Thursday, July 28, 2005

A few days ago I posted a picture of Fr. John O'Holohan on the day of his ordination, 50 years ago today. Today I post a picture of him taken this past December with two first communicants - (yes, these are ours). Again, thanks Fr. John for responding to God's call.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

P.S. Please don't forget my request below!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blogging may be sparse the next few days - I woke up this morning and the computer was completely dead! I have temporarily hooked up an older computer we had hanging around, but ....

However, here is an important request:

We are planning a little trip in the coming month to deliver my oldest daughter here and want to make the trip one of pilgrimage on the way up the east coast from SC to MA. We will in all likelihood go to the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, NY which is a family favorite. We have some other favorites, like the Franciscan Monastery in DC, (my mother grew up around the corner from the monastery and used to play in the 'catacombs' in the basement), but we will probably avoid sites in cities as we want very cheap accomodations (camping or cheap motels) along the way. The pilgrimage site can be a shrine or simply the most beautiful little chapel you have ever seen. We would appreciate all suggestions over the next week or so.

I may not post much in meantime - but keep the suggestions coming.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Thank you Fr. John!

Fr. John O'Holohan SJ gives his first blessing after ordination to his parents Patrick and Winnie O'Holohan on 28 July 1955.

This post is a couple days early - but events can be unpredictable around here, so I thought I better get this up today.

Fr. John spent 22 years as missionary in Zambia. He has spent the last 17 years or so as a missionary in Florida and South Carolina. He is the pastor at my parish, St. Catherine of Sienna in Lancaster, SC and also in two other parishes. He is 82 years old and an inspiration to my children, my family, and my parish, and many others. He is also responsible for naming our small holding, Bethany, (read the story here).

Requiem Press has published a booklet by him - about his missionary years, "Tales of a Missionary in Zambia". (We also carry the 11th edition of a prayerbook he originally wrote some 20 years ago.)

Fr. John is visiting family in Ireland this month. But we wish him congratualtions on his 50 years as a priest and thanks for answering God's call - continuing to work so faithfully in God's vineyard.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'm a little late on this one - only about a year

Until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of Touchstone Magazine. Now that I had heard of it, I had never seen a copy until recently when a friend gave us a bunch of stuff and amongst it all, was the October 2004 issue of Touchstone. Inside there was quite a gem, "Choice, the Lovely Dragon" by Anthony Esolen. Here's an excerpt:

"Choice is the dragon of our day. It smuggles into its charcoal-smelling barrow not goblets and gilt pommels but human souls, one after another after another, entic­ing them there with "choices," all of them more or less trivial, while it sits upon the hoard and snores away in its inhuman sleep.

We like that dragon. We eat the fruit of the land in season, out of season. We surf the speckled Internet for spiky games and delights, or for the sheer satiation of ennui, only a click away. We shop for schools, we demand "electives." We shop for churches (alas that we should have to shop for churches), even shop for creeds. We will give the dragon our gold for the privilege of wider choice in how we may put our brain waves to sleep for a couple of hours a day, irritable and unaccountable as those brain waves are.

We find arranged marriages abominable. What, no choice? And after we marry, we retain a fail-safe, lest mar­ried life prove to be married life and not the predictable scripts of our own writing. We are the first people in the world who expect that our children will live far away from us and from each other. Why should anyone be subject to the geographical accident of having been raised in Bag-End, near a certain hill or beside a certain brook?

We even believe in the "freedom to choose," a lizardly slogan that darts past the silent object of the infinitive: as if we feared that the children of our own wombs would be reptiles themselves, now come to prey upon our precious choice. We like that dragon. We like our choice.

I used to believe, when I was young and dumber than Percival, that the "freedom to choose" was a legiti­mate freedom so long as the object of the infinitive was legitimate. If it is legitimate to live in New Jersey, then it is legitimate for me to choose to live in New Jersey. But now I pray rather that God will give me the faith to reject "choice" as the standard whereby I measure my freedom even in the licit disposition of worldly things.

I am not merely saying that there is a freedom higher and more blissful than the freedom to choose how one spends one's money or where one buys a house or whom one marries. I assert that even regarding questions of money or dwelling or spouse or any earthly thing, there is a freedom that slays the freedom to choose. Call it the wisdom of tossing the choice away. Call it the hope not in choosing but in being chosen."

I could quote more, no doubt, but there is much to contemplate even here.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene - After my Dad died five years ago, (may his soul rest in peace), we found this well-worn holy card of Mary Magdalene in his sport coat vest pocket. Obviously because of the condition, it had been there for years and had probably been moved from coat to coat. We were not particularly aware (at least I wasn't) of a special devotion to her. I have taken the holy card and laminated it to prevent further damage. It sits on my desk at Requiem Press.

Patents and Rabbits

Has been a busy week. Besides the lightening adventure discussed below, I took on a quick consulting job on a Patent case - which consumed most of my "extra" time, (but pays better than publishing).

We have decided to start raising rabbits for meat. We plan to acquire these within the week - but we will see how this goes. Numerous sources: (John Seymour's The Self-Sufficient Life ..., Mr. Franklin Jennings - the urban homestead advisor at Hallowed Ground, and others) extoll the efficiency of raising rabbits for meat (and manure - and also fur).

We first look in the The South Carolina Market Bulletin, where we may be able to find the rabbits we want. I may also go to the weekly small animal auction in Lugoff. This would be my preference, although you don't know any given week if what you are seeking will be there.

We would like to get two does and buck-either New Zealands or Californian. However, most of what we see adverstised here are cottontails. I called a gentlemen last night who advertised rabbits in the afore mentioned SC Bulletin. When asked what kind of rabbits he was selling, the reply was, "I dunno - I just got them at the tractor place".

We will have to build a cage this weekend, but that should be no big deal. I will report on our progress.

Oh yes - we hope to go fishing this afternoon - after all, it is Friday!

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Is it ours?

I came across this post (hat tip to Jeff at Hallowed Ground for directing me to this blog).

Totally homegrown feasts are special. I have noted of late that at almost every meal one or more of the kids will ask where something came from. If we are eating chicken: "Is this one of ours?"; If we have zuccinni, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, or any vegetable that we grow, the questions is always asked, "Is it from our garden (or if corn, from the neighbor). The kids do see something special (because their own hands contributed) when we are eating from the bounty God has provided at Bethany.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Last night we were returning from a rare trip into the city, (attending the senior piano recital of a dear friend of the family), and we were treated to a truly spectacular lightening show. Unfortunately when we arrived at Bethany, the show soon followed and was very violent (and terrifying for some) for almost half the night. Behold in the morning my modem and network card had been zapped. I do have one of the expensive surge suppressors/battery back-ups, and the computer and modem were plugged into it - however I didn't think that the phone line could and should be plugged into also.

Just another one of those things to keep my life interesting, my bank account small, and me running around like crazy. When were we going to find time to go fishing anyway?

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sunday Night

Amy Welborn notes how Pope Benedict XVI urges almost everyone to take a vacation:

"In the world in which we live, it is almost a necessity to be able to regain one's strength of body and spirit, especially for those who live in the city, where the conditions of life, often feverish, leave little room for silence, reflection and relaxed contact with nature. " (my emphasis)


As I may have mentioned before, when we lived in the city, every Thursday night for two years Mrs. Curley and I would go listen and dance to the big-band music of the Helms-Boyd Orchestra (Don Boyd played trombone with Harry James in the early forties, and later with Les Brown) at the Adam's Mark Hotel. While we are no 'Fred and Ginger', we really enjoyed these nights out together. Mrs. Curley happened to mention to the children the other night how much she had enjoyed these times.

Well, after a week of secret practice, (which is hard to do with trumpets, clarinets, and baritones) the kids set up their band on the patio last night and invited Mrs. Curley and I to listen and dance. [Oldest daughter and son have played in a homeschool band - clarinet and trumpet respectively - a few years ago. The others have no formal training.] All the children had a part to play as we danced to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Pennies from Heaven", and about eight other big band swing tunes. My 10 year-old son was keeping beat with the baritone and even managed to play a solo on "When the Saints go Marching In". Our 8 year old son played '2nd clarinet'. Our 6 year-old daughter played some percussion devices and sang. Our two youngest, 5 and 3 played a xlophone and some 'clapping hands' when not running around.

The 5 year-old was heard to ask the 3 year-old if she wanted to dance. She replied "If you can catch me!" and took off running.

It was a wonderful evening amd a loving gift from our children.


We hadn't eaten one of our own chickens in a while. So Saturday we slaughtered one of our remaining full-grown roosters and had him (with delicious corn from our neighbor) for supper last night. In the past we have cooked the chickens in beer or wine in the crock pot. This one we marinated in beer overnight, and cooked on one of those "beer butt chicken" contraptions - it is a rack which holds a beer can, you put the chicken over the beer can (1/2 full of beer), seal the 'neck area' and put the rack in the oven. You can add other things to the beer and season as desired. Even though I think 'we' overcooked it, the chicken was still tender and had a good flavor.

A point of note, it was nice to pluck the chicken in the warm weather. We were able to pluck him completely without resorting to a hot water submersion.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A little St. Francis...

I must admit that I never paid much attention to St. Francis of Assisi as an adult (of course as a Catholic youth I read simple popularizations of his life). I understood he was one of the great saints of the Church, but perhaps (and not to my credit) because St. Francis has been in recent years adopted by the New Age Pantheists, I never took the time to examine his life. Now with oldest daughter entering the Franciscans in August, I decided to pursue some knowledge of this long-neglected area in my formation.

Of course, being the man I am, I selected Chesterton's "St. Francis of Assisi". This is no conventional biography as an fan of Chesterton can imagine. In some sense Chesterton writes exactly according to my needs. He anticipates the mistaken interpretations of St. Francis' love of nature so common today and presents St. Francis in the light of the Gospel.

With that introduction, I read this passage this morning:

"Through all his plunging and restless days (specifically regarding his attempt to convert Saladin, but in general all his activities - JC) ran the refrain: I have not suffered enough; I am not yet worthy of even the shadow of the crown of thorns. He wandered about the valleys of the world looking for the hill which has the outline of a skull."

As I read these lines I realized exactly how far I am from St. Francis; that how often I would say of myself by comparison : 'I have already suffered much; I am worthy - as I am not like those other poor slobs, sinners. I wander through the world looking to obtain more comfort........'

I think Jeff at Hallowed Ground mentioned some time ago (yes, I am too lazy to find the link) that he had the discussion with one or more of his children about the strange question: how come as someone becomes holier-closer to God- they understand their own unworthiness, sinfulness more and more.

I don't know if I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I have written somewhere on how St. Catherine of Genoa in her treatise on Purgatory that when we die and are free of our materiealistic/earthly attachments, we then can see ourselves as we truly are - as God sees us. Thus we throw ourselves in to Purgatory (that is if we aren't going to Hell) in horror at our sins and in a pure desire to cleanse ourselves before meeting God.

The saints - and in this case St. Francis - have co-operated with God's grace such that they have freed themselves here on earth from these earthly attachments - and see themselves as God does. Thus they joyfully seek and embrace opportunities here on earth to purge themselves of all those sins that most of us are oblivious to - so wrapped up are we in seeking comfort.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 15, 2005

I have had much to say - but little time to say it recently. But let me try to catch up a little.

I had gotten into the habit of walking/running our (first) dog, Challenger, of the chicken slaughter fame, between the cornfields and pine forests behind our property last fall/winter. But somehow, the habit had died. Both he and I got somwhat out of shape. In the past week I have started taking Challenger in the cool mornings - (this possible now that Mass is usually not in the morning for us while Fr. John is away). If I am not out there by 7:30 he calls for me.

Our little chickens which arrives a few weeks ago are not so little any more. They have a little house, but the time is quickly approaching when I need to get the new hen house built. We don't yet know the breakdown (male/female), but should know in a few weeks more.

We are still getting zuccini, and we have started to get cucumbers. We should start eating tomatoes soon (I think we have had one so far.) The cantaloupe plants look healthy, but not a fruit to be found. We had one or two green peppers - then no more, (which is no great loss in my mind, but I am in the minority here on that count). The green beans are about done. We have had few small carrots, but the bulk will be ready fairly soon. We also have lots of sunflowers scattered about. The herbs, especially the mint and basil have come along nicely. Mrs. Curley is looking to start planting the fall crop - which will be more carrotts, radishes, brocolli, and I'm sure a few other things. Mrs. Curley is regretting not having a bigger garden this year, but I am sure she will make up for it next year.

We have started a 'new' practice, which needs some fine-tuning, but which is also coming along. Each month we are picking one feast to have associated readings, skits, songs, etc. prepared. In June we had picked the feast of St. Thomas More and John Fisher. The boys sang an English pub song. My oldest daughter and I did a 'skit' where we acting the writing of a couple of the letters between Margaret Roper and her father Thomas More while he was in the Tower awaiting martyrdom. One daughter read a section of the life of Thomas More. Mrs. Curley and I acted out the meeting between Thomas More and his wife in the Tower. Overall it was a great success. Last evening we did the same for the feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. It wasn't quite so successful as we didn't spend as much time preparing.

Finally, the Requiem Press experiment is still on its feet - but if you get the chance, don't be afraid to buy some good Catholic books here to stabilize the tottering structure.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Since our paster at St. Catherine's is on vacation in his homeland of Ireland, we have had some trouble finding or getting to daily Mass. St. Catherine's has daily Mass M-F at 9:00AM. It is one of the few rural churches that has Mass every weekday - and at the same time everyday. I understand that some parishes shift the Mass time so that more people can get to Mass at least once during the week, however we have found that in general, the same people show up no matter what the time. So for us, having Mass at the same time everyday is convenient to keeping a schedule and making sure we get to Mass.

However, with Fr. John away, we have had an adventure or two in trying to get to Mass. Take last night for instance. Mass at St. Peter's in Cheraw was at 5:30 PM. Cheraw is about 35 miles from Bethany. We all piled into the car at 4:45 - I had to put some air in the tires on the way. The first gas station we passed had a truck parked in front of the air compressor, so I just drove on to the next station down the street. This air pump was available, so I put my 4 quarters in and tried to fill our flat. 2 problems: this hose did not have a pressure gage on it, so I didn't know how much to fill it (our gage was in the other car.). Secondly, the air hose had an abnormally large head, and I couldn't quite get it to engage our stem properly. The result: we lost more air than we put in-at least by appearances. And we lost the dollar.

At this point, I went back to the first gas station. I had to go in and make change for the air pump. When I came out, this other fellow was filling his trailor tires. He finished before the air time expired, so he gave me the hose, ('saving' me a dollar). This time I was able to finish filling the tire.

By this time getting to Mass on time was a lost cause. However, we realized we would still be in time to receive the Holy Eucharist, so maybe we should make a go at it. Before we could get on the main road however, we were caught at a railroad crossing - destroying all hopes of getting to Cheraw in time.

This was my fault. We should have left earlier, but I pushed things so closely so I could get more work done - eventually cutting everything too close. This shows the value of a regular schedule. Today, we will try to make the noon Mass in Cheraw. We will leave in plenty of time.

UPDATE: We didn't leave in plenty of time today, and then we got behind a truck doing 1/2 the speed limit (with no passing allowed) for a good part of the way. We arrived just in time to receive Holy Communion. Tomorrow we try again.....

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 11, 2005

I have been in Manassas, VA for the Catholic Family Expo the latter part of last week. I stayed at my sister's in McLean and was blogging from there. We arrived home late yesterday. It was a wonderful homecoming - especially as our neighbor had dropped off a load of his just-harvested sweet corn. Oh my - what a taste! We are wondering if we could ever buy vegetables at a grocery store again.

The Catholic Family Expo is the NACHE annual homeschooling conference. We went up to publicize Requiem Press and to sell a few books. I did meet someone there who actually reads this blog - and enjoyed conversations with her and others.

I also spent some time speaking with ARX publishing - who were also representing/distributing Catholic Men's Quarterly.

Speaking of Catholic Men's Quarterly, you might want to check out their Spring/Summer issue. It has some reflections on Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and interestingly enough and article by your friendly Bethune Catholic blogger concerning the Maccabees, Catholic warriors, and Catholic martyrs.

Our pastor, Fr. John O'Holohan SJ is on vacation in Ireland for the month. Unfortunately this means daily Mass must be found elsewhere. We will probably be heading up to St. Peter's in Cheraw as often as possible.

Finally, I hope to post a couple pictures from the "fare-thee-well" party (see this post) we held for my oldest daughter a couple weeks ago. While she is sticking around til the end of the summer - we wanted to do this before the real heat set. We made it by a couple days.

From "Bethany", the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"He had told him so often that the heart is as divine a gift as the mind, and that to neglect it in the search for God is to seek ruin..." - Lord of the World by Msgr. Robert H. Benson

For years I too thought the intellect was the only way to find God. But our intellect cannot unravel the Trinity - thus our heart must play its part also.... It is not handy at the moment to quote, but the 14th century anonymous and mystical work, The Cloud of Unknowing has a few passages to this effect also.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 08, 2005

I have eleven brothers and sisters. We are now spread all over the United States. My youngest sister (Agnes Penny, author of "Your Labor of Love" - TAN books) edits and sends out a monthly newsletter to keep us informed of family goings on. We each send in articles, news, opinions, etc. I think everyone in the family looks foward to receiving this every month.

The April issue of the "Curleytown Report", (as it is called), contained the following letter to the family from my oldest daughter:

Dear Curleytown,

May our Lady's month bring you ever closer to the Immaculate heart! I hope that you are all in good health and wonderful spirits. Spring in the Shenandoah valley is blooming in full colors and I am drawing to the end of my school year.

This is my both my second and last year at Christendom College. I believe that God is calling me to enter into the religious life. When fall comes, I plan to leave for the convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, located in Fairhaven, MA. This order is actually a missionary order, whose motherhouse is in Rome. God willing, I shall spend my postulency and novitiate in Rome, and then the Holy Spirit will ship me off to one of the many missionary houses. The Sisters have spread to Brazil, Australia, Africa, and many places in between. They have a website if you care to visit it: The website will give you a more complete idea of their charism and spirituality.

Though I have been trying to shake the idea of becoming a nun since I was six, I finally decided to give God my full attention and be open to His will. One of the priests here told me that, "Whatever God plans for you will be infinitely better than anything you could finagle." With that encouragement, I began to increase my time in prayer, attend Adoration, look into various religious orders, and meet with the chaplain. As soon as my heart was open, God drenched me with grace and I wanted nothing else but Him. I realized what He has done and is doing for me and I yearned to give what I have back to Him.

Am I certain that God is calling me? I'm more certain than not- and if I am mistaken, and God wills me to serve in another way, I will redirect my path. God bless you all!


Please pray for my daughter's continued discernment and vocation. (You may have noted that I added the Franciscans Sisters of the Immaculate to my links some months back - now you know why.)

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It has been several days since I've had time to post anything. I will try to check in a few times over the next few days - but no promises.....

I have been meaning to comment on the recent Supreme Court vacancy. Others, here, and here, and here and here and here have done so. The Republicans have a very mixed record (as we know - the same party who gave us Thomas and Scalia also gave us Souter, O'Connor, and Kennedy) on appointing Supreme Court Justices - yet this is the very issue that our Catholic friends who are active Republicans used to convince us to vote for Bush as opposed to a 3rd party candidate. I will pray with hope that Mr. Bush nominates someone who understands that our Constitution protects all our citizens and not just those who can hire lawyers for themselves - but I have no expectations either way. Mr. Bush's record is mixed on pro-life issues. I don't know if his pro-life instincts are truly out of conviction or out of political expedience. The Republicans have had an indefensible position on abortion for years (abortion is murder unless the father of the unborn is a criminal, then it is perfectly okay) - which makes me doubt either the philisophical intelligence or the sincerity of the adherents to the "pro-life" plank.

I would like to expound more, but must go for now.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Homespun Entertainment

When we lived in the city Mrs. Curley and I used go dancing to Big Band music once a week. Oldest daughter could go out and get an ice cream up the street with friends. While we didn't go to movies very often, they were readily available, as was Frankie's Fun Park, the bowling alley, etc. etc. And while we didn't have a satellite dish or cable TV, we still could get some 5-6 stations in - although even these we didn't watch much. We had a minor (single A) league baseball team (very affordable even for a family) in town also.

Now in the country, I have to fiddle with the TV for a long time just to get one station to give recognizable images. We have no dancing, bowling, baseball, ice cream shops, etc. So we are learning more and more to entertain ourselves.

Occasionally Mrs. Curley and I do roll back the rug and put a record on the turntable and do some dancing. At times I will select a long book and read it out loud to the family for 1/2 hour every night.

However, the most fun is when we do some impromtu skits or songs for each other. This homespun entertainment involves everyone, creates laughs, teamwork, and joy. One time we split up into three teams and had about an hour for each team to come up with a skit, which we then performed for each other. Today we just took turns singing songs alone, in groups, or all together. We did some of this when we lived in Columbia, but now we do much more of it - to the benefit of all of us. I think in many ways we owe much thanks to our oldest daughter and our dear friends the Nyikos family for showing us how much fun and uplifting this can be. Especially the music brings joy.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A couple photos of the van ...

Here's some photos of the van - mostly for the interest of the my family.

This shows part the rear impact - the second time hitting the truck.

The initial impact was the cab of the logging truck into the driver side front quarter. This sent the van into a spin. The van spun such that the rear of the van impacted the still moving logging truck - probably in log-carrying section. This impact propelled the van (airborne) into a telephone pole - which is the damage you see here.

Here is one of our new Rhode Island Reds on arrival day almost two weeks ago. You have to teach them to drink by dipping their beaks into the water.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Well it has been a very light blogging week. I have been trying to spend a little time this morning catching up.

Jeff at Hallowed Ground discusses questions about the compatibility of technolgy and city life with distributism and Catholicism. This is an important discussion. Hopefully when my head clears of all this week's confusion, I will have something intelligent to say.

My thanks to Destination Order for giving a plug to Requiem Press' latest release "The Chapel Veil - symbol of the spouse of Christ".

Much work to be done on this Saturday. Everyone is slowing getting better from Monday's ordeal. Maybe I will have a picture to post next week of the wreck. An eyewitness told us yesterday that the van (a 12-passenger Ford E-150 [or 350?]) was airborne as it went into the telephone pole. We have much to be thankful for this week!