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.

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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.

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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.

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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.