Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. [Henry James]

Tea Time magazine, an offshoot of Southern Lady magazine, features tea party recipes, table settings, etiquette, and tea room reviews.

Christmas Bargains

Therese taught me many years ago there are year round bargains to be had in the post Christmas sales, like the time she acquired full sets of red, gold, and white napkins for a song.

This year, I followed her example and ended up with a nice set of gold cocktail napkins for year round use... and these napkins and napkin rings for my Epiphany party. And Christ the King party. And St Edward's and any other martyred royalty party. You get the picture.

The Love of St John

Wine is traditionally blessed on St John's day, commemorating the destruction of a poisoned bottle when the evangelist made the sign of the cross over it. The blessing for St John's wine can be found in the Roman Ritual. Have an extra bottle blessed for any couples that will be married in the next year. Make tags with an appropriate Scripture verse; the pictured bottle's tag says: "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God." [i Jn 4, 7]

Share the bottle of blessed wine, mulled if you like, among your friends and family. The leader raises his glass, and says, "I drink to you the love of St John"; the next person responds, "I thank you for the love of St John."

Christmas Treasures

A Set of Bride's Tree Ornaments (from a fellow Church Lady)
Heart: The importance of love in the newly formed home
House: Good family shelter
Flower basket: Abundant beauty in the home
Basket of Fruit: A Christian spirit of selfless giving
Teapot: Hospitality
Bird in a nest: Confidence and happiness in the home
Pine cone: Eternity
Animal: Peace with nature
Fish: Christ
Rose: The Virgin Mary
Church or angel: The importance of family worship of God
St Nicholas: Generosity
[From Catholic & Loving It: Traditions for a New Generation]

A lamb cake pan, to celebrate Christ, the Paschal Lamb at Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, St John the Baptist, St Perpetua & Felicity, St Agnes, and much more!

The TAN Saints Calendar:
Contains both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary liturgical year, feastdays and Sundays, and historical feasts Includes Catholic information such as the days of fast and abstinence, Ember Days and vigils. [product info]

Holy Toast:
The Holy Toast stamper is ideal for adding a touch of ecclesiastical elegance to snack time, and it's guaranteed to brighten up your breakfast, even if you decide to slop jelly all over it. After all, regular toast is about as visually interesting as the back of a pew. [product info]

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Image: Monk by the Sea

Monday, December 22, 2008

O Rex Gentium

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Image: Christ the King

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Oriens

O come, Thou Day-spring,
come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Image: Cross in the Mountains

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Even a custom like Christmas baking, apparently such an external activity, has its roots in the Church’s Advent liturgy, which makes its own the glorious words of the Old Testament in these days of the declining year: “In that day, the mountains will drip sweetness, and the rivers will flow with milk and honey.” People of old found in such words the embodiment of their hopes for a world redeemed. And once again, our ancestors celebrated Christmas as the day on which God truly came. When he comes at Christmas, he distributes his honey (so to speak).Truly, the earth must flow with this honey on that day: where he is present, all bitterness disappears, and there is harmony between heaven and earth, between God and man. The honey and the sweets are a sign of this peace, of concord and of joy.
[Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger]

CLOCHE tip: Rebecca Teti at Faith & Family Live

Image source: Margaret Mary's Gingerbread house

O Clavis David

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Image: King David in prayer

And I am slightly amused now by fans of Our Lady's University shaking their keys to open the third quarter in front of Touchdown Jesus. O Come Divine Messiah!

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Radix Jesse

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Image: Patriarch Jacob holding the genealogy of Christ

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Adonai

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Image: Moses on Mount Sinai

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let the O Antiphons begin!

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Image: Raphael's The prophet Isaiah, San Agostino, Rome

Saturday, December 13, 2008

St Lucy

Behind her the virgins of her train are brought to the King;
they are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the King, the Lord.
[Ps 44, 15-16]

In solidarity with our Lutheran bretheren on a common feast, let us enjoy this stunning hymnody:
Thy strong word did cleave the darkness
At Thy speaking, it was done
For created light, we thank Thee
While Thine ordered seasons run
Alleluia, Alleluia, praise to Thee whose light doth send
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia without end

St Lucy Crown recipe

Celebrating St Lucy (via Catholic Culture)

Friday, December 12, 2008

My darling clementine

Some citrus facts to share:

According to legend, clementines [aka Christmas oranges] were bred by Fr Clement Rodier in Algeria [source]

This children's rhyme, depicted in the Edward Hamilton Bell print
Oranges and lemons",
say the bells of St. Clement's

"You owe me five farthings",
say the bells of St. Martin's

"When will you pay me?"
say the bells of Old Bailey

"When I grow rich",
say the bells of Shoreditch

"When will that be?"
say the bells of Stepney

"I do not know",
says the great bell of Bow
is the reason English chefs associate citrus dishes with St Clement [Cooking with the Saints]. I remember a beautiful picture book with these scenes depicted in oil paintings- does anyone else?

A half-and-half mixture of orange juice and bitter-lemon soda water is known as a St Clement's. [source]

image sources:
Hale Groves

Gift ideas for Father

A guest post from FrB

Obviously the gift will depend on how close a friend the recipient is, how much money you're willing to spend and whether or not you're pooling with a bunch of people.

Now, the obvious gift for an ordination is a vestment of some sort... If you know the ordinand's taste well then this can be a very much appreciated gift. If you don't mind it not being a surprise, then I'd strongly recommend you consult with the ordinand first. He may already have enough stoles, etc... or he might want one in a particular colour. It'd be annoying to receive 4 white stoles and to have to go out and buy a purple stole after ordination. Another nice gift for an ordinand to receive is a liturgical book. Again, consult with the recipient. A considerate priest-friend gave me 'Pastoral Care for the Sick' (the rite for Communion for the Sick, Viaticum, Anointing, etc...) when I was made a deacon and it's obviously something which I've used a huge amount. Likewise, my copy of The Order of Christian Funerals and The Rite of Penance were gifts, and I'm reminded of the donors when I use them. Fr Sean Finegan's 'Consecrations, Blessings and Prayers' is an excellent resource, and I think any priest would appreciate it. A gift token for a liturgical/theological bookshop might be appropriate too.

I wouldn't recommend getting a pyx. I got one when I was ordained deacon, and another 4 or 5 when I was ordained priest. I think most newly ordained priests probably have several pyxes. Anyway, liturgical gifts are ideal... practical and very meaningful, but I'd strongly recommend consulting the recipient first. Newly ordained priests also probably receive enough nice pens to last them a lifetime.

Moving away from the liturgical, probably the most practical gift I received in my first year of ministry was the GPS my brother gave me. Parish ministry involves a lot of driving, sometimes in unfamiliar areas, and there are lots of addresses to remember. Other useful bits and pieces that I've received - black shoulder bag suitable for an alb and stole, leather folder for documents and a number of pieces of art to decorate my rooms in the parochial house. In terms of clothing, a warm cap, gloves or scarf might be appreciated by a priest for the winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

After our own hearts

An essential accessory for your favorite teapot and the ultimate in homely comfort: tea cozies are a feel-good and fun way to enjoy tea! With many quirky examples to knit and crochet, culled from the pages of Knitting magazine, your teapot can be the talk of the town. The easy projects are accompanied by detailed patterns and instructions for how to create your own delightful cozies, and many of the suggestion can be made with spare bits of yarn lying around the home. Whatever your taste there will be something here to tempt you. From the classic rustic charm of a delightfully striped cozy to contemporary chic with a touch of kitsch (try the woolly sheep!), the world of tea cozies is just waiting to be discovered! [Available via Amazon]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

40 Days for Life Fall 2008 Report

Watch this short video for a really inspirational summary of God's amazing work done via the recent 40 Days for Life campaign.


Thanks to Creative Minority Report for reporting on this!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Give Us This Day...

If that's not an espresso bar/coffee & tea store name worthy of Church Ladies, I don't know what its.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Patron Saints 2009

It's time again for the most popular Church Lady annual event, the distribution of patron saints for the new liturgical year.

On the first of January a new calendar year begins. On the first Sunday of Advent the new year of the Church begins. Therefore, the Saturday preceding the first Advent Sunday has something of the character of a New Year’s Eve. One of the old customs is to choose a patron saint for the new year of the Church.
[Maria Trapp, Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

In keeping with the year of St Paul, this year's saints include the Apostle and his companions. I hope you enjoy learning more about your new patron by reading Acts and the Pauline epistles and looking at images of St Paul in art.

UPDATE: Email me at sanctalucia(at)gmail(dot)com to receive your new patron.

Happy 2009!

Image: Paul & Barnabas at Lystra


I have been asked to serve as a confirmation sponsor for a fellow Christian who will be received into the Church in a few weeks, making his First Communion and being confirmed. I am looking forward to sharing his faith journey.

Naturally, this occasion will be commemorated with a little gathering. I am thinking of incorporating a few of the Corpus Christi and Pentecost traditions (candles, scattered red rose petals to symbolize the tongues of fire, serving something that flew- chicken hotdish counts) in my decoration and menu.

However, I have to admit, I am a bit stumped for a gift. The confirmandee has an academic background and is well stocked with books and literature. One idea I was throwing around was a Nativity set- do you have any others?

Image source: Catholic Child's Picture Dictionary

Christmas Prayer

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O My God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Blessed Mother. Amen.

This prayer is recited 15 times a day from the feast of St Andrew until Christmas.