Wednesday, February 26, 2003

If Karen doesn't want to pray for Saddam, perhaps it's only because she isn't familiar enough with the traditional liturgy.
Take for example the votive collect "Against Persecutors and Evildoers".

“We beg Thee, O Lord, to crush the pride of our enemies and humble their insolence by the power of Thy right hand : through our Lord.”
[Hostium nostrorum, quaesumus, Domine, elide superbiam: et eorum contumaciam dexterae tuae virtute prosterne. Per Dominum. (Sorry: I don’t know how to make the diphthongs appear on blogspot.)]

The collect “For Enemies” takes a different tack and prays for good things for the enemy. But note the final clause. The author doesn’t forget that enemies are, in fact, enemies.

“God, who lovest and maintainest peace and charity, give peace to all our enemies, and true charity; grant them forgiveness of all their sins, and by Thy power deliver us from their cunning. Through our Lord.”
[Deus, pacis caritatisque amator et custos: da omnibus inimicis nostris pacem, caritatemque veram; et cunctorum eis remissionem tribue pecatorum, nosque ab eorum insidiis potenter eripe. Per Dominum.]

(The translations are from The Missal in Latin and English of O’Connell and Knox published by Sheed and Ward in 1949. “Insidiis potenter” seems to me to be quite a bit stronger than “cunning” in the second collect quoted. But I yield to my betters; it wouldn’t be the first idiom to hang me up.])

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


. . . .is the old feast of Ss. Avertanus and Romeo. These were Carmelite lay brothers who went on pilgrimage to Rome. On their way back from Rome they contracted the plague and died of it in Lucca. St. Avertanus had a reputation in the Order for sanctity, and as having the gift of prophecy. [cf. “Dictionary of Saints”, John Delaney, Doubleday, 1980]

Monday, February 24, 2003

The Weeping Madonna of Clonfert And Gyor

Last week I mentioned the weeping picture of Our Lady which in the 17th century came from Ireland to Hungary.

Maureen of "Aliens in this World" has supplied me with a few more links on that topic. [Go raibh mile maith agat, a Mhairin.] This one gives a more complete history of the picture. A picture of the cathedral where it resides is here. (The caption can be safely ignored; your digestion will thank you.) Some other pictures of Gyor can be found here.

Visit her site, too, so long as you're browsing. She has some very nice tales of the Irish saints.

Blogspot of My Heart

Not only was Blogspot down last night for hardware maintenance - which is why you didn't hear anything from me about Sexagesima Sunday and its liturgy yesterday - but today it has decided to do something completely new. Unlike half the other blogosphere residents my archives appear to be in fine condition. However, the current page periodically goes AWOL. Everything posted after February 20 is now gone. Unless you look in the archive, which is working a treat.

Heaven knows where this post will end up.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

From Our Parish Bulletin

This was written by one of our assistant pastors at St. Peter Chanel Parish. The advice is at least as important as Mr. Ridge's duct tape advice.

“While many factors are involved in the causes that go to producing a war, throughout Salvation History we see that the deepest cause for war is sin. Our Lady of Fatima reiterated that again in 1917 predicting the advent of World War II 'if people did not cease offending God.' This statement is obviously not referring to just the sins of political leaders, but the sins of everyone.

“Peace is thus a gift from God, but a gift for which we have to cooperate by means of conversion of heart and prayer. The prayer that Our Lady specially asked for was the recitation of the Rosary. She told the children on July 13th, 1917: ‘Continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of our Lady of the Rosary in order to obtain peace for the world. . . .because only she can save you.’ God has freely chosen to give us the precious gift of peace through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“John Paul II on February 9, just two weeks ago, invited us to do the same thing: ‘At this time of international concern we all feel the need to turn to the Lord to implore the great gift of peace. As I pointed out in the Apostolic Letter, On the Most Holy Rosary, ‘the grave challenges confronting the world at the start of this new millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high. . . can give reason to hope for a brighter future’ (#40). Many prayer initiatives are taking place these days all over the world. While I endorse them wholeheartedly, I invite all to take up the Rosary to ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.’”
-Fr. Gregory Staab, OMV

Another Beautiful Day

If you don't count the earthquake. And I don't since I slept through it. We lost some glassware in the last Big Bear earthquake; this one I wouldn't have known about had my wife not turned on KNX when we got up. The smallest EQ causes KNX to drop their ads and interview anyone they can get to call in. Endless excited people telling us that the earthquake shook them. Yup. Sounds like your classic earthquake all right.

The band did a parade in Carson celebrating the city's 60 anniversary. A very nice day to stroll down the street in shirtsleeves and a kilt playing pipes. My pal Ziggy and I were in it twice. Hah! I'll tell you about that later. Right now I am off to confession and Vespers.

[Pro lavacro baptismi et paenitentiae, Apostolis concredito,
- quo ab omnibus peccatis abluimur:
Te laudat Apostolorum chorus, Domine.]

Friday, February 21, 2003

A beautiful day

It is a gorgeous day in southern California today. The kind the travel people would have you believe we have every day.
Mid 70's, not a cloud in the sky, cool - but not cold- breeze. I've been practicing pipes in the park and loving every minute.
Take a look here if it's not too late in the day. You can see the sunset over the Queen Mary. (Unless they turn the camera, which they sometimes do. And if the sun has already set by the time you reach this page, you won't see much of anything. It's dark at night, doncha know.)


The lastest number of Gilbert! arrived this morning. I loved this:

"Rebelling against Government is dangerous, so modern people (very characteristically) prefer to rebel against theology, which is safe."
(Illustrated London News, March 16, 1907)


On this day in 1595 St. Robert Southwell, S.J. was hanged, drawn and quartered for his priesthood. (The article the link references was composed in 1912 and refers to St. Robert as the Venerable Robert Southwell. Since that date he has been canonized as one of the 40 Holy Martyrs of England and Wales.)

“Robert Southwell’s father, a Norfolk landowner, had conformed to the state religion, but he sent his son abroad for a Catholic education. Robert returned to England as a Jesuit priest in 1586. He laboured on the mission with great success, in which his mastery of the English tongue stood him in good service. His poems, in their directness and force, their antitheses and terseness, beauty of conception and fidelity of expression, are a lovely example of how ‘virtue and verse suit together.’ The divine beauty of Jesus, the loveliness of his holy Mother, the workings of grace, the deformations of sin and the nature of sorrow for it, contempt of the world, the brevity of life, all these are told with a charm and a grace in verses now well known, and are set forth with equal power in his letters. Father Southwell was shamefully betrayed by a woman, once his penitent, was many times tortured, and, after three years’ confinement in the Tower and the Gatehouse, was brought to trial and brutally sentenced for his priesthood. On 21 February 1595 he was hanged, drawn, and quartered, at Tyburn before an awe-struck crowd. He was thirty-three years old.” [from Bowden’s Mementoes of the Martyrs]

Southwell on His Fellow Catholics

“As of yet we are alive and well, being unworthy, it seems, of prisons. We have oftener sent than received letters from your parts, though they are not sent without difficulty, and some we know have been lost. The condition of Catholic recusants here is the same as usual, deplorable and full of fears and dangers, more especially since our adversaries have looked for wars. As many of ours as are in chains rejoice and are comforted in their prisons; and they that are at liberty set not their hearts upon it nor expect it to be of long continuance. All, by the great goodness and mercy of God, arm themselves to suffer anything that can come, how hard soever it may be, as it shall please our Lord, for whose greater glory and the salvation of their souls they are more concerned than for any temporal losses. A little while ago they apprehended two priests, who have suffered such cruel usages in the prison of Bridewell as can scarce be believed. What was given them to eat was so little in quantity, and withal most filthy and nauseous.

“The labours to which they obliged them were continual and immoderate, and no less in sickness than in health; for with hard blows and stripes they forced them to accomplish their task how weak soever they were. Some are there [including the writer] hung up for whole days by the hands, in such manner that they can but just touch the ground with the tips of their toes. In fine, they that are kept in that prison truly live ‘in a pit of misery and filth.’ This purgatory we are looking for every hour, in which Topcliffe and Young, the two executioners of the Catholics, exercise all kinds of torment. But come what pleaseth God, we hope that we shall be able to beat all in Him that strengthens us. In the meantime we pray that they may be put to confusion who work iniquity, and that the Lord may speak peace to His people. (Ps. 24 and 89) that, as the royal prophet says, His glory may dwell in our land. I must humbly recommend myself to the holy sacrifices of your Reverence and of all our friends.”

The Nativity of Christ

By St. Robert Southwell, S.J.

Behold the father is his daughter’s son,
The bird that built the nest is hatched therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The Word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs,
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.

Gift better than himself God doth not know;
Gift better than his God no man can see.
This gift doth here the giver given bestow;
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, himself he freely gave me;
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man altered was by sin from man to beast;
Beast’s food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh.
Now God is flesh and lies in manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein this fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

NPB: National Public Blogging

Notice anythng different? No, not my hair. No. . .I've had this suit for years. It's the advertisment. The advertisement is still gone. The one that's usually at the top of the page. The one that makes you scroll down a little bit as soon as you access the page so that the flashing attention grabber will be hidden by the toolbar. That one.

(Say, now that I'm commercial-free I can have a pledge drive. Next Week, All Week: The Three Tenors Marathon. Operators are standing by. Have your credit cards ready.)

Actually, it seems that it's neither a product of the Google/Pyra buy-out, a technical glitch, nor a sign that no advertizer, however disreputable, wishes to be associated with this effort. This blog - and a host of other St. Blog's parishioners - are the recipients of largess from a semi-anonymous benefactress. She hasn't said in so many words yet, but it appears to be proprietress of Disordered Affections.
See here and here for clues.

Thank you, Karen. I'm delighted not only in the mere fact that I am now commercial-free, but even more so that someone enjoys this project enough to bother.

Wallace and Gromit!

Just found some Wallace and Gromit on the web here. If you don't know W&G, now's the time to sample a bit; they have some free downloads there and some for just a few dollars. The north country accent is hard to follow for some Yanks, but it's worth the effort. (These are the same folks who made The Chicken Run.)

I just noticed

This blog, as of the moment, is commercial free. When did this happen? A result of the Google purchase? Or?

Maybe I was practicing with the windows open again and drove the advertizers away.

The Coming War

Suggested reading before combat begins: Col. Hackworth's column in yesterday's PT and on-line here. No pacifist he, but apparently one of the very few to be publicly pointing out the dangers facing our troops and the apparent lack of concern in those who are charged with such concern.


. . . . .is the feast of St. Colgan (or “Colgu”) of Clonmacnoise. St. Colgan was chief lecturer in scripture and theology at Clonmacnoise in 8th century Ireland. It was said that he was so well-versed in St. Paul’s epistles because St. Paul himself appeared to him and instructed him personally. St. Colman was the teacher of the English scholar Alcuin, whom Charlemagne brought to France as head of the palace school.

“The Irish Josephus Scotus, who accompanied Alcuin to France, is believed to have been another of Colgu’s pupils and to have taught at York. From Charlemagne’s court he addresses Colgu as his ‘blessed master and dear father.’ Irish schoolmen were a continuing influence at the palace school of Charlemagne. It is suggested that Colgu, through his pupils, gave as much impetus to the Carolingian revival as many of those whose names are more closely associated with it.” [from D'Arcy's The Saints of Ireland]

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Nancy Nall, one of the web's finest writers, lost her father a couple of days ago. A prayer for his soul and his family's comfort wouldn't go amiss.

(The page the link sends you to won't tell you much about her talent. For at least the next few days, you'll have to click on her "archives" link for that.)

Why Congressfolks really ought to read the stuff they vote for.

Preferably, before they vote for it.

"Newly opened archives of Vatican-German relations

. . . . .between 1922 and 1939 are yielding up some of their treasures." And this one includes correspondence to Pope Pius XI from the newly canonized Carmelite St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce regarding the Nazi persecution of Jews. You'll find the references in Mark Cameron's excellent Mystique et Politique.

Future Saints?

And Then?, Quenta Narwenion , Flos Carmeli and some others have listed folks on their wish list of future saints. I can agree with almost all of them. ("Almost" because I don't know all of them.) Now that I start to prepare my own list I’m stopped in my tracks because no one will know any of them. Well, almost none. Some will remember the late Cardinal McIntyre, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles. He retired to St. Basil’s rectory on Wilshire, where he lived as one of the assistant priests, taking his turn on daily Mass, hearing confessions, and ordinary parish duties as much as his health would permit. He was my regular confessor for a while. Feel free to canonize him at any time; no need to go through the beatification bother in my opinion.

And the rest, you really won’t have heard of at all. There is no chance any of them will be canonized but I pray to, as well as for, them. You won’t know of Fr. John McKenna – outside of a mention in the post below – or of Fr. Vincent Molloy, the pastor of my youth. I am as sure as anyone can be about these things that my mother died a saint. I don’t think we canonize Baptists, do we? So Edith Mitchell’s chances of an official feast day are even less. But if I can have a tenth of her goodness and love for Christ, I will have a very good eternity indeed.


. . . .is the Franciscan feast of St. Conrad of Piacenza, who probably ought to be the patron of southern California wilderness areas which are so susceptible to brush fires. There is a little chapel near Dodger stadium named after him where the late Fr. John McKenna used to preach and promote devotion to the rosary and Padre Pio, who predicted during World War II that the then Corporal McKenna would become a priest.

Yesterday I was away from the computer and didn’t get the chance to mention that the 18th is the feast of St. Colman of Lindisfarne.
St. Colman was one of the many Irish who worked to evangelize England. He was bishop of Lindisfarne for only two years and was embroiled in the controversy over the proper date for celebrating Easter for the entire time. When the Council of Whitby decided against the ancient Celitc usage, he resigned his see and settled eventually on the island of Inisbofin, establishing a monastery there.

“At the time of Cromwell, Inisbofin was a penal colony for Irish bishops. One of the prisoners, Bishop Lynch of Clonfert, Co. Galway, escaped to the Continent and to Gyor in Hungary, carrying with him the Clonfert treasure that is now called the Weeping Madonna, or the Irish Madonna. On March 17, 1697, at the height of religious persecution in Ireland, the Clonfert picture of the Blessed mother in the Cathedral of Gyor shed tears of blood. The phenomenon which began at six o’clock Mass that morning lasted for three hours, the tears continuing even when the picture was taken from the wall. Eye–witness accounts signed by the city mayor, the military commandant, the governor, the town’s Calvinist and Lutheran ministers and Jewish Rabbi, are still preserved at Gyor Cathedral. It has always been, and continues to be, an object of great devotion. It is believed to be the work of the Flemish painter Peter Pourbus of Bruges.” [D’Arcy’s “The Saints of Ireland” pp.103-104]

Saturday, February 15, 2003

The 15th of February

. . . .is the old French feast of St. Georgette. She lived in Auvergne and became a hermit at a young age. The tale of her miraculous funeral is the most well-known. A flight of doves accompanied the procession of her remains to the church. At the church they hid in the roof for the services. They reappeared for the procession to the cemetery, all the while flying above her casket. After her interment, they flew up to heaven and disappeared. It was the opinion of the people at the time that they were angels from heaven sent to accompany her soul on its journey to God. The only mention of her on the web is here. The story related above, though, is found in Engelbert.

Not Really Busy

. . . .these past few days. Just not unbusy enough to spend time at the keyboard. Not only meetings, but time set aside for meetings that got cancelled. A very large police funeral which took, well, all day. The band played for a military function in Beverly Hills on Friday. I thought it was another Air Force event, but it involved all the services and some civilian defense folks. Two and a half hours to get there – welcome to California traffic – forty-five minutes to tune up, ten minutes to play, and an hour or so to travel home. And today was taken up completely in the Queen Mary Highland Games. The band competed but the results weren’t in when I had to leave. I'm sure I'll find out eventually.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

High School Sports

I'm not much of a basketball fan. But this isn't just about basketball, no matter what the slug line says. Thanks to Kirk for the reference.

The Wayfarer

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way
--Padraic Pearse

[Because the radio keeps talking about war and "red alerts" and it's lashing down with rain.]

Tradition Still Reigns in Los Angeles

As long as I was downtown last Saturday, I thought I would take the opportunity to park in the new Cathedral parking structure and visit the Cathedral after the parade.

As you now know, I was not feeling up to visiting the Cathedral after that parade. So I still can’t give a first-hand report on it.

But I did have a fine look at the parking structure. You will be happy to note that it is in the finest tradition of parking structures everywhere. There was no deviation from any time-honoured practices. One drives up to the little kiosk with the button to press which releases the parking ticket. The little barrier opens, as they do everywhere, and you cross the clanking thing in the floor next to the “Warning! Do Not Back UP: Tire Damage” sign. Standard parking place white-lines are in place. The décor is basic poured concrete, austerely decorated with “EXIT -->” signs and large, white numbers telling you what floor you are on.
The architecture is large, square, boxy, and severe. Not unlike many new cathedrals I have read about.

Say. . . .you don’t suppose I was actually in. . . .nah. Couldn’t be. There was no three thousand pound brass door.

Old Business

Oh, yes. The Chinese New Year’s Parade. Well, that like to have killed me.

In the first place, they almost doubled the length this year. It started around Main and whatever-that-street-is-just-north-of-Temple, worked it’s way around to Broadway and went all the way down Broadway almost to St. Peter’s Italian Church, crossed up to Hill and all the way back down Hill toward the pointy building where the mayor works (who was there but got to ride in a car). That’s not ideal but it’s usually not too much trouble. Except that a couple of weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my chest, an “intercostal” something or other. This mostly doesn’t bother me. Unless, of course, I do a lot of striking-in of a bagpipe and then it starts to hurt a lot. Parades with a pipe band involve a lot of that. The products of America’s fine pharmaceutical industry do much to allay that, but eventually they wear off.

So if you were there and you heard unsteady blowing and noticed one piper looking particularly grumpy, well, you now know what I look like.

Impeach Gray Davis

Only by exercizing tremendous self-restraint do I deny myself the pleasure of ornamenting the "Impeach Gray Davis" headline with an exlamation point or two and perhaps a happy face. It feels good just to type it. Karen pointed out the appropriate websites where you can go to sign the petition and read the details.


While it sounds like a very good thing to do, who takes his place? I presume it'll be Cruz Bustamante. It seems like an awful lot of trouble and expense just to get Cruz Bustamante, who never met an abortionist he didn't like. I suppose so long as Cruz is not an extortionist it ought to be an improvement.

This or That? the Semi-Quiz

Why do I do this? And why do I imagine anyone cares? I astonish myself.

1. Bacon or sausage?
Yes. Not too spicy on the sausages, though.

2. Eggs: scrambled or not?
Scrambled are good. As are hard-boiled and fried, over hard.
The 40 minute scrambled eggs are, indeed, excellent as Nero said they would be. But not excellent enough to over-come constitutional laziness. So they will continue to be nuked. One minute fifteen seconds, no muss, no fuss..

3. French toast or regular toast?

4. Pancakes or waffles?
To be sure.

5. Muffins or bagels?
Yes, indeed. But not those ghastly cheese bagels with seeds. Plain. Or with cinnamon and raisins.

6. Coffee or tea?
Tea by preference, but only if I make it. Or someone who knows how to boil water; there appear not to be more than a few hundred of those in this entire country. Otherwise coffee.

7. Juice: orange or grapefruit?
If God had intended man to eat grapefruit, He never would have given us oranges.

8. Hot or cold cereal?
Of course.

9. To put in cereal: bananas or strawberries (or some other fruit)?
Bananas, blueberries, raisins, dates. More. But probably not strawberries. If they're good strawberries the cereal will hide the flavour. If they're not, you don't want them anyway.

10. Eat breakfast at home or at a restaurant?
Depends on the day. Depends on the restaurant.

Sigh. While those are still my preferences, they no longer describe actual meals. Which is why I am no longer as big as a house. But I certainly did get hungry typing that out. Time to pause for lunch.

Thanks to Davey's Mommy for steering me to this, uh, quiz. Or whatever it is.


. . . in the traditional Roman rite is the feast of the seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, "The Order of the Servants of Mary".

This is also the day on which the Venerable George Haydock was martyred at Tyburn. According to Bowden’s Mementoes of the Martyrs, Haydock “was the son of Evan Haydock, the representative of an old family of Cottam Hall, Lancashire; his mother was Helen Westby. When on her deathbed, to console her sorrowing husband she pointed, with the infant George in her arms, to the motto embroidered at the foot of the bed, Tristitia vestra in gaudium vertetur, ‘Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.’ But the joy prophesied was not to be of this world. The widowed husband, seeing how persecution was ravaging the Church in England, to offer some reparation made over his property to his son William, and went over to Douay with the two others, Richard and George, all three to be trained for the priesthood. Richard after varied missionary work died in Rome, and George returned to England as a priest in January 1581, and was betrayed on arriving by an old tenant of his father’s who had apostatized. The aged father had, early on the previous All Souls’ day, when about to celebrate Mass, seemed to see his son’s severed head above the altar, and to hear the words, ‘Tristitia vestra. . . .’; swooning away, he gave back his soul to God to find his sorrow turned to joy.

“Arrested as a priest in February 1582 in St. Paul’s Churchyard, Haydock was confined in the Tower, where he was robbed of all his money, and suffered much from the hardships of his imprisonment, and from the malaria that he had contracted in Italy. A year later, he was sentenced to death for having been made priest by the pope’s authority beyond the seas. It was the feast day of his patroness, St. Dorothy, virgin and martyr, and he marked it in the calendar of his breviary, which he left to Dr. Richard Creagh, archbishop of Armagh, then a prisoner in the Tower. But to his sorrow he heard that the queen had changed her mind, and that he was not to die. His confessor, however, told him that these rumours were spread abroad only to represent the queen as averse from these cruelties, and to remove any odium from her, as if they were extorted from her against her inclination. The falseness of the rumour was proved by the event. George Haydock without a sign of any pardon, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyrubrn on 12 February 1584, together with Blesseds James Fenn, John Nutter, John Munden, and Thomas Hemerford. It was by the name of Thomas Hemerford and his companions that the cause of the group of English and Welsh martyrs beatified in 1929 was distinguished; of him but little is known.”

Ven. George Haydock’s life and passion are also described here. There is a moving account of his execution at that link.

World Net Daily

. . . .doesn't much like France. This apprently justifies publishing correspondence here which refers to St. Joan of Arc only as "a female schizophrenic".


Saturday, February 08, 2003

Happy New Year

This afternoon will be spent, not blogging, but playing with the band in the Los Angeles Chinese New Year's Parade. Yes, that's the pipe band. No, I don't have an explanation. I'm just a guy in the back row these days; I just show up and play.

Enjoy your weekend.


Today is the feast of St. John of Matha, the founder of the Trinitarian Order, whose original principal work was the redemption of Christian slaves from the Mohammedans.

Also remembered today is the great Franciscan tertiary, Blessed Jacqueline (or Jacoba) di Settesoli. She made St. Francis' favourite dessert, "an excellent cream called mortairol, composed of sugar, almonds, and other ingredients pounded in a mortar." In gratitude St. Francis gave her a lamb, which says St. Bonaventure "'seemed to have been educated by him in the spiritual life.' It followed its mistress to church, remained near her while she was praying, and came home with her. If, in the morning, Jacoba did not waken, the lamb came to butt her gently and bleat in her ear, to make her go to her devotions."

One more anecdote: "One of the most intriguing of these concerns a noble widow from Rome, Lady Jacoba di Settesoli. No mention is made of her before Francis is on his deathbed, when he requests a letter be written. He wants to see her one last time, and he wants her to bring gray shroud cloth and some of the honey-almond confection he loves. No sooner is the letter written, than there is a knock at the gate, and Jacoba is there with the cloth and the sweet. Immediately there is a problem: should this woman be allowed inside the cloister to see the dying saint? Francis brushes the issue aside. This woman is an exception to the rule. He calls her “Brother Jacoba” (Perugia: 101; Mirror: 112)." (Taken from Engelbert and from this site.)

Friday, February 07, 2003

Anglican Use in New York

There are stirrings regarding establishment of an Anglican Use parish in NYC. See the article in the National Catholic Register (that's Register, not Reporter) giving some details.

Thanks to Fr. Wilson of the AnglicanUse List for the reference.

Nothing like that in the offing here in the domain of the eminent lord Cardinal Mahony.

Funny Old Blogspot

Every time I post something today this pops up next to the "view web page" tag on the thick black border: "Error 503: Unable to load template file. We're working on this. Please try back later."

But everything keeps publishing as it normally would anyway. Is a puzzlement.


This is the ancient feast of St. Theodore of Amasea, who was martyred around 319. He was one of the most venerated of the soldier saints in the early and medieval Church. Originally arrested for his Christian faith, he was interrogated and released. Ecumenism rating rather low on his list of priorities and completely ignoring the Spirit of Assisi, he took this opportunity to set fire to the temple of Cybele in Amasea. The local adherents of Cybele didn’t take this at all well and he was again arrested, and this time tortured and eventually burned to death.

Blessed Thomas Sherwood is also commemorated today. He was a draper’s assistant in 16th century London. For having said that he considered that if Queen Elizabeth were excommunicated her rule would not be lawful, he was declared guilty of high treason and condemned "to be dragged through the city streets, hung, then cut down, to have his bowels drawn, his head cut off, his body quartered, and the pieces exposed in such places as it should please the Queen to designate.” [Engelbert]

An Unnecessary Post

This is something of a pointless exercise. You already read Ad Orientem every day don't you? Of course you do. So you really don't need me sending you over there to read this. But I'm so incensed about the destruction of what by all accounts is a first class choir that I want to share the annoyance and ruin your day, too.

If I could find my copy of the Latin GIRM I would weigh into the fray by insisting that although the "Gathering Hymn" and "Responsorial Psalm" are indeed permitted options, the introit and graduale are the preferred options. The English version seems to give them equal weight as options. I don't think that is correct. But until I can find my Latin version I'm not going to insist relying on my unreliable memory.

Fr. Werenfried van Straaten, O. Praem. [R.I.P.]

Fr. Werenfried of Aid to the Church in Need died last Friday, 31 January as you've probably heard. Gerard Serafin has reprinted some lovely tributes to him on his blog here. None that I saw mention that although he was originally a canon of the Tongerlo Abbey [the link is in Flemish, but the pictures are worth the visit] in recent years he had transferred to St. Michael's Abbey in Orange, California and died a member of that community.

God rest his soul.

From the Mail

Today's African correspondent is not a top government official. (I'm a little miffed about that.) He is:

TEL :225-07-59-73-34.

But he, too, is convinced that I am as honest as the day is long (and, of course, this is quite true; how do they know?) and can be trusted with his vast wealth. Not as vast as yesterday's Mr. Frank James and his thirty million big ones. Mr. Johnson, not being a government official but only the son of "one of the directors under theTijan Kabbah Government", only has eight and a half million that he wants me to salt away for him. But he's only going to let me have 10% of it; a measly eight-hundred and fifty thousand. The cheapskate. My pal Frank was going to give me a full 30%.

Some people just don't appreciate the value of an American bank account owned by someone of unimpeachable rectitude.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

One more remembrance

. . .before the day ends. This February 6 is Ronald Reagan's 92d birthday. This link is from 1998 so the age is wrong. But everything else is about it is right. As a Californian I got to vote for Ronnie more than most since he was our governor also. I have no reason to regret any of those votes.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

2 Bits More

Thought I was kidding about my support being the kiss-of-death? When I posted this the other day, support for my choice in The Great California Quarter decision-making process was at 0.78%. Second-to-last and this far away from the cellar. Since posting my support yesterday, all of America has joined together and voted for some other choice. The Mission coin is now at 0.75%.

I'm going to get myself a long, black robe and a scythe and open up shop.

From the Mail

I got my daily communication from a prominent member of the Nigerian government just now. I count the day lost I don't get one; I so look forward to this hobnobbing with international politicos. They're not at all like their reputation; they are so trusting. Not at all devious. And so friendly. They never seem to be offended that I don't let them borrow my bank account. They just come right back the next day with another plan to enable me to become a millionaire.

But I have my doubts about this one. This one is named "Frank James". I swear on a stack of bishops, that's how he signs himself. He doesn't mention having a brother named Jesse. But just to be on the safe side, I probably won't answer this one either.

Anyway, there's always tomorrow. Maybe General Ngomo or Mrs. Abache will come up with a really exciting international co-operation opportunity which will not only bring a just settlement to tangled financial affairs but make me rich as Croesus.


. . . .in the Irish calendar is the feast of St. Mel, the first abbot-bishop of Ardagh in county Longford. This is the patronal feast in Longford and the Catholic St. Mel's cathedral is the most prominent landmark in Longford Town. There is a small picture of the Georgian style church here. The interior,alas, was devastated by the former bishop Daley. There is a smaller and not very clear picture of the ancient St. Mel's Cathedral in Ardagh here. It's hard to distinguish from the newer (circa 1810) Church of Ireland parish of St. Patrick's next to it.

Mel Gibson's family are Longford people and he is named after their county's saint.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Flowers of the Forest

Someone just told me today that the "wake up call"on the Columbia
last Saturday was Scotland the Brave played by the pipes and drums
of the 51st Highland Brigade (as it now is). It was requested by Laurel
Clark who is of Scottish ancestry and met her husband in Scotland.
The fellow I was talking to saw it in Time magazine. It's mentioned
here, too.

The last music they heard was from the Great Highland Bagpipe.

Our 2 Bits

The design decision about the new California quarter is being made as we speak. The possible designs - some 20 of them - are on line here. One of the "bear" entries has the lead. I voted for #19 which is the only one representing the California missions. And since I voted for it, it goes without saying that it is second-to-last in popularity. There are angels in charge of that. There was a petition at one time asking for a representation of the Bl. Fray Junipero Serra. That appears to have gone no where. The best we can hope for is a stylized mission building. And I have jinxed it by being in favour of it.

If you want to vote for the mission quarter you can do so at the link shown above. (If you don't want to vote for the mission, that link is no good and the previous sentence is a typo. Yup. No use even trying.)

Tuesday, February 04, 2003


. . . . is bereft of saints in the Pauline calendar but is otherwise chockablock with interesting people. For Karen of Disordered Affections, this is the feast of the Jesuit martyr St. John de Britto. (The linked article only lists him as “blessed” but he was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1947.)

The English St. Gilbert of Sempringham, a contemporary of St. Thomas a Becket, is also honoured today. He founded an order of canons regular called the Gilbertines which lasted until their destruction by Henry VIII.

At one time this was the feast of the Carmelite bishop, St. Andrew Corsini. The Order now keeps his feast on 9 January which is closer to his day of death.

Today is also the old French feast honouring St. Jeanne de Valois, “the deformed daughter of King Louis XI; married to the future Louis XII, she was repudiated by her husband, and founded the Franciscan order of the Annunciation at Bourges.” (There is a problem with this link at the time of posting; if it continues not to work I shall try and find another reference. The quoted passage is from Engelbert.)

Addendum. Well, it doesn't look like the original link to St. Jeanne's life is going to work. Try this one.

Monday, February 03, 2003

St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr

I can throw away the "Smith Brothers" for another season, having just had my throat blessed with the Candlemas candles and the prayer to St. Blaise. It's a shame his feast comes in February. I usually get my annual sore throat around Christmas time and this year was no exception.

O Spirit, whom the Father sent
To spread abroad the firmament;
O Wind of heaven, by thy might,
Save all who dare the eagle's flight.
And keep them by the watchful care
From every peril in the air.

from Jerry Pournelle

Almighty Ruler of the all,
Whose Power extends to great and small,
Who guides the stars with steadfast law,
Whose least creation fills with awe,
O grant thy mercy and thy grace,
To those who venture into space
- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Cloud of Witnesses

Last Friday was the 31st of January and the feast of St. John Bosco. As a quondam Salesian boy I am in conscience obligated to point you to something about Don Bosco. Try here. Yes, I know it says "Giovanni Melchior Bosco" but that's him. Or he, if Nihil Obstat is in attendance. If you're not too busy you could stop by my old alma mater here. I actually recognize a lot of the places pictured; the quadrangle remains the same, including the palms and the bougainvillea. But why is there a wrought iron fence around Don Bosco's statue in the front? Did someone try to steal him? Would a wrought iron fence really help? The chapel is changed somewhat. Not drastically but not for the better either. And why did someone leave their groceries on the steps of the altar? If it turns out to be in honor of the Great Pumpkin, I'd just as soon not know.

February 1st is the feast of St. Bridget the Great of Ireland. There is a short life here. There is some very interesting stuff here. But I note that the author is Grattan Flood. I don't know what his hagiography is like, but his writing on music is notoriously untrustworthy. Enjoy but don't take it to the bank.
And it is also the birthday of my grandmother, who was not named Bridget. (And it is not the birthday of my wife, who is named Bridget.)

And today, Sunday, is Candlemas Day, the last day of the Christmas season. The Christmas preface is used at today's traditional Gregorian Mass. I think it is officially the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Pauline rite and the feast of the Purification of Our Lady in the traditional rite. But it has been Candelmas Day among English-speaking people for a thousand years - give or take - and that is quite good enough for me.