Recently in Feasts Category

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel


Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites, especially the one in our family!

i'd like to say we purchased our new Our Lady of Lourdes statue to honor the Marian feast day, but in truth, we ordered it weeks ago and it just arrived today. But we did, um, put it out front to celebrate the feast day.

mary 002.jpg

I'd be happy to tell you the maker, so long as you promise to order it through your local Catholic book/gift store if you have one. They don't direct ship to consumers anyway.

mary 003.jpg

Why Our Lady of Lourdes? Well, although I do have somewhat of a devotion to Lourdes (details here), the main reason is that it seems odd to buy a 27" statue that is going to rest on the ground and have Mary looking down. This one was one of the few where she is actually looking up.

mary 001.jpg

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Devotion to St. Joseph


(Yes, I know this is four days late, but the timing is purely coincidental.)

In college I was a member of "The Household of St. Joseph", a group of men considering the priesthood. We prayed nightly a devotional prayer to St. Joseph, which I think is a wonderful prayer. A few months ago, I searched fruitlessly for the version we used.

Today I listened to Father Z's podcaZt of March 19, and in it he reads the prayer in Latin and English. I put my transcription gloves on and punched it out. Here it is, copyright laws be danged (at least until somebody's lawyer calls me) and with somewhat arbitrary line breaks:

To you oh Blessed Joseph do we come in our tribulation,

and having implored the help of your most holy spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God,
and through the paternal love
with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you to regard graciously
the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his blood,
and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

Oh most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ.

Oh most loving father,
ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence.

Oh our most mighty protector,
be propitious to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness,
and as once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God's holy church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.

Shield too each one of us by your constant protection,
so that supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously to die holily
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.


Here it is as a google document, formatted for printing, though unfortunately google docs have a limited range of fonts (you get what you paid for). Here it is in the intended font, but as a pdf. Pick your poison.

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My crappy Lourdes story

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Lourdes.jpgToday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the apparition of the Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette Soubiroux, a French peasant girl, over 5 months in 1858. Mary called herself "The Immaculate Conception," confirming the Pope's proclamation of that dogma just four years earlier. She appeared near a cave and directed Bernadette inside, where Bernadette discovered a previously unknown spring.

As far as Marian apparitions go, Lourdes is fairly uncontroversial. There are no secret messages inspiring conspiracy theories, no railing against her as a symbol of colonialism (I won't even get into Medjugorje). About 5 million pilgrims flock there every year out of devotion and to seek healing from the fountain, which has reportedly worked countless miracles. That number swelled to 8 million last year for the 150th anniversary of the apparitions.

I've long been somewhat of a francophile going back to 4th grade when we did country reports and I chose France. I then took French for eight years and it was even my major for a few semesters in college. Furthermore, though my Catholic family wasn't particularly devout, the closest parish to us when I grew up was Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago, an absolutely gorgeous church which I attended for a while as an adult after I embraced the faith of my Baptism. And spiritually, I owe a great deal to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity (soon may she be canonized!) and St. Francis de Sales.

So you would be right to think that Lourdes, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and St. Bernadette would hold a special place in my heart (though, to my shame, I still have not yet seen Song of Bernadette).

You might further think that, given the chance, there's no way I would pass up a chance to visit Lourdes -- to pray for my loved ones at the grotto and collect as much Lourdes water as I could carry.

And you'd be right, I would -- if I had another chance.

In the summer of 1994 I traveled to Paris for a week and then stayed two weeks in Tarbes, a small French town near the Pyrénées mountains, with a family who then sent their son (my "correspondent," Paul) to stay with my family in Chicago for three weeks -- all part of an annual exchange program my high school participated in.

One morning, Paul was arguing with his mom over breakfast (they argued in Spanish so I couldn't understand -- they were Spanish immigrants, the irony being that everybody in my extended family but me speaks Spanish). I had no idea what they were arguing about and finally Paul acquiesced to whatever she was asking and we were off on a road trip.

We took about a half hour trip further into the Pyrénées and when we got there Paul asked me if we had seen Versailles when we were in Paris. I said I had and he commented that Versailles was a very beautiful castle, a castle for a king and for diplomats. He said that I was now going to see un chateau très fort. And he was right, we visited a huge castle, parts of which date back to the 11th century. He showed me the narrow slits from which archers could fire without getting hit and pointed out various other nifty features. Then I think we ate lunch and headed home. On the return trip I remember thinking, I'll never get those three hours of my life back.

We got back to the house and the mother, with an eagerness I now find a bit tragic, asked me how the trip was. When I told her about the castle, she first looked puzzled, but then turned to Paul, who was avoiding her look. Another, much more furious argument immediately erupted. I'd had enough of this bizarre day, so I went to my room and let them fight it out.

The next day, I told some of the other students from my school about it, and one of them said something vague about a religious shrine and special water. It would be another 5 years until I discovered that I had been to Lourdes and had not visited any of the holy sites.

I don't exactly blame Paul. He and I got along fairly well (better, if I remember correctly, than any of my friends got along with their correspondents), and if he had told me we were going to a religious shrine, I probably would have talked him into taking me to the cafe where we used to drink demi-pêches (beer w/peach syrup) and check out girls.

Still, I'VE BEEN TO LOURDES WITHOUT KNOWING IT. Every February 11 I think about this fact and my heart breaks a little bit. I used to think about what would have happened if I'd had my conversion there in Lourdes instead of 4 years and a lot of stupid mistakes later. I'm a bit calmer about that now, but yet I can't help but lament that I WAS WITHIN 3/4 MILES OF THE GROTTO AND I WAS PISSED TO BE THERE.

So there, my friends, is my crappy Lourdes story. The story of an incurious dope who missed his chance to visit one of the holiest shrines in the world.

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Holy Innocents Blogging


Father Mark and Zadok have posts on the Holy Innocents that you shouldn't miss.

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The Lazy Blogger's Christmas


Merry Christmas everybody!

So I had a Christmas post planned for Christmas Eve, but um, well it didn't get done. You get what you pay for, I guess. The good news (or Good News) is that as some families are chopping up their Christmas trees and as department stores are shoving their remaining Christmas goods onto a single shelf to make way for Valentine's Day displays, Catholics know that Christmas goes on -- in fact, it's only just begun. Anyway, here are some links to check out:

Lastly, here is my bishop's Christmas message:

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

During this Christmas season in homes and churches around the world, followers of Christ will look upon a Nativity scene with images of Mary and Joseph, the wise men and shepherds, and the baby Jesus in the manger. And as we take time to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas; how the promise of a savior was fulfilled on that most holy night, we come face to face with the incredible mystery of the Incarnation of God.

In this one act of incomparable love and mercy the whole relationship between God and man was changed forever. God is no longer distant and set apart. God is with us. A point of contact between heaven and earth has been established that will last until the end of time.

But Jesus Christ is more than an ambassador. A man like us in all things but sin, He is also a model of holiness. He shows us that happiness is not found in riches, fame and achievement but in God alone. He shows us how to use our freedom well. And he shows us what love is like in heaven, so that during our time on earth we can prepare to be with him for eternity.

And most of all Jesus came with a mission to take away the sins of the world, your sins and mine, so that nothing would stand between us and Him. He is our savior.

This is the Christ Child we gaze upon in the manger. This is the Christ Child to whom the wise men from the east came to give homage 2000 years ago. And this is the same Christ Child to whom wise men and women today come to give homage and to worship.

It is my prayer that each of us will spend this Christmas season in the company of family and friends as we reflect on the Holy Family of God and give thanks.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria

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Sacred Heart of Jesus


Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

At Mass today, the Alleluia verse refers to Matthew 11:29 - "Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

I was struck by this particular line, and so I did a text search for the word "heart" in the New Testament, and sure enough, this is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus refers to his heart.

When we think of the Sacred Heart, we think of it pierced and bleeding, and maybe we think of the triumph of the Sacred Heart over sin and death.

How often do we think of the Sacred Heart as "gentle and lowly?"

Every victory that Christ won for us, He won through his meekness. By subjecting Himself to be as a "slave," He gained his exaltation.

Correct each other we must, rage against sin and evil we must and hate the devil we certainly must. While we do these things, however, we are also called to imitate Christ in his meekness. This is one of our greatest challenges as Christians.


In addition, this is a special feast day for my family, as we are consecrated to the Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful devotion, about which you may read more here.

I also found two links (1 and 2)with enthronement rituals similar to what we used.

Our consecration is renewed daily with this prayer, which we recite at dinner after the usual Catholic prayer before meals.

Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, we renew our pledge of love and loyalty to You. Keep us always close to Your loving Heart and to the most pure Heart of Your mother, Mary.

May we love one another more and more each day, forgiving each other's faults as You forgive our sins. Teach us how to see You in those we meet outside our home.

Please help us keep our love for You always strong by frequent Mass and Communion.

Thank You, dear Jesus, King and Friend of our family, for all the blessings of this day. Protect us during this night. Help us all to get to Heaven. Amen.

V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
R. Thy Kingdom come

V. Immaculate Heart of Mary,
R. Pray for our family

V. St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart
R. Pray for us!

V. Our patron saints and guardian angels,
R. Pray for us


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