Saturday, November 29, 2008

On Our Way

It begins anew.

Once 40 days long (to mirror Lent), it now starts the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew (November 30).

Four weeks of preparation and anticipation to the beginning of our salvation.

Candles, conifers, and colors.

Purple/violet. Rose/pink.

Let the pilgrimage to Bethlehem commence.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Making It Official

It was October 3, 1863, when the sitting President of the time issued this proclamation:
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
Lincoln knew and understood. We should as well. Then as now, we are so richly blessed. Let us remember with grateful hearts and minds and voices to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canto; Ergo Sum

After St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is my favorite saint.

Catholic Online tells her story.

The 2 Hearts Network offers these prayers.

This poem praises the power of music.

So does the following:
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory -
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
I also give you the links to my other posts about this feast day:
Musical Quotes And Thoughts
Quotes About Notes
Quotable On Notes
Pray twice today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There My Servant Shall Be

Fedora doff to Catherine Garcia of "Life Behind The Zion Curtain," who e-mailed me this clip she received from a friend. The following note came from the original sender:
Please watch the following video clip -- it is a story of Johnny, the grocery store bagger. It is very short, but it will remind you of why and how we make an impact in what we do. You may even want to share it with others, and I hope you will. It's amazing how one young Down's Syndrome bagger made such a wonderful impact on those customers lucky enough to have Johnny bag their groceries!
"The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve." (Mark 10:45a)

Friday, November 14, 2008


I have signed the petition.

Please do so as well.

Standing Tall

A priest in South Carolina has informed his flock of the consequences of casting a vote for a known poor-(pro-)choice candidate in the recent election.

Remember, one of the duties of a priest is to educate the faithful. And if the faithful choose to ignore this instruction (WARNING: PDF file), perhaps his letter is warranted.

UPDATE: I have chosen to replace the USCCB's "Faithful Citizenship" with Catholic Answer's "Voter's Guide For Serious Catholic". It seems the bishops' document has a somewhat unfavorable reaction in the 'blogosphere.

Down Under Dysfunction

The Culture of Death had reared its ugly head again. Since it doesn't understand any purpose for suffering, it had decided on its own to eliminate it. And just like the Evil One, it can't see beyond the end of its nose.

She said it was an act of love. Well, the greatest act of love involved suffering. Christ made it redemptive. It now has a purpose.

Why are humans wanting to take the place of God? Ever since Adam and Eve, we still think we know better. Wrong.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

(Muscial) Note Of Achievement

The church choir at St. Olaf sings every first, third, and (when applicable) fifth Sundays in the month. As one of the cantors within the group, I usually know well in advance when I will be leading the congregation; in fact, I will undertake that role tomorrow. As I took a good look at this current month, I realized something. It was exactly 22 years ago tonight, at the Vigil Mass of All Souls Day, that I began my vocation in music ministry.

I was a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church in Sioux City, Iowa. While the church had a standing choir (I chose not to be a member), during the fall an announcement was made in the parish bulletin asking for people who would like to become song leaders. Their function was to rehearse the Responsorial Psalm and other Mass Parts before the start of the liturgy and assist the congregation in "finding their voice" in singing during Mass. Names and availability were gathered; the beginning of November was chosen to provide a good lead time prior to the coming Advent/Christmas Season. Before Mass began, the Director of Music and Liturgy introduced this new ministry. By the grace of God, I was the very first person to stand at the ambo and carry out my duties.

The goal, then and now, is to personify the adage of St. Augustine, "He who sings prays twice." I can only hope my actions in whatever capacity have been fruitful.

St. Gregory the Great, pray for me.

St. Cecilia, pray for me.

All you heavenly choirs of angels, pray for me.

May I truly give glory to God when I sing.