Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Well, if an Anglican Conference in Israel sounds a bit incongruous, you might like to know the news source for the story that my google search presented was Aljazeera.net. Yep, Muslim site for news about Anglicans meeting in the country of the Jews. Go figure.
Anyway, so this little Catholic girl (well, actually, large Catholic woman) found out that the result of the conference was that attendees have decided to stand against the liberalism that has become a pervasive influence in their church. They have resolved to openly oppose what has been termed a "false gospel of sexual immorality." This is in direct response to the homosexual American bishop.
The plan developed will formally divide this church that has informally had rival factions. The homosexual issue has been thought to be causing the loss of membership for the last five year. A moderate statistic cited by news articles is that the Anglican church has sustained a 5% decline in membership because of the liberalization of its sexuality stance. Ironically, proponents had promulgated the inclusiveness as a position that would surely foster increased membership.
The Global Anglican Future Conference bishops have clearly stated that they are not leaving the Anglican church. They are saying that they will be remaining in the "Anglican Communion," but what that means is anyone's guess.
May I humbly offer a hand to any and all non-Catholics looking for the glory of Our Lord without a bunch of nonsense?
The Catholic Church - the very heart of Christianity - is open to all. Be bold. Get yourself a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read what is truly Catholic. In it you will find the facts of the Church, not misinformation of propaganda tracts, or odd antidotes of someone's mildly crazed Catholic maiden great aunt who was also known in her town as "the cat lady."
If you are searching, truly search. I trust that you'll find in the Catholic Church the beauty of all that can be offered here on earth.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
As is the nature of a novena prayer, it is said nine (9) consecutive days. This is a simple one in that that same prayers are repeated each of the nine days.
Blessed be God.
Blessed be his holy name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed me the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her spouse most chaste.
Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints.
SAINT MARIA GORETTI NOVENA PRAYER
Child of God,
You who at an early age knew life’s harshness and toil, its sorrows and brief joys;
You who were poor, an orphan, who loved your neighbour tirelessly, making yourself a humble and attentive servant;
You who were kind and good, without pride, who loved Love above all else;
You who shed your blood so as not to betray the Lord;
You who forgave your assassin wishing him in Paradise;
Intercede and pray for us to the Father, so that we may consent to his holy will for us.
You who are God’s friend and see him face to face obtain the grace we are seeking from you…
(state your intention here)
We thank you Maria, for the love of God and neighbour that you have sown in our hearts. Amen.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, be my Love!
Immaculate heart of Mary, be my salvation!
St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us!
The first bears the title -
Gov. Schwarzenegger commits to 20 daily rosaries to help pass health care plan
Okay, now I do like the idea of someone praying the rosary. I especially like them fostering that prayer by letting others know they pray it, but, from what I know of his politics and have previously read of this health care plan, I'm not impressed by Schwarzenegger's prayer life. From what I understand, this measure that the governor is praying for will be to the detriment of the poor.
Maybe this is exactly what is needed - the praying, that is. After all, we know that prayer doesn't guarantee the prayerful his wishes, but it very well may expedite what is right. Hmmm...
Pray Arnold, pray.
The second bit of news that I wanted to share is entitled-
China to permit limited Bible distribution at Olympics
I don't care that it is limited distribution. I see this as wonderful news. Wonderful news about the spread of the Good News.
We're losing one of my favorite bishops. Archbishop Burke of the St. Louis archdiocese is leaving to join the Apostolic Signatura. His expertise in Church law that formed his opinions and that so irritated the selfish, is the reason for the Archbishop's departure. His new position could be equated with that of the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court in that he will preside over the judicial arm of the Vatican.
I know that Archbishop Burke will serve the Church well in his new capacity, but I will miss his voice in the popular media. It was like a clear ringing bell amid the cacophony.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It seems that won't be the case during the pope's visit to Australia in August. In order to sully the sanctity of the event for the sake of their platform, a group called the NoToPope Coalition will be distributing condoms to the young Catholic pilgrims as they head to an evening prayer vigil with the pope. Spokesperson Rachel Evans has said that members of coalition will ask the Catholic youth to, "Take up the campaign within the Catholic church to allow the Catholic church to promote condoms."
At a press conference this week, Evans said that the group will also be protesting the Church's position on abortion and homosexuality. She expressed a belief that Pope Benedict XVI is a bigot with regard to homosexuals and that his opposition to people using prophylactics condemns millions to death from AIDS.
Karl Hand, pastor of Sydney's Metropolitan Community Church which is part of the Coalition, says of his position with relation to that of the Church, "I'm compassionate towards people who need condoms, who need abortions, who need all sorts of recognition of their relationship and it's just not being provided by this massive worldwide church. A lot of the views being taken up by the pope are anti-humanity in general, so that's upsetting."
When I first read that quote of Pastor Hand I imagined him to be a hand wringing short sighted moral relativist who, although he may very well want what is best for God's people, has been sucked into society's quick fix, bandage on a broken arm, mentality. Then I did an Internet search of the man. Now I'm wondering if he might just be a petulant child standing with his fists on his hips, bottom lip in a severe pout, as he stomps his foot because a parent has told him that something he wishes to do is wrong. Hrmphhh - he'll show the world!
Prior to this condom crusade, Pastor Hand, via his blog, explored another unjust situation - the lack of gay bars in his town. Evidently, his favorite hang out was being converted to a restaurant and the other gay bar in town was being renovated. So, what's a boy to do? Raise that rainbow flag and his voice be heard -
"I suddenly realised that there’s more to life than just my needs – a whole section of the community in Newtown are suddenly without a home. It just so happened this all took place while I was giving some talks at church about the idea of a “spiritual home,” and that got me thinking too. As a pastor in Metropolitan Community Church – a largely gay and lesbian denomination, I am committed to queer spirituality. I believe that queer people are not only equal in rights, and in worth to society, and equal in beauty – I also believe we are equal in Spirit. But am I taking things too far by suggesting a pub – especially a classy venue like the Newtown – could be a spiritual home for Queer Newtown? We’re not materially poorer for loosing one venue and maybe setting up somewhere else. But we have lost something of the richness of human experience, on a level which transcends the material."
Now, am I getting this right? This guy wants to be some sort of moral/social leader, yet he finds a "richness of human experience" in the gay bar scene. What does being equal in Spirit - note the capital "S" - have to do with clubbing? How can services at his church be anything but incredibly morally bankrupt if he suggests that that a pub might be a "spiritual home" for a segment of a towns population?
Now the big question...
Why should I care about what he says and does?
I'd like to end this post there, but I can't. I can't because I care. I care because this is a platform of aching souls who need to know they are loved and that the Church's ultimate position is that of God's ultimate love. I hope that more than a few of the protesters might be converted by the love of Christ they will witness in our kids. Until then, I ask you to pray for them.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Brisbane Times is reporting that unconscionably, Archbishop John Bathersby, prelate of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, is allowing a convicted, admitted, pedophile to celebrate the Mass. This directly runs counter to what Pope Benedict said in an in flight interview on his way to the U.S. this past April. At that time the Pope said,
"We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry; it is absolutely incompatible and who is really guilty of being a pedophile cannot be a priest. So at this first level we can do justice and help the victims, because they are deeply affected; these are the two sides of justice: one, that pedophiles cannot be priests and the other, to help in any possible way the victims."
Yes, the whole mess of what is called the American church scandal occurred half a world away from this Australian diocese, but let's get real. What does it take for someone to realize that such a violation is beyond being a mistake? It is graver than what might be termed an indiscretion. If the pope says pedophiles may not function as a priest, there is no grey area - convicted pedophile Ronald John McKeirnan should not participate in a priestly capacity in any of the sacraments.
Archbishop Bathersby, please listen to the Holy Father. How might you expect your flock to follow you if you won't follow your shepherd? Please, for the love of all that you hold sacred, correct this situation.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The incident first came to light on Friday when the Catholic magazine The Wanderer published a letter from three Catholic bishops to their colleagues with concerns about the situation.
HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe talked with the [Washington] Times about the problems and said the agency could put in jeopardy the millions in funding the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops receives for foster care for immigrant children. Full Story
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Did I just hear a groan?
If you aren't from Central PA, you might not know that the lampposts on the main street of Chocolatetown, U.S.A (Hershey, PA) are alternately wrapped and unwrapped Hershey Kisses. If you are from the area, that was you groaning.
Scott had his ten week check-in with the eye doctor, Dr. James McManaway.
I don't know if it is the location of his office, the result of good parenting or some other factor, but I have to say that he might be the sweetest doctor on earth.
He comes across as a genuinely nice guy. Tops in the pediatric ophthalmology field, yet he's just about as unassuming as they come.
Scott especially likes how Dr. McManaway concludes every visit - with chocolate. The basket in the picture below is filled with Hershey's kisses.
The funny thing is that Scott has never offered to share any with me. Hmmm.....
Monday, June 16, 2008
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, feeling a complete failure, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."
The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!
The 57-year-old's first name was changed to "In God," while his last name was changed to "We Trust." He's said to have made the change as a symbolic nod to the help God afforded him in difficult times. The bus driver who is an amateur modern artist stated he was anxious to begin signing his pieces as "In God We Trust."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
In April of 1808 Philadelphia became a diocese. At that time the diocese's territory was defined as all of Pennsylvania and Delaware, plus portions of New Jersey. Due to a delay caused by political unrest in Europe at the time, the official paperwork directing that Franciscan Fr. Michael Egan was to be the first to ascend to the Philadelphia bishopric did not reach Baltimore's Bishop Carroll until 1810. In the interim Fr. Egan served from Philadelphia as Bishop Carroll's vicar-general.
Bishop Nicholas C. Dattilo
As the windows of Rose of Lima and the Archangel Gabriel are at the choir loft level, so too are those of the other saint windows. Beneath each is found another stained glass window.
And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work." (Luke 2:49)
...behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. (Luke 2:13-14)
"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." (Luke 2:27-32)
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
The Ascension of Jesus
Descent of the Holy Spirit
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4)
Jesus Buried in the Tomb
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.
When He saw the crowds, He went up the mountain, and after He had sat down, His disciples came to Him.
He began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:1-12)
The Wedding in Caan
His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5)
In the narthex of the basilica is a stained glass window of the Holy Family.
Individual stained glass portraits of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph are in the church itself, seperate from the collection of saints - yet at the same level.
This iconographic image of the Virgin Mary is located across from a Marian altar. Beneath it, immediately above the doors, is a stained glass window of colorful design.
In keeping with the traditional balance found in most Catholic churches, one might imagine that the St. Joseph window would be facing a St. Joseph altar, but that is not the case. Instead, the other side altar is a St. Francis Xavier altar.
On each side of the painting of Our Lady's Assumption, which is placed on the left side of the main altar, are the statues of two Jesuit saints. Their relics rest below. The Sacred Heart above.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who died as a fourth year Jesuit seminarian, is the patron of Catholic youth.
A former military man, St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, is the patron saint of soldiers.
St. Francis Xavier, a zealous missionary while on earth, is the patron saint of foreign missions.
On the other side of the main altar, across from the stained glass image of St. Joseph, is the painting "Dying of St. Francis Xavier." This painting is also surrounded by statues of luminaries of the Society of Jesus. The Sacred Heart is above.
There is a reliquary of each on the side altar.
From the picture below an idea of the positioning of the statues with relation to the portaits and main altar may be ascertained. The photograph was taken when a pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadelupe visited the basilica in April of 2005. It is the pilgrim image that is in the center of the aisle, near the communion rail.
Behind the tabernacle is the painting "The Appartion of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary." St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was a cloistered French sister of the Visitation Order in the 17th century. The Jesuit priest included in the picture is Blessed Claude de la Colombiere who was instrumental in the decernment of the validity of the visitations experienced by St. Margaret Mary and dissemination of the revelations.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus did not begin with St. Margaret Mary. It could be said that St. John the Evangelist resting his head on the Sacred Heart during the Last Supper was the beginning of the gradual advancement of the devotion.
Of the timing of His apparitions to her, Jesus told St. Margaret Mary, "My divine Heart is so inflamed with love for mankind ... that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its burning charity and must spread them abroad by your means."
The ceiling directly above the main altar is a chalice like representation of the Sacred Heart.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion was approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765 with the purpose that it would "renew the memory of that divine love."
Pius IX instituted the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1856
The transept ceiling is adorned with three Trinitarian frescos
All three of the paintings not only feature the Father Son and Holy Spirit, but also contain adoring angels.
At each corner of the central apse painting is a portrait of a Gospel author.
Between the Evangelists is a grant depiction of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.
This picture shows the positioning of Luke and John with relation to the Assumption. Though you cannot see them, Matthew is opposite of Luke and Mark is opposes John.
One might assume that there is an incredible amount of molding in the basilica, but that isn't the case. Most of what seems to be molding is actually skillfully executed trompe l'oeil.
All of the statues in the basilica are located in the transept, save one of the Sacred Heart that is in the rear of the church. That statue rests above the main entrance from the vestibule.
On the right side of the rear of the church is an entrance to a side room which was once used as a library. It has since been converted to Our Lady's Chapel.
Although it is a functional chapel, Our Lady's Chapel also serves as a museum of sorts in that it contains three relics and in that pictures of Sacred Heart's history line its side walls. Below are but three of the many pictures
The first shows the church decorated in a manner radically different from the present. The differences are so thorough that even the communion railing is different. The current dual gates bears the Twin Hearts - the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - and the railing itself is simpler, no angels. The pews remain the same.
The second photo shows progression toward the present appearance. Gone is the Last Supper mural. In its place it the current painting. Two items that may not be immediately recognizable in the picture, but that are interesting features are:
The gas light that is suspended from the ceiling that is slightly off center, toward the bottom
The picture that is hanging on the far left is one of the old stations of the cross paintings. In that the present stations were erected in 1901, this picture must have been taken before then
The last one shown here is from the 1950's. For the most part, it is close in appearance to the present church. It seems that, if in addition to moving the Sacred Heart statue and the Papal umbrella, you added the present altar, you could take the same picture today.
At the rear of Our Lady's Chapel is hung one of the hand painted stations of the cross that used to be in the main church. All of the stations are still held by the basilica, but this is the only one accessible to the public.Mentioning that there are stations of the cross paintings that aren't readily available for public viewing reminded me of a picture that I didn't want to forget to share with you.
It is hung in the sacristy. I find this Madonna and child to be somewhat entrancing. The fanciful side of me imagines it to be like a semi-private gift from Our Lady to her son's priest that he see such a lovely image everyday. I hope it reminds him that as she was always there for Jesus, she is always there for him.
If you ever make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, after you've soaked in its splendor, rested your soul, refreshed your spirit and offered a prayer of thanksgiving, please be sure to look up before you go through the last door.
It is there that you'll see this final image of the Sacred Heart in stained glass. As you go beneath it, consider offering the ejaculation, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you."
Entered on the National Register of Historic Places January 29, 1975, the basilica also has shrine status with the Catholic Church. It is open to visitors from dusk to dawn. Click on the final exterior picture of the basilica to be redirected to the diocesan web site's listing of Sacred Heart's Masses.
Pius XI: [Sacred Heart devotion] "leads our minds to know Christ the Lord intimately and more effectively turns our hearts to love Him more ardently and to imitate Him more perfectly."
Be aware that my pictures do not do justice to this gorgeous church. Even if I had better equipment and the best lighting, I don't think it is possible to capture its beauty. Once you've been there, you'll know what I mean.