The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Fr. Jon's Weekly Column

From this week's Bulletin (emphasis mine):

One of the ways the Church understands herself is in the term "communion." We often associate communion with the act of receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is true, but communion has a much broader meaning as well.

There is always a vertical and horizontal dimension to this communion. The vertical is our entering into relationship with God, and the horizontal is our entering into relationship with one another. However, they are not equal; there is a hierarchy involved. The vertical comes first and foremost. God initiates communion. We enter into a relationship with Him and He forms us. He reaches out to us and gives us His gifts. It is because of our relationship with God that we are able to enter into relationship with one another. Those relationships with others in the Body of Christ are rooted in our relationship with God.

At Mass we receive Communion, and we enter into the life of God. When we receive the Eucharist, all levels of communion are impacted. When we hear the words, "The Body of Christ and respond, "Amen" we are saying, "I believe" to a number of things. We are saying, "I believe this is the Body and Blood of Christ." We are also saying, I am in communion with the Catholic Church, I believe what she teaches and proclaims. This is one reason that non-Catholics are not permitted to receive Communion in the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is the center of our faith life, and we are saying that we believe and attempt to live what the Catholic Church teaches. Our songbooks have a good instruction on receiving Holy Communion that explains this reality very well.

The more deeply we are in relationship with God, the more profound our relationships with one another will be. God always brings more healing, peace, depth, and meaning to our lives.
Though the whole thing was quite good, I was especially happy with the highlighted part. It's as close as anyone is going to get to denying Communion, at least in this diocese. I don't know that any Rainbow Sash-wearers are going to stop and read our bulletin before Mass, but at least it has been said.

If I applied, do you suppose they'd send me as many of those as I want? (or: Mail from St. Kate's)

Gee, I can think of a few places to stick it... Posted by Hello

I think if you look closely enough, there's fine print at the bottom that says, "...except be priests, because of the outdated, male-dominated, sexist Church. Hail to the Spirit of the Earth!"

It does remind me of something a friend told me recently. She was going to a college fair being held at St. Kate's, and she asked her dad for directions. He gave her the general idea, and then said, "It's not too hard once you get close; you can just follow the brooms."

Put a Caption on this Photo!

Thankfully, this is not some new incidence of Liturgical dancing, but a picture included in some promotional materials I got today from Wesleyan University. Yeah...that really makes me want to go there.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You...

The Passion of the Christ: Recut. I actually heard about this on the radio a few weeks ago, but wasn't able to find anything on it until today. This version is unrated (but would have received an "R" rating), and has 5-6 minutes of the most graphic footage cut out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

An Interesting Mental Picture, at least...

Our Greek & Roman Letters class has, for the last few weeks, been studying Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. We've been having rather a difficult time understanding it, and Mr. K has been resorting to using some very interesting analogies to try to make it at least somewhat coherent for us. Today, he was trying to clarify the difference between virtues and the arts, and ended up giving a rather interesting mental picture: (our responses are bracketed)

"If I give alms to the poor, is that an act of generosity? [Yes] If I'm mugged by a homeless person, and he takes my money, is that an act of generosity? [No, because you did not give your consent] But if I put a gun to Leo Kottke's head and say, 'Play, boy,' and he gives an outstanding performance, is it nonetheless a good performance, though he did not choose it?"

Honestly, it's much easier to picture him threatening Leo Kottke at the tip of the sword than at gunpoint...

Coincidence? I Think Not

A very bizarre thing happened between Masses on Sunday. (I should make it clear that I didn't actually witness any of this; my account is pieced together from the accounts of people who did see it) Apparently, right after the pre-Mass Rosary, a man jumped out of the congregation, ran up onto the steps in front of the Altar, and started shouting something semi-coherent about salvation. The ushers attempted unsuccessfully to remove him; finally, a group of men succeeded. One friend of mine said that when she arrived, there was a large group of people surrounding him, praying over him. Another friend said that when he showed up (after Mass had begun), there were 3 squad cars there.
This afternoon, our Latin teacher, Mr. K., started off class by telling us that when he was at Mass on Sunday, a man had jumped up onto the steps in front of the Altar and started shouting something semi-coherent about salvation (as best as he could remember it, it was something like, "Who is God? Is it the Blessed Virgin Mary? Is it not Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Deliver these people, Lord, for they know not what they do."). We asked Mr. K if he had been to Mass at St. Paul's, but no, he had gone to the Cathedral.
The incident at our parish took place at about 10:15; the one at the Cathedral happened at during the 12:15 Mass - plenty of time for him to get downtown from our church, provided that he wasn't actually arrested. I haven't been able to get a description of our intruder yet (Mr. K provided a detailed one of the man at the Cathedral), but it just seems to bizarre to be a coincidence.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

So what if the Sanctuary burned down? At least he looked good doing it...

For the last few weeks, our parish has been going through the annual period of training in the new Altar Servers. They're paired with the more experienced servers, and there's usually one or two reasons to chuckle. Today, while lighting the Altar candles during the Preparation of the Gifts, the new server had his wick too long, and the flame was about 7 inches high. You could almost hear the ~puff~ when he extinguished it. I'm not complaining, though. We still have all-guy servers, and, as Mom commented a few weeks ago, it's nice to see that these teenaged boys, who can barely dress themselves in the morning, are able to show such care and precision as they do while serving Mass. I also admire the fact that they can execute a 90+ degree bow gracefully (you know you're becoming a Catholic nerd(ette) when you start noticing guys based on how deeply they can bow without falling over).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

...And the Sky Hasn't Fallen Yet

It occurred to me today that it's been about a year since our pastor (of 25 years) announced his retirement.
It's been about a year (give or take a few seconds) that thinly veiled projections of the world's ending were given by some members of the parish, and it's been that same amount of time since I first realized I wasn't going to miss him as acutely as "some members of the parish."
It's been almost a year since they announced that for our parish's Lenten Mission that year, they would be hosting a couple of psychiatrists to help us all "cope with the transition." And then the transition, which included the Transition Prayer, which was prayed at every Mass from Father's announcement until the installation of the new pastor (an interminably long period of about 7 months, which included some time after Father Jon's arrival but before his installation). The Transition Prayer, which included such phrases as "Help us reassure and support each other in this time of change."
It's been perhaps 9 months since we found out who our new pastor would be, and everyone began Googling his name in an attempt to find out as much as possible about him before he arrived.
It's been about 7 months since Father Tim's week-long farewell celebrations, where we honored (in due fashion) the priest who founded our parish, and when everyone crowded around him to say good-bye (or perhaps just to say they actually talked to Father, for the first time). We joked during a skit that the Archbishop had decided to revoke his retirement, after seeing how well-loved Father Tim was. Everyone laughed, but I bet that there were some in the audience who were sorry to learn that we were only joking.
It's been almost 6 months since Father Jon was formally installed by the Archbishop, and the Transition Prayer finally disappeared. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some people there who were hoping Father Tim would run in at the last minute, having decided to forgo his retirement.
It's been a few months since Father Jon started wearing his brocade vestments at Mass. Sure, he doesn't match the rest of the Sanctuary, but it is nice to have one aesthetic spot in the midst of a sea of polyester.
It's been a while since the gloom-and-doom predictions started rolling in, and I'm glad to say that last time I checked, the sky hadn't fallen on our church yet.

Open the floodgates...

I think Collegeboard must have just released the scores of this fall's PSAT to colleges. In the past two days, I've gotten mail from the following colleges (listed in no particular order):

Ithaca College
University of Puget Sound
Washington University in St. Louis
The University of Minnesota
St. John's College
Luther College
Gustavus Adolphus College
Carleton College
Union College
Loyola University Chicago
University of Central Florida
Tulane University

So, I haven't heard from anywhere I'm really interested in, but it's only day 2 of... about 600. Hopefully it doesn't continue at this rate. Let's see... 6 pieces a day, for the next 1.5 years would be 3,285 college letters. I suppose that'd be one incentive toward early admission - just to be able to take yourself off of everyone else's mailing lists.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bad Taste, or Just Amusing?

Awaiting the Descent of the Holy Spirit... Posted by Hello

We found this candle while cleaning up Christmas decorations (no, we aren't just now doing it; this was a while ago). No idea where it came from. We thought it was just a nice statue until someone noticed the wick coming up out of her head. I suppose it would be a nice Pentecost illustration...for a few minutes. I shudder to think of what she would look like after that, though.

Friday, February 11, 2005

"Rainbow Sash wearers...disqualify themselves from being given holy Communion."

Good news from the Vatican as reported by Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's top liturgy official said Rainbow Sash wearers disqualify themselves from receiving Holy Communion because they are demonstrating their opposition to church teaching on homosexuality.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, made the comment in a written response to Catholic News Service in early February.

Rainbow Sash, which describes itself as an organization of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families and friends, has criticized church statements on homosexuality, including the church's teaching that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered" and that homosexual orientation is "objectively disordered."

(read the entire article here)

I was especially encouraged by the part that read
"ideally, all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach." The last thing the Catholic Church needs right now is to appear to the secular world to be on the edge of schism.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, penitance, repetance, incense, Stations of the Cross, Benediction, brocade vestments, Latin hymns...

What's not to like about Lent?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Baby Steps

There were a few encouraging signs at Mass yesterday. For instance, everyone continued kneeling after Father sat, and for quite a while longer than usual. Then, during the announcements, we found out that they will be offering a 7:00 a.m Mass on Wednesday, in addition to the usual 7:00 p.m. one.

Of course it would seem that for the steps forward we have taken, we take as many back (or at least, one problematic area doesn't change). The Lamb of God went something like "Jesus, Lamb of God who takes away the sinis of the world, have mercy on us. Jesus, Prince of Peace who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Jesus, Tree of Life who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us...." and so on, repeated several times too many.
And then there's the most disappointing - or at least, most aesthetically displeasing - change (actually, a reversion to old ways): Father has ceased wearing the brocade vestments, in favor of polyester tableclothes adorned with gold rickrack. It was suggested that someone made them and gave them to him as a Christmas present, and that he's wearing them under a sort of polite obligation. I'm inclined to believe that, as it was he who decided on the brocade ones in the first place. Luckily, Lent is coming up, so unless he received a set in every color (God forbid), we'll soon be seeing brocade again.

I suppose steps forward, though overshadowed by steps back, are better than nothing at all.

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