Sunday, February 20, 2011

What is Septuagesima Sunday?

Before the calendar was revised to create Ordinary Time (What about the liturgical year is just ordinary?) the Sundays leading up to Lent had much more interesting names than "The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time."

Say good bye to Alleluia

This Sunday, the first of three before Ash Wednesday, was called Septuagesima Sunday. It was the first warning of the approach of Lent. Actually, the warning began on the Saturday before when the Alleluia was used for the last time during the Divine Office and not again until the Easter Vigil.

Read More at Aquinas and More
Hear it pronounced here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 2011 Arts & Faith Top 100 Films

Go online to the National Catholic Register to see this year's list of 100 top films as chosen by the Arts & Faith online community and some analysis from NCR's film critic, Steven Greydanus.
Showcasing top films and directors from around the world and spanning cinematic history from silent movies to more contemporary films, the list is the culmination of years of discussion and debate within the Arts & Faith online community.
Generally speaking, I love lists like this because they present so many choices I wouldn't have come up with on my own. There are one or two movies on this list I've seen and really didn't like at all, and quite a few that look pretty interesting. In short, it give lots of ideas for my Netflix queue. (And yes, I checked, and almost all of them are available from Netflix - some on instant watch.)

You can read more about the list here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Update on religious climates

Last Monday Conversion Diary posed several questions regarding the religious climate of countries outside the US. Yesterday, she posted a compilation of the comments she received from around the world. It's fascinating reading and, not surprisingly, it looks like we still have a lot of work to do on that Great Commission thing, folks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

From the vocations blog of the Congregation of Holy Cross comes a story about a young priest who is putting his love of reading to good use (besides the good that normally comes from reading, that is):

I read. A lot. Well over a one-hundred books a year, in fact. I mix fiction and non-fiction while sprinkling in a little theology here and there to stay updated professionally. Previously, it all added up to an impressive (yet perhaps ministerially irrelevant) intellectual stew. Inspired by fellow Holy Cross priests who run marathons to fundraise for parish and school, I decided to use my powers for the forces of good. Last summer, I proposed a reading marathon to the parish: churchgoers would sponsor me $1 per book I read over the course of the year with the proceeds subsidizing youth group expenses to the National Catholic Youth Conference in the fall of 2011.

(read the rest here)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

National African American History month

As a first generation immigrant who grew up with a strong sense of the universal Church, I remember how shocked I was to learn in an American Catholic history class at Our Lady's University how long it to the Church in America to ordain African American priests. February is National African American History month. I'd like to bring your attention to some excellent resources on the American Catholic experience.

Quick Facts on Black Catholic History

[From the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's]

My Church Home
The Irish, the Italians, the Poles, the Mexicans — it’s second nature to think of members of these ethnic groups as Catholic. So much so that group and faith are inextricably linked in the imagination of the American public...

And yet, as Cyprian Davis observes in his book, blacks have been part of the U.S. Catholic faithful from the start, “add[ing] another essential perspective to the meaning of the word ‘Catholic’ and to the understanding of the American Catholic church.”
[full article at Notre Dame Magazine]

A biography of Franciscan Sister Mary Antona Ebo, one of six Catholic sisters who participated in the 1965 Selma March
[Catholic News Service]

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning-"my country 'tis of thee; sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride; from every mountain side, let freedom ring"-and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. [Martin Luther King, Jr]


Beauty in the Church is essential. I don't want God brought down from the Heavens and made "relatable" to me. I want to be carried up to Christ so I can meet Him there and be awestruck and changed by his beauty, expressed all around.
Read the rest here; you'll be glad you did!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Today's Reading

Go over to Conversion Diary today for a fascinating discussion about the religious climate in different parts of the world. Jen asks seven questions:
  1. Where do you live? (Or, if you’re not currently living there, what part of the world is it that you’re familiar with?)
  2. What is church attendance like in your area? Are there many churches? Do they seem to have active memberships?
  3. At a typical social event, how appropriate would it be if a person were to explicitly acknowledge in casual conversation that he or she is a believing Christian? For example, if someone at a party made a passing comment like, “We’ve been praying about that” or “I was reading the Bible the other day, and…”, would that seem normal or odd?
  4. What belief system do the politicians in your area claim to practice? For example, here in Texas almost all politicians at least claim to have some kind of belief in God, regardless of what they may think in private — to openly admit to being an atheist would be political suicide in most parts of the state. Is this the case in your area?
  5. How many families do you know who have more than two children? If a family with four children moved to your area, would their family size seem unusual? What about a family with six children?
  6. What seems to be the dominant belief system of the people in your area?
  7. Do you notice any trends? Do people seem to be becoming more or less religious?
So far she has responses from all over the world. Read comments from people in Denmark, UK, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Japan, East Africa, Japan, Spain, Australia, Russia, and so on. It should be quite an interesting sampling by the end of the day!

Portion control

I like to purchase pesto from Costco. It's a great price and really delicious. The down side, not surprisingly, is the size of the package. To get around that, I like to use it like crazy for a few weeks and then freeze the rest in reasonably sized portions. An ice cube tray is perfect for this! Each cube is about a tablespoon and after it freezes I just transfer it to a zip-loc bag or other freezer container. I used to make my own baby food using a similar method. Easy, thrifty, practical. (Like music to my ears!)

I would recommend using a separate tray for this purpose though or your ice cubes may end up with a slight garlic-y taste.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Google Art Project

From the same people who brought us Google Street View and Picasa, take a look here for Google Art Project.

... it allows web browsers to wander the halls of 17 museums around the world (New York City's MoMA, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and others).
Cloche tip to New Advent who directed me to this article.

Superbowl plans

Go Pack Go!

If you haven't heard, the bishops of Green Bay and Pittsburgh and Green Bay have a bet riding on tomorrow's game. You can also read about the Catholic roots of both teams here. (CLOCHE tip to Faith and Family Live)

The Church Ladies love Epicurious- check out their great game-day recipes. I also vouch for these delicious corn dog muffins.

What are your family's Superbowl traditions?

Image source

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Have a Blessed Candlemas!

For today's edifying reading the Church Ladies recommend A Dramatic Moment that Almost Everyone Missed by Msgr. Charles Pope

God had returned to His Temple. He, and the Ark who carried him, were found. Mary the Ark, carrying Jesus in her arms. Jesus, very God, true God from True God. Yes, God and the Ark had been found and God was once again present among His people on the Temple Mount.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Part of giving handknits to kids is detaching from their fate. Do I want it to be used and loved, or do I want it to sit in a drawer? If the former, well then: I have to accept that it won't stay pristine.

I have a sort of mental rule, though, that I want them to wear the gift for at least as many hours as I spent making it before I can consign it to its uncertain future.
I can't quite bring myself to think about the ratio of work time to wearing time for this gift. It's not a pretty ratio...

I didn't get to the Office of Readings until after they left for school, and it felt like a nudge from heaven to see that today was the feast of St. John Bosco. (He is best known for his work with orphaned and abandoned boys.) Here's a snippet from today's second reading:
They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely. There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.

My initial reaction was to feel sorry for myself: all that work, and poof! -- it's gone. Then I thought about how many gifts God has given me that I have failed to appreciate or even keep track of. I think I will swing by the school with a little note for my sad boy: "You are more important than the mittens."

[full post at Light and Momentary]

Image source

Good Riddance, January!

Sadly, this really is the view out my window.

Really, I don't know why I watch the weather reports in January. According to yesterday's information, it has snowed here almost every day this month and we're predicted to be back into the "deep freeze" this week. Fortunately, this news was tempered with a side story saying we now have 44 more minutes of daylight than we did at the winter solstice and that inspires me to dream a bit about about gardening.

I'm the first to admit that I'm terrible with plants, and in a weird way that's a bit of a spiritual exercise for me. I put seeds and bedding plants into the ground and anything that actually flourishes does so by pure grace. I have no illusions about the value of my contribution; mostly, I just offer my pathetic cooperation and stay out of God's way so He can work.

If you are a fellow inhabitant of the zone 4 or not, now is a great time to think about your garden for spring! If you'd like to dream a bit with me, start by considering the details of starting a Mary Garden, and order a catalog or two. When I was a kid and we moved from the big city to the middle of nowhere, my sisters and I thought all the mutant vegetables (blue potatoes, giant pumpkins, etc.) in the Guerney's catalog were the coolest thing ever!

Just a reminder ...

While you're out running errands this weekend, don't forget to pick up a few little things to fill your children's shoes on Saint Nicholas Day. I know from sad experience that bedtime on December 5th is not a good time to remember. ;-)

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for February, 2011

General Intention: That the family may be respected by all in its identity and that its irreplaceable contribution to all of society be recognized.

Missionary Intention: That in the mission territories where the struggle against disease is most urgent, Christian communities may witness to the presence of Christ to those who suffer.

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.