Sunday, March 31, 2013

Maronite Easter Vigil

At Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Shepherd's Park (Washington, DC)  the Easter Vigil begins at midnight.

 The interior of the church reflects the austere monastic sensibilities of St. Maroun, the 5th Century Syriac  monk  who shaped this Syriac-Antiochian rite Catholic Church that profoundly influenced Lebanon.

Prior to the accent lights being turned on, the design was stark and aesthetically challenging for me.  Even with the lights on, the altar is surprisingly barren for the most important feast of the liturgical year for Christians.  There were a few lillies at the foot of the main altar and there was a floral display on the East Apse which also served as the Empty Tomb for the Easter Vigil. Note the tree stump at the foot of the altar, that is used as a stand for the veneration of the Cross.  Perhaps it harkens back to the Cedars of Lebanon, which is an important symbol amongst Maronite Catholics.


This is the Clergy approaching the altar for the beginning of the Qurbono (Divine Liturgy).  Note the Chorbishop in the center who's vestment has a cross with the Cedar of Lebanon. The Liturgy was conducted in Syriac as well as English.  The hymns that were sung were in Aramaic which was impossible for me to read.  Aramaic was Jesus' native tongue so it sounded like what  the followers of "The Way" would have sung in the 1st Century A.D.

There were some unusual aspects of this Easter Vigil.  There was incense but no use of Holy Water or candles.  The Maronite Church tends to baptize their Catachumens on the Feast of the Epiphany in January.  Candles are not as import of an symbol at the Easter Vigil, as the Maronite Church breaks fast on noon of Great Saturday during the simple "Awaited Light" ceremony.  This may explain why there is not pent up anticipation for the Easter Vigil as observed amongst the Maronites.

 It was remarkable how much this Liturgy celebrating the Resurrection emphasized the Glorious Cross.  The Chorbishop made prayers on the four corners of the altar with the processional cross, as if to proclaim the hope of the resurrection to all the Earth.  The faithful were invited to venerate the Glorified Cross as they received Communion. Another interesting Easter feature of this vigil Qurbono was the emphasis on the Empty Tomb.  As the faithful departed from the Divine Liturgy, they were given flowers from the Empty Tomb as well as an Easter Egg.


Despite the alternating languages during the Liturgy, it was not challenging to follow.  The order of the Liturgy is different, as the Prayers of the Faithful are offered in the middle of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  In addition, the sign of peace is passed along from the altar to the congregation by youthful altar servers. For me, the Maronite Qurbono was the most exotic of my Holy Week experiences.  Unfortunately, I found  the Easter Vigil at Our Lady of Lebanon to be anti-climatic and personally unsatisfying.  That being said, I was intrigued by proclaiming the glory of the cross to the four corners of the Earth. In addition, I was touched by the post resurrection highlighting of the Empty Tomb as well as receiving the Easter souvenirs.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sound the Strepitus

An Obituary and Eulogistic Meditation of Yeshua bar Yahosef bar Yaqub

The Strepitus is the sudden loud clatter that symbolizes how the Earth convulsed at the physical death of the only begotten Son of our Lord.   In Matthew 27:46-53, when Christ gave up His spirit on the Crucifix, there was a tumultuous earthquake.   It is the jarring closing of a Tenebae Service, which is done in preparation for the Paschal Triduum.

Some churches have the Tenebrae on Spy Wednesday.  Others choose to extinguish the lights after celebrating the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday or even Great and Holy Friday.  Regardless of the time, it is a ritual that reminds us of how the Light of the World was briefly extinguished to fulfill scripture as an expiation for mankind’s sinfulness.

While it is difficult to watch Mel Gibson’s cinematic masterpiece The Passion of the Christ (2004) for its depiction of the savage brutality inflicted by the Roman overlords on a political prisoner who challenged the religious practices and expectations of the Jewish hierachy.   The teardrop from heaven is incredibly moving.

When Salvador Dali painted Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951), Jesus was depicted without wounds on a Cross that floated above the Earth. Dali listened to the color of his dream that indicated that depicting the nails, blood and crown of thorns would mar the image.  Dali wanted the emphasize the Trinity with the positioning of Jesus hanging on the Cross to represent the nucleus of the atom.  Clearly, the cross hovering over the Earth shows the cosmic significance of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a modern manner, Dali celebrates Eastern Christian Church's emphasis mystagogy of Jesus' Divine Sacrifice by death on the cross.

But during a Tenebrae service, the faithful were reminded that unlike even in classical depictions of Golgatha (the place of the skull) where Jesus was crucified, the crosses of Calvary were not necessarily hung that high in the air.  Since those being executed had their feet nailed bound to prevent them from moving as they slowly suffocated on their crosses, they may have been only a couple of feet above the ground.

Such crosses would serve the Roman overlords as tangible examples of what happens to brigands, rabble rousers and revolutionaries. The low positioning would allow most passers-by to look into the eyes of the executed. This makes the taunts from the crowd and Jesus’ words of forgiveness all the more remarkable.

It is easy to gloss over how the expiation of mans’ sins required a blood sacrifice to seal the New Covenant. By cognitively sounding the Strepitus over Christ's crucifixion, we may "Ecce homo".

While some ears may find it as painful as the Stepitus, the Christ’s Passion has been told by Glenn Beck using a motif of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon  (1973).  Whether we use pop parables, cinematic accounts, scriptural studies, communal worship or prayerful personal reflections, it is worthy to reflect on how God's only begotten Son chose to be the suffering servant to right the relationship between God and mankind.

Watch and pray with Jesus--every day

File:Rafael, Predella Colonna.jpg

"Could you not watch one hour with me?" Jesus asked His disciples (MT. 26:40). On Good Friday, our hearts and minds turn towards the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus began to suffer for us. He was abandoned by those who loved Him, even after pleading with them 3 times to watch and pray with Him. We hear the call on this holy day. We go to venerate the Cross. We watch "Jesus of Nazareth." We read the account of the Passion. We take time to pray.

But what about the rest of the year? Do you abandon Jesus as soon as Easter Sunday is over? Is daily prayer low on your list of priorities? Are you "too busy" to spend time with the One who suffered and died for you?

Resolve today to commit (or re-commit) yourself to prayer. You may not be able to watch for one hour, but how about half an hour? If that's too much to start with, try 15 minutes. Read from a book of meditations. Gaze at a holy picture that fills your heart with love for God. Think of all Christ did for you and thank Him for it.

Make a habit of prayer. You won't be sorry you did. It will change your life.

See also Why should you pray?   and 7 Ways to make time for prayer

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spy Wednesday Tenebrae with the Suspcious Cheese Lords

Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington, DC is a Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. The Church itself neo-Byzantine design by Roman architect Aristide Leonari in 1899.  The church looks akin to  St. Sophia (Hagia  Sophia) in Constantinople (Istanbul).

The interior of the church resembles a five fold Crusader Cross of Jerusalem. The large bronze baldachin is is supported by columns which depicts the twelve Apostles. The interior is decorated with the Ave Maria and scenes from the life of Mary.

The Friary is the home of Franciscan Commissariat in the nation's capital, and they continue their 800 year tradition of supporting the Holy Land. Part of the charism of the Commissariat seems to be a special celebration of Passiontide.

The Tenebrae service which is celebrated on Spy Wednesday is is resplendent in faith and history, as is incorporates a cappella medieval pieces sung by the Suspicious Cheese Lords (Suscipe Domine Queso).

While they are a consummate choir, the Suspicious Cheese Lords need to practice their polyphonic songs in situ at the Franciscan Monastery.

The Suspicious Cheese Lords in rehearsal for the Tenebrae Service.

Even though the Suspicious Cheese Lords ordinarily sing early music works, one year they chose to perform Arvo Part's De Profundis (1980).

Lighting the Candelabra for the Tenebrae Service.

Extinguishing the candles during the Tenebrae Service.

 The closing of the Tenebrae service is marked by a retreat of the single candle into the crypt.  As the vault to the catacombs is slammed, it sets off an unnerving Strepitus, meant to symbolize the earth convulsing at the death of the the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joseph, the dreamer by Clyde Robert Bulla
In past posts, I have written on Peter Rabbit and the Fall of Man, Benjamin Bunny and the narrow gate, and the Epiphany in My Side of the Mountain. I am making this into a series called Finding God in children's literature. Before posting more on fiction, I want to examine how to find Jesus in the Old Testament. Let's look at typology with the story of Joseph in Genesis.

Typology finds the things, people, or events in the Bible that prefigure more significant things, people, or events in salvation history. Most types are in the Old Testament. Most anti-types (what the types prefigure) are in the New Testament. has a fuller explanation of typology.

Learn more about Joseph and Jesus.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Can you become a saint by sheer willpower?

File:Thomas Aquinas in Stained Glass.jpg
Fr. Thomas Dubay used to tell this anecdote: The sister of St. Thomas Aquinas once asked him, "How can I become a saint?"

St. Thomas answered, "Will it."

This story came back to me recently. Trying to accept with peace whatever happens during my day has taught me something: I don't always want to do God's will. When I ruin the dinner I'm making my family, for example, and according to my Lenten resolution I must say, "Jesus, I trust in you," I sometimes say first, "Jesus, I don't want to trust in you. I don't want to let go of my anger and frustration." Or, "Jesus, I trust in you--sort of."

The words "I trust in you" are a prayer. They aren't magic. They remind me to trust in God and ask for His help. But they can't make me trust when I don't want to. I must open my heart to grace. I must will it.

Continue reading.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet Pope Francis (for kids and their parents)

Parents: I have written a short biography of Pope Francis for children. Scroll down to find definitions of vocabulary words, links, downloads, and other teaching ideas. 

"Habemus Papam!" the protodeacon announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter's Square on March 13, 2013. "We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, Who takes for himself the name of Francis."

The people cheered when they heard the new pope would be Pope Francis. But they also asked themselves, Who is Cardinal Bergoglio? Where is he from? What kind of pope will he be?
Continue reading.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Checking Out Pope Francis

After paying respects to the Salvation of the Roman People icon at the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore  (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Snows), Pope Francis' ecclesiastical entourage took an unexpected detour.  

The newly elected Argentine pope asked his driver to circle back to the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI,  so that Pope Francis could collect his luggage.  After he collected his things, the prelate went to the front desk of the Vatican run boarding house to thank the staff.  Then Pope Francis insisted upon paying his bill. 

Most people might have understood had the Pope had.left the Church pick up the 85 Euro a night tab for a complete pension,  he insisted on trying to pay his way to set a good  example of  what priests and bishops should do.  It is unclear how much Pope Francis actually paid. Moreover, it is humorous but dubious that he claimed that he checked in under a different name. 

This pied-de-terre episode certainly solidifies Pope Francis' reputation for frugality and fraternity with common folks.  But it may symbolize some of the new Pontiff's ambitions to challenge the comfortable situations of the Curia and dispel the anti-clerical slight that the Church lives high on the hog on their parishioners' tithes. 

The early trip to Santa Maria Maggiore may also herald another important aspect of Pope Francis's papacy.  New Popes are expected to visit all five of Rome's patriarchal basilicas early in their reign.  Moreover, many recent pontiffs, especially Pope Blessed John Paul II, have major Marian devotions.     
It is telling, however,  the on the morning of his first full day in the chair of St. Peter that Pope Francis visits  Salus Populi Romani and also brings flowers.  This icon is of particular significance to Romans. For example, when Rome was going to fall from Axis control in World War II, Adolph Hitler vowed to bomb the Eternal City to smithereens.  Pope Pius XII arranged a procession of the Byzantine Salus Populi Romani through the streets and miraculously a fog enveloped the city, so the angry Nazi bombs only fell on a Roman cemetery.  This humble act continues Pope Francis identification with his new Roman Diocese.  

10 Ways to keep your kids Catholic

Watching TV

Watching the events of the last few weeks unfold, I have been struck anew by how many former Catholics there are in the news media. None of them have a clue about what it means to be Catholic. That, coupled with this post at 8 Kids and a Business, got me thinking about how to keep our kids Catholic. I decided to create a list.

Please note: my children are still preteens, so I cannot say, "It worked for us." But I have done some research on the matter, and observed other Catholic families. I've often wondered how my husband and his siblings all remained good Catholics, while some of my siblings did not. I almost left the Church myself in my 20s. I also know that a parent can do everything right, and his children can still choose to leave the Church. We have freewill. This list is not meant for pointing fingers or accusing other parents of failing. It's meant to help those who are raising their kids now and want to do the best they can.

View the list.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Electing to Pray for St. Chad's Humility

Being a political animal, I first became familiar with St. Chad only after the contest Year 2000 Presidential elections, when hanging chads were the rage in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Even though there is no Patron Saint of Disputed Elections, St. Chad of Mercia (England) offers a wonderful example of public service and humility.

In the 7th Century AD, Chad was the abbot of several monasteries who was elevated to be Bishop of Northumbrian by King Oswiu. But when his appointment was disputed, the Archbishop of Canterbury asked Chad to step aside from his episcopacy.  Chad complied with remarkable humility. 

As it is only the second day of Conclave 2013, it is unlikely that the College of Cardinals is deadlocked on voting for the next Supreme Pontiff.  Still, St. Chad's example of humility and public service epitomizes the ideal of being elected the Servant of Servants of God. 

Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, (in honor preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples' feet, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Christian prayer is much more than Eastern meditation

File:William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The Prayer (1865) (cropped).jpgA few years ago at Mass in another diocese, the priest began a homily on the importance of daily prayer. I was elated. We hear this far too seldom from the pulpit. My elation soon turned to disappointment, however. He talked about being aware of the world around you, and your own thoughts and feelings. Shockingly, he didn't mention God at all! I realized the priest (apparently without knowing it) was not really advocating prayer, but a Buddhist-inspired form of meditation.

Both Christians and Buddhists use the term “meditation,” so it's no wonder sincere people confuse the practices of the separate religions. But they are quite different.

Read to learn the difference. 

(I had a problem with my post this morning. If you tried to read this and couldn't find it on my blog, please try again! Sorry for the inconvenience.) 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Some Thinking In Time For Conclave 2013

Pre Conclave Meetings

 Since Pope Benedict XVI announced his impending abdication, there has been an alluvia of interest in who will succeed the German Shepherd as the Vicar of Christ. Speculation in the secular media has centered on superficialities, like whether the Italians will “take back” the Chair of St. Peter. Other reports evaluated the angle of European cardinals voting en bloc to keep the papacy in the Old World. Many media types were energized by the prospect of a Pope who did not emanate from Europe... 

White Smoke VaticanAt this point, anyone who claims that they know who will be elected the next Supreme Pontiff is blowing sfumata out of what is decidedly not the Sistine Chapel smokestack. While current Canon Law does not prohibit placing wages with Paddy Power on the next pope, it would be foolish to do so, especially before the College of Cardinals sets the date and the Holy Spirit works with the electors.

 In the coming days, it may be interesting to evaluate some of the papabili to appreciate who will lead the world’s 1.2 billion professed Catholics. To do so seriously, one ought to abandon the siren calls of nationality or skin tone and discern deeper. 

A good way to achieve this objective is to think in time. By considering the past papal conclaves since 1900, one can appreciate trends, how external circumstances influence Conclaves as well as the attributes of the prior Pope. 

 The numbers of Cardinals participating have grown from around 60 to around being capped at 120. This Conclave will have 115 electors. It used to be that the vast majority of Cardinals were European (and about half hailing from Italy. This the Papacy was seen as the Italian Job (sic) in secular European politics. After the 1938 Conclave, more Cardinals were appointed from throughout the world, to recognize the global impact of the Catholic Church. Today, just over half of the Cardinals are from Europe, and only 22% are from Italy. The United States has eight Cardinal electors, and Canada has three. There are 22 Cardinals who have been appointed in the last year. Although thinking in time may not vet specific candidates for the Conclave 2013, it does highlight how a variety of factors like the papabili’s age, the predecessor’s profile and contributions, the theology, the Zeitgeist and the evolving roles of the papacy impact the election... 

 There have been nine Conclaves since 1900. With the exception of 1978, the year of three Popes, a large majority of the electors have been appointed by the immediate predecessor. Popes are more likely to appoint Cardinals who agree with their theological weltanschauung. Hence, it is folly to think that there will be a radical break in theology in the succeeding Supreme Pontiff... 

 Be that as it may, there is a change in character with the change in Vicars of Christ. Some of this in inevitable as everyone brings their own experiences and tendencies to the Chair of St. Peter. But the College of Cardinals can consciously choose a leader with a different tenor...


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Save a Great Catholic resource!

Here is a reach out from our dear Catholic Books and more store, please see how you can help them...I WILL!!!  Let's keep them in business!


I write to you tonight with an announcement to make. As you all know, after 10 years, Aquinas and More announced it would be closing at the end of February. This was not an easy decision for us.

To our wonder, the outpouring of support for Aquinas and More from our customers and the Catholic community at large has been overwhelming. We graciously, graciously thank you.
This has left us in a bit of a quandary. We could not realistically continue in our present state of affairs But the void in Catholic shopping and Catholic service left by the closing of Aquinas and More is also real. We've always felt that Aquinas and More was truly a mission. Are we being called to continue? Are we not? I know what I want, but I also know that -- more importantly -- I want God's Will.
In this regard, Aquinas and More.has decided to launch an “all-or-nothing” crowdfunding campaign over the next two weeks (Tuesday March 5- March 19) to return to its mission of serving others with their authentic Catholic online shopping experience.

Our Goal:
Our goal is to raise $250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory, overhaul the website and retain excellent Catholic customer service and results. It's a big number, we know. But we also know that we have more than 30,000 Facebook fans, and we've served more than 200,000 customers. We have been richly blessed. So we have joy and hope, gaudium et spes.
Our Campaign:

We our calling our campaign the "Aquinas and More Angel Campaign". You can visit the site at: We have different levels of support, and will be "giving back" for your generosity. The important thing to remember, however, is that if we don't reach our goal, your Angel donation will not be processed. Simple as that, all-or-nothing. We will not be benefiting from any of it until and unless our goal is reached. And if we don't reach it, Aquinas and More will not reopen. It's in His hands.
As fellow Catholics and bloggers, I ask you first to pray for our campaign. We will be praying the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer daily for this endeavor. Secondly, I ask you to please help us spread the word about our Aquinas and More Angel Campaign. This is a “We” Campaign. We can't succeed without your help! You have your audiences, your friends, your families, your parishes. If you would like the work of Aquinas and More to continue, please share our story, our site, and your experiences out there with your networks. I thank you.
Talking Points:

If you want to help, but aren't sure what to say or emphasize, you can always talk about some or all of the following:

Aquinas and More is not just a Catholic store – it's a way of life. We are unabashedly and authentically Catholic in our
policies, products, & projects
  • The only place where you'll find a “Good Faith Guarantee” policy– making sure our products are guaranteed to be in conformity with official Church teaching. As a Catholic store, our mission is to clearly present the Faith for pur customers
  • Anti-China Policy: Aquinas and More does not buy products from China, guaranteeing money isn't spend supporting forced abortions and the persecution of Christians in China
  • Projects:

    “Military Chaplaincy Program”: providing for the spiritual needs of our soldiers defending our lives and liberties with a soldier registry and free shipping
    “Church Supply” Catholic products for parishes, priests and seminarians

    Tiber River”: Catholic books reviews from fellow Catholics
    “Behind the Counter” Radio Show: Catholic product advice from the experts
    Catholic Literacy: Articles on Saints, being Catholic, Church history, and more
  • Generosity:
In the community: For example, Aquinas and More donated a portion of their sales to wildfire relief efforts in Colorado last summer;
In their family: Paula and I (Ian) Rutherford, have had 10 children in 13 years – need I say more?
Why Donate?
Giving to the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means helping to build and restore an authentic Catholic culture. No where else can you find such a ministry and mission – a living and serving, Catholic approach to shopping.

Aquinas and More is the “New Evangelization” in a nutshell. As part of the Year of Faith, we are called to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message, and go forth and proclaim the Gospel. That is the essence of Aquinas and More.
Supporting the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means supporting:
-- the New Evangelization.;
-- makers of Catholic products and other Catholic businesses;
-- our parishes and religious;
-- Catholic families;
-- Catholic writers

When is the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign?
Tuesday, March 5 – Tuesday, March 19 . Our site is not live yet (it will be on Tuesday), but you can check it out as we get ready to launch at:
How can you help spread the word?:

A blog post(s), tweets, sharing on your Facebook page, letting your Catholic network know, talking it up to family and friends, etc. We really need a strong online presence especially in the first 48 hours (Tuesday/Wednesday) to raise awareness and excitement.
Goal Recap:
Raise $250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory, overhaul the website and retain excellent Catholic customer service and results. If Aquinas and More doesn't reach its goal, your angel donation won't be processed, and we will not be reopening.

Friends, thank you so very kindly for taking the time to read my rather long email and outpouring. I thank you all for your support throughout the years. Whatever happens, I am grateful for your friendship.


Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Matthew 16 and the papal conclave for kids

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...
Since Sacred Scripture is at the center of our homeschool, I decided to begin our studies on the papal conclave with a look at the origins of the papacy in Matthew 16. We have been reading The Golden Children's Bible chronologically. We are just finishing the Sermon on the Mount with a unit on the parable of the wise and foolish builders. Reading Matthew 16 at this point provides a good bridge to studies of the pope.

For the best start to this unit, you (the parent) should prayerfully read Matthew 7:24-27 and 16:14-20 ahead of time. Make it the subject of your daily meditation. (If you don't know how to do Christian meditation, read my recent post on mental prayer, or see this sample meditation.) You may want to share your insights or resolutions with your kids in the course of your studies. Then use as many of the following activities as you see fit.

View the whole lesson plan.

Sede Vacante Contretemps

While it may not work this way inside the Conclave, these conceits surely convey the joyful anticipation for the College of Cardinals choice for the next Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. 

While we are waiting for the Chair of St. Peter to be filled, it would behoove the faithful to pray for Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI's successor.

O God, eternal shepherd,
who govern your flock with unfailing care
grant in your boundless fatherly love
a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness
and to you, show watchful care.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

{source Mass for the Election of a Pope The Roman Missal 2011}

Saturday, March 2, 2013

                                                   COMMUNION IN THE HAND
I am old enough to remember going up to the alter rail, having the alter boy place the patten under my chin and the priest placing the host on my tongue with his consecrated hand.  It was miracle and mystery, I was part of something sacred and holy.

The first time I received in the hand was with a small group of men at a promoters meeting for the Passionist retreat house I was involved with.  Father Mike told us of the new order, allowing the laity to receive in the hand and that we were going to do it at this Mass.  When the host was placed in my hands they shook, my body trembled, I was holding the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Now, so many years later, I am an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist in my parish and blessed with being able to be a daily communicant.  However, I have to struggle to not let it become ordinary.  I cannot recapture those feeling I had when I first received in my hands.  As I distribute the Sacred Species to our congregation I am saddened by the attitude of so many.  Receiving this precious gift is what one does at the end of Mass, some walk out the door without so much as a prayer of thanks.  They would not be able to do that if they believed their God had just made His abode with them.  I believe Communion in the hand was a mistake.  It has led to disbelief in the real presence
John Moreno   Catholic Lay Preachers


Friday, March 1, 2013

You can't lose, unless you give up

Penitent Girl by Pietro Rotari. (Wikimedia Commons).

How is your Lent going? Did you accidentally eat meat today? Did you give in and eat chocolate, drink coffee, or indulge in whatever else you promised to give up? Have you missed your prayer time, slept through daily Mass, or skipped your spiritual reading?

Don't despair. This could still be your best Lent yet.

Continue reading.