Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life changes like the leaves of autumn

Life has completely turned over since my last post!

I have accepted a job in Campus Ministry at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota as Coordinator of Liturgical Celebrations. I am back in St. Paul and love every minute of it. I think God each day for the blessings he has afforded me. I am nothing; He is everything.

We are a short two weeks away from the implementation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. I won't bore my readers with a theological exegesis but will direct you to Campus Ministry's website: for a brief overview. For more in depth materials check out:

A mere fortnight before the new translation also means we're a fortnight from Advent. I should begin my annual rant against all things Christmas before Thanksgiving...but won't rant this year since there is good news on that score! Nordstrom announced: "We won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 27. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time." Take a wild guess where I'll be doing my Christmas shopping.

For the first time in my whole short nearly 23 years of existence, I have my own apartment. Since I live, breath, and now WORK by the liturgical calendar, I have a decision to make about how soon I'll decorate for Christmas. The thought had crossed my mind to wait until right before I went back to Illinois to celebrate with my family. At long last I made a decision. In the readings and prayers at Mass and in the Liturgy of the Hours, the last week before Christmas transitions into a true preparation of the celebration of the Nativity. I will make that same transition. December 17th is the date...which gives me the perfect excuse to leave them up through Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation -- Feb 2nd.

Tomorrow the UST Chapel will celebrate the Rite of Acceptance for the RCIA candidates and catechumens. A week later we're pulling out all the stops for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. (That also happens to be the last Sunday with the former translation...a pretty good send off, I'd say.) Stay tuned...

Now onto some letter writing: a friend in the Dominican novitiate particularly and anyone else who tickles my fancy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August's Good News

Let’s be honest here: it’s getting more difficult to find good news in the media these days. Libya & Syria’s violence, Somalia’s famine, the US economy struggling, the stock market descending, the US credit score downgraded, the largest loss of US military life in Afghanistan…we’ve had a tough few days here. Let’s reflect on something positive.

Today (8 August) is the Feast of St. Dominic and the day a friend of mine from my semester abroad, Christopher Gautsch, receives his habit after beginning his formation to eventually become a Dominican priest. Check out the biography of Christopher and the other 12 novices on the “Friar Blog”.

World Youth Day kicks off shortly in Madrid, Spain on 16 August. I deeply wish I were travelling to WYD…start saving now for the next time round! I will join so many others around the world following on EWTN and online. All my friends who will be in attendance will be in my prayers in a special way.

This past Sunday’s Gospel (7 August) told the story of Jesus walking out to his Apostles on the Sea of Galilee. He beckons to Peter: “Come”. Peter hears and responds walking out on the water but when he suddenly realizes the full impact of what he’s doing he begins to sink into the waves. (This Gospel story of portrayed in a huge mural at my home parish, Saint Peter, South Beloit, IL.) The rector of Saint Peter Cathedral in Rockford, IL, Father Karl Beekman, gave a great reason in his homily on why Peter fell into the waves: isolation. Peter trusted at first but then instead of continuing to reach out to Jesus he focused inwardly on his human weakness and this disoriented focus got the better of him. I see this in my own life and am making more concerted efforts to overcome it…but this is just the preview to another blog entry, I think.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Word & Eucharist: Global Reflection

Two great pastoral messages were released this weekend. Combined they unwittingly dealt with both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the Mass.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, asked for a pastoral letter to be read at all parish Masses within the diocese. The letter, which can be heard and read at the diocese’s website, reflects not only on doctrine of the Eucharist but the correct practice of recognition of this doctrine in devout reception of Holy Communion. His instruction is clear, precise, and a little surprising. His words should be heard not only in England and Wales but around the world especially the United States.

The Holy Father’s Angelus address reflected on and prayed for ministry to maritime workers. He acknowledged a particular need to pray for those who are victims of piracy. In his reflection on the Gospel for Sunday 10 July, he pointed out the necessity for the Word of God to be received and not just heard. A report on the Sunday Angelus address can be heard through Vatican Radio. This was the Holy Father’s first Angelus from Castel Gandolfo for the summer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

When in the Course of human events....

Another Independence Day, another moment to pause and reflect on what this country means and for what this country must stand. Let us recommit ourselves to building one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

This version of the National Anthem has become one of the best I've heard at a sporting event. Enjoy!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cor Jesu

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

Every first Friday during the academic year at the University of Saint Thomas (UST), hundreds of young adults gather at Saint Paul Seminary (SPS) to participate in a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cor Jesu. Latin for Heart of Jesus, the monthly devotion has become one of the most popular events on the Catholic campus. The evening begins at 8pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The celebrant gives a homily after the Gospel and then, for up to two hours, 10-15 priests hear confessions. A small band of musicians lead praise and worship music ranging from contemporary youth songs to traditional hymns. I have found the music to be a beautiful orthodox balance. During this period of Adoration, these hundreds of Faithful pray together contemplating the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of which today is the Solemnity.

Four women known as “The Handmaids” were on the ground floor of this venture. From out of the UST/SPS community, these four women have begun their own growing religious order. The whole community rallied in prayer around these women as they sought the desire of His Sacred Heart for their lives. One of the most poignant moments of the Cor Jesu evening comes towards the end when the Handmaids would sing a chant-style harmonized sung Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The voices echoing through Saint Mary’s Chapel surrounded the monstrance like incense uniting all our prayers to our Lord.

Today, in New Ulm, Minnesota, more Handmaids are making their final vows on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This marks the end of a long journey of discernment and formation and the spiritual beginning to a new life in our Lord’s Sacred Heart. May God bless these women and their work!

LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS – Please join me in praying this litany for the Handmaids as well as others who wish to fulfill the Lord’s call in their life, especially those called to Holy Orders and religious life.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is it 2012 already?

I’m not exactly sure who runs, but they seem to be doing a halfway decent job. As of 30 June the website listed sixteen declared GOP candidates for President of the United States as well as those who could still toss their hat into the ring and those who have declined a declaration.

I’ll admit it straight off: I had no idea over half of the declared candidates were on the campaign trail. I always feel a little uncomfortable with how early these campaigns get started and thus ignore a lot of campaign talk this early. It’s too easy to get worn out too quickly. As a resident of Minnesota for four years while attending university, I am happy to see Tim Pawlenty decide not to run again for governor, presumably to dedicate himself to his campaign. Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul just to name a few, will have to juggle campaign time with responsibilities on Capitol Hill. As a resident of Illinois the other 18 years of my life, I was disgusted to see then Senator Barack Obama side-step his home state for the 2008 campaign after only a short time in office.

Apparently tonight at midnight is a campaign fundraiser deadline of sorts. Bret Baier’s Special Report on FoxNews reported the amounts in fundraising donations for several GOP candidates, extrapolated to a total campaign cost for the 2012 presidential election of $2-3 billion. President Obama, amidst a looming debt crisis, attended his 37th fundraiser as president. That number is seven times what President Bush attended at this point in his term.

The numbers and political atmosphere speak for themselves. Both parties could use a little perspective. Right now no one is really blowing me out of the water. Then again, is anyone paying attention?

Monday, June 27, 2011

This and that - late June 2011

Random Fact-of-the-Day: A Solemn Requiem Mass was sung for the repose of the soul of Gilbert Keith Chesterton at Westminster Cathedral 75 years ago today (27 June). Read more from the National Catholic Register.

The Vatican has released a number of preview photos on ahead of the official site launch on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, 29 June. Take a look and sign up for notification by email when the site becomes available. Who thinks the Holy Father will be tweeting soon? Who said the Church wasn’t “relevant”?

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul also marks 60 years of priestly ordination for the Holy Father. Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN is holding 60 hours of Eucharistic Adoration. More information can be found in the University of Saint Thomas BulletinToday article.

The Holy Father will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, conferring the pallium on a number of bishops. The Mass booklet also recognizes the Holy Father’s anniversary. On a musician’s note: Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marchelli will be sung. Glorious.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mr. Benedict, J.K. Rowling, & New York

I’ve completed my first summer read: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart. It’s become my replacement for the Harry Potter series; it is a children’s book and a very easy read but the book tells an intense story and touches on serious issues regarding right and wrong, relationships, and sacrifice. The book I just finished is the latest installment (October 2009) and third in the series. Stewart has written other works as well including a novel for adults. I highly recommend these books as a wonderful summer read in these hot and lazy days.

J.K. Rowling enticed her fans for about a week dangling a countdown on a new YouTube channel titled: JK Rowling Announces. On 23 June at 6am CST, high noon in the UK, Jo Rowling released a 1:49 video thanking her fans for their readership and announcing a new website, Within this website she will provide a new reading experience for the Potter stories, participant influenced, releasing side information about “the world of Harry Potter I have been hoarding for years.” Rowling is also releasing the Potter books in e-book form for the first time entirely through her own website. I hope to be one of the first to enter the website in July to preview and help develop it. While I’m not head-over-heels excited like I might have been for the release of one of the books, I am looking forward to finding out what other tidbits and stories Rowling’s imagination created in the development of the 7-book series which has taken the world by storm.

New York State Legislature passed its own same-sex marriage bill late on 24 June. With no opposition from the governor the bill will soon become law. One of the most frustrating things about the law is how a religious protection amendment was passed to convince conservatives to vote for the bill, never mind the fact the religious protection is guaranteed by our nation’s Constitution. Let us join together in prayer for New York, especially for Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, one of the most important Catholic voices in the state.

As always comments, civil discussion, and opinions are welcome.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lightning Transfigured Night

Thunderstorms are one of my favourite things about summer. The power of nature is truly awe-inspiring, if sometimes a little terrifying. We had a great big thunderstorm the other night when our heatwave finally broke. The storm brought temperatures down over 20 degrees F. I tried to take some pictures of the lighting but it was unfortunately too deep in the clouds to catch a bolt. (Either that or my camera is too poor quality.) Regardless, the ability of the lightning to make the pitch-black night sky shine brighter than the sun was pretty cool. Perhaps this is the blinding effect is what Peter, James, and John saw when the Lord was transfigured before their eyes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heroic Charity deserves Italian pizza

While surfing seeing when the heat wave would break (it finally has in Illinois), I came across a beautiful example of heroic charity. Watch the video at the link below. This is the kind of news story that deserves national attention!

Fire evacuation ‘angels’ save the day

* * *

Dinner being my charge this evening, I decided to be a little explorative. Off to, Paula Deen did not let me down. I found a video and written recipe for Grilled Veggie Pizza, which bears a striking resemblance to the pizza I would pick up near the Spanish Steps in Rome and either bring it back to Bernardi Campus or enjoy with friends on the steps like Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant and their gelato. My sisters, Madalyn and Catherine were a great help particularly because there were so many things to do! Olive oil coated crust; eggplant, arugula, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, capers, garlic, & black olives (or whatever you please!); grilled over a charcoal fire. It certainly was a learning experience working out the bugs in our system but overall, it certainly made for a delightful dinner.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Follow me on Twitter: @KellenOGrady

Proper capitalization but they wouldn't let me keep the apostrophe.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vatican Public Relations

On the morning of 2 June, TV personalities Matt Lauer and Al Roker aired a number a stories live from Saint Peter’s Square on the TODAY Show on NBC. I just finished watching these video clips from the NBC website and I am blown away at how beautifully they portrayed the Holy Father and the Vatican. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was also on hand for a variety of interviews, tours, and commentaries.

I think my favourite of these stories was “A Day in the Life of Pope Benedict XVI” which featured footage of the Holy Father in his private chapel and chambers, the Vatican gardens, and even watching the evening news. A close second is the video “Church seeks new followers through social media”. Not only do we get to see and hear the infamous and elusive Rocco Palmo of the blog “Whispers in the Loggia” but they mention that the Vatican is soon to launch its own news website,

There are eight videos available if you follow the links above. They all take about a half an hour to watch. I encourage you to watch them all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Admission to Candidacy

On the evening of 28 May 2011 I had the distinct privilege of attending the Admission to Candidacy for my friend Paul Solomon. This ceremony took place at the 6:30pm Anticipatory Mass for the Sixth Sunday of Easter at his home parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Naperville, Illinois. Bishop Siegel, “interim bishop” for the Diocese of Joliet, celebrated the Mass.

Paul and I studied in Rome together in the spring of 2010 and graduated 21 May 2011 from the University of Saint Thomas. He studied at UST for four years as a college seminarian through Saint John Vianney Seminary. This Admission to Candidacy begins his major formation for the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The ceremony beautifully portrayed the innocence and trust of a man giving his life in the service of Jesus Christ. He came before the bishop publicly declaring his intent and received the Bishop's blessing as the Church formally welcomed him. The next four years will see Paul studying in Rome, Italy through the Pontifical North American College (PNAC). He will return in the spring of 2015 and be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois. Please offer prayers for Mr. Solomon as he begins this new chapter of his journey. Pray also for all vocations, priestly and other religious. Their lifelong service is desperately needed in an often confused and broken world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

...that I may bear fruit in You.

Well over four months since my last entry, I am finally able to write again. Welcome to life post-college. Last Saturday, I graduated from the University of Saint Thomas with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Liturgical Music and Catholic Studies. The blessings of the past four years are filled with manifold graces. Now it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life. I am spending my time back home while involved in a full-time job hunt. The exciting part is I could land anywhere…use a map of the continental United States as a dart board and I have as likely a chance to land there as anywhere else. The prospects are there. Hopefully it will just be a matter of finding the right fit.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying time with my family. I’ve begun to work on a new song, I actually spent some time reading for leisure, and I will soon make an attempt to learn to play the guitar.

Despite a tornado warning north of Minneapolis on Sunday, I am blessed to not have been tragically affected by these horrific storms ripping through various parts of the US. Prayers go out to those who have endured the worst of this spring: Alabama and Joplin, Missouri just to name a couple. May eternal rest be granted unto the dead.

University of Saint Thomas Liturgical Choir anthem:
From “Odes of Solomon”, 2nd century

Teach me the songs of Your truth, Oh Lord,
that I may bear fruit in You.
Open to me the music of Your Holy Spirit
that with every note I may praise You.
Out of Your abundant kindness, grant me this,
for You are sufficient for all our needs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What are you doing this month?

I am back at home for about a week. It is late on a cold winter night and I feel like being creative…so I resort to another entry. I would sit down to some composition at the piano except I would wake up a sleeping household!

This Friday I will be attending a workshop called “Treasures of the Triduum” put on by the Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Stay tuned for a report on the event in the coming days!

This Saturday marks the 38th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe vs. Wade and pro-lifers will be out in droves I am sure! If you are attending any pro-life event in your local area, at your state capital, or all the way to the National Mall in Washington D.C. and would like to share your pictures and stories, I would be thrilled to hear from you and make a blog post from all I receive.

Many colleges and universities, including my own University of Saint Thomas, sets aside a one month January Term (J-Term) from the academic schedule where students may fulfill a class requirement studying one class intensely for the month. Students find this month to be much more carefree than the rest of the academic year, especially if they aren’t taking any class at all! This means many adventures of all shapes and sizes happen over J-Term particularly for UST students! If you are willing to share these stories and/or pictures from anytime during January, I’d love to hear and see these as well for a J-Term blog post.

You can contact me by leaving a comment or emailing me at

Friday, January 14, 2011

JPII to be beatified!

At moments like this I wonder what it is like to be one of the first to break such a story: I’m sure you’ve already heard:

The Vatican announced 14 January 2011 that the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II will be declared Blessed on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1 May 2011.

The miracle for this step in the canonization process was the cure from Parkinson’s Disease of a French nun through the intercession of Pope John Paul II.

I warmly congratulate my friends in Rome who will be able to attend such an historic event. I particularly look forward to the pictures and stories from the students of the University of Saint Thomas Catholic Studies Program at the Bernardi Campus. Perhaps one of you might offer your pictures for posting here in the coming months?

EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis, in her blog article for Thursday 13 January 2011, shows pictures of the current renovation of the St. Sebastian Chapel directly to the left of the chapel containing Michelangelo’s Pieta. The body of Pope John Paul II will find its new resting place in this chapel. ZENIT reports the body will not be exhumed, that is, it will remain enclosed in the coffin. Joan Lewis also says she was on the winning side of the guessing game about the date of Beatification. Someone had suggested April 2, the anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death. I would say the liturgical anniversary, Divine Mercy Sunday, is a much more poignant date.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Governor Brewer and President Obama

In times of tragedy, it's amazing how we all get along.

Governor Brewer greets President Obama on a visit to Tucson, Arizona following the shootings. 12 January 2011 Source:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hope for Haiti?

In the immediate days and weeks following the Haitian earthquake the response from around the globe staggered the imagination. So many governments and private organizations were quick to answer Haiti's plea for help. From the devastation came a light of hope shining for the nation; they wished to rebuild a better nation like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Exactly one year has passed since the January 12th earthquake. The past year has left many Haitians nearing hopelessness. Government corruption, an unresolved December election, a cholera epidemic, and inefficiency among other things all create a rather grim scenario. An article and slideshows from portrays the continued devastation and the living conditions that linger in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.

I mourn for the dead. I mourn for the suffering. I hope and pray that the Haitian people are able to have access to the Sacraments, which may be the only thing holding many of their lives together. Let us not forget the work that still must be done in Haiti.

Let us pray on this first anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and offer to the Lord all the suffering, pain, and failing that might make anyone lose hope.

Read comments by Archbishop Bernard Auza: Haiti Quake: The Pope's Man In Port-au-Prince
EDIT: 01/12/2011; 3:57pm: The Vatican never disappoints. Neither does Dr. Elizabeth Lev. Mass in Rome to Mark Anniversary of Haiti

Photo from taken 18 Jan 2010, a man standing in the ruins of the Port-au-Prince Cathedral. (QMI Agency)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

May we have hope!

It has been rather a long time since I’ve written. I think a random article of my own musings seems appropriate. Much continues to change, evolve, and grow throughout the world. As always, I welcome your comments.

* * *

The 112th Congress began last Wednesday 5 January 2011. Republicans control the new House of Representatives with a 49 seat majority. Democrats still hold the Senate but with six less seats. I have much hope for the new Congress and pray that it makes true progress in the next two years.

Four years ago I watched Rep. Nancy Pelosi take the post of Speaker of the House on television and cringed at the giddy hypocrisy of her power grab. She quoted the Prayer of Saint Francis and claimed pride in her Catholic heritage merely out of utility. She spent the next four years supporting legislation clearly against Catholic doctrine, even stating the Catholic Church could not be clear on the abortion teaching.

Compare that with Wednesday morning. The new Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, attended Mass before going to Capitol Hill. Because I am making this comparison I can almost guarantee that you, my readers, will have a laundry list of things Boehner has done or said of which the Catholic Church would not approve. Regardless, there was a stark comparison in their opening remarks. Boehner quoted the Ash Wednesday Roman Catholic Liturgy, calling on the new House of Representatives to “Remember, you are dust and unto dust you shall return,” that the power newly given by the people of the United States can be taken away just as easily. I listened to parts of the speech on Rush Limbaugh’s show. Limbaugh immediately commented that Boehner was calling the Democratic Party dust but I think Limbaugh misinterpreted Boehner’s comment. Enough with partisanship! Boehner spoke in warning to his own party as much as to the Democrats. Humility instead of egocentrism. Let us begin! Let us pray.

* * *

This month I am taking an independent study J-Term class, Christian Worship. This class involves writing four papers, a total of 31 to 45 pages over the course of the entire month. I am able to personalize my topics to include art and architecture, liturgical and sacred music, and Eucharistic theology. One of the papers will include an observation of a service at an Episcopal Cathedral. I look forward to all the learning ahead of me and sharing bits and snippets of what I learn with you.

* * *

An article in the Wall Street Journal on Friday 7 February 2011 pointed to the terrible persecution felt by Christians in the Middle East especially Iran. The persecution we read about from Christianity’s early centuries still exists throughout the world. Let us pray for our Christian brethren that they may be strong through continued persecution. Let us also pray for deep respect of our fellow men beginning with their God-given dignity as His creation. May we offer thanks for the Freedom of Religion practiced in the United States of America.

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Lastly for this post, I would like to express my desire for hope! It is one of the theological virtues and lacking throughout our world in a distinct way. I hear from fellow Catholics as well as others the horrible things that are happening in the world. All we see is doom and gloom around us with no end in sight. We as a society (and we as CATHOLICS!) need to make a particular resolution to point out and celebrate that which is good, holy, and sacred. It is all a matter of perspective: the surest reason for our hope is actually the bloodied and broken body of Our Lord on the Cross of Calvary because three days after His death He got up again. Christ can bring good from any hopeless condition. He never promised us worldly happiness but he certainly did promise us joy! Let us take our suffering, our broken lives, and our fallen world and lay it at the feet of the One who has already won the war. They never were ours anyway.

The photograph is a relief sculpture from the doors of the Cathedral in Milan, Italy. Taken by Kellen O'Grady, © April 2010.