Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

Grab the noisemakers! Break out the pots and pans! Let's watch the ball drop in Times Square! Happy New Y..... Wait. Not so fast....

The fridge is burgeoning with Thanksgiving leftovers, the biggest pre-Christmas shopping day of the year is in full swing, and I'm posting a "Happy New Year" to my readers?!

Well...... Yes!

This week our family is invited to a New Years Eve party scheduled for Saturday evening. But with December 31st still some 4-5 weeks away we will be welcoming another New Year, indeed, a more significant New Year than that which the world over will acknowledge as the calendar switches from 2013 to 2014.

Saturday, November 30, 2013, is New Years Eve for the Church! Last Sunday we celebrated the Last Sunday after Pentecost, and this Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, "New Years Day"--liturgically speaking--for the Church. With that in mind, dear friends of ours are opening their home for a liturgical New Years Eve party.

We are definitely in for the celebration!

It likely won't be the raucous time the December 31 parties tend toward, and I don't anticipate any noisemakers at midnight; in fact, most of us will likely be back home with our kids in bed and asleep by then. But we will have a wonderful time as we consider and anticipate the Church New Year, beginning with our families gathering together for the Rosary, followed by, what else, lots of good eats! Pots of chili, hot dogs, drinks and snacks; good times spent with good friends.

And so, leaving those pots and pans in the cupboard for another few weeks we'll set our sights on Advent, and the coming of the Christ-Child, the beginning of the 2014 liturgical year.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

.... and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Archbishop Lefebvre - Movie Review

The Archbishop Lefevbre - A Bishop for the Church  movie which has been seen in venues throughout the country and around the world was shown yesterday in Portland, Oregon. Some members of my family were able to see it, and my brother Rory was kind enough to offer the following review:

I think we had a little over a hundred folks at our venue, almost half the parish.

It was good. The enthusiasm with which the DVDs were purchased shows that it was a success. Those with some background in the biographies and Mgr. Lefebvre's books need to remember that the purpose wasn't to replace the books, but to make Abp. Lefebvre come alive a little bit to a new generation of Traditionalists either entering adulthood, or having recently come to Tradition without a living memory of the situation twenty years ago and more.

I am always critical of dubbing. Thankfully they never dubbed Abp. Lefebvre. It just seems like you miss a lot when somebody is talking over the person. Yes, you get the correct translation, but you
miss other ways we communicate audibly that seem important as well. There was one short spot where Cardinal Ottaviani seemed animated and I really wanted the "overvoice" to quiet down. 

Anyway, that is really my only complaint. The theater was accommodating and really terrific. They greeted us immediately as we by-passed the ticket booth and showed us to the event, making a nice sign with the name of our church on it so that parishioners would see where to go. It was pretty neat to see above the door for our screen, "Archbishop Lefebvre" in lights.

If there were any guests in the audience I missed them. It all happened so quickly that we really didn't have opportunity to promote the event. Everyone seemed very satisfied and I have to include myself. The time went by quickly.

Its hard to say what our Novus Ordo friends and relatives will think. The subject matter is very close to our hearts and so to see a movie in a theater about it is pretty energizing. It seems like at bare minimum, a fair viewing would dispel some misconceptions about stubbornness. There are pictures and video of his time in Africa which demonstrate how the Archbishop allowed African culture to inform the native worship within a Traditional framework. It seemed quite progressive to me, in a way of which it seems no one could disapprove. I think the film shows that Mgr. Lefebvre was clearly unwilling to bend an article of faith. But his firm courage was gentle and thoughtful without the angry zeal that is the occasional scourge of Tradionalists.

There are more scheduled screenings of this film. Check the list of planned screenings here for upcoming dates and locations. The movie will also be available for all on DVD on December 1--just in time for Christmas!--and may be pre-ordered now at Angelus Press.

God bless you!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Question of High School

Pete over at the Et Cum Spiritu Tuo blog yesterday linked to an article by Dennis Prager of the National Review Online, who writes about young people who stray away from their father's values when they enter the liberal environment of so many colleges and universities. It is an interesting article, and I wholeheartedly agree with Pete when he says in his post that "we must prepare our children for this hostile world."

I believe the problem begins long before the child gets to the hostile-to-conservative-Catholic-values environment of college/university. IMHO, a properly formed Catholic young adult would not be so easily swayed away from his father's values. But there is the rub: in our day there is next to no proper traditional Catholic formation in the early years for our children.

We are considering high school options for our boys, but the options are so few! Where is the high school that will help to form strong, Catholic young men?!

The principal of the grade school they now attend recently sent home a quarter-end letter to parents reiterating the values upheld and instilled in the students at our little Catholic academy, at the root of which is saving each child's soul. Yes, this. Where is the high school whose goals are so clearly focused?

In looking at high school programs I was perusing a well-known Catholic home school high school curriculum. In their magazine they had an article about "Why...?" (...choose their HS program). Except for a brief statement about their curriculum being Catholic, the answers were mostly academic: Our graduates score high on the SAT! Our graduates are accepted at all the major universities! Our graduates achieve "success" out in the real world! Really? Is that all? Yes I want academic excellence, and of course I want to see achievement and success in our sons' pursuits beyond high school. But where is it said that the graduates will have been nurtured and formed solidly in their Catholic faith? Obviously such homeschool curriculum programs by their very nature cannot provide the hands-on opportunity to ensure such formation. And I realize, too, that no program or school can guarantee an individual will not go astray from his formation, but my goodness, let it be a stated goal, a purpose for their existence alongside the academics! How many vocations are coming out of the school/program? Shouldn't this be a measurable statistic for most Catholic institutions?! I think it would have been in some decades past.

Well, our boys weren't born in decades past, but I still want that solid Catholic formation for them! I don't want to bring my sons back to the basement homeschool classroom for their high school years where I would have the nearly-entire responsibility to form them in this way. If I must (if there is no alternative) then I will do it, and to the best of my ability. But it is not, in my opinion, the ideal. No, ideally our sons would be taught, trained and formed by priests in cassocks who have never ceased in their mission to pass on the Catholic Faith as it has always been to the next generation of young Catholics. Priests just like those who are caring for, teaching and forming the children at our grade school academy, Queen of the Holy Rosary, where academics are given their place within the Catholic faith but do not supersede it.

Certainly the institutions I describe and desire seem few, but they do exist. One such school is Notre Dame de LaSalette Boys Academy. Yes, it is a distance from home. Yes, it would mean boarding at the school. Yes, that would be most difficult in many ways. But as a dear lady I know who, with her husband, has sent several of her boys to LaSalette Academy says, "Sometimes you have to send them away in order to keep them." Indeed. She has it on experience that when her boys enter higher education they have not "left (their) father's values" because of the solid Catholic formation that preceded it. Deo Gratias!

As any Catholic parent, I do not want my boys to be among the statistics from which Mr. Prager draws his article. Even in this hostile-to-Catholic-faith world we live in, there are a few oases of solid formation out there for our children. Of course this would involve great sacrifice, but with an eternal perspective, the value is clear.

O God,come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! .... as we discern Our Lord's direction.

God bless you!