Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St Andrew Christmas Novena

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

It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

Image: Nativity with Sts Lawrence & Andrew

Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!

I know I'm a bit of a Grinch about beginning the celebration of Christmas in November, but I have found an alternative to one of my pet peeves - all those annoying radio stations blaring classics such as "Santa Baby" and "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree."

With Pandora Radio, you get to choose the genre of music you like and you can customize it as you go. If they play a song I don't like, I click the thumbs down icon and it's never played on my station again. If I like a song, I click thumbs up and get it and more like it in the future. Eventually, you'll end up with a playlist (or multiple playlists) that's just perfect for your listening tastes. For example, right now I'm listening to their Classical Christmas preset. I've just heard Once in Royal David's City by the Vienna Choir Boys, and next in the queue is Hark the Herald Angels Sing by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine hearing songs about Christ at this time of year! It's crazy, but it just may catch on!

There are lots of ways you can listen. Personally, I prefer to use it at my computer, but can also listen through the television with my Roku. The service has two subscription plans: a free subscription supported by limited advertisements, and a fee-based subscription without ads. A free account user may reach the streaming limit of 40 hours per month, and continue unlimited streaming by paying $0.99.

Go here for more on how Pandora works.
Go here to subscribe.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Question from a reader

Where could I find a resource to check out the color/type of a drape for behind a high altar....we have 2 now. One of a liturgical fabric in purple, and quite frankly-it makes the high altar stand out better. The walls are white in the church and so when we put the other one up (white) it pretty much blends into the walls. I was thinking perhaps a red velour?...I do want it to be liturgically correct if we are going to spend any amount of money on it.
My first thought is that you can't go wrong with gold. It's always appropriate in place of white and really goes with any season. Gianna is currently working on a photography project where this piece of fabric is the unifying backdrop for a number of pieces.

It's a piece of upholstery fabric she purchased recently from JoAnn Fabrics and is 54 inches wide (which is typical of decorator fabrics). It's dense enough that it hangs well and the woven design is really quite beautiful - ornate, but not busy.

You could use red - look here for a beautiful example, but as a liturgical color it's most appropriate in a rather limited way on martyr's feasts, Pentecost, and Palm Sunday. I'm not convinced there is a nice way to make a red background like this work with a green ordinary-time altar frontal, so if you tend to coordinate the altar front for the season, you may want to stick with more neutral background colors, or those you can keep up for an entire season, like your purple.

UPDATES: Therese emailed me later yesterday with this:
For something that goes behind the altar, I don't think there's a specific color. It's almost more of an architectural feature, so I would go with something that matches the church itself, and doesn't clash with the liturgically colored frontals, vestments, etc. I could see a deep red velvet working well in a variety of surroundings, but I think it's more of a matter of aesthetics than liturgical correctness.
And I found this photo of a nice use of fabric on a friend's facebook album:

On a related note, be careful about over-dramatic fabrics. One time (thankfully quite a while ago), our parish liturgist draped a purple/blue tie-dyed looking fabric behind the crucifix during Lent and then changed to a more colorful, rainbow tie-dye for the Easter season. Of course, it was legendarily bad! So very, very awful! Instead of enhancing the crucifix, it just sucked attention away from everything that was happening with the Mass and onto it's terrible self. We know of a couple who were married during that Easter season and chose to have their church photos printed in black and white to downplay this fabric.

Today's Word: Procession

Procession (pro-SEH-shuhn) - Sacred parades, either inside or outside the church, in which clergy and faithful travel from one place to another, giving praise, thanks, and worship to God.

You may be familiar with traditional Advent Posadas, have fond memories of May Crownings or have participated in city-wide, elaborate Corpus Christi processions, but remember, you can also duplicate the very Catholic tradition of the procession in your domestic church.

Epiphany is the traditional time to bless your home, but I also know of families who place a figure of the Christ Child in their creche on Christmas Eve with procession and song and some who return the "Alleluia" to their family prayer table at Easter with a joyful procession. It's important to consider the age and attention span of your kids when planning your event, but even very small children can appreciate the solemnity of the occasion.

I suggest you map out your route ahead of time (following the simplest progression through your home) and that you give each family member something relevant to carry. At least one candle is a must, but safety is primary - use glass globes (tested ahead of time to make sure they don't get hot on the bottom), or electric flameless candles. A Crucifix, icon, or other relevant picture works well, as does a Bible, a container of holy water, or even incense.

It is traditional to sing as you walk and I'm sure you'll have no trouble coming up with appropriate songs that your family knows. You can simplify even further by singing the same song more than once. If you have a budding musician, make their Advent practice assignment a song you can use.

At each stop (even if there's only one), you want a short time of prayer. Of course this can be spontaneous prayer, but it may be more in keeping with the occasion to have something prepared. Assign a leader and begin with the Sign of the Cross. Your procession will have a more liturgical feel if you begin each stop the same way ("A reading from the book of Luke," or "Our hope is in the name of the Lord/who made heaven and earth," or even "Peace be with you/and also with you.") You could break up an appropriate Bible story and read part at each stop, or if you are blessing your home at Epiphany, stop at each room and ask the Lord's blessing for the intended use of each. ("Lord bless this dining room and all our activities here." Then invite anyone to add a petition.)

Conclude by asking the Lord's blessing on all of you, and by blessing your children by tracing a small cross on their foreheads.

The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. CCC 1674
See also the Directory on Popular Piety, paragraph 118.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy New Year!

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and the beginning of a new Liturgical Year.

Our loyal followers may have noticed that posting has been scarce. The Ladies have all been very busy, and each have very exciting news recently (excepting myself it seems - so here I am!).

It was decided several weeks ago that our Annual Patron Saint drawing will unfortunately be tabled until Epiphany or thereabouts. Stay tuned!

Last year, Margaret Mary posted here on Jesse Trees. To that I would like to add this: Today, Ann Voskamp, undoubtedly my favorite non-Catholic blogger, released a Jesse Tree book. It is available as a free PDF to anyone who subscribes to her blog. It includes Scripture references and color images to be cut out and used for ornaments.

A homemade wreath. Time to dust off those candles!

Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man. This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and - in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary - expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

- Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for First Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent 2010
Source & Cloche Tip

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dominican Sisters, Mary Mother of the Eucharist on Oprah...again!

I just received this reminder via facebook and wanted to pass it on --
The Dominican Sisters of Mary will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday, November 23rd.

This is a new show that includes interviews with Mother Assumpta, Sr. Joseph Andrew, Sr. Mary Samuel, Sr. John Dominic and other Sisters; as well as on-site filming of the First and Final Profession Masses and this year’s Entrance Day, during which we welcomed 22 Aspirants.

The show will feature the experience of a Sister entering religious life and the meaning of religious profession as being ‘married’ to Christ.

You may recall that Oprah first reached out to our community on February 9th of this year due an interest in the hidden aspects of religious life.

The response from the first show was so positive that the Sisters were asked if we would be open to another opportunity to share our life. We have accepted this invitation in the hopes of reaching an audience we might not otherwise reach with the witness of our life and the Gospel. Please join us in praying that the show will be for the good of souls and the honor of God.

If you will be work, then set your DVR to record to this episode. Pass the word!

One more thing for your Thanksgiving weekend to do list

Benedict XVI is calling on all Catholics to join in a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, to be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses Nov. 27.

The Pope will celebrate the vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, and is requesting "all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements," a communiqué from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reported.

(Cardinal Daniel DiNardo) said, "I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer."

Cardinal DiNardo affirmed, "Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that 'The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.'"

[Full Zenit article]

Image Source: Leonardo da Vinci, "Detail of a Views of a Fetus in the Womb"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

St Margaret, Queen of Scots

She was also a pioneer in another sphere. Bands of women met together at her invitation to study, discuss the Scriptures, and embroider vestments and altar cloths for the churches. So we can call Margaret the inventor of the Women's Club.

[Phyllis McGinley, Saint-Watching]

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Catholic Etsy Artist's Guild

In that meandering way of internet links, I randomly happened upon the knowledge that there is a guild of Catholic artists on Etsy. Of course, I had to start poking around and found that if you type "teamcatholic" in the search bar at etsy.com you'll get 26 pages of items hand made by Catholic artisans. How fun!

Spend some time looking around yourself, but below are a few items I really liked:

Lepanto stationery by Anchor Greetings! (Be sure to look at the inside and back cover images - it's pretty much the poster child of POD!)
They also have some beautiful Christmas cards (look for the Fulton Sheen quote) and at just over $1 per card, they're a great price!

This sturdy Nativity playset by St. Luke's Brush all slides into the box for easy storage.
They also have a Guadalupe playset and a pretty darned cute Saint Nicholas doll.

These dolls by Saint Anne's Pixies are filled with details! Note Saint Mary Magdalene here contemplating her own sinfulness (her tear of repentance and the traditional skull).

(with a special note that the third one is rose and not pink J)
They have a number of wonderful items in their store!

If you're not familiar with Etsy, you may want to start here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

There's still time

to make this fashion statement before your annual family Thanksgiving gathering.

Or better yet, give it as a hostess gift. You'll be a popular guest!

Found here. And I'd like to note that the internet is an amusing place when you've had too much coffee and can't sleep at 3 a.m. Not that I'd know...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This just makes me HAPPY!

Now on the off chance that I did something wrong when trying to embed the video, you can see it where I first did, at the ever-interesting Creative Minority Report.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for November

General Intention: Drug Addicts and Victims of Every Form of Dependence
That victims of drugs or of other dependence may, thanks to the support of the Christian community, find in the power of our Saving God strength for a radical life-change.
Missionary Intention: The Continent-wide Mission in Latin America
That the Churches of Latin America may move ahead with the continent-wide mission proposed by their bishops, making it part of the universal missionary task of the People of God.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all our associates,
and in particular for the intentions
of the Holy Father for this month.