Monday, March 31, 2008

Veils and more

The Church Ladies have different takes on chapel veils. Some wear them always, others only at the Extraordinary Form, and some fall in between on the chapel veil spectrum. But we all agree that every Church Lady needs a veil for her wedding (and First Communions, for those Church Ladies in training). In fact, rumor has it a certain Church Lady was denied the opportunity to wear a veil at her First Communion, and will be seizing the day at her upcoming wedding...

Permit me to introduce Halo Works, and its founder, the delightful Maureen. From First Communions to Quinces to weddings and funerals, Maureen has veils for every occasion. There is even an easy wear category for the mantilla inept (like me, who ends up with a chapel bandanna by the end of Mass). Maureen's veils are beautifully made- some even come from Spain! If you don't see quite what you are looking for, Maureen will be happy to design a custom wedding veil (as she is for me). She searched tirelessly to find samples that would match my ivory dress. Halo Works also stocks other Catholic goods and gifts.

The wedding veil is more than an accessory; it has deep religious significance:
The next morning finds mother and daughter for the last time in their intimate closeness. Now I assist the bride to put on her bridal gown and to fasten the veil to her hair. Then she kneels down while the bridal wreath made of fresh white flowers is placed over the veil, at which time the solemn words are said "Receive here this symbol of your virginity which I have helped you to keep intact that you may give it unspotted to your husband as your greatest gift," to which the daughter answers with a heartfelt, "Thank you. Praised be God." This is always a moment of deep emotion. After the last long embrace I sign the forehead of my daughter with the sign of the Cross and then lead her downstairs, where the procession is already formed.

[Maria Trapp, Around the Year]

Also consider this wedding tradition:
Polish brides wear a wreath of flowers and herbs with their veil, which afterwards is saved in the hope chest. When virginity gives way to motherhood, the dried wreath is crumbled in the baby's bath, emphasizing the bond between marriage and family.
[Catholic and Loving It]

For the church girls

A First Communion set of dress, wreath, and veiled sized to fit American Girls, P31, and other 18" dolls.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Purchased Today

Two butter lambs, for 50 cents apiece. With any luck, we'll be able to scrounge the molds and use them for many Easters to come. Maybe we'll even go all out and decorate them.

An amusing take on butter lambs can be found here.

Also, if anyone knows why the Polish make butter lambs, aside from being delightfully quirky and POD, I'd be curious.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Little Easter Happiness

Therese emailed me this video today from the 10:00 am Easter Mass at Notre Dame. It's a beautiful liturgy in just about every way, and I highly recommend watching or listening to at least some of it. It's especially meaningful to me, however, since I'm that alto standing directly behind the organ, right side. If you're only watching part of it (it's a big file and, well, I can't really expect that many people will actually watch the entire thing), I would highly recommend skipping to the Victimae and Gospel Acclamation (beginning immediately after the second reading). I believe I described that part of the Mass, only half-jokingly, as "the pinnacle of my existence". It gives me chills to listen to it even now, and standing right next to the organ was indescribable. Christ is risen. Now go listen to some good choral music.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.
A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee.
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

For the rest of today's Office of Readings ...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Your face, Lord, do I seek.

"Hide not your face from me" (Ps 27:8-9). Veronica ­ Bernice, in the Greek tradition ­ embodies the universal yearning of the devout men and women of the Old Testament, the yearning of all believers to see the face of God. On Jesus' Way of the Cross, though, she at first did nothing more than perform an act of womanly kindness: she held out a facecloth to Jesus. She did not let herself be deterred by the brutality of the soldiers or the fear which gripped the disciples. She is the image of that good woman, who, amid turmoil and dismay, shows the courage born of goodness and does not allow her heart to be bewildered. "Blessed are the pure in heart", the Lord had said in his Sermon on the Mount, "for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). At first, Veronica saw only a buffeted and pain-filled face. Yet her act of love impressed the true image of Jesus on her heart: on his human face, bloodied and bruised, she saw the face of God and his goodness, which accompanies us even in our deepest sorrows. Only with the heart can we see Jesus. Only love purifies us and gives us the ability to see. Only love enables us to recognize the God who is love itself.

Lord, grant us restless hearts, hearts which seek your face. Keep us from the blindness of heart which sees only the surface of things. Give us the simplicity and purity which allow us to recognize your presence in the world. When we are not able to accomplish great things, grant us the courage which is born of humility and goodness. Impress your face on our hearts. May we encounter you along the way and show your image to the world.

-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the sixth station, March 24, 2005

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"[L]et us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not in an imperfect way, but perfectly; not only for a time, but eternally. Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies. We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon his heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise. We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies. I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified."

~St. Gregory of Nazianzen

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Adopt a Seminarian

While visiting the Institute of Christ the King's St Mary's Oratory this weekend, I learned about this laudable venture, Adopting a Seminarian:

The expense of maintaining a seminary, and of lodging, feeding, providing instruction and supplying the necessary study materials to approximately sixty young men is very high. Our seminarians are thus asked to contribute the relatively small amount of $750 per month toward these costs; but many are not able to afford this contribution.

Would you be willing to adopt a seminarian and help support him throughout his seminary years? While occasional donations to the Seminary are gratefully accepted, we would be deeply thankful if you could commit a monthly amount to fully or partially cover the expenses of one of our American seminarians.

To adopt a seminarian, (1) please use this form or (2) go to, check bullet "For American Seminarians," and fill out the Credit Card donation information (there is an option for recurring monthly parcels at "For recurring monthly donations").

Monday, March 17, 2008

  • To whomever came to this blog searching for "church lady patterns", I can't help you out if you're looking for something like this, but I will advise you to look at Therese's post below to see what this spring's chic church lady is sporting in the kitchen.
  • To whomever was researching "church lady tea social": it's a highly recommended activity. In fact, I think I may just have to organize one next week. Maybe on Monday, when the Church Ladies are recovering from the Chivalrous Men's Dyngus Day celebrations…
  • To the lucky person who happened to need "ALTAR CROCHET VESTMENT patterns": best of luck finding something tremendous.
  • Also, there seem to be quite a few people looking for stain removal advice (especially red wine stains). Eek. Here's the original post with a few different strategies.

I could spend way too much time looking at the Sitemeter statistics….

Support Your Local Pastor!

Fr. Finigan at The hermeneutic of continuity brings tell of church ladies handing out holy cards to priests entering Chrism Mass at St. George's Cathedral, for the purpose of thanking them for their work and showing them support. What a fantastic effort! Even if you don't do something so organized, I want to encourage Church Ladies everywhere to take a moment this week to thank their priest (after all, you'll probably be seeing quite a bit of him this week).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What to do with all those palms you received today?

Make a palm cross, roses or cones, a crown of thorns, or even a pretty cool looking bird.

From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (139):

The faithful should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. ... Palms or olive branches should not be kept as amulets, or for therapeutic or magical reasons to dispel evil spirits or to prevent the damage these cause in the fields or in the homes, all of which can assume a certain superstitious guise. Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory.

Finally, and above all, from today's Office of Readings (Saint Andrew of Crete): "Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garment, olive branches, or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish ... Let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join in the children's holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

Holy Week Nightmare

And this is why Pious Women are necessary. Apparently the Onion didn't realize our great importance in the Liturgical Laundry process when writing this hilarious report:
Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

The Onion

Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

VATICAN CITY—The damage occurred when Pope Benedict XVI, who was on laundry duty, did not notice a brand new bright-red Hanes Beefy-T in the Holy Whirlpool washer.

HT to the Curt Jester

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fashion in the Kitchen

I've long admired Anthropologie's dresses (mostly, alas, from afar), but it wasn't until I visited one of their stores this morning that I discovered their charming apron collection. Among our favorites were the Nosegay apron and the Sewing Basket apron, but any of them would be perfect for the next time you need to help out at the parish potluck or feed a hungry crew of seminarians without spoiling your impeccable Church Lady ensemble.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I could use a creative gift idea for my beloved god-daughter's first Holy Communion. Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Faith of our fathers

The uber-parish had a display of some of its antique vestments (all of which are in circulation) during the coffee social today.
White humeral veil

Altar cloth

Detail of gold fiddleback

Another detail of the gold fiddleback

Red cope

Violet cope
(My apologies for the photo quality- the 12 cups of Esther's Coffee had kicked in)

A big thanks to the uber-parish sacristan for his enthusiasm

Holy grounds

In this world of corporate donations to Planned Parenthood and unethical business practices, a Church Lady could be hardpressed to find a coffee company that meets her standards.

Enter Esther's Coffee, a pro-life fair trade Christian coffee company that donates to Rachel's Vineyard.

Consider serving their coffee at your next parish gathering- my parish had a tasting of different flavors today. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

St Joseph Novena

Below find Novenas to St Joseph for priests.

(Late for the Ordinary Form, early for the Extraordinary, as St Joseph's day is transferred to March 15 & April 1 respectively.)

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,

show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.

Protector of the Infant Christ,

defend them against every attack of the enemy,

preserve them from the dangers
that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,

the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.

Stand by the accused;

stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;

comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak; and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night,
obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness,
and hope in uncertainty.

You are the terror of demons

and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.

Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.

Where there are curses, put blessings,

where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,

and peace for all under your gracious protection.


Saint Joseph, I take you this day as my advocate and defender,
my counselor and my friend.
Open your heart to me
as you opened your home
to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect my holy priesthood
as you protected the life of the Infant Christ

threatened by cruel Herod.

In darkness bring me light; in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.

For the sake of the tender love that bound you

to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ, be for me, Saint Joseph,
a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body,
mind, and soul
so that, in spite of my weaknesses and sins,
my priesthood may bring glory to Christ

and serve to increase the beauty of holiness
his bride the Church.


Saint Joseph,
I present to you this day
Father N., priest of Jesus Christ,
and beg you to be to him
advocate and defender,
counselor and friend.

Open your heart to him
as you opened your home
to the Virgin Mother
in her hour of need.
Protect his holy priesthood
as you protected the life of
the Infant Christ
threatened by cruel Herod.
In darkness bring him light;
in weakness, strength,
and in fear the peace that passes understanding.

For the sake of the tender love that bound you

to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ,

be for him, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor
and a shield against every danger of body, mind,
and soul
so that, in spite of his weaknesses and sins,
his priesthood may bring glory to Christ

and serve to increase the beauty of holiness

in his bride the Church.

Prayer source: Fr. Mark
Mantilla tip to my fellow Church Lady Christi

Friday, March 7, 2008

Confidential... the Altar Server who sent something home with me to be repaired during Spring Break: It's fine; it just needed a bit of love, some Woolite, and soft water.

p.s. You can thank Saint Veronica for your small miracle. Oh, and I may have promised her your first-born daughter.