Monday, June 29, 2009

What are you going to do...

... to celebrate the Year of the Priest? This wonderful article from the National Catholic Register reminds us of why we should all be grateful for all the wonderful priests in our lives.

As the Year for Priests begins, we lay editors of the Register want to take a moment to thank priests.

We want to thank not only the priests who have been our friends, but also those we barely knew, who did more for us than our friends ever could.

We want to thank not only the priests who inspire us with their words, but also those who moved us more deeply with the daily work of their priesthood than they ever could with words.

We want to thank not only those men who gave up their retirement, and their well-deserved rest, to enter the priesthood as late vocations, but also — especially — those who as young men saw their whole life ahead of them and handed all of it to Christ.

We want to reassure them that the attacks on the priesthood will not prevail, because Christ doesn’t take their kind of generosity lightly.

We know that there have been terrible, scandalous priests. This has been true from the beginning — from the original Twelve Apostles through the early Christian heresies, from the scandals before the Reformation to the scandals of the 20th century.

But we also know that the priesthood is under attack.

Priests know it, too.

Whenever someone looks at them suspiciously, whenever a mother hurries her children away from them, whenever they read an antagonistic article about how the life of a priest makes them prone to become monsters, they know it.

Their noble, loving sacrifice is so often made to look ugly and twisted — the opposite of what it is. The whole group is too often defined by the exceptions in a way few of us ever have to deal with.

But the priesthood will survive, and grow stronger. In fact, it is already growing stronger. There are more new priests than we have seen in a long time, and the new generation of priests is more committed to the Church’s mission than any in memory.

We want to tell the faithful priests who unjustly suffer from these attacks that we’re on their side and, more importantly, remind them what Christ said: Rejoice and be glad on this day, for your name is great in heaven.

Thank you, priests, for sacrificing the fulfillment of “making it in the world” in order to give us a chance to make it in the next world. You don’t take on jobs — they are appointed to you. You put your own will at the disposal of the Church, for us. We are grateful.

Thank you for bringing our children into the Church, and sustaining their souls with the sacraments. And thank you for welcoming them into the Church informally, as well. We see them look at you like celebrities, and we’re glad the first “celebrity” they got to meet was a man of God. Thank you for patiently listening to them, for taking such joy in teasing them, and for showing them the true face of Christ: the gentle one who said “Let the children come to me.”

Thank you, priests, for presiding at our marriages, even while you yourselves live such that you can be ready to serve your people at a moment’s notice. Sometimes married people sigh and think envious thoughts about living alone. But in the end, it’s hard for us to imagine how you do it. Thank you for risking loneliness to serve us and our families.

Thank you, priests, for putting yourself in the unenviable position of dealing with us at our worst moments — when we’re anxious, upset, depressed, even a little out of our minds, focused on our own problems to the exclusion of all else.

When we see the care you have to take in listening to the problems of so many kinds of people, we can’t imagine how you do it. How do you listen to angry people, whining people, weeping people, nervous people, suspicious people and clueless people? How do you listen to us?

Thank you, priests, for sitting in empty confessionals on Saturday afternoons. You wait there, not even knowing if we’ll come, like the Prodigal Son’s father on the road. Thank you for all the times we hear “I absolve you from your sins” and feel a great burden lifted from our hearts. This gift of God’s forgiveness brings the greatest joy back into our lives. We can give you nothing in return that even comes close to that.

And thank you, priests, most of all, for bringing Christ himself into our lives. Where would we be without your astonishing ability to make the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ present on our altars and in our tabernacles? You are there for us every Sunday, every morning, giving us this infinite gift. Thank you.

In the end, that’s what is so great about you: not you, in yourself, but who you bring us — Christ.

People call from the hospital and say, “I need a priest.” They point to the confessional and ask, “Is there a priest in there?” They approach in the airport and ask, “Are you a Catholic priest?”

When people need a priest, any priest will do.

Because a priest is nothing but a representative of Christ. Christ is the main actor in the consecration at Mass. It is Christ who forgives sins. It is in Christ that we are baptized.

“The story of my priestly vocation?” wrote Pope John Paul II. “It is known above all to God. At its deepest level, every vocation to the priesthood is a great mystery; it is a gift which infinitely transcends the individual. Every priest experiences this clearly throughout the course of his life. Faced with the greatness of the gift, we sense our own inadequacy.”

Your inadequacy is your secret weapon.

You aren’t acting on your own behalf or through your own powers. You are acting for Christ. And that’s why, despite all the attacks, the priesthood will prevail. We depend too much on you to ever let you go.

Thank you, Father, for being Christ for us.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A bit of sacristy awesomeness

A few images of the sacristy at The Parish.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Year of Priests begins June 19

Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests

In preparation for the Year of Priests, Pope Benedict XVI has sent a letter to the priests of the world, calling on them to live out the words of St. John Vianney, “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”

St. John Mary Vianney taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He was convinced that the fervor of a priest's life depended entirely upon the Mass: "The reason why a priest is lax is that he does not pay attention to the Mass! My God, how we ought to pity a priest who celebrates as if he were engaged in something routine!". He was accustomed, when celebrating, also to offer his own life in sacrifice: "What a good thing it is for a priest each morning to offer himself to God in sacrifice!" [full text, Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to Clergy]

Friday, June 12, 2009

US House of Representatives Honors Historic Contributions of Catholic Women Religious

On May 14, 2009, the Honorable Marcy Kaptur of Ohio introduced a resolution into the US House of Representatives honoring the historic contributions of Catholic women religious. The resolution notes in part "honors and commends Catholic sisters for their humble service and courageous sacrifice throughout the history of this nation; and supports the goals of the Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America Traveling Exhibit, a project sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in association with Cincinnati Museum Center and established to recognize the historical contributions of Catholic sisters in the United States"

US House of Representatives Resolution Honoring Catholic Sisters

Congresswoman Kaptur is currently serving her 14th term in the US. House of Representatives. She is the senior-most woman in the 111th Congress

Hint of the Day: Sushi Saucer

Use the rimmed area of a saucer to contain your sushi condiments rather than investing in a sushi set.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How to tell it was a Catholic wedding

At a wedding yesterday, I witnessed the bride receiving a first class relic of St Thomas Aquinas as a wedding present.

This Church Lady's pick

My summer hat pick? The San Diego Hat Company's Ribbon Crusher hat. Made from grosgrain ribbon, it has a UPF 50+ rating, folds flat for packing, and is extremely attractive to boot. Available in 6 colors (Black/White, Brown/Pink, Brown/Teal, Navy/White, Red/White). I bought one last week and wear it everywhere- from commuting to weddings.

PS: Their fall catalog is available here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The perfect cup of tea

Article from the British Tea Council:

British magazine, Waitrose Food Illustrated, took a close look at their nation’s beverage of choice, tea, by commissioning a survey that sought to discover what made the perfect cup. In order to gain true insight, the magazine questioned a 70-person panel, dubbed the Tea Council, which was made up of “top chefs, food and drink writers, tea experts, etiquette gurus, builders, hoteliers, cabbies, vicars and teachers.” Each panel member was asked the seemingly simple (but obviously complicated) question, “how do you make the perfect cup of tea?”

The British Panel specifically described their perfect cup as:

English Breakfast loose leaf tea

• In a mug

• Steeped for 3 1/2 minutes exactly

• Made in a China pot, which must be pre-warmed

• Tea In First

• Splash of milk

• No sugar

I was most shocked to read that a mug was preferred by 56% of the panel, as opposed to a cup (only 31% preferred a cup and 13% were undecided). As a teacup collector I am quite biased, although, there is something so very elegant and special about sipping tea from a delicate cup as opposed to a hearty mug.

My perfect cup changes on a daily basis, so I am sure I would prove to be a poor panel member. Cool mornings call for a warm cup of Masala Chai with milk, and humid afternoons are soothed with an iced white peony, etc, etc.

Do you have a perfect cup?

CLOCHE tip to Mike

Monday, June 1, 2009

If I should die before I wake

Please put this on my tombstone.