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

Friday, June 22, 2007

John & Mary Catholic in the Spotlight

If you haven't already seen them, check out Amy Welborn's informative and highly amusing thread on Bishop Trautman's statement that the average Catholic will have trouble understanding the proposed translations of the Mass. For a succinct and witty response, do read George Weigel's article "We Are Not Morons"

" Are there clunkers in the new translations? Undoubtedly. But will ICEL’s attempt to restore the sacral vocabulary and linguistic rhythms of the Roman Rite to Catholic worship within the Anglosphere destroy our ability to pray as a community? Please; we’re not morons. I’d even venture the guess that prayers translated with far more fidelity to the Latin originals will be a step toward a deeper, more prayerful encounter with what Bishop Trautman rightly calls “the greatest gift of God, the Eucharist.”

Suppose for a minute that Catholics do come across unfamiliar words in the liturgy. Oddly enough, publishers seem to have anticipated such a dilemma by coming out with a book that - wait for it - provides the meaning of unfamiliar words. Even easier, if one were to Google, for example, "unsullied", and click on the first result, one would find the alternate meaning of "clean". The next time that word came up - in the liturgy or elsewhere - it would no longer be a mystery. More importantly, it would, I believe, lead to a higher level of engagement in said liturgy. Speaking at least for myself, I believe I would find myself more likely to pay attention if I had invested even a small amount of time into discovering the meaning of the prayers. Besides, having some level of mental engagement (hearing uncommon vocabulary) can only force listeners to pay closer attention, and I don't think anyone's arguing against that. A common tip in SAT prep for the Verbal section is to use context to determine or make an educated guess at the meaning of a word. Again, I think we would all be better off if we paid closer attention to what has sadly become all-too-familiar and zoned-out-upon words (I speak as much to myself here as to anyone).

Not only that, but the distinction between the language of the liturgy and the language of everyday conversation leads to a heightened sense of propriety. When one steps into a church, one is (hopefully) reminded visually that they are in a special place. The sights, smells, and music serve as a reminder that this is something set apart, and so too should the words spoken. When you receive a wedding invitation, it doesn't say "My parents and his parents want you to come to our wedding on June 7 - 1:30-ish. Let us know if you can make it." Rather, the words used denote the significance of the event taking place.

I mentioned SAT prep before. Most 11th & 12th grade students are required or strongly encouraged to take an SAT prep class. A bit part of that is studying vocabulary, including words like "abase", "abstruse", "onerous", and "obviate". If the average high-schooler can familiarize themselves with those words, which they'll rarely use, I think they can handle "sullied" and "unfeigned", which will - God willing - be used every Sunday in every Catholic church.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Adventures in Fondant (or: Maybe sometimes it's easier to just take a class)

Mom and I have been meaning for a while to learn how to do a few different things, like fondant a cake and arrange flowers. We went to Joann's on Sunday with the intention of signing up for a Fondant class, and discovered that while the class itself is only $25, there's a supply list that adds up to $50+, and we just couldn't justify spending that much (especially for 2 of us). Undaunted, we thought, "How hard could it be to teach ourselves?" Four hours, 2 lbs. of powdered sugar, and one batch of tough-as-rubber fondant later, we knew. For a family that's notorious for not eating cake, it was not worth the effort.

(I didn't feel like taking the saran wrap off the cake before I took the picture)

Fortunately, our second round of experiments was far more successful. Guided only by a Martha Stewart DVD from the library, we bought 2 dozen roses and some odds and ends from Sam's Club and set to work. 15 minutes later, we had what we agreed was a pretty acceptable bouquet. Not to mention that for the same price as the batch of fondant, we got something far more attractive that won't get dry after a day, and probably tastes better.

I'd like to be there when they try to sell those...

Monday morning, thieves made off with gutters from the Fort Wayne Cathedral.

According to a police report, a priest inside the cathedral at 1122 S. Calhoun St. heard a commotion outside around 3 a.m.

When he looked out his window, he saw three males taking the copper gutter off the back of the main church.

The priest made faces and waved his hands at the thieves, who ran off. He tried to awaken another priest, but couldn’t, so he went back to bed.

(Full story here)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Support Your Local Bloggers!

June has turned out to be quite the month for meeting in person people who I have gotten to know through their blogs. I started out by meeting Danielle Bean and getting to babysit her adorable baby while she spoke at the MN Catholic Home Ed Conference . I also got to meet Margaret , who was every bit as sweet in person as she is on her blog.

Having nearly filled my quota of homeschool mom bloggers (now if I could only meet Melissa Wiley...), I made it a point to go to the Chesterton Conference last Friday to hear Dawn Eden's presentation The Girl Who Was Thirsty: How G. K. Chesterton Opened the Door to My Conversion. I brought my copy of her awesome book (yeah, I know I'm not the target audience; I very much enjoyed it anyway), in hopes that I could get her to sign it. Lo and behold, I walked in the doors of the conference building, and who should be sitting behind the registration table but the lady herself! She wasn't signing books at the time, but I asked anyway (I had to leave immediately afterward to help celebrate someone's 21st birthday), and she graciously obliged.

Having accomplished that, we sat down to enjoy her talk. Let me say this: if you enjoy her writing, you MUST see her in person! Dawn has a speaking style that is like her writing style, but intensified. Her wonderful sense of humor is all the more apparent in person, as is the intensely personal nature of her chosen subject. It already takes great courage to be so candid and earnest about something so personal; I can't even imagine being willing to share it again and again with crowds of complete strangers. Beyond all that, though, Dawn's joy was so obvious and contagious that one couldn't help but smile just to watch her share the gift she has been given. Hats off.

This evening, 2 or 3 things coincided and freed my schedule up so that I could go to Theology on Tap North. I wasn't at all expecting to know anyone there, and I was really surprised to meet ToT regular and tonight's featured speaker, Adoro, who talked about the occult. She shared this story and gave us some helpful definitions and information. I can see why she teaches RCIA - she's just as articulate in person as on her blog, and really has a gift for explaining things. For myself, I read this article when was first published, and it singlehandedly did a pretty good job of helping with temptation (the past that sticks in my head? "Try this: The next time you face a temptation, remind yourself that you’re cooperating with the malevolent will of a highly developed insect that hates you yet wants to be with you forever. You’ll find your old reliable sins lose a little of their allure.")

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