Friday, August 31, 2007

quick notes

The Yeoman Farmer is moving and wants to know if you are interested in buying his organic farm south of Chicago. From his description and the pictures, he has made his homestead all we hope our place will be someday-and he did it in only 6 years. Methinks his asking price (while too steep for me) seems more than extremely reasonable; of course I don't know the real estate market there, but commuting distance to Chicago I would think would demand higher prices. Let's hope he continues to post at his new place....


I note that TS uses the word "milquetoast" in a post today. Coincidentally, the origin of that word comes from a HT Webster (of the How to Torture your husband/wife fame in posts below) cartoon series character Caspar Milquetoast from The Timid Soul. Here is a sample of Caspar:

As TS' post was about sports figures, I tried to keep with the theme.


Reading Amy Welborn's post about potty training this morning recalled to me a story from several years ago....

We were living in Columbia, my youngest sister was graduating from college in Front Royal, VA-about a 7.5 hour ride. We all couldn't go for some reason, so I decided to take my oldest son-who was trained, but it hadn't been all that long. (We tend to be late trainers around here, so son was probably 3 or so.)

Mrs. Curley warned me to stop at a rest area around 10:00 to let him go. Obediently I do so-but son wouldn't cooperate. So we get back in the truck and drive. We stopped for lunch. We had packed lunches, but I stopped anyway so we could relax and try again at the bathroom. I made sure son drank tons of fluid leading up to and at our stop. Then, we went to the restroom. He wouldn't go. I sat him down, he wouldn't go.

So as we climb back into the truck (now, I'm panicking cause I just loaded him up with tons of water and we have 200+ miles to go) I tell my son, "You just have to go. You can't hold it forever."

His reply: "Dad, I'll go when we get home!"

I couldn't believe it. Well, he didn't wait quite that long. But he didn't go til we got to the motel. Then he surely let loose!

The School Year

Our start date for school here varies from year to year. This year we will be starting next week. My oldest son is starting high school, so my role increases for him dramatically this year.

Over this year, I may post on the curriculum or particular assignments as I prepare them or have discussions with son about them.

Today, I will just start with some comments about our religion texts: Chief Truths of the Faith and Catholic Morality by Fr. John Laux (TAN). For my son, this course is step into new territory. In the past the focus has been on the Baltimore Catechism. Sure many other things have been included, but the learning the catechism was the primary goal. The first book-Chief Truths makes the transition easier, because it will cover much of the what the catechism does. Yet this course will integrate Scripture more fully than before and require writing essays.

The second half of the year will be fun for both of us. Studying Catholic morality and looking at outside sourses always brings up good discussions.

In the next four years, the religion curriculum will cover (in addition to these books) the Mass and Sacraments (including a unit on the 'extraordinary' form); Catholic Apologetics; and he will have read the whole Bible (between the year studying Scripture and history class) by the time he is finished.

I have some work to do this weekend as I am not yet fully prepared. But, let's get started!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

fevers and frogs

Update: Mrs. Curley was much better last night. (All I had to do was post it here!) I think we're on the right track now. Thanks for the prayers!

First the fever-Mrs. Curley was sporting a 105 degree fever last evening. I thought that was high enough to kill someone-but Mrs. Curley is hanging in there. (And in fact, my research today shows that sustained fever above 107.6 is where the damage really starts.)

We have been struggling to keep her fever below 103 for several days now. She seems better today, but time will tell. (And yes, we have been to the doctor and believe we have things under control.)

We certainly want her back in action as soon as possible - (thus prayers requested).


I was never much of an animal, insect, reptile type of kid growing up-and still am not to this day. Apparantly my kids don't take after me.

You know how before company comes over you gather the kids and remind them to be on their best behavior, etc? Well our pep talk always includes a special attention to telling a couple of our boys not to be eating grasshoppers or crickets in front of the guests. (For some reason there is a special thrill attached to this activity.)

Today, we find that number 3 son has had a toad living in his desk drawer-which he has been carrying around in his pocket when not deposited in the drawer!

(We've had plenty of toads here from day one. Sometimes they scare me in the shop when I don't expect them-and they don't expect me. We used to have a toad sit on our back stoop every night-I named him Napoleon.) But recently there is an increased facination with them among two of the boys. One of them wants to teach our puppy how to catch them. And then he want to start a toad farm.

Well-gotta get back to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Sacred Music and the Mass

Update: This site discusses the topic in detail also.

After re-reading, carefully, the section on sacred music in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy yesterday and then being given this article by Joseph Swain from Adoremus Bulletin, I have come to the conclusion that, in fact Vatican II contemplated the Mass without hymns-but certainly with music and participation from the people. The article gives some background:

The Second Vatican Council, in the interests of such “active participation”, charged the congregation with singing the actual liturgical texts, but Proper chants are not easy, and so bishops seized upon the more elastic clauses in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and its subsequent instructions and allowed easier and by now much more familiar hymns to substitute.

Then Mr. Swain explains how this became the 4-hymn sandwich we are so familiar with. He goes on to describe the liturgy as celebrated at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, where there are no hymns, but Propers and chants are sung by choir, congregation, or both. He lists 5 insights on the experience; here is the first:

First, it clarifies how well chanted music and polyphony accommodate the dramatic continuity that is the Mass. By comparison, hymns and songs, whether Lutheran, Anglican, or some modern type, often seem to halt the liturgical action, except perhaps when they are covering a procession, because their explicit strophic (verse) form and strong sense of meter establish discrete musical structures unlike anything else in the Mass. They stand out, like a skyscraper on a rolling rural hillside. Perhaps that is why, historically, hymns were limited to the Divine Office (Matins, Vespers, etc.), which are essentially contemplative liturgies. The Mass, by contrast, is an action, with its own direction and flow. No music other than plainchant seems to move this action so well because chant, with its free rhythm, most efficiently sets the texts to be sung.

So what about hymns? Well, it appears that they should be sung at other times, other services, other celebrations. So if we want hymns, we need to get together at other times to pray and to celebrate. This sounds good to me!

I certainly remember the May processions we had every year at St. Catherine's parish in Norwood, MA. Most of the Marian hymns we sang that day every year, were only sung then (and for the 4 weeks leading up to the May procession when we learned and practiced them in the classroom).

I think few people sing hymns outside of the Mass-yet that's where they should be sung-as part of our life, our prayer, and our celebrations.

In doing a little research for this post-I know I come lately to these conclusions about the Mass. I remember reading about Mass without hymns at Open Book a few times in the past year-but I didn't pay much attention. (Sorry, I found the link(s) yesterday, but can't seem to find them this morning), but not until I read this article by Joseph Swain did I see it clearly.

Imagine all the music wars that would be ended instantly if parishes implemented Vatican II as the documents proscribe... peace!

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

News and notes ...

In honor of our anniversary I will post one more of HT Webster's series on how to get most laughs out of marriage-in other words: how to torture your wife. I feel free to do this because Mrs. Curley is unfortunately in bed with a fever and won't be visiting the computer. I am sure I am guilty of this cartoon before-just not on purpose.

(Nothing serious with Mrs. Curley-but please pray for her quick return to health. Things are just better when she is feeling well.)


One of my sisters caught a significant error in my post about my moment of fame with the Lawrence Welk show . I have corrected the story-so if you enjoyed it the first time-go enjoy it anew! Maybe I wouldn't have taken my sister's version over my own, but my Mom corroborated her version.

Feast of the beheading of John the Baptist

This feast has some importance in our is also Mrs. Curley and myself's wedding anniversary. John the Baptist is also the patron of our diocese of Charleston.

Last year on this feast (or a day late) I posted this. I am not sure I have a better reflection on his beheading, so I will direct you there if that's what you want. (This is the picture I grew up with in our Children's Bible.)

This morning as I prayed the Benedictus, I pictured Zachariah sweeping his son out of the Elizabeth's arms as he prophesizes: "You my child shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way; to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of sins."

What a dramatic scene that must have been. I have often wanted to see it dramatized. But back to the question I was leading up to-I wonder what a prophet thinks he is saying-or how much understanding he has-when he utters God's prophecies?

Oremus pro invicem!

Restoration ....

Maybe the most oft-quoted book (besides the Bible) on Catholic blogs has been John Senior's "Restoration of Christian Culture." Certainly it has been quoted here often enough. (More recently, his Death of Christian Culture has gotten 'air-time' at Bethune Catholic).

After about a year and a half of search on my own, in April of 2007 I made a public plea that I was seeking a family member of Dr. Senior so that we could secure the rights to reprint "Restoration...".

I finally have contacted a family member-but alas! I am too late!

The good news is that both of these classics will be back in print very soon-just not with us .

IHS Press is releasing both these works in October 2007. Here is a postcard detailing how to order your copies.

I am very happy these books are back in print. Especially "Restoration..." which I believe gives a good roadmap for families who want to restore Christian culture in their homes and then in the larger local community.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heard on the radio ...

This morning on the radio there was a piece on the Chinese government trying to dissuade youth from spending more than 3 hours a day on internet games. Apparently providers of internet games must incorporate software into the games so that players who under the age of 18 (apparently there is a sign-in protocol) will lose all half their game points if they don’t quit at three hours and get some exercise (this last is unmonitorable I presume.) At 5 hours the player will lose all their points.

The concern is that the youth of China are so caught up in internet gaming that they are doing nothing else-school work, exercise, etc.

One of the probable causes (interestingly postulated by the NPR reporter) of this obsession with internet gaming is that this phenomenon is a result of the one-child policy. Children have no siblings, so when they are at home, the internet is the only outlet to play or contact others.
For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.

(from a book I need to read again!)

St. Augustine-ora pro nobis!

Monday, August 27, 2007

If you've been putting it off ...

... now's the time to stop procrastinating and place your order here for Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church. The pre-order special ends on Tuesday at midnight! This will be the last blog interruption on the subject. Get goin'!
May he rest in peace! Fr. Selzer's passing was the lead story in this week's Catholic Miscellany. Msgr. Rowland (his first pastor-and I believe his last) said of him:

He was a very dedicated priest who thoroughly live his ministry and got the greatest pleasure in serving the people of God, most especially those that may have special needs or are overlooked by general society. He was very proud of his years at The Citadel and he really took to heart the promise of living simply.

This last I can especially believe.

How to torture ....

A little over a month ago (here) I mentioned the cartoonist, HT Webster, who had two series called: How to torture your husband & How to torture your wife. I mentioned that we had a copy of HT Webster's best cartoons growing up, but one of my siblings must have the book now.

Well, the mail today brought a surprise. My sister sent me her copy (she picked it up in an antique shop) of the book after reading the blog. Looking at them today, I think the ones on torturing your wife are better-but its understandable, HT Webster was male. I post one here or there-just for fun of course. Here's the first:

(Thanks sis!)

Take heart!

All you suffering mothers-suffering due to wayward children...take heart! This is the feast of St. Monica. There is hope for children in prayer. Storm Heaven as she did for her son Augustine.

St. Monica-pray for us!

Sunday's homily

I'll get to the homily-first an intro of sorts.

Many years ago I acquired (it may have been a gift, or I may have purchased it myself) a book of quotes: Toastmasters Treasure Chest. (apparently it is still in print-yet my edition is much earlier than this one.)

As a young single man with nothing better to do, I decided I would memorize and use several of the quotes contained in this book everyday. I came across the book this morning and found those quotes I learned still marked with an "x". Here is one example:

It's a wise man who profits from his own experience, but it's a good deal wiser on who lets the rattlesnake bite the other fellow. - Josh Billings.

For some reason, this was one of my favorites:

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. - Steuart Henderson Britt.

And finally-getting to the main topic, I have marked off is this one:

Everything comes to him who waits-among other things, death. - Francis Herbert Bradley.


Father talked about death yesterday-about preparing for it. He told the old story about the Court Jester who said something outrageously stupid; because of this, his king gave the Court Jester a staff and told him to keep it until the Courst Jester found a greater fool than himself.

Some years later, the king is on his deathbed. The court jester is in attendence as are the other nobles. The court jester says to the king, "Every time you go on a journey, you send ahead messengers and courtiers to prepare your way. How have you prepared for this journey you are about to undertake?" The king replies, "Alas, I have not prepared at all." Thus, the Court Jester hands the king his staff and says, "Sire, I have now found a greater fool than myself."

This was only one of the stories told by Father in yesterday's homily. He told of a conversation St. Philip Neri had with a young man-also with the same theme-preparing for eternal life. Father also recounted an experience of seeing his own father praying.

I mention all these things for two reasons. The first reason has to do with our memory and how we learn.

We have 4 of friends children (all nine and under) staying with us this weekend. We have 10 children in the house. At dinner last night, (now this is some 7 hours or so after Mass has ended), I asked all the children what they could remember about what they heard at Mass. They remembered those stories-some retold them almost word for word (even the younger ones took part in remembering). I did not prompt them at all. (I was proud of both my kids and the visitors. They were paying attention.)

For some reason we are wired to remember stories (whether true or parables) better than straight preaching.

This brings up my second reason for this whole discussion: "Catholic" fiction.

Few "Catholic" publishers do any fiction-or any new fiction. Yet Christ taught with fiction (parables) if you will all the time. I (Requiem Press) would not dare to venture into fiction-it is a whole different ballgame: different editing skills and different marketing strategies. Yet perhaps, it is the most important area of publishing - if we want to evangelize the culture.

I read a novella this weekend that was sent to us for review (for possible publication). It was well written. It had my attention. It dealt with issues of our present culture. The conversatons were realistic-but nothing preachy. It is the kind of work which could reach some people-get them to think about life and death and choices. I think it should be out there.

The author may be able to get a mainstream publisher to do it-she is a published author. But where could she realistically go in the Catholic publishing world to do this? In the Catholic realm, those who do publish some fiction, do so mostly for the faithful (inspiring stories to increase devotion), rather than for the unchurched in society-reaching out to them with a parable.

I think this has been discussed before (see here -I don't really discuss it, but link to some other discussions. ) It is worth another look. It has to do with how Catholics reach the greater culture with Christ's message.

Okay, something to think about as we begin the week.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


There is so much you can do with the wood from an old pallets. A few years ago we picked some up for free at a local newspaper office. We have employed them in a variety of low structural uses.

Today for instance I was ripping them (after number two son labored a few weeks ago taking them apart) to make stakes for a low chicken wire fence around one of Mrs. Curley's gardens.

Before, we used them as a wind break for our rabbits.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Also in the mail...

I don't know how long the Aug-Sept issue of Catholic World Report has been hiding under a pile of stuff in the living room-but I spied it last night. There was an interview with Russell Shaw (on his new book with Fr. McCloskey III-Good News, Bad News (Ignatius Press).

In the interview, Mr. Shaw talks about how, in the early middle part of the 20th century: "American Catholicism was on the verge of becoming the dominant cultural shaping force in the US," but how through a variety of forces-mostly from within the Church-starting in the late 1950's that "the Catholic subculture and with it its dynamism and its capacity to be a strong influence on the larger secular culture" collapsed.

So, Mr. Shaw is asked: What are Catholics to do? His answer:

In a way we're back to the situation the Church was in the early centuries in the Roman Empire. The Church was underground, small, suspect, despised, and sometimes persecuted. What did the Church have? Catholics. Individual Christians living out their commitment to Christ were able to speak convincingly to their pagan neighbors and give an account of what they believed and why they believed it. It worked then, and that's the way it has to work now also.

This is a great message. Hopefully you can read the whole article. (I am not sure if CWR puts many of its articles online.)

Of course, (and here comes one more shameless plug) if you want to read more of what Russell Shaw has to say about the mission of ordinary lay Catholics in evangelizing the culture, you can always take advantage of our current special .

Oremus pro invicem!

In the mail

Several years ago I located a copy of this book for Les Gallagher. It took me quite a few months to locate a copy. Yet, at that time, I think I got the copy for $2-3. Of course this was before John Paul II had died. Now look for this book. Unless you get lucky, it runs $40 or more.

The last time I spoke with Mr. Gallagher he told me how good and important this book was-how many people should read it. So of course, though it has taken me a few years, I had to get it and read it for myself.

It was actually written in 1972-however the English editions didn't come out until Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II.

I have one more night of reading about the Shroud of Turin (at the moment I am in the midst of the Carbon-14 dating controversy), then I will be starting "Sources of Renewal-the implementation of Vatican II". If I come across anything good-be assured I will let you know.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We are watching some friends' children (4) for the next few days. The father must have been really appreciative. He brought me 12 bottles of the finest beverage known to man-and good for you too!

The day I brought the house down

Update: Apparently I have remembered some of the details incorrectly. My sister corrects me in the comment box-and in talking to her last night I heard corroboration on her version from my mother. So, if you scroll down to the bottom of the story, you will see the real story.

Every Saturday night we used to watch the Lawrence Welk show as a family. It was a big deal-the TV didn't get turned on much in my house growing up-less and less as the years went on. We grew up listening to my Dad's records of the big bands of the 30's and 40's, so Lawrence Welk Show was a natural. We knew the songs, had our favorites, etc.

Well, one Friday evening when I was in 4th grade my Mom and my oldest sister mysteriously disappeared for several hours. They had gone to see several of the Lawrence Welk performers on tour in Attleboro-a town some 15-20 minutes from us. Joe Feeney the Irish tenor (my favorite), Bobby and Cissy-the dance team, and Gail Farrell-one of the singers. This was BIG around our house. My oldest sister related every detail, every song, every audience participation bit. Wow!

Well Sunday had a surprise for us. The weather was bad, and sometime over the weekend the Lions Club (which was sponsoring the tour date in Attleboro) called Mom and told her they had a lot of cancellations due to the weather. They offered free tickets for the whole family (10 children, 2 parents, and my grandmother). Sunday after Mass we left for Attleboro. I am sure they didn't tell us where we were going until we got there.

Not only did we have tickets, they gave us 3 tickets for for the front row center and the rest (10 because my Nana came with us) were for the 2nd row.

Because they thought Joe Feeney may come down in the audience and sing to some of the old ladies, my parents had me sit with Nana (and one of my sisters, I can't recall which) in the front row.

So, the show goes on. Joe Feeney did indeed come down and sing to Nana. He also went to my parents and picked up my youngest sister (at the time-two more were to come) and sang Too Raa Loo to her.

But the best (or the worst for me) was yet to come.

Gail Farrell took the stage. After a couple songs she was looking for a male volunteer from the audience. I slouched in the front row. (Remember, I knew what song she wanted to sing, and why she wanted a volunteer, because my sister had told us everything.) I think my slouching was like magnet to Miss Farrell. She points to me. I shake my head, but she beckons energetically. Being obedient, I headed for the stage. My Dad later said it looked I was trudging to my own execution. (I am sure the smile in the photo is forced.)

On stage, she asked me if I knew the alphabet, and would I say it for her, pausing after every letter. She was going to sing "A You're Adorable, B You're so Beautiful" etc. Well I knew what "K" stood for, and I wasn't happy about it.

So we go along, and I get ready. I say "K", she sings "You're so Kissable" and the moment she leans over to kiss me, I jump back away from her. I brought the house down. She tried again, and I jumped back some more. The laughter and applause was deafening. You should have seen the surprise on her face. I'm not sure she ever encountered this before. She finally did get a kiss on-but I dramatically wiped it off-and the audience roared.

The rest of my time on stage remains mostly a blur. Every part of me was focussed on avoiding "the kiss", so the rest is hazy. I think she made me dance with her; I didn't like it, but it wasn't as bad as the other.

As you can see, her attempt was caught on camera. Having eight sisters I was an expert at avoiding kisses-yet I failed at this crucial public moment. (My younger brother proved a better expert at avoiding kisses-but even he succombed eventually.) Notice how far away from her I am compared to the previous photo.

I am not a natural comedian. To get a laugh, I have to play the straight man. That day I did-and brought the house down.

Oremus pro invicem!

Still going through pictures...

You will note that I have been pretty selective and not overwhelming with the pictures, yet I have a few more to post-a pretty good story goes along with one of them.

First, I have mentioned more than once that I like making things with wood. Here are two end tables I made about 13 or more years ago-almost entirely with hand tools. We still use them today. Pine construction, mortice and tenon joints. One has a drawer. Unfortunately (and this is hard to pick up in the photo) I stained the first one with a walnut stain and the second one (by mistake) with a cherry stain. To this day, they don't match.

Regardless of your interest, I will post more pictures of my woodworking as I come across them. I think I have a stash of photos in the garage.

I will post the next set of pictures and the story in a separate post...stay tuned.

Oh yes, and happy feast of St. Rose of Lima! I have a niece named Rose, but I think she is named after our Lady-the Mystical Rose.

Finally, please do weigh in on my last post-do you like the cover concept? Do you have any ideas for color?

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's about time!

Actually, this may be a bit premature, but let's go anyway. At Requiem Press our special apostolate is to promote prayers for the holy souls in purgatory, and we offer 2 booklets to do this. Otherwise, our books, generally, whether new or reprints have some historical aspect to them. (An early catch phrase of ours was: Showing God's hand in history and man's response to God.)

One thing we would have liked to have done, but haven't so far, is something pro-life. (It has many years since those Saturday morning rosaries outside of abortion clinics in Brookline.) We wanted to do something for the victims of abortion, but nothing really that came across my desk was the right thing.

Well, those days are over. Our next release, coming in September (no hard date yet), is the true story of a nurse practioner working in "women's health" who gets closer and closer to abortion-rationalizing her increased involvement all the way-until she actually participates in one. But God keeps sending her messages-she tries to ignor. Finally one day her heart is opened and she cries to God for mercy. (She also converts to Catholicism in the process.) It is a story which will hopefully move many hearts-because that is where battle truly lies. If hearts are changed, behavior and laws will soon follow. (Don't get me wrong, laws can change hearts too-albeit from a different starting point.)

Here is the cover concept. Okay, we're not thrilled with the color scheme yet, but at this point it is best contrast we have. (Suggestions are vigorously welcomed-I am not sensitive to design criticism. I want a book design that works, one that people will pick up.) The particular ultrasound picture we use is not yet set in stone either. We looked at the new 3-D ultrasounds, but for the moment are revisiting the standard ultrasound pictures as shown here.

This will be a booklet: ~4.25" x 7" as is a few of our other offerings. We don't yet have page count or a price, but it will be short and hopefully priced so that volume pricing is doable-if not attractive. (On this last note-I don't know if you've noticed, but everything has gone up in price this summer-including postage. That means our cost of doing business is going up too.)

Anyway, we are extremely excited about this project. I am spending much of my time on it these weeks to get a September release. Editorial is almost finished. Design, layout and marketing campaign are in getting into full swing. Look for it soon. I'm sure I will remind you if you stop by again. And please pray for its success.

Oremus pro invicem!


Last night I was going through a box of stuff and came across this postcard we got at the North American Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, NY. Then this morning I read this piece about a walking pilgrimage to the North American Martyrs Shrine. Boy that sounds good to me.

We have a shrine here in SC. Of course no martyrs died there and it is small. But it would be an idea to have a walking pilgrimage to Our Lady of South Carolina-Joyful Hope shrine in Kingstree, SC for the yearly Rosary celebration? (This year in mid-October.)

Maybe I should call the organizers of the Restoration Pilgrimage and see how they started?

Oremus pro invicem!

More on the Holy Shroud

Am still reading "The Shroud of Turin-a case for authenticity". (Fr. Vittorio Guerrera-TAN books).

The Holy Shroud is the perfect mystery for me. It marries science, (which I am trained in), history (my amateur love), Scripture, and Theology. This type research challenges you in many directions.

Yet when merely reading about others' work, it is hard(unless you read with pen and paper in hand, jotting down notes and tracking charts and time-lines) to distinguish what theory holds the most weight. Usually the author has a preference, so leads you in that direction. If you are involved in the work yourself, you follow each path, reconstruct others' work, verify or disgard.

I mention this because last night I was reading the debate on asphyxiation versus loss of blood as cause of death for Christ on the cross. (There are other theories such as heart rupture and traumatic shock.) One of the cases for death by asphysia has always been that there are two trails of blood on the wrist in the Holy Shroud-seemingly to indicate that the man of the Shroud is alternating between two positions-which can be explained by a man who is hanging by his arms: his weight hanging causes his lungs to collapse, to at regular intervals he lifts himself up to breath. This continues until he is too weak to do so and then dies of asphyxiation.

There are two problems with this theory as presented in the context of the evidence of the Shroud: one is scientific and the other theological.

The angles of the two bloodstreams are about 65 degrees and 70 degrees. Some scientists would contend "that a victim whose arms were outstretched on a cross would not have difficulty breathing at an angle of 65 to 70 degrees." (Just reading the evidence for asphixiation and not experimenting etc. could easily lead you astray.) Further, asphyxiation leaves one unconscious for the last several minutes of life. This is inconsistent with the testimony of the Gospels and Christian theology: Christ gave his life fully and freely and thus must have been conscious at the last moment to do so. (Yet others, while dismissing asphyxiation as the cause of death, still attribute the two trails of blood to Christ's avoiding ashyxiation until He died of some other cause.)

Yet it is again interesting that God does work in nature. According some other theories, "the cause of death would correspond to a traditional Christian belief regarding Christ's death, that He died from loss of blood." He poured out His Precious Blood for us-out of His side flowed blood and water and the birth of His bride, the Church.

(Note: the picture is NOT from the book I am reading, but from "The Way of the Cross in the light of the Holy Shroud" by Msgr. Giulio Ricci.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Queenship of Mary

Our very mother, the Blessed Virgion Mary, is Queen of Heaven! Go to her!

The words above were my rosary meditation (see the Assumption of Mary post for more details) for the 5th Glorious Mystery-which we celebrate today.

My Liturgy of the Hours instructions say for this day:

At the end of Night Prayer on this day, it is appropriate to recite or sing the Ave, Regina caelorum.

So in anticipation of that (coutesy of Thesaurus Precum Latinarum):

AVE, Regina caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta,
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:

Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.

Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium; ut, qui sanctae Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus; intercessionis eius auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

(and in the vernacular):

HAIL, O Queen of Heav'n enthron'd,
Hail, by angels Mistress own'd
Root of Jesse, Gate of morn,
Whence the world's true light was born.

Glorious Virgin, joy to thee,
Lovliest whom in Heaven they see,
Fairest thou where all are fair!
Plead with Christ our sins to spare.

V. Allow me to praise thee, holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thy enemies.

Let us pray
Grant, O merciful God, to our weak natures Thy protection, that we who commemorate the holy Mother of God may, by the help of her intercession, arise from our iniquities. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

I have heard references to this prayer, but until today have read it or prayed. Sounds like a new Bethany tradition in the making...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Now you are really running out of time! More details here.

Tradition ...

This weeks Catholic Miscellaney (Diocese of Charleston weekly) devotes the back page to the Traditional Latin Mass. In Columbia, we have a monthly Mass. Stella Maris on Sullivan's island outside of Charleston has a weekly TLM (and they have a yearly week-long altar boy camp to learn how to serve it.) And Prince of Peace in Taylors has the TLM weekly also. What I didn't know what this, from Msgr. McInerny (pastor at Stella Maris):

Also, we make the traditional Latin Mass available to parishes by bringing the Mass to the local parish," he said. "We have brought our servers, organist, singers and booklets for the faithful. We even have a portable railing for Holy Communion."

This last is what I miss the most-receiving the Holy Eucharist kneeling at the altar.


Speaking of these things, last week or so when I received the pictures from home, I posted one of Fr. Al with my younger brother. In the box I received yesterday, my Mom included an article about Fr. Al Abracinskas' retirement from St. George's parish in the mid-80's. Here's a couple snips:

If you are looking for a folk Mass, or lay deacons or even to receive the Host in your hand, you won't find any of them at St. George's.

..."So many of the priests want to make the Mass entertaining," he continues, dismissing the (multi-ed) colored vestments, the guitar Masses and the other trappings as "outdoing Barnum and Bailey." Fr. Al prefers a "quiet dignified Mass," one of them he offers in his native tongue. There are no distractions, no handshaking and only kneeling to receive the Host.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Uh it comes

Pure self-indulgence coming. Last week I received the old family pictures-and I'm not quite done with them yet. Of course they inspired my post on childhood below somewhere. (By the way there was a story today on about what makes children happy-the answer family, friends and God. Can't find the story now-and N.B. that happy children are not the same as an adult looking back and seeing a happy childhood.)

Well, today I received the box of nostalgia-lookout! I have barely opened it when this one caught my eye. I think I even remember painting it in water color (although I had to look at my Mother's notation on the back to see circumstances: Age 10: a thank-you picture for birthday presents received. )

Note: this is a fruit bowl by a window. And note the house outside the window. I was good at houses and so included them in almost any picture I drew or painted if possible. I am sure I could not paint so well today.

Oremus pro invicem!

Is something better than nothing?

I like Greencastle's latest installment on "the living wage".

I didn't see any treatment of the "something is better than nothing" argument in the Catechism; the Church is emphatic about the need to pay workers a living wage. The Catechism does list several factors that employers must take into account when setting wages, and one of those is the "state of the business" (CCC 2434).

But one cannot use the "state of the business" clause to justify paying inadequate wages under "business as usual" conditions. When the farm recovers from this temporary calamity, or the various workers find some other more profitable line of work, it is understood that the return to normalcy includes all workers earning a living wage.

This is a radical way of thinking for corporate America (and corporate elsewhere), where the market price is considered the acceptable wage under all conditions. There are many firms today which are reporting profits to shareholders, and paying sizable salaries to management, but which are not paying all workers a living wage.

I, as many of us have, have seen this from different perspectives at times. The first company I worked for out of college was start-up. About 4 months into employment, management asked us all to take a 25% pay deferrment so they could stay in business. The promise was to pay back with interest and some common stock (which never had value as it turned out.) They did pay us back-with the interest about a year or so later.

Another company I worked for went through a series of layoffs during the economic downturn several years ago. Yet even when things were back on track and the company was making profits again, the pressure to make more and more profits from the shareholders, and the means to pay some high executive salaries, resulted in even more layoffs-I being one of those casualties. Of course this also results in the remaining employees being pressured to work harder and longer for the same pay.

Now I own and operate my own business. Of course I don't have any employees per se, but I do have authors and artists with whom I negotiate royalties. I do try to take Church teaching on living wage into account when I negotiate royalties. I know there are some publishing companies which pay a mere 7-8% royalty rate to their authors-and the industry standard is something like 10-12%. Unless you are a Tom Clancy or Danielle Steele (or JD Rowling) you must always scramble for the next dollar. This can't be fair. And yet, many would say (and I have had this complaint more than once myself about our books) that books are too expensive as they are. Sure, a few people are making millions off best-sellers, but most small publishers (especially in the Catholic market) and authors are just barely scraping by and pricing their work below living wage so they can make at least something. Or they view their work more as an apostolate and thus provide their books at great sacrifice-because the market of Catholic readers won't pay a decent price for a book.

Catholic retailers have similar problems. Here and here, The folks at Aquinas & More Catholic Goods discuss this from the retail perspective in our industry.

I guess I have gotten off course with where we started, but that's okay. It's my blog.

Oremus pro invicem!

Now Reading ....

The Shroud of Turin-a case for authenticity by Fr. Vittorio Guerrera (TAN Books). It is certainly not the first book I have read on the subject (my shelf must have at least a half dozen Holy Shroud books), and I don't expect to learn anything really new, but I haven't read a book on the Holy Shroud in several years-so I thought it was a good time to refresh my memory. I have found that reading about the Holy Shroud does help my meditations on the Passion of Christ.

Of course, I was blessed to have venerated the Holy Shroud during the Jubilee year of 2000. You can read my report of the trip here.

From the book, an excerpt from a letter of St. Francis de Sales to his mother recalling his pilgrimage to Turin:

At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, while pointing out the Holy Shroud among such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Wereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat!

My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mignled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life.

I wonder how the Prince Cardinal's reacted to his words-St. Francis doesn't tell us.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yesterday number one son came down with flu-like symptons-high fever, achy, headache, etc. Last night I was feeling a bit achy myself with a low fever. So I decided not to make the three hour trek today for Fr. Selzer's Funeral in Charleston. Instead, at 11:00 the family prayed the rosary for Fr. Selzer and his family and finished with the De Profundis. May his, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.


Last evening Mrs. Curley was preparing dinner-Tuna fish and french fries, and some imitation crab meat thrown in for kicks. I was hanging around doing nothing and picked up the imitation crabmeat label. Here it is magnified:

The first thing you see is the "Hometown Proud Seafood" bit. The small print however says "farm raised product of China".

Am I crazy or is this deceptive. How do you reconcile the hometown proud seafood label with made in China?

Okay, there is no lie-but it is deceptive. I am going to take this up with the manager.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, August 17, 2007

You never know where you will find something to chew on. I felt I was being lazy last night by picking up an Agatha Christie mystery of the book shelf-probably something I bought when traveling back when I was gainfully employed. (I am employed now-the gainfully part is up for debate in some quarters.) I have always loved mysteries, and Agatha Christie is the unquestioned queen. I was looking for something light. But this is what I found on page 3 of "The Pale Horse":

It came to me suddenly that evil was, perhaps necessarily always more impressive than good. It had to make a show! It had to startle and challenge! It was instability attacking stability. And in the end, I thought, stability will always win.

Interesting notes about Agatha Christie (found at Wikipedia), like this one: "Her father died when she was very young. Her mother resorted to teaching her at home, encouraging her to write at a very young age. At the age of 16 she went to a school in Paris to study singing and piano."-imagine, Agatha Christie was homeschooled!

And from the comment boxes ...

at Catholic Restorationists in a post about the alliance between 'Treehuggers' and Distributists, Mark Scott Abeln writes:

Catholics have made common cause with all sorts of political factions in American society, and that is one reason why Catholics don’t ‘fit in’ well here.

...One of the great things about the Church that appeals to me is that it neither is left-wing nor right-wing, nor is it moderate or centrist! Rather, it seeks after what is true, good, and beautiful. Why should a people centered on Christ align itself with the world?

And so it is.

"It’s a chunky monkey"

Columbia, SC tap water that is. Read all about it here. (Not the way I would have described it-but usually I can't tell the diference between water and water.)

Fish'n, cats, and chickens

We've never had a cat problem with our chickens .... of course until this week. We have two cats, a momma cat and 2 month kitten. The momma is the daughter of one of the cats we inherited with the place-since run off. We leave food around for them, but they really aren't pets, they're just here-until now.

It seems momma cat would wait just outside the chicken wire until a chick comes close, reach in and grab it. The the ones she could, she would pull through the wire. Kitten bites holes in chicken wire. Grabs one and exits. 20% of our flock!

Mrs. Curley wonders if God is trying to tell us something. Sure-that we don't know what were doing yet-but keep trying. Seriously though, some our kids will someday be laughing at our incompetence, but they will not repeat our mistakes. By that we'll have got it right and they will have been through it with us.


Wednesday Mrs. Curley and the girls spent the night with a friend who was alone. The boys and I decided to go fishing. We went to a new spot (for us) on the Lynches River, about 6-7 miles from here. River was very shallow-we haven't had much rain. Youngest son caught the first and only fish of the outing. It was a bream-really too small to keep, yet it had swallowed the hook and we brought the wrong pliers. So I broke the line and threw it in the cooler. I promised the youngest I would grill it when I did the hamburgers when we got home.

In my mind, bream is one of the best eating fishes-especially when cooked fresh. Easy to clean and pot it in the pan-I never bother filleting them.

Back to the story, youngest son was thrilled. And so we did cook it up. He told me it was the best fish he ever had. We at our burgers, B&M beans (the only kind worth eating), and fish while watching Mountain Rhythm starring Gene Autry and Frog Millhouse.

Well, got some work to do, especially since I am off to Charleson later for Fr. Selzer's funeral.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More on Fr. Selzer ...

Rest in peace...Update: A correction to the first story below-that is Msgr. Rowland was the pastor of St. Joseph's in Columbia-Fr. Selzer's first assignment (not Newberry). And directly below is the Obituary, run in the Post and Courier this morning (8/17):

The Relatives and friends of Reverend Lee A. Selzer are invited to attend his Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM Saturday, August 18, 2007 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Rite of Committal will be in Hoy Cross Cemetery. The Vigil Service will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist this Friday evening at 7:00 PM, the family will receive friends after the Vigil Service until 9:00 PM. Father Selzer was the director of pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community of Charleston. He was born August 5, 1968 at Patrick Air Force Base, FL a son of Robert and Catherine Selzer. Father Selzer was a graduate of The Citadel Class of 1990 and Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, ILL. from which he holds a Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree. After his graduation from The Citadel, Father worked as a computer expert in a publishing house in Massachusetts and then went to Belize as a lay missioner with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity before he entered the seminary to study for the priesthood. Father Selzer was the only priest ordained for the Diocese of Charleston on June 8, 2002 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. His first assignment was as pastoral associate at St. Joseph in Columbia and than as administrator for St. Mark in Newberry, Holy Spirit Mission in Laurens and St. Boniface Church in Joanna. He is survived by his parents and four sisters

From the Charleston Post & Courier:

Father Lee A. Selzer, director of Pastoral Ministry to the Hispanic Community of Charleston, died Tuesday after slipping into a diabetic coma, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston reported. He was 39.

Selzer, who was ordained a priest in 2002, worked at three parishes in the Newberry area before Bishop Robert Baker, concerned about the young priest's health, recently reassigned him to Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Johns Island, according to the bishop's office.

Selzer had celebrated his first Spanish Mass over the weekend, exclaiming afterward, "It's like being in heaven!" according to the Rev. Msgr. Charles Hutson Rowland.

"He was so happy to be assigned to assist the Hispanic people, whom he loved," Rowland said. "And now he is in heaven."

Rowland and Selzer had worked together at Holy Spirit in Newberry. "This was like a reunion," Rowland said.

Selzer's funeral will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist at 11 a.m. Saturday. The wake service is at 7 p.m. Friday, also at St. John the Baptist.

Fr. Lee Selzer ... Rest in Peace

Fr. Lee Selzer's first assignment as a priest was at St. Joseph's in Columbia, SC. He was there 2-3 years and was the 4th chaplain for the Men's Prayer Group. We met at 6:30 am every Tuesday morning and prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. We studied The Cloud of Unknowing with him in those early hours. As I recall, it was a scary book at times because it had warning early on that you must be serious about going down this path to contemplative prayer, and each chapter forced you to open yourself more to God.

Fr. Selzer wanted us to step up our prayer life. He was very intense and preached as if he was trying to will a fire of love into our souls from the pulpit.

I didn't know him that well personally. He came to dinner at the house once. He also went to the Citadel-a few class years behind me. He was reassigned to the Catholic parish in Newberry, SC shortly after we moved to Bethune. I had several times wanted to write to him and let him know that he had inspired me to greater effort in my spiritual life. Well he knows now.

At this point, I have no details on his death-I just heard the announcement and confirmed it before posting this. Fr. Selzer died on the 14th of August. I know he had had health problems in the past-yet he was still a young man, fully of energy.

There is a tradition (note the small 't') in the Church (see a reference to this here) that Christ's Mother emptied purgatory when she was assumed into Heaven, and that those who die on this feast (and on the eve) are swept to Heaven by our Blessed Mother. Let us pray for this grace for this holy priest.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Eternal Rest Grant to them O Lord. May the souls of the faithful departed through mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Time is running out!

I received my proof copies of the 2nd Printing of Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church yesterday. Once the entire shipment arrives (sometime next week) the pre-order special will be over. Regularly $14.95, you can get it now for $11.95 (+$2.50 S&H). (You know why we have pre-order specials? It is to help pay for the book upfront for cash-strapped publishings houses like ourselves.) Place your advance order here !

Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters in the book:

But granting all that—there is no shortage of vocations. What we are witnessing are the consequences of a shortage of vocational discernment. That is a very serious problem, too, but it needs to be understood as what it is, not mistaken for something else.

If many more Catholics—ideally, all—made it a practice to discern, accept, and live out God's particular will for them, the shortfall of new candidates for the priesthood, the consecrated life, and other forms of Christian witness and service would soon disappear. Far
and away the larger number, of course, would find that God was calling them to lives of witness and service as lay people in the world; but many more than now do would find themselves called to be priests and sisters.

Mr. Shaw goes on the give guidelines on discerning vocations. But the book is much more than that. He gives a history of the lay vocation in the Church from apostolic times to the present and suggests areas which the laity may live out their vocations in the world.

My other blog has another excerpt and endorsement statements from some people most of you will know. Check it out.

Finally, you can read another good piece by Russell Shaw today at Catholic Exchange. Here's the opening line: A Catholic father, an intelligent and conscientious man, was explaining why he and his wife took their daughter out of a Catholic high school: "They told the kids that the gospels weren't true."

Freemasonry and Mexico

As I get older I am more and more amazed at the gaps in my formal education. Except for the exploits of Cortez and the history of Texas' fight for independence (and much of that came from my hero-worship of Davy Crockett) and finally the 1848 war with Mexico, we learned virtually nothing about our southern neighbor in school. Independent of formal schooling, I read a short biography of Blessed Miguel Pro [A Daughters of St. Paul (the nun with the headphone and camera at the website is my sister) "Encounter" book-I believe it and most of the series is out of print], and I read Warren Carroll's excellent Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness. Otherwise, while I was vaguely aware of the anti-Catholic government in the past century (and the controversy when soon-to-be president Vicente Fox appeared in a crowd with an Our Lady of Guadolupe banner), but I knew no details.

Today Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. of Marytown (and author of Requiem Press books Giving Up Stealing for Lent! and The Mini-Catechism-see sidebar) sent me this article article on the revival of freemasonry in Mexico:

Mexican masonry played a decisive role in the configuration of the Mexican state and in political measures such as the stripping of the Church’s right to own schools and communications media, the right to vote of priests and religious, and the rupture of diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

The previous Mexican Constitution, because of Masonic influence, stripped the Church of the right to own schools and communications media. Recently, the Mexican bishops announced they would begin a campaign to regain these rights.

The anti-clerical policies were kept in place throughout the entire period of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), dominated by the Masons, from 1929 to 2000.

I wasn't aware that Free Masons had such a hold in Mexico. Apparently the Catholic Bishops are trying now to regain control of their schools and have the right to control their own communications media.

Of course Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. has a special interest in this-you might recognize him as the author of Freemasonry Mankind's Hidden Enemy (TAN books).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Words from Bishop Baker

Bishop Baker issued a statement which you can read here. Here is a selection:

Our friendship in Christ will never cease, but my days of shepherding the Diocese of Charleston now come to an end as I officially receive the appointment from our Holy Father on August 14 as the new bishop of Birmingham in Alabama. I am truly honored and humbled by this new trust placed in me by Pope Benedict XVI; but it is not easy for me to say good-bye, especially to people who have helped me learn to be a bishop, first-hand. (Of course, I’d like to compliment you by saying how much I appreciated your words of encouragement, sometimes couched with a reminder that I needed to do a little better job here and there! But that’s okay. How else was I to learn? May the people of the Birmingham diocese benefit from all your good coaching and coaxing! But it is still with difficulty that I say to you good-bye!)

A humble shepard of the Church!

Kepha (and other things)

A couple days ago I mentioned that CMQ was posting 'in-between issues' articles at their website. At that time I had not read the the first one, which is a meditation on the Eucharist by Brent Zeringue. Here's a taste:

Six hundred boys were present one morning at the oratory for Mass with Don Bosco. Since the ciborium in the tabernacle only had about 20 hosts, the sexton prepared another ciborium for consecration. But at the last moment he forgot it in the sacristy. At communion time, Don Bosco uncovered the ciborium from the tabernacle and a look of distress came over his face. The altar boys observed that he lifted his eyes to heaven, quietly prayed, and then advanced to give communion. One row after another of boys came forth and at the end all were able to receive with as many hosts left over as when he had started. The news of the multiplication of the Bread of Life spread and the boys crowded around him after Mass: “Miracle! Miracle! Don Bosco is a saint!” Don Bosco said in all humility, “Are you sure?” Then he added, “When you think of it, boys, isn’t the Eucharist always a miracle?”

This recalls to me Msgr. Rowland (then of St. Joseph's in Columbia, SC) preaching one day: (NB: this is a paraphrase, not a quote): "Many of you travel regularly to Conyars (GA) to see someone claiming to get messages from God. Yet this Church is empty everyday-but our Lord is waiting for you here!" I will never forget these words.

Now, who is Brent Zeringue? Well he heads up Kepha. I had never heard of Kepha before, but now want to learn more. From the website it appears it is a organization of fathers and sons who pray together regularly and also have fun together. From their website:

Kepha is the Aramaic word for "Rock", the word with which Christ renamed a smelly fisherman before entrusting him with the keys. We also call ourselves the Brotherhood of the Iron Will. Ours is a high octane Catholicism that tempts men and boys to a holy manliness and contradicts a life of spiritual laziness and moral compromise.

Kepha is Catholic to the core. Our shirts bear the words, "Where Peter is, there is the Church." We ally ourselves with the Pope and do not apologize for our fidelity. Our shirts also bear the words, "Roma locuta, causa finita est" (that’s Latin for, "When Rome speaks the matter is settled."). Expect to find all the men and boys in purple truly believing in the Real Presence, the right to life of unborn children, the permanence of marriage, the openness to life through natural family planning, the reality of Hell, the promises of Heaven, and the efficacy of confession.

Kepha is made of ordinary boys and dads doing together what none of us would do alone. One time, before proceeding to a day hike along a rustic trail with waterfalls, we stopped at the Missionaries of Charity Soup Kitchen. We served meals, brought 500 cans of food and mingled with the homeless. As the hungry and abandoned ate, we sang them songs. Now, let me hasten to add that a requirement of being in Kepha is that you have to be able to sing…badly. A homeless boy sat silently and sadly. We asked him to join us. A smile came across his face and he proceeded to sing with us. You could feel the chills run up your spine when he told us his name – "Trinity." But why were we surprised? Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of our three patrons, told us we meet Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor. With hiking and waterfalls waiting, we allocated a rushed 5 minutes for prayer in the chapel. But for the next 25 minutes the boys kept offering prayer intentions.

It appears from their brochure that they have chapters (or members) in FL, LA, MS, NY, OK, and TX. (The singing part impressed me. I am a believer that singing on earth is a preparation for singing in Heaven.)

Oremus pro invicem!


... nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption (Ps 15:10)

Some years ago I wrote a short book (never published-never will be) as an aid to meditating on the mysteries of the rosary. Because at that time I always said my rosary in the car commuting home from work, I needed a very defined idea for meditation on each mystery-as there are so many distractions while driving. So for each of the mysteries, I had written essentially one line - one idea.

For the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, I wrote:

Our Mother Mary knows the way to Heaven. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord!" -Ask her to show you the way.

This is truly a day of rejoicing (and one of the only holy days left not transferred to Sunday).

At the Shrine of our Lady of South Carolina/Our Lady of Hope, there is a sign (soon to be carved in stone), which I believe was the inspiration of our (soon to be Birmingham's) Bishop Baker, which says: "Leave your burdens here!" This is what we should do this day. Leave our burdens at the foot of the altar. Go to our Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary and she will take these burdens to the Lord.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just a reminder... the preface and first chapter of John Meehan's Two Towers is available for public consumption starting here (scroll UP for each subsequent post). And of course Two Towers and Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church (on special) are available for sale at Requiem Press .

God speed

via Amy Welborn (I must get her new blog on my sidebar):

Bishop Robert Baker has been named the new bishop of Birmingham, Alabama. (See announcement here). I was afraid this might happen. A couple of months ago Annunciations wrote that Bishop Baker's name was among those being mentioned for the open see in Pittsburgh.

I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Bishop Baker several times and meeting with him once. He always answered his correspondence-often with a handwritten note at the end of the letter. He has been tireless in transversing the diocese which encompasses the whole state. Overall, his accomplishments in our diocese have been great. (More seminarians, freeing of the Traditional Latin Mass, institution of the Marian shrine, etc. etc.)

It is with joy we had him in the Charleston diocese and with sorrow-and warm wishes-we see him go.

Oremus pro invicem!


Yesterday (as posted) I received many pictures from my boyhood days. The memories are all good. I had a happy childhood. I loved my parents. Yes my Dad had a temper and was a dominating figure-but I loved spending time with him and listening to his stories and to his views-and of course, he could do anything! I loved (and still do love) my Mom. She was (and still is) always there to listen to her children's troubles-and lend any helping hand she can. She had a firm hand, but I thank God for it even til today. My Mom and Dad's devotion to the truth and to the Faith-even in the adversity that society was laying on-were inspiring and something to strive for. For me there was a peaceful security at home. God was there.

I loved my eleven brothers and sisters. Yes, there may have been times of quarrelling or an older sibling picking on me (I guess I did my share of picking too), but overall, home was the place to be. I didn't need anyone else. The games we played at home were always more fun than those played at a friend's house. I loved my house-I loved the whole growing up experience. I absolutely loved the dinner table with us all sitting around. Every night was something to look forward to (even when we had baked carrots.)

It could only take a special woman (Mrs. Curley) to pull me away permanently from my beloved home.

So it saddens me to the heart when, by the venom I hear in someone's voice or in their writing, that I can recognize that they had an unhappy childhood.

I don't know what makes a childhood happy or unhappy. Oh sure, the environment is part of it, but even that can vary. They say kids are pretty resilient and get over things fast-but not all.

You can talk to two children from the same family (after they've grown up of course) and get two diametrically opposed views of the family they grew up in. Barring abuse or tragedy, how one veiws their childhood must have a lot to do with a person's own choices and attitudes, as well as the events and environment.

I pray today for all those grownup children who don't have those happy memories. For those of us lucky enough to have been blessed with a happy childhood, every day (even now), the sun shines.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some memories ...

My sister spent the summer going through photos and other things with my Mom. I received the first fruits of their efforts today. In the mail today was a box of some hundred or so photos-spanning the early-60's to the present. Over the next decade I will share some of them on Bethune Catholic-even though they are only of personal interest.

The first is me (at 2) with my Grandfather. It is such a good picture of both of us (I've gone downhill since then), that I couldn't resist posting it.

The second picture is of Fr. Al with my younger brother. Fr. Al was the pastor of a small Lithuanian parish in my town. Even though we were Irish, we started going to the English Mass there when I was in Junior High (maybe a few years earlier-and probably to escape the craziness elsewhere). Fr. Al was a great priest. I served Mass for with him almost every Sunday for several years. St. George's Parish was the site of two of my sister's weddings (receptions in the basement) and my Dad's funeral. It was swept away with the other church closings in the Boston diocese in the past few years. I believe Fr. Al died a few years ago. I hadn't seen him in more than a decade (he was no longer at St. George's for all those family gatherings.) May his soul rest in peace.

Oremus pro invicem!


Every week I get this "Call for Submissions" to the Cathlic Carnival. And every week I search the past week's entries to look for something profound-or at least something that might be of interest to the global Catholic blogging community. Mostly I come up empty. Oh, there is a line here or there which is of interest (usually when I'm quoting someone else), but nothing really meaty these days.

Some bloggers take a vacation from blogging everyday and say they will blog less often, but have longer, meatier posts. Usually this doesn't happen. No posts happen. That would be me too.

Speaking of quoting other people, I remember when Mrs. Curley and I were dating. Often I would come up with a line from an old song or movie-as I grew up watching old movies and listening to 30's and 40's music (and she didn't). These charmed Mrs. Curley until she heard them for herself when we watched an old movie together, and she suddenly realized that I was a line-robber. Now she thinks that every good line I have ever spoken is stolen from someone else. (I plead no-contest.)

But there precedent for this. An old Bing Crosby song goes something like this:

I can't begin to tell you
How much you mean to me.
My world would end
If ever we were through.

I can't begin to tell you
How happy I would be
If I could speak my mind
Like others do.

I make such pretty speeches
Whenever we're apart.
But when you're near
The words I choose
Refuse to leave my heart.

So take the sweetest phrases
The world has ever known
And make believe
I've said them all to you.

(emphasis mine).

This is what I tell Mrs. Curley. You can readily see where I got the idea. Why reinvent the wheel? (or the line, as the case may be.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I really like making things-especially with wood. Today we built a dog pen for our puppy to stay in at night-when she's older. It will sport a dog house and has shady portions all but one hour of the day-although it is intended for night occupancy or when we are away. I think dogs bark more at intruders/unwelcome animals when they are penned because they can't investigate. It is close to the chicken pen. The fence is buried to discourage digging out. It is about a 10X12 footprint. Actually I did little to build the pen except advise and assist when needed. My oldest son did it mostly on his own. I built the door/gate-that was my contribution. My third gate this week.

But as I started out, I just love working with wood. There is something about it that has always captured my imagination. It is one thing (maybe reading a good book the other) which will engross me so much that I forget about eating and everything else. Yet I have so little time....Hopefully there will be many wood projects this year-some will be pretty utilitarian: gates, closets, etc. But I hope to have some fun ones too; like a music box or the like.

(Not so hot here today-only high 90's when I last checked. You can tell the difference.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Local news

Yesterday the kids told me our thermometer read 108 (F), and it is in the shade. I thought they were wrong or the thermometer was-but apparently not too far off. Columbia was a record 106F yesterday. Today, which was supposed to be "cooler", our thermometer reads 110. We have a wading pool, but even so, we don't let the kids in it til late afternoon in this heat.

We were also considering going to the beach this week, but decided against it because of the heat. Good thing. I read this about sharks on the Isle of Palms, which is our usual destination.

Finally, we have the puppy, Dutchess, back. She looks healthy and playful-and a bit bigger.

Oremus pro invicem!