Friday, April 27, 2007

Testing ...

...all day today. In the book The Good Bad Boy (the "diary" of an 8th grade boy, Pompey Briggs) Pompey tries to make the case that teachers gives tests whenever they are lazy. How wrong this is, at least today. Test days are some of the most exhausting days I have at school. With the technology (and the lack of a sense of sin) today cheating is ever more innovative and widespread, so vigilance is needed. Not to mention you have to grade these things when all is said and done. One good thing about days like today-I get a lot of rosaries said while I pace the aisles monitoring the testing.

No responses to my request below-yet (or to our book deal...)

Happy me! I am now still in my 40's.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Things have been busy... year winding down (hurrah!) and everything else.

I have a request. I know someone with an interest in attending Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. If anyone has information on the orthodoxy of the Theology department, the Catholicity of the administration, and the culture of the school if would be greatly appreciated. You can only learn so much from a website and a 2-day visit. If you would like to email me instead of leaving a comment, try info"at"requiempress"dot"com. (Note I replaced the @ and the .com to avoid spammers. Make Benedictine part of your subject line so I don't delete it as spam.) Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.

Just for kicks, I post of the following picture from "Winchester 73". I just can't help it, Jimmy Stewart westerns are great. We borrowed it from the library a week or so ago. (Not great like "Rio Bravo" and "The Magnificent Seven"-but highly enjoyable great.)

Finally, note that the special on "Witnesses to the Holy Mass" at Requiem Press goes active tonight. (A real deal for only $5, and shipping only $1.50.) Buy it for yourself, your local library, or a friend. It is a great book.

Here's a couple of short reviews:

Witnesses is an extraordinary book about love and blood sacrifice for the Eucharist! Reading it will inspire a greater devotion to the Catholic faith, especially the Mass. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down. Once I finished, I couldn’t wait to share it with others… Having read the book, I feel a greater desire to defend my faith even unto death. Thank you!” -Dede Laugesen, Director, Holy Baby! DVDs and President, The Rosary Project

"The gripping stories recounted will inspire not only a devotion to these saints, but also a renewed passion for the holy Mass that these holy men and women shed their blood to preserve." - March/April 2005 The Catholic Answer

Also, finally a new picture of the staff of Requiem Press can be found here.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abortion, politics, and martyrs

Was listening to the radio yesterday; they were doing a piece on the Supreme Court decision last week, with representatives of different sides of the issue. A pro-abortion activist had the audacity to say that Roe v. Wade only allowed 1st trimester abortions unless there was a 'life of the mother issue'-that the states had broad powers to restrict abortion after the first trimester, and that Planned Parenthood, NOW, etc. never oppose those types of restrictions as long as they don't affect the 'life of the mother exception'.

Has there ever been an abortion restriction proposed anywhere that Planned Parenthood and NOW didn't actively work against? Boldface lying still surprises me.

Also heard political pundits from SC on national radio predicting that Rudy Guiliani has the lead among Republicans contenders here. I never thought a New York politician who is pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights could win a Republican primary in SC. He hasn't done it yet.

Haven't plugged our books in a while. If you haven't read Witnesses to the Holy Mass, it is our first, and one of our best offerings. It is a great example of how we can get spiritual inspiration from reading some of the tales of martyrs. In a run-up to the feast of the 40 martyrs of England and Wales, we will put this classic on special sale. Check out the website tonight when the special starts. (Buy a copy for yourself, friends, library, and enemies.) This year may prove to be a very special feast of the 40 martyrs in our household. Keep us in your prayers.

Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Year of the car continued ...

We're back, but were up in Rock Hill all weekend working (sucessfully) with the car. How about this: a CV joint, two brake calipers, a ball joint boot, and asorted other things. I learned alot-one thing being: you can do more than you think you can-of course I was learning from a master.

I absolutely love fixing things and knowing how to fix them. Cars just were never on the adgenda before-and frankly I was afraid to do much more than change the oil. Of course small budgets are a great motivating factor.

The whole family stayed with friends for Friday night, and then unexpectedly, Saturday night also. There were fireworks in Rock Hill last night-some of the best I've ever seen.

I have two other vehicles with some nagging problems. Guess we should get on them...

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Year of the Car

This has been the 'year of the car' around here one way or the other. It looks like the mishaps and breakdowns are continuing. I was settling in to some beer and cheese-waiting for the family to arrive home-to spend a relaxing Friday night together after a tough week, when I got the call. Broken down. Fortunately a friendly car-guy is fairly close by and will get there before I do.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why - Part II ...

... won't be appearing today or anytime soon. I think I was just going to vent some frustration when I should be bringing it to our Lord in prayer.

Praised be God for the victory banning partial birth abortion at the Supreme Court yesterday. I have not read the majority opinion, but heartening was the quote from it recognizing the interest the state has to legislate moral issues and linking partial birth abortion with infanticide. I worry if the opinion uses language which solidifies Roe v. Wade (some of the radio pieces seemed to indicate that the opinion used such language as "a woman's the constitutional right to abortion" etc.)

In a related matter, This is disturbing, but I think Mr. Culbreath's comment (in his comment box) is right on the mark: "It seems that the divide is too great: there is no longer any possibility of conversation. And I think they like it that way."

By the way, we have talked about the book, "Restoration of Christian Culture" by John Senior several times in the past. Requiem Press would very much like to put this book back in print. John Senior (may his soul rest in peace) died several years ago. At this point, even with the help of his previous publisher, we have been unable to track down his family, i.e. the copyright holders on his writings. We have been looking for well over a year now. Until we do, we can't reprint this classic which I believe is an important guide to the troubled times here and ahead of us. We do suspect that some of the family resides in Australia or has connections there. I know this is the longest of longshots, but spread the word-maybe someone in Dr. Senior's family reads a blog somewhere which can be directed back to this plea. Thanks for your help!

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why?-Part 1

People feel threatened when you care about things too much-even if you do not try to force others to care in the same way: just your witness itself gives rise to hostility.

Case in point: several years ago at my old job we were standing around the 'water cooler' and talking politics-it was a presidential election year. My colleague was straddling the fence between George Bush and Al Gore. I made the comment that while I couldn't necessarily make a convincing argument to vote for GW Bush, I couldn't in conscience vote for Al Gore because of his stance on several issues, first and foremost being abortion. My colleague agreed that abortion was something he was uncomfortable with, but that it wasn't that big an issue. I responded saying that 4000 abortions a day was a pretty big issue to me. He questioned my "pretty big number." I responded that it was a number that wasn't disputed by the pro-abortion side-it was a fact readily available for all to see. He still said it seemed to be a "pretty big number". I agreed it was a big number-and challenged him to find out for himself if it were a true number. But he never did and never would talk with me again on the issue or on anything related because he knew he would have do something if he found out what I was saying was true. It would change his world of complacency.

I know at a parish where we once lived, there was opposition to doing any parish-wide pro-life activities outside of January, "We do pro-life in January. That is the time to do it." What hogwash! This is why abortion is still legal in this country.

In many cases, there are some people who want to "be involved" in all parish activities. But if we have "too many" activities then one can't do it all-thus let us not do so much. I just don't understand.

And how about homeschooling? One homeschooling family in a parish is okay. Maybe even two or three. But if more show up, some people think our very existence condemns the way others raise or raised their own children. I can't explain the hostility any other way. But it is there. And while I admit there are some homeschoolers who will vocally condemn others for not homeschoolers, these the are the exception and are no more numerous than those who vehemently condemn homeschooling. One of the mainstays of homeschooling is that it is the parent's (sacred) obligation and duty to provide for the education of their children in the way they see as best. Thus we can't condemn another parent's discernment for their own children.

to be continued ....

Lifted TS "Spanning the Globe"feature:

Do you think times are so bad that you have received nothing of value? Look around and think again. There is much tradition falling right into your lap: it will die with your generation unless you pick up the baton. The time may be short, but at the moment there is still a residual Christianity clinging to our rapidly decaying culture. Let’s make the most of it. - Jeff of "Stony Creek"

Must have missed this at Stony Creek . It is so true. [I wrote some more-but blogger lost it and I don't have time to rewrite it. Shortly, perservere and pray and don't be afraid to live and resurrect tradition which has faded due to ignorance and the overwhelming Protestant (in the past) and secular (in the present) culture.]

Praise be to God!

Mrs. Curley and daughters have returned from their Divine Mercy Sunday pilgrimage to The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL. She had a wonderful experience and asked if I ever considered moving to AL-(and me just posting the beautiful aerial view of Bethany yesterday.) Don't worry, we are staying put.

Back to school today. Was a great week off.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The small holding in Bethune

When I first was alerted to Google Earth a year or so ago, I tried to zero-in on our place, but the details were very sketchy-so sketchy as to be not recognizable. Looks like they've updated their satellite pictures. This picture must have been taken over a year ago because there are: 1. no dead cars in the yard, and 2. If you zoom out a bit, which you can't do in the photo below, you can see a mobile home in the middle of the field: this was removed about 1-1.5 years ago.

The red-roofed barn is in the neighbors cornfield. Our place is the grey-roofed house. Our 2 acres are basically bounded by the main road and the dirt roads. And of course you see the long driveway (good thing we don't have snow here.) You can see a concrete pad in the backyard where there used to be a garage-before our time. I hope to erect a pavillion with ceiling fans (to keep the gnats and heat away) over it some day. The two small black retangles off the driveway are our two vans (one now deceased.) Our bigger garden is just to the right of the vans. It is a bit bigger now, and there is another one (not visible) is in the backyard on the opposite side. The row of trees on the top (northeast) bordering the property are cedar trees. There is another row on the bottom in the front. The muscadean vines are the green things behind the old garage pad. On the South side of our property is a pine tree farm owned by a local veneer company. The land across the street is owned by a neighbor up the road. And the fields to the North and West of the property are owned by our next door neighbor who brings us good food during the growing season.

So there it is folks. Modest, but just the right size for us.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Quite proud of ourselves....

My two oldest boys and I repaired 3 legs broken off of a table on Saturday, and it looks to be holding sturdily. The breaks were irregular, and barring simply replacing them or doing some wholesale replacing of sections, I wasn't sure how to go about it successfully. The table was given to us and is very nice-much better-looking and in character than the large formica covered (former) conference table we have been using quite successfully and practically for years.

Wish I could say that the method of fixing these broken legs was mine, but I got started (though added my own modifications) here .

Basically, I fitted the legs back on table where they broke; taped them with masking tape; drilled holes for pins at right angles to the break, but in more than one spot, using a finishing nail with the head removed. Then using 'rhino glue' (I think it is the 'Liquid Nails' version of 'Gorilla Glue') I glued the legs up and pushed the pins through the holes. I clamped it (using wax paper in various places where glue might ooze) and waited. Once everything was glued up, I sawed off the overhanging pins. Couldn't find my hack saw and didn't have anything to cut off the protruding nails-but fortunately number one son had a hack saw blade in the tool kit he got for Christmas. Cleaned up and it functions like new. I still may have to do some cosmetic work, but the repairs are not easily seen, so it goes down lower on the priority list.

It would be useful now to have a digital camera to document the steps for future reference, even better to film it.


Divine Mercy Sunday... we finished our Novena here at home. Mrs. Curley and two daughters did it at Mother Angelica's shrine in Alabama. At our parish we had incense and a special blessing of the Divine Mercy image of Christ which hangs in our Church. Father preached on Christ's great mercy for us-I am glad as I am in constant need of it.

We had a lot of incense on Holy Thursday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. I like how it adds solemnity to the Mass. Apparently some people thought it was too much (our Church building is very small, only seating about 100), so it was toned down today.

Because of Mrs. Curley's expedition to Alabama, I get an extra day of break from school. It was touch and go for a while as we have to find our own substitutes, but I found someone on Saturday. Will enjoy the extra day off-although I will probably be working through most of it. I have a wax seal to replace on a toilet and some consulting work to wrap up.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Eternal Rest Grant to them O Lord ...

and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Please pray for the respose of the soul of Dr. Claude William Delia and for the consolation of his family. He was 82 years old and the father/father-in-law of dear friends.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Crowder's Mountain State Park, NC

Took the three oldest boys to Crowders Mountain State Park for an overnight backpacking expedition. I usually write a journal on our camping/backpacking trips, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, I will excerpt from it.

We arrived at the state park at 12:30 PM on Wednesday April 12th. Headed into the woods at 1:00 PM. Hike to campsite, approximately 1 mile in. Hike was moderate with a few short but steep inclines. Took site #6 at Ranger's recommendation. They have a pit toilet, stacked firewood and a water (pump) nearby. (What luxuries! Seldom do we see this at hike-in sites.) We were the only campers for the night.

We ate lunch and then set up camp. Oldest two sons set up both tents in under 10 minutes. Youngest (of the three) and I set up the rope to hang food during the night. We then hiked over (approx. 1/2 mile) to the group sites. We may want to return with friends someday (soon).

Getting back the boys explored a bit and then began gathering firewood. Number two son arranged and lit fire professionally. Much of the wood was wet (it rained the past couple days postponing our trip), but it started just fine, if a bit smokey throughout the night.

We said the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (remember the Novena) while we waited for the fire to get ready to cook on. Once we had some good coals, we cooked some chicken breast, potatoes, and brown beans. We forgot seasoning which would have helped the chicken and potatoes, but the B&M beans were perfect as always. Besides, we were pretty hungry, so it mattered little.

The park is about 30 miles or so from Charlotte. The Ranger commented to us that they are quickly becoming more of an urban oasis than a wilderness area. He spoke truth. We could hear traffic in the far distance all night long.

We stayed up til 10:00 PM. Number one son commented that you don't realize how much you miss something (it had been a couple years since our last expedition) until you do it again. (I guess this could be applied to the spiritual life also?) We sang some songs (Our Lady of Knock, Pennies from Heaven, etc.); number one son played us some tunes on his harmonica, then we played a duet to the only song I know (Old Folks at Home). I told some stories from memory from one of our books "Giving Up Stealing For Lent"; we said the Rosary, and then off to bed.

I didn't sleep to well-I never do on these trips. I think I need to dig a trench under the tent to fit my body's contour. My best sleep actually came when I should have been getting up: 6:30 - 8:30 AM. But we were in no hurry.

Got a quick fire going in the morning to boil some water for instant oat meal and apple cider (coffee for me.) We packed up everything except one tent and stashed our backpacks inside and then took our water, lunch and my travel pack (first aid kit, book, flashlight, journal, matches etc.) for our expedition to the top of Kings Pinnacle. (See picture above-not mine).

Left at 10:25 and arrived at 11:25 on the dot at the top. It was pretty strenuous, but not too long (guessing about 1.5 miles without the map in front of me). It is a great view to the West. Crowder's Mountain is also in the park. It is not quite so high and looks to the East (Charlotte). The turkey vultures were flying below us. The cliff on the West side is shear. We stayed about 1.5 hours. We ate lunch up there and said the Chaplet. The boys explored and I started re-reading Familiaris Consortio.

I am very proud of the boys. We hadn't backpacked in sometime and they were all troopers both on the trail and at camp. Encouraging to to know some lessons have been learned as they mature.

We left the summit and returned to pack up the rest of the campsite-and left the park at 3:00 Friday.

Mrs. Curley and two daughters have left for EWTN-country (or Mother Angelica's monastery) for Divine Mercy Sunday events. I am left with my four boys and youngest daughter for the weekend. Mrs. Curley left the fridge stocked. We will do a little relaxing, but also get some things finished and fixed around here.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don't know how I missed this one ...

Back during Lent, this article on penance by Russell Shaw-or should I say the missing emphasis on penance in some quarters:

.... there was something deeply moving and pastorally fitting in this testimony that, at least for some Catholics, the sacrament of Penance remains a normal, natural part of their religious lives.

It hardly needs saying that today this isn't everywhere true. There's been a drastic decline in reception of this sacrament in the last 30 or 40 years. The question is, why?

You can see a hint of an answer, perhaps, in a Catholic News Service story noting the topics of some of this year's Lenten pastoral letters in the United States: "immigration reform, an end to the death penalty and helping children in need."

Immigration reform, ending the death penalty, and helping kids are good causes that I strongly support. Nor do I question a bishop's right to determine what needs saying in his diocese at any given time. The question I'm raising isn't the goodness of the causes or the rights of bishops. It's whether, generally speaking, it makes sense to focus the meaning of Lent on issues like these....

While many factors account for the dropoff in receiving the sacrament of Penance, a well-intentioned but misplaced emphasis — arguably, overemphasis — on social justice issues in place of sorrow for personal sin appears to be one. The two things, penance and justice, aren't in conflict. Rather, they mesh. And unless we get the penance part of the equation right, the justice part will be forever at risk.

Read the whole thing. There are some interesting points I didn't excerpt, including a few of the comments to the article.


Did some printing, binding, and cutting yesterday. Then I got the garage cleaned out so I can get some stuff made/repaired for Mrs. Curley. My boys helped and did a good job. Was going camping today but it is pouring rain. (I am not opposed to backpacking and camping in the rain-have done it plenty of times-but why do it if you have the choice not to?) I have some work to do on a consulting job, so I will try to wrap that up today so I can be free for the rest of the week.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Now reading...

Just started reading this. Of course growing up and all the years I lived in the Boston area, I had contact with Opus Dei. In fact, I would say that my spirituality is more Opus Dei than any other group I have ever encoutered-some of this I am sure was due to the formation I received from them in my formative years.

So I am looking forward to reading this. It is short. I don't know much about Dr. Hahn, except by reputation. I must confess, however, that I did have an ulterior motive to getting this book. Dr. Hahn mentions one of our books in the notes, and I was curious to see exactly what was said. Here goes, it is a note to Chapter 8:

On the problem of clericalism, no analysis has been more clear or constructive than that of Russell Shaw. His is a voice crying out in the wilderness. See especially his books Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church (Bethune SC: Requiem 2005), To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the Catholic Laity (San Francisco, Ignatius 1993) ...

Just as a refresher, here are the covers to the other Russell Shaw books mentioned, (of course ours is familiar):

A note on the title to the Ignatius Press book, I believe this is a quote by a bishop in the 19th century as to what the laity were good for: only "to hunt, to shoot and to entertain."


I have finally fixed the appearance of the link to TS' blog and have added the permanent link to Mr. Culbreath's latest effort. I should have added a few more links here and there which I visit regularly, but am pressed for time.

I do have this week off from school, but also have other works to catch up on. None-the-less, I may do some camping with the boys (we all feel the wild calling to us). I will definitely clean out the garage/shop so it can be functional again. There is a rodeo in town over the coming weekend, and maybe we will go check it out. Stay tuned....

From the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Passion ... the Waiting .... the Resurrection

Saturday the kids put on (with numerous friends) their annual Passion play. Pictures will be forthcoming in a week or so. I think it is one of those things where the players probably get more out of it than anyone else as they have to think about what really happened in order to play it right.

Went to the Easter Vigil with my oldest son. It is only the 2nd time I have gone to an Easter Vigil, last year being the first. I had to go through the Mass with the altar servers who had not ever served Sunday Mass at St. Catherine's or an Easter Vigil. My son is the 'expert' on the incense, so he came to help out. Although, as it turned out, I think they would have done just as well without me. It was beautiful as always and a full house.

Yet there is something about the Easter Sunday morning Mass, especially at St. Catherine's which is even more beautiful. We did have an infant Baptism on Sunday morning. (And maybe I am biased because my daughter was doing the music for Easter Sunday.) Let's put it this way. A large Church can do an elaborate ceremony with all the pomp which is appropriate-like the Easter Vigil-in a way a small country parish can't. At the same time, a more simple Mass like Easter morning can be done more beautifully, elegantly, yet simply in a small country parish like St. Catherine's in a way a large parish can't. And this Easter Sunday morning may have been the most beautiful I have seen. We had the Agnus Dei and Sanctus in Latin. Were treated with the singing of the Regina Caeli before Mass. We prayed "Jesus my Lord, my God, my All" during Communion (to an overwhelming crowd for our parish.) We had the infant Baptism, incense, etc. I don't think it could have been more beautiful. (We were also reminded that we couldn't be too smart if we end up in Hell when we have the mark of Baptism on our soul.)

We came home and cooked a large brunch-so much we really didn't eat dinner-just snacked here and there. Then we sent the kids walking outside while we hid their baskets inside. Once found (oldest daughter found hers last as is tradition). Then as they ate candy we had them clean up inside as Mrs. Curley and I hid eggs outside.

Reminder, the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena continues this week.

Christ is Risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Behold the Man!
Beautiful Holy Thursday Mass at St. Catherine's last night. Tonight: The veneration of the cross. This morning: some work; this afternoon meditation on the Passion and the annual Lenten 'family forgiveness' (read origin and details here).

For meditation on the Passion, besides the Gospels, I recommend Fulton Sheen's The Seven Last Words and A Doctor At Calvary.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Holy Week

I realize it has been several days since I last posted. Let me try to catch up.

Saturday we finally found the problem with the washing machine drain line. Our washing machine is on a separate drain field. Since we moved here, we have periodically had water back up problems. I extended the drain field twice, but this didn't solve the problem. We checked for clogs, etc. But nothing ever completely solved the problem. We didn't have a back flow with every wash, and it did seem to happen with the initial surge of water-if you got past that, you were homefree.

So on Saturday we dug up the drain line. Not 10 feet from the house the pipe transitioned from 2" PVC to 1.5" PVC. Then a foot later the pipe went uphill over an old dry well. Well, there's the problem! We replaced all the 1.5" pipe (it transitioned back to 2" before the drain field) and fixed all the grade problems (while the drywell problem was the most pronounced, the rest of the line didn't always have a downhill path either.) It was a long day of work, but we finally have a problem solved.


Our last two have finally come down with the chicken pox. They are on track to suffer through Holy Week-but may be feeling better by Easter.


A couple more things....

Hopefully I can update the sidebar with some more links next week. School is on Easter break, so maybe I will have some time. We have put a few things in the ground, but we still have a few really cold nights predicted this week, so it will be another week before finish planting.

Was at the hardware store on Saturday. I found out there will be no Bethune Chicken Strut this year. Last year there was a carnival, parade, etc. We tried (unsuccessfully) at reported here, here, and here to sell some homemade wreaths, wooden guns, and walking sticks. Most of the wooden guns have been depleted between birthdays here and giving them away to interested visitors. The wreaths are depleted too. We have most of the walking sticks. Maybe I should sell them on ebay... Actually we think it would be really neat to open a country store in our front yard and sell homemade crafts and jams. But another year maybe....

And our annual Passion Play should be this weekend pending health and weather issues.

I would suspect that my blogging will be sort of light the rest of this week, but who knows...