 hours from start to finish.  The homily by his Grace, Bishop Bernard Fellay, was as it would be from a father to his sons, and for the faithful, as from a father to his family. Beautiful.  I reflect on our own Archdiocese's vocation efforts and what it means  "... for a beloved boy to rise from Order to Order until he ascends the altar, a priest of God"  There is a confidence and purpose in the hearts of these young men that is immediately apparent.  Its radiance draws a soul to its goodness.  It gives one hope if one fully understands the dignity and mission of the priest, especially for those who respond to the call of God to abandon all and follow Him in service for the salvation of souls.  Again from the programme, "How many parents would not do much more to foster priestly vocations among their sons if they had a better knowledge of the exalted dignity and profound significance of the priesthood?  It is just such an understanding attitude towards priestly vocations that must be developed among our Catholic people ..."

A priest is called to sacrifice, to witness, to lead by example, to be courageous in standing up against immorality and vice in all its ugliness, against those who would demand compliance to laws and ordinances in full conflict to Catholic teaching, be they in secular society or within the Church herself.  Faithful Priests and Bishops are at the vanguard and we must support them with our prayers and action that they do so with humble courage.  We must pray for these men in formation to become the worthy priest God is calling them to be.

Saint Thomas Aquinas in Winona is a seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X, and as are all orthodox seminaries forming goodly young men into priests of the Church, worthy of our prayers and charity.  I am grateful to have been a part of this day and the significance of it in the lives of all who witnessed or participated - a wonderful birthday present to be sure - and I reflect on it a few thoughts: Pray for our priests, pray for all our priests in formation, pray especially for the full regularization of marginalized traditional communities and societies within our Catholic Church.  Pray for our fellow Catholic faithful, be they laymen, priests or Bishops to practice a greater charity towards their traditional brethren.  The springtime of faith that Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke of - it is my personal belief it will be born from the wellspring of these communities who have kept the Faith of Tradition.