Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Great...

when you finally put the book to bed-that is you send it to the printer. The last few days before cutting the string and sending it to the printer are filled with constant 2nd guessing and tweaking-quite stressful because you just want it out the door, but you also want it perfect.

For example, in my last post yesterday I put up the "final cover". Well it's not the same cover that went to the printer today. We did some final changes on both the front and back-see if you can find them here (on the front.)

Next week it will be on the website and will be available for pre-order. And then of course I will be hounding you all to spread the word (or buy some books.)

I think it is a moving story and hopefully will make an impact for saving some babies.

Planted more carrots and radishes this morning as the sun rose. It is getting late to be planting, but we're not finished yet. We still want to put in more spinach and turnips. And, the broccoli was started inside and is almost ready to be moved outside. We need to get all this done in the next week or so.

I am thinking that I wish my job was more active. I want to make things, or plant things all day instead of making "virtual" things on the computer. I think my eyesight would be better, my weight less, and my demeanor kinder (if only because I was physically exhausted.)

My prospects of starting a job now which requires constant physical labor my be poor as I am not getting any younger-I am on the downside of the mountain (or maybe at the peak?)

Oh well, I guess I will take and be satisfied with those things I have been given.

thinking about St. wenceslaus

There is much to contemplate about the life of St. Wenceslaus-both his detachment from material goods and the disfunctional family he was a part of. His mother was responsible for his grandmother's murder, and his own brother murdered him. It does seem that there was not much family life among royalty-or at least there are famous feuds: King Richard and Prince John to name just one more pair of feuding brothers.

I see my boys in disagreements and fights-I wonder what kind of situation could raise their small disagreements of today into blood feuds of tomorrow. I hope nothing.

I wonder if (or how often) Wenceslaus and his brother Boleslaw ever crossed swords in the garden in play, or sailed together the ocean on an upside down table, or adventured in so many other ways brothers will.

Saint Wenceslaus

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.

His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother St. Ludmilla (Note: She was also murdered/martyred by the enemies of Wenceslaus and Christianity: see picture of chapel dedicated to her below.) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.

And the prayer from this morning:

Lord, you taught your martyr Wenceslaus to prefer the kindom of heaven to all that the earth has to offer. May his prayers free us from our self-seeking and help us to serve you with all our hearts. We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.

St. Wenceslaus, ora pro nobis .... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Here is the final version.... It will be released sometime in the next two weeks-details to follow. Once I have a hard date, I will start taking pre-orders. We are excited-are first new release in almost a year.

And the next one should come in November-in time to ship for Christmas. I think we have secured the cover art, so I'll give you a real preliminary sneak preview below.

As you may recall, my first choice for the cover was Thomas More confronting Cardinal Wolsey in Parliament. But that proved too expensive to secure. (Maybe that's why it is seldom used.)

Anyway, we are excited about both fall titles. A new catalog should be forthcoming within two weeks.

And of final, but insignificant note (I promised I wouldn't do this, but ....) I have new post on The Patent Agent blog.

Oremus pro invicem!

The filming is over....


I think everyone had fun-and everyone is exhausted. The last day of filming was at a state park, so I missed it because I had work to do at home. If I can get my hands some pictures of the boys in uniform (or the girls in period dress) over the next week or so, I will post them.

I didn't really do anything to help on the film except tend the fire for a couple scenes. I mentioned once that I was jealous-and they offered me a part: as a dead soldier (I didn't even get to die-I would just lay there.) I passed and went back to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Good News, Bad News. (now I can get back to some other things.)

The message is that the laity must evangelize our culture one person/friend at a time, through both example and conversation-much like the early Christians did.


Am still steamed about the Baptist Preacher at the Catholic funeral earlier this week (see yesterday's post). I am going to contact him by letter or phone later this week. (Apparently a few others are too.) Will keep you posted.


Finally, I think we are getting close (only about 2 weeks late) to releasing our newest publication: Is it a Baby, or just some cells? This isn't the cover, but it is close....

Oremus pro invicem!

Killed a mouse...

at 6:00 am this morning. Mrs. Curley got me up (yes, I was sleeping in due to a couple late nights) and told me that THE mouse was in the middle of the kitchen floor.

A couple days ago, we heard a mouse in the kitchen and have found some tell-tale signs. I put out some poison and a trap baited with peanut butter. (We never had mouse troubles until our cat claimed a few chickens. Now, with no cat, we have mice.)

During the day yesterday, Mrs. Curley had a brush with the mouse, almost stepping on it as it peeked out from under the oven. So getting this guy was a priority.

This mouse seemed unafraid as I approached it with a broom. One swat was all it took. Hopefully he doesn't have a family....

Update: Mrs. Curley offers a correction to the events. The mouse ran across her foot as it went from behind our washer to under the oven.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Out of place

Went to a funeral this week. Father gave a homily in which he mentioned the sacraments of the Church, their purpose and effects, etc. He mentioned that he gave these sacraments and also the apostolic blessing to the deceased this past week. At the end of Mass, before the final blessing, he announced that several people were going to come up and say a few words. I don't think he expected what followed...

The first speaker was the neice of the deceased and she said a few loving words about her aunt. The second speaker wasn't a family member-he was the deceased daughter's Protestant pastor.

He didn't give a eulogy; he preached a sermon on how the deceased became a Christian this past week when she accepted the words of the Gospel and Jesus Christ as her personal lord and savior. It almost as though he was giving a rebuttal to Father: i.e. that it wasn't the last sacraments which saved the deceased, but the acceptance of the scripture reading.

Oh, I wanted to stand up and say: 'But pastor, don't you know that Catholics accept Christ as their savior every day and not just once? And pastor, did you forget that Christ also said: "Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you will have no life within you?" The deceased accepted Christ everyday-and lived that life, partaking of the holy sacrifice and sacraments instituted by Christ on earth (as can be shown in scripture) and adminstered by the Church which Christ clearly founded-as can be shown in scripture and demonstrated in the history of Christianity.'

He crossed a line, but out of charity a scene was avoided. If I hadn't had to return half the cast (see post below) to home immediately after the funeral, I would have stuck around for the reception and had a conversation with the good pastor....

Oremus pro invicem!

Yankee Doodle

Some friends of my children have gotten together and are making a Revolutionary War movie-with authentic looking costumes, props, etc. They have been filming here for the last couple days. I have been helping out here and there, mostly with transporation and fire-building.

In some sense I am a bit jealous. The camaraderie of the group (20 or more children ranging in age from 5 to 17) is something to behold (and let's face it-they have neat costumes.)

Yesterday as I was driving a group back from their battle scene in the woods-some 11 were standing and sitting in the back of my pickup-they broke out in Yankee Doodle.

They shoot one scene from the rebel side. And then they all change costumes into redcoats and shoot the other side. The young man responsible for the movie and the script has done a great job. I can't wait to see it-and maybe provide some pictures here.

Busy day ahead, between work, filming (I think I finished my contribution this morning in building a sunrise fire of just coals), and Rose Ray's funeral.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rose Ray - Rest in Peace

One of my fellow-parishioners died late last week. Rose Ray was full of life and always spoke her mind. I always liked seeing her and talking with her. I think the last time I talked to her, she gave me coupons for a local chanin restaurant. She always was thinking of others. Here's what the Lancaster News had to say:

Rosemarie Fratrik Ray, 73, died Friday, Sept. 21, 2007.

Born Dec. 8, 1933, in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of the late Michael S. Fratrik and Vinca Gana Fratrik. She was married to the late Ralph Alexander “Toby” Ray. She was retired from Duracell. She was a member of the Springs Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop and the Red Hats Club. She was an adult literacy instructor. She was a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church.

Survivors include two daughters, Sharon Dusenbury and her husband, Kleber, and Linda Ray, all of Lancaster; a granddaughter, Kristie Kennington; a great-grandson, Brayden Kennington; and a sister, Eleanor E. Krkoska of Philadelphia.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Catherine Catholic Church.

As with death, comes life. One of my sisters had her 7th child last night, a boy named Aquinas Joseph. Blessed be God.

May Rose's soul rest in peace!

In my sights

Took a walk with my .22 Henry this morning. As I walked along the edge of my property I spied, some 60 yards or so away, was a deer. It was eating wild muscadines at the edge of the wood near my neighbor's corn field.

I raised my rifle and took a look. She was mine for the taking...but season hasn't started yet and it ain't my property.

Some say you can't take a deer down properly with one shot from a .22. Some say it is quite sufficient.

Someday soon I may find out for my self.

Oremus pro invicem!

Our Lady of Ransom/Walsingham

Update: If you want some complete coverage of this feast, go to Pro Ecclesia!

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Ransom. The history of this feast originates in Spain (read all about it at The Catholic Encyclopedia). Yet, it also has a history in England, now replaced on the calendar by the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham....

In 1993, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales presented to Rome proposals for a new liturgical calendar for England and Wales. These were finally approved by the Vatican to take effect from Advent 2000. Among the changes is a new feast of Our Lady of Walsingham to be celebrated as a memorial (a feast in East Anglia) on September 24th.

The feast replaces the old feast of Our Lady of Ransom, which was the only feast of Our Lady proper to England. Devotion to Our Lady of Ransom came to express the desire of Catholics in England to restore her Dowry (England) to Mary.

The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom has long connections with the Shrine and it is unlikely that the old title of Our Lady of Ransom will disappear altogether nor will the title, Our Lady of Mercy, which is also associated with September 24th.

The new feast was celebrated at the Shrine on September 24th (2001) for the first time. (From the website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham )

Of course, our very first release, Witnesses to the Holy Mass, is a series of sermons first preached in 1904 to inspire a re-conversion in England. Thus you could say we have a connection here.

Our Lady of Mercy (Ransom) is also invoked for those Christians suffering under Muslim rule (see origins in top link above.)

Both these causes (return of England to the Blessed Virgin Mary & for Christians suffering under Muslim rule) are relevant today. So we invoke her:

Our Lady of Ransom...Ora pro nobis!

The Daily Prayer said by Ransomers in England
Jesus, Convert England
Jesus, Have Mercy On This Country.
(Dying Prayer of Blessed Henry Heath OSF)
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
now, and at the hour of our death.
Our Lady of Ransom & Walsingham, Pray for us
St Gregory the Great, Pray for us
St. Augustine of Canterbury, Pray for us
St. Thomas Becket, Pray for us
St. John Fisher, Pray for us
St. Thomas More, Pray for us
St. Margaret Clitherow, Pray for us
Blessed Henry Heath, Pray for us
Blessed English Martyrs, Pray for us

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Got a late start, but much accomplished anyway. We got the spinach and broccolli planted today (we are starting the broccolli inside) and prepared ground for our second round of carrots to be planted on Monday.

We have already turnips, turnip greens, and radishes coming in. The first round of carrots haven't come up-but they are slow growers.

Mrs. Curley and number 2 daughter made and canned a bunch of muscadine jelly today.

And I finally made the shoe rack for the side porch. It is rustic, but better than what we had.

Now I have pork chops on the grill-it took forever for the coals to ready. So gotta go.

Oh yes, the corner store is selling expired beer again at rock bottom prices. I came home today with some Rolling Rock. Cheers! (Can't wait til they get some Guinness.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Ultimate Irony... the spam wars.

I have several email addresses connected to our business. One is for sales contacts, one is for the website, one for marketing outreach, and we have some personal ones too. I have an email address through the business as does Mrs. Curley.

Here's the thing. When Mrs. Curley sends me an email from her address to my address: my filter spams her!

Something new

You might notice a new link on my sidebar... Yes, I have new blog called The Patent Agent. I think I have mentioned at least once that I do some consulting work to help ends meet-this work is drafting patent applications, which I did for corporate America for several years.

While my primary work is Requiem Press, Mrs. Curley and the kids like to eat occasionally (I don't need any more food on my frame) so I still keep my hand in drafting patent applications and advising a handful of clients in these matters.

I won't be notifying Bethune Catholic readers everytime I have a new post at the new blog, but just wanted to let you know what is going on. And of course, if you have invented the better mousetrap, come on by and I'll see what I can do to help you out.

Oremus pro invicem!

Five Books

Maclin Horton writes of the 5 books everyone should read. It is a challenge, but I will give my five (maybe a trend will start....)

As a preface, my choices are specifically for today's situation. 50-100 years prior or hence my selections (with the exception of one or two) would be different. And I don't specify age. Some of the selections would be read at a younger age than others.

1. The Bible: I won't limit myself to the New Testament, which if reading only one of the two, the NT should be the choice. But you get a fuller picture of understanding the whole history of salvation with both OT & NT. (Haydock Bible would be the most ideal edition.)

2. The Restoration of Christian Culture by John Senior: We need a renewal which starts with personal holiness and families living a Christian lifestyle and throwing of the secular consumerism so rampant. This book gives the game plan.

3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: For me, taught me to walk in other's shoes before judging and to be grateful for blessings and favors received at a young age. Plus it is classic literature.

4. The Republic by Plato: Aristotle may have been closer to Christianity, but Plato is easier to read and accomplishes something similar-that is, to get us used to thinking about how things should be and maybe how they can be accomplished. Understand that Plato wrote and taught without the benefit of revelation. Read this after reading the Bible.

Getting this far is pretty easy. But when trying to decide the last book for the list-it becomes very difficult. I contemplated cheating by giving two books: one for boys and one for girls (Treasure Island-the ultimate adventure story & Anne of Green Gables-which I have never read, but which I have seen sisters and daughters devour with the same passion I re-read Treasure Island over and over.) Then I thought Witness to Hope by George Weigel. This book explains much about Vatican II and the pontificate of John Paul II. But how could I leave Chesterton (probably Everlasting Man) off the list? And then the temptation arose to make the last book something really obscure that I and only a handful of others had read and enjoyed (probably would have to be a Requiem Press book!)

Finally, although it doesn't practically pertain to everyone, it does pertain to everyone as a society: I decided the book had to be:

5. John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation: Familiaris Consortio- The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (if staying in this category, a close second would be his short letter on keeping the Sabbath.) This book is a practical and spiritual guide for families. And in this age which attacks the Domestic Church so violently and relentlessly, I found this to be a profound guide for strength, ideas, and consolation.

What are your suggestions?

Oremus pro invicem!

Thinking about St. Joseph

I know it is the feast of St. Matthew, but the combination of Mr. Culbreath's recent post on St. Joseph and this article I came across, got me to thingking... First the article; it begins:

Will the coming millennium-2000 A.D. -be focused on St. Joseph just as the first millennium centered on Christ and as the second millennium brought out the role of Mary in God's plan for mankind? There seems to be much pointing in that direction.

The ecumenical councils of the first millennium clarified the questions concerning Christ's divinity and humanity. The second millennium began with the great surge of cathedral building-many named after Our Lady, such as Notre Dame of Paris. Then there were her apparitions and gifts, and finally the dogmatic definitions.

As the third millennium begins, not only does our "fatherless" society need to rediscover the family in God's natural and supernatural plan, but also, and especially, our individual call to holiness as emphasized by Vatican II.

Further on, it continues:

His interior life was based on his singular union with Jesus through Mary. He was consecrated to Jesus through Mary by his espousal to her. To espouse means to take to heart, to become one with, to identify with completely. Joseph gave his heart undividedly to Mary and took her heart as his own. As Mary's heart is one with Christ's, so Joseph's heart became one with the Sacred Heart through Mary. Thus Joseph's consecration is the epitome of all consecrations to Jesus through Mary. By espousing the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Joseph was perfectly united to all that which the heart of Mary contains. She was Joseph's way to Christ exteriorly and interiorly. That is why we can call them the terrestrial trinity: three in one love.

There is a lot to absorb here. Husbands and fathers must live up to St. Paul's exhortations in Ephesians as head of the family. Abstractly and concretely we look (as always) to Christ on the cross-knowing that we must love our wife as Christ loved the Church-laying down His life for His spouse. Now in a very practical sense, we can look to St. Joseph to see how he lived out this ideal.

Think about this guys: St. Joseph was asked to be head of the Holy Family. From Ephesians-we know that headship is not a lording of our power or tyranny over the family. But imagine your spouse is the Blessed Virgin and your son is Christ! That's pretty intimidating. How do you lead a family when you are the only sinner? Yet (excepting that most of our spouses [Mrs. Curley not included] and children are not without sin) we must follow Joseph's example in our dealings with our spouses and our children.

Again, the emphasis is that headship in a family is about sacrifice. Only through the sacrifice is that headership obtained. Christ founded and became head of the Church through His shedding of His most precious blood on the cross.

I heard of a miracle worked through the intercession of St. Joseph this week. Not surprisingly it occurred at a place dedicated to our Lady...

Oremus pro invicem!

Call of St. Matthew

Every time I see this painting, I see Christ's finger pointing at me. Blessed be St. Matthew who answered Christ's call. May we also follow our vocation promptly and faithfully.....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're playing your song!

Will be working from the road much of today, but saw this at The Curt Jester last night and had to comment. You see, my sound card doesn't work, so I can't hear the audio on any of these things. But Mrs. Curley, who was by my shoulder, urged me to play the video. We couldn't hear the singing, but within moments, Mrs. Curley laughed and said, "Their singing your song!-its Kumbaya"

The joke around here is that if I am not good to the family they will play this disaster of a song at my funeral-making sure I have no rest.

Have a good day all....Oremus pro invicem!

In the mail

Received Fr. John McCloskey, III and Russell Shaw's latest book in the mail yesterday-Good News, Bad News (Ignatius Press). While I am still reading several other books (most notably Sources of Renewal) I had to take look inside didn't I?

To tell the truth, on the computer screen I hadn't been crazy about the cover. (And I'm an expert, right?) But seeing it in my hand, I changed my mind. It is an attractive cover.

And the reading is easy-as with all of Mr. Shaw's books-but meaningful. Here's a sample:

Time and again this has been called the "age of the laity". It's a beautiful thought. But the success of a real age of the laity, whenever one finally arrives, won't be measured by how many lay people get involved with lay ministries, as commendable as such involvement often is. It will be measured by quantitative and qualitative growth in the intensity of prayer, sacramental participation, and apostolic fervor on the part of the laity.

And as that kind of growth takes place, it will lead inevitably to the transformation of contemporary culture into one that faithfully reflects Christ's teaching as mediated by the Church.

Can't go wrong with this book. In some senses, this book is like a course on how to be God's instrument in the conversion of others.

The immediate message in the passage quoted, is personal holiness. So much doesn't matter if we are not striving for personal holiness. We can be on the right side of all the issues, but without a prayer life, we might as well toss it away.

Of course we are fortunate to have a new book from Russell Shaw coming out sometime in the spring of 2008. More on this in the weeks to come.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Had the septic tank pumped this morning. It has been 14 months since the last time-but I didn't want to take any chances as we had problems at 22 months before.

The first man who pumped our septic tank three years ago (out of business now) was quite a philosopher. I wish now I had recorded our conversations because he was just full of opinions on virtually every topic. I remember him talking about raising children, eating habits, career choices, dating, schools, politics... and it goes on. He talked and talked while his helper did everything. Mrs. Curley and I were in stitches.


Am trying to put together a training booklet for our altar servers. I have found quite a few helps online so far.


This reminds me of a book my mother gave me as a child for altar boys. It was called "Book for Boys" by Fr. Leo Trese . The book was mostly a series of stories of altar boys: the boy who always showed up late, the boy who wasn't afraid to tell the priest he forgot part of the Mass, etc. As I recall, there was also a section about the parts of the Mass and sacred vessels, vestments, clothes, etc. I read the stories many times.

I have given this book to each of my boys as they started to serve Mass. I'll have to track down our copy. I did a quick search on this morning and found no copies.

Oremus pro invicem!

I noticed in my last post that the homilest for the Rosary Celebration in Kingstree, SC on 13 October is Fr. John Phelan, CSC President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. I didn't know anything about Fr. Phelan or Holy Cross Family Ministries, so I looked here. I have heard of Fr. Peyton (the rosary priest) but didn't know this was his foundation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's coming ...

You'll be seeing frequent reminders and updates here over the next few weeks. We have a caravan from Bethany pilgrimaging to the Rosary Celebration near Our Laday of South Carolina Shrine in Kingstree, SC. If you are in the area, you should make it too.

Note the celebrant: Less than 2 weeks after being installed as the new bishop of Birmingham, AL Bishop Baker will return to our diocese to say Mass and the rosary at our Marian Shrine.

Thank you Bishop Baker!

(Note that this is an outdoor Mass. The Shrine itself can hold only a handful of pilgrims.)

News and notes (mostly notes)

Woke up late this morning, but my eye is much better, so the tradeoff is worth it. Don't think I can drive distances today safely, but I am getting there. Mostly it feels like I have been poked in the eye-but it doesn't go away. It waters alot making my vision blurry-which is why I can't drive.

Yesterday the air had that crisp feel to it you only get in the fall. That's not to say we won't have some warm weather yet-I have seen 85 on Thanksgiving. But the trend will be towards relief.

It also means squirrel season is almost here and rabbit season quick to follow. I bought some hollow-point cartridges yesterday for my Henry .22. I usually buy the regular, but the hollow point are such a deal, and who knows, I may get a shot at a deer sometime, and the hollow point are more likely to bring it down.

We have 20% left in our propane tank (usually we have nothing left at this time) so there is not a particular urgency to get it filled; but I called our supplier just to check out the prices: $3.09/gallon! So I called the competitor: $2.15/gallon! How can this be? I think someone is losing a customer....

I may do some substitute teaching this year at the school I taught at last year. My patent agent consulting work can be feast or famine, so maybe the sub work can fill in some gaps. Of course Requiem Press just needs more time to be a meaningful contributor to the family economy-it is succeeding-it just can't feed all the mouths depending on it quite yet.

Mrs. Curley essentially asked me this morning what my blog was about. I really can't answer. Sometimes I write hoping someone else will find what I wrote enlightening or amusing. Sometimes it is more like a diary for myself or family members. Every once in a while I write something primarily for the benefit of Mrs. Curley-not that we don't talk, we do a lot of talking-but for amusement purposes. (Sometimes I can write better than I can talk.) Sometimes I use the writing to clarify my own thoughts on a subject.

Back to work...Oremus pro invicem!

Another Hymn to Christ

Remain of Christ in the hearts you have redeemed.
You who are perfect love,
pour into our words
sincere repentance.

We raise our prayer to you,
O Jesus, with faith;
pardon the sin we have committed.

By the sign of the holy cross,
by your tortured body,
defend us constantly as your sons.

The Venerable Bede

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alan Keyes in the race?

This surprised me this morning when I read it (hat tip to AD Orientem). It surprised me even more that his run for the presidency is seen a calculated spoiler for Ron Paul. Is Ron Paul perceived as such a threat? -he isn't even in the front set of contenders. And Alan Keyes to me has always sort of bucked the establishment GOP in many ways-no a GOP lackey in any sense.

As the only anti-war GOP candidate, I don't know how much Ron Paul suffers from pro-war Alan Keyes. There are several really solid pro-life candidates, thus Alan Keyes is more likely to take some of their (Brownback esp.) votes.

It all doesn't make sense to me yet. I am disappointed that Mr. Keyes is so pro-Iraq war, but I have always loved to hear him speak.

I saw him in person once during his 2000 campaign. I actually followed him as a guest on a radio show once (details here ) in my sole radio piece (I guess I didn't burn the paint off any walls).

I will have to keep my eye on this.

The rest of the weekend

Got a few things done-prepared some more soil for planting, fixed a door knob, mowed the lawn,etc.

And I spent a half hour with a Jehovah Witness who came calling. He was a very nice older (than me) gentleman. I guess he had come calling several months ago and Mrs. Curley invited him to come back when I was home. We didn't talk about anything we didn't agree on-we talked about raising kids and Holy Scripture. But he did leave a book called What Does the Bible Really Teach? and one their pamphlets, Awake! I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about the next time he comes out.

I'm really functioning on one eye these days and writing takes longer (because proofreading is more necessary.) Doctor says I should be back to normal in about 48 hours or so.

Oremus pro invicem!

Muscadines and another casualty

We picked 7 more pounds of muscadines over the weekend-but not without casualty.

I was up on the step ladder trying to reach some grapes and somehow got something in the my eye which scratched my cornea. I tried to get the debris out by the traditional eye-flush; then putting my head in a bucket a water with my eye open and swishing around; and finally going after it with a Q-tip: I touched it, but couldn't dislodge it. All to no avail. It killed me to go to the hospital-but there was no help for it.

Fortunately the emergency room wasn't overrun with chainsaw accidents and the like on this quiet Sunday night. With not too much trouble they removed the debris, but also confirmed a scratched cornea-which means I have to see another doctor today.

I can't work too efficiently this morning, with one eye closed and swollen, but I'll do the best I can.

Mrs. Curley had a scratched cornea in April-I am surprised I didn't post about it, cause it was quite the thing around here. The way certain people told stories about it made it appear that I was an insensitive lout-but truly that wasn't the case...

I hope whatever comes of the muscadines makes the eye thing worth it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Here we go again...

Was working at a remote location a bit today. The weekend is upon us and I feel obligated to leave you with ......

another book plug.

Do you know the basic tenats of the Faith? Do your friends and family? The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great resource, but it is not always possible to carry it around with you. However you can carry the Mini-Catechism with you anywhere-even in your back pocket. It is a descendant of the Penny Catechism approved by the Bishops in Ireland many many years ago. It has been updated (according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church) by Brother Charles Madden OFM Conv. of Marytown. 388 Questions and Answers plus some of the most used prayers from the tradition of the Church are included in this compact booklet edition. This is an official catechism with new imprimatur.

While not a penny anymore, still it won't break your pocketbook and quantity discounts are available if you want to give some to your friends, or just have some handy.

While you're at it, perhaps you want some light but engaging reading while flying on business or want a book with short stories so you can pick it up without spending 30 minutes trying to find your place. Then Brother Charles Madden's stories of growing up in Baltimore, Giving Up Stealing for Lent!, could be right for you.

The Maddens of Baltimore will surprise you, comfort you, make you laugh until you cry, and make you cry until you laugh again! From games of “pitch” to petty thievery, from over zealous confessions to exacerbating obedience, there is truly never a dull moment!

But these true stories about a real family, as told by the youngest brother, are much more than just a collection of humor. Together, they weave a tapestry about family life-the way it should be lived and enjoyed. The virtues and the vices, the laughter and the frustration, the happiness and the mourning, the prosperity and the poverty: the family is the first school of love.

Get either or both (plus your free Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering booklet) at our website .

End of commercial.... Oremus pro invicem!

This looks interesting ...

... especially because I became (for several years) a political junky-mostly because of the Reagan years. Here's part of the blurb:

The most important biographical record of the Reagan years—from the Reagan governorship to the 40th President’s period in the White House—had not been written, until now: it is the story of Ronald Reagan’s indispensable man, confidant, and single most important advisor: William P. Clark, known to many as simply The Judge.

And this comes from.... Ignatius Press

Exaltation of the Holy Cross!

(Picture Source: - Dominicans in England.)

We are whole again

Mrs. Curley and son arrived home safely last night after a week visiting grandparents. We are all joyful to have them back.

While waiting for Mrs. Curley and son at the airport, I got into conversation with a soldier (now a Drill Sergeant at Fort Jackson) who had served two tours in Iraq as a combat medic. He had been shot 3 times (once in the shoulder, so he could only do 40 push-ups now before it started hurting). As a Drill Sergeant, he would not have to go back.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Running, Recording, and Recollections

TS inspired my recollection which follows with his with the picture of his running logs. (Thanks for bringing back the memories.)

My Dad was a runner. He used to work for the Department of the Navy at the old Boston Naval Shipyard. They had a track, so he would run during his lunch hour. Later they moved the office and he had no track and wouldn't run the streets of Boston. But the top floor of the office building was like a warehouse and he ran there during his lunch hour.

At dinner every night he would usually comment on how many miles he had run that day (usually between 2 and 4). Sometimes (in the Naval Shipyard days) he would tell tales of younger men (usually Navy or Marine officers) informally trying to beat him around the track. (He wasn't a world class runner, but for a man his age-in his 50's at the time, he was pretty fast at distance, and I'm sure those young officers thought they could easily beat the "old man" in sneackers and black socks.)

When we had the Blizzard of '78 and he couldn't go to work for 2-3 weeks, he paced off a mile from our living room down the hall past the bedrooms, and started running up and down for 2-3 miles several times a week so he wouldn't get out of shape. (I think something like 30-40 "laps" made the mile.) And he would run this in his regular clothes with keys and change jangling.

Anyway, to the point: Dad had one of those refillable desk calendars where you flip the pages-one side of a page per date. Along with the calls he made everyday at the office, he would record his miles run. At the end of the year he would total the miles and recorded on the first page of the calendar. Then he would put a rubber band around the stack of paper and bring it home.

After Dad died my Mom gave me a large box of all his office calendars, all stacked and held together with rubber bands-each with his yearly mileage on the top page-some 30 or 40 years of them. (He had been retired and stopped recording in this fashion some years before-but I am sure he recorded his mileage somewhere, even if it was diminishing).

What was I to do with all this? I paged through a few years-saw where he noted that I or a sibling was due to be picked up from the airport-coming home from college, etc. What a collection.

May his soul rest in peace!

Oremus pro invicem!

Was cruising around Amazon yesterday and came across our 'chapel veil' booklet. I say 'came across it' because we don't list it on Amazon. We would-after all it is our best-selling product, believe it or not-but you need to have a ISBN number and barcode to list on Amazon Advantage. At the time The Chapel Veil came out, I was probably only had one or two ISBN numbers left and wanted to save them for something 'bigger', thus no ISBN.

Of course 'marketplace' book sellers are not restricted by Amazon on the ISBN number.

All this is a preface to posting the review it got on Amazon:

Short and to the point!, July 3, 2007

Shane Schaetzel - This was a great read! It explained the importance of this ancient Christian custom and the deep theological reasons behind it.

Some people have said this booklet is too expensive (both as a single copy and in the quantity discounts.) I would tend to agree, except that any cheaper, it wouldn't be available at all.

You see, most publishers of small booklets print tens of thousands of them for pennies per booklet. But we don't. We are 'cash poor' and to stay in business, we are very conservative in our print runs. I don't have enough cash to be able to have it tied up in inventory which may never sell.

Most of our booklets started as in-house print/bind and trim jobs. (Sweat equity for a start-up business.) I can remember early on with this booklet in particular that it would take several days to print a bulk order. Number one son would sort and inspect each page for defects (after all, this is digital printing) before I would cut and bind on our dining room table. Each order was a blessing, especially the bulk orders as the cash was very welcome. But at the same time, those bulk orders took a physical toll and stop all family activities for a couple days. (Our printing technology is a little better than it was in those early days-but it is still a task.)

After (or should I say if) a booklet starts to do really well, we then get it printed outside-but even then we are conservative: only a couple thousand or so copies.

We had already printed and sold well over a thousand in just a few months of the Chapel Veil before we decided to get it printed outside. So early on, after paper, printing supplies, cover, and royalties due, we came away with very little in cash from these orders-but they were worth it to us. Now we actually don't make much more since our print run was low-and we still have royalties to two authors and an artist on each copy sold.

I am not a market economist, but the final proof that the price is right, is that The Chapel Veil continues to be our best seller and the ONLY marketing I did on this booklet was to send out 15 postcards to stores/catalogs that might be interested, and to include it in our regualr catalog. No bulk mailings, no attempts to get book reviews.

So there you go-an inside view of Requiem Press !

Oremus pro invicem!


Morris Rosenthal has a very popular website and blog on Self-Publishing among other things. (He is the author of a popular book on that subject.) He is in process of writing a book and putting the draft online as he goes (here) on Building an Author Platform or Author websites. All this is a preface to some comments he makes on blogging in the chapter entitled Why Blogging Isn't The Ideal Author Platform . Some his thoughts here are generic to blogging and not just for unknown authors trying to get noticed. Here are some random thoughts from the chapter I think my readers might enjoy:

Blogging is an addiction. Blogging is a bad addiction for most authors. There are exceptions to the rule, highly disciplined authors who relegate their blog to the once a month update about the progress of their latest book, but most of us fall into the colossal waste of time category as bloggers.

Blogging sucked three years of creative writing out of my brain, and it can do it to you as well.

Blogs take on a life of their own and drag the blogger into an endless attempt to maintain and amuse a subscriber base, preaching to the converted, and waking up in the middle of the night to scribble down a germ of an idea for the next days mandatory post. Most bloggers lead lives of quiet desperation, quiet because nobody reads their blogs and desperation because they don't know how to stop. If I could sum up the problem with blogs in one 90's concept, it would be the lack of closure. Blogging never reaches a logical conclusion, it just goes on and on until the blogger breaks the vicious cycle and walks away, or finds a sort of peace six feet under. If Dante was writing today, one of the punishments of the damned would surely be perpetually spending the night in Hell writing blogs, and the day reading them.

You get the idea. (I love this!) You should the rest even if you aren't an aspiring author (read the rest here). Note, with all this said, Mr. Rosenthal updates his own blog several times a week....

A New Treasure

I was lent a copy of a booklet last night that I know I must get a copy of for myself-both for its text and its paintings. It is called: Celebrating 2000 years of Christian History-An exhibit of narrative paintings by Gloria Thomas with historical articles by Warren Carroll, Ph.D.

I am surprised I never heard of the book because I usually keep up-to-date with all things by my favorite Catholic historian Warren Carroll.

You can get the book in 'coffee table' format or booklet form. (This one is the booklet.) It is a project of the St. Martine de Porres Lay Dominican Community in New Hope, KY.

The paintings are marvelous (see below). The commentary by Warren Carroll is brief-1 or 2 pages per century (1 painting per century) but excellent-as always coming from Dr. Carroll.

I need to track down a copy for myself.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


On the evening of September 10, 2001 I was waiting for my flight to board at Logan Airport in Boston, MA. I can't recall exactly what business I had in Boston the week before, but I had probably stayed the weekend at my Mom's since I was in town. I didn't think my flight was going to get out that night (to home in Columbia, SC). Many flights to the Southeast were being delayed and ultimately cancelled due to severe thunderstorms in the South. My flight was one of the only ones to leave. If it hadn't, I guess I would have had to rent a car to get home like many others. But I was back at my desk at work the next morning when the Two Towers were struck.

I have rarely flown since September 11, 2001. Between the immediate air restrictions and the financial trouble my employer was having at the time, business trips were severely limited. I was certainly grateful that God saw fit to get me home on the 10th.

What are the kids doing?

Mrs. Curley is out of town for a few days as reported elsewhere. Number one son is spending most of his time getting off to a good and serious start with his 1st year of high school studies, when he is not training the puppy. So, what is everyone else doing?

I spend most of my day in the office working. The kids come up periodically with their school work for me to check. Once or twice I have had to clarify an assignment by phone with Mrs. Curley. And sometimes I don't notice that they haven't been up in a while-but if I can't hear any crashing or yelling I figure everything is going okay.

Today after lunch I outlined some chores and some school work to finish before play and then didn't hear another word. At 4:00 or so I came down to make a run to the dump and post office before they closed (yes, our post office has unusual hours-1.5 hours closed for lunch and shuts down at 4:30.)

Oldest son was studying in his room. I wasn't prepared for the dining room.... there was paper EVERYWHERE. And not just paper-tiny cut up scraps like confetti covered the floor almost completely. They had spent 3 hours drawing, coloring and cutting out paper figures. They had made literally hundreds (I think 337 was the number I heard.)

Here's a sample-they are the monks...

...who supposedly converted and baptised (I am told) the King (note that his armor and cape are removable, although this scan doesn't quite capture that.):

I have to admire their industry. They have an entire city of characters-including 2 sets of twins.

They had the floor cleaned and were playing by the time I got home from my downtown run. Now I think they have something (337 somethings) to keep them occupied for the final two days of Mrs. Curley's exile.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This is my personal blog ....

but as you know, I do plug Requiem Press books here now and again. Since my 3 daily readers have already bought all our books, this is a useless exercise; but as they say, hope springs eternal-so without further ado, here is today's plug.

Fall is here, and with it comes more organized gatherings among the faithful. Perhaps you and your friends or the group in your parish you frequent would like know more about the history of lay action in the Church and what are some areas today which need laity-led apostolates-(and no, I am not talking about 'ministry'). Perhaps you would like guidance on discerning vocations (even lay-vocations).

Then Russell Shaw's book Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church may be the right choice. This book has been endorsed by the likes of Dr. Scott Hahn, Mark Shea, Fr. C.J. McCloskey III, Kenneth D. Whitehead, Jude P. Dougherty, and others. Russell Shaw is the author of 17 other books and has been a contributing editor to Crisis and the Knights of Columbus' Columbia Magazine among other things.

Here's what Mark Shea had to say about this book:

The reality of Catholic teaching is and always has been that, at the altar, the priest presides, but in the world, the layperson presides. God has called each and every baptized person to a work of love as prophet, priest and king. As many of us laity waste time and energy making a lunge for the altar, we are forgetting our true dignity and thereby missing the call and the gifts the Spirit has given us to carry out our God-given vocations to win the world for Jesus Christ. Russell Shaw shows us how to recover our sanity and live out the awesome vocation of the lay saint that the world so desperately needs.

For more information on the book (and how you can obtain a copy) visit our website: .

End of commercial. Thanks. (And by the way, we have a NEW Russell Shaw title coming out in the spring! Stay tuned for more information.)

Sticker shock

Just got back from the post office where I found a P.O. Box renewal form-the price doubled since last year. Granted, it's still not exorbidant, but every little bit counts. Paper has gone up-and we use a lot Requiem Press.

I haven't seen too much of a hit with the increased postal rates like the magazines and newspapers have (i.e. Crisis and the Wanderer to name two), but it doesn't get any easier.

Catholic Rendezvous

Many years ago (late 80's) I attended one (maybe two) Catholic Rendezvous' in the Canann Valley in CT. I was living in MA at the time. My sister-who had connections to Christendom College got the invite as Dr. Warren Carroll and Dr. Timothy O'Donnell were going to speaking there. (As I recall, either that time or another, Dr. William Marra was there also.)

These Catholic Rendezvous were a combination of spirituality, speakers, and great fun. I was reminded of it today because I ran across this piece quite by accident. Thomas A. Droleskey gives a much better account of what the Catholic Rendezvous was like:

The Catholic Rendezvous was organized by Bill and Eloise Koneazny in the early 1970s to gather together a variety of Catholic speakers for a combination of talks, spiritual devotions, debates and discussions, all interspersed with a considerable amount of the consumption of adult beverages and the smoking of oversized cigars.

The piece I quote from was a tribute to Bill Koneazny, who I recongize from his description, but whom I barely met at the one Rendezvous I attended.

It is these types of Catholic gatherings that help us build solidarity with other Catholics who are fighting the same struggle to get to Heaven with our families and wanting to celebrate the great feasts and our Faith. (Another example which builds our Catholic culture would be this pilgrimage).

Catholic Fiction .... again

From TS' Spanning the Globe feature, we find this gem:

Is there such a thing as Catholic fiction?...The consensus we finally reached was that Catholic fiction is fiction which takes place in a universe in which Catholicism is objectively true... It need not overtly proclaim the author's religious beliefs, though they will be implicit in the work. And only the poorest specimens of Catholic fiction will be thinly fictionalized apologetics... It's a book in which Catholicism is the underlying physics of the world so baptism has a real effect on a person's identity and prayer can be surprisingly efficacious. - Catholic Bibliophagist

We have talked about Catholic fiction before at Bethune Catholic. From what we read, The Catholic Bibliophagist does it much better Read the rest here .

As I have noted before, I think a Catholic literary revival will be a more effective way to re-evangelize our culture than what we do at Requiem Press -which is more like re-evangelizing ourselves....

Oremus pro invicem!

the Sabbath

A few days ago I read at Catholic Exchange this summary of Pope Benedict XVI's homily while in Austria:

Pope Benedict on Sunday called on Catholics to keep the Sabbath a day set aside for reflection on their faith and the fate of the world and not surrender it to "the mad rush of the modern world". The Pontiff made his call on the last day of a trip to Austria during a Mass in Vienna's majestic St. Stephen's Cathedral whose colourfully patterned tiled mosaic roof and 136-metre high (445 feet) tower are the city's main landmark. The Pope said Western societies had transformed Sundays into days where leisure activities had eclipsed the traditional Catholic meaning of the day -- to devout time to God. "Give the soul its Sunday, give Sunday its soul," he said, quoting a phrase coined by a German bishop in the 20th century.

Now as Bishop Baker's time in the diocese of Charleston is winding down, I also recall his letter to the faithful of the diocese of Charleston at the beginning of our "Year of the Family":

I invite all parishes in the Diocese of Charleston to begin the celebration of the Year of the Family by reclaiming the Sabbath for God and family. Because we have become distracted, overworked, and overcommitted to outside activities, Sunday has become just another work day. I challenge each of you to restore Sunday as a gift from the Father for the family to appreciate one another. We have lost the peace that God created for our day of rest, and we all should actively seek ways to invite God into the center of our families.

Some ideas to make this a reality:

*Once a month, pray a parish family Rosary, followed by a covered dish with fun activities for youth and children.
*Plan a pilgrimage to one of your favorite religious sites, such as the Shrine to Our Lady of Joyful Hope of South Carolina in Kingstree or Mepkin Abbey in Monck’s Corner.
*Allow a member of the family to share fifteen minutes of scripture reading.
*Refrain from any labor, shopping, and any private activity that conflicts with prayer or family involvement on a Sunday.
*While your children or youth may be involved in faith formation on Sunday, try organizing activities with other parents and adults to enrich your faith and friendships.

Sunday is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day," when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5). Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini.

I am happy to proclaim each Sunday in this diocesan Year of the Family a Day of Prayer for the Family.

One of the beauties of Bishop Baker is that he often gives practical examples of how you can live the Faith. You read something like this and are motivated to take some of these ideas to heart. But unless you get on it right away, it fades away amongst the business of everyday life. (In the Screwtape Letters I recall, wasn't it said that the hardest point of every endeavor was to convert inspiration to action. This is where the devil likes to attack.)

We can personally vouch for the spiritual benefits of making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of South Carolina Shrine in Kingstree (not that anyone would take my word over Bishop Baker's).

Our diocesan rosary celebration is coming up quickly (it will be held at the shrine) on October 13th. I may have more (exciting) news on this soon. The Curley's are certainly going to be there.

One final thought from Bishop Baker (from an interview on his move to Birmingham, AL):

Bishop Baker said he hopes to be remembered here for his emphasis on Mary. He established the Shrine of Our Lady of Joyful Hope in Kingstree and worked with the Vietnamese community to create a shrine o Mary in Greer. “’When the Blessed Mother is remembered, many blessings come to the diocese,’ he said. Bishop Baker hopes devotions to Mary flourish through Our Lady of Joyful Hope.”

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Presidential Politics II

With a hat tip to The Western Confucian I took the Candidate test. Based on my answers, there was a tie for first between John Cox (who I met last year at the SC March of Life) and Ron Paul. (Mr. Giulianni placed dead last.)
Seeing that Amy Welborn had a post today about the All Saints Day vigil at the Dominican House of Studies in DC (see more details here) I guess it is never to early to remind you to prepare for November-which is dedicated to the holy souls in purgatory.

Of course this is an apostolate of Requiem Press (besides publishing great books), to spread devotion to praying for these souls. We send a free booklet Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering—a daily commitment to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory with every order-but of course you can also buy them, we do offer quantity discounts (see our website).

We do need to make a personal commitment to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory—to renew this practice in our own lives, with our families, and in our parish. This simple book, which fits in purse or pocket, has a short prayer for everyday of the week. While the prayers inside (one for everyday of the week) are available in many places (like on the internet for example here), they are handy to carry around in this booklet. Here's the lineup:

Sunday - for the soul most destitute of prayers;
Monday - for the soul nearest to entrance into Heaven;
Tuesday—for the soul which would be last to issue from his pains;
Wednesday - for the soul richest in merits;
Thursday - for the soul who was most devoted to the Holy Eucharist;
Friday - for the soul for whom you are most bound to pray for; and
Saturday - for the soul who was most devoted to our Lady.

These prayers are followed by Pater, Ave, and Gloria and the De Profundis (in English). Don't miss out!

(By the way, I just noticed that my previous post was number 900!) Oremus pro invicem!

Communion Chant

I picked up this book from our parish library after Mass Friday: "Hymns to Christ in the first millinnium of the Church". Here is a Communion Chant fragment from an ancient liturgy:

Let us invoke Christ.
The sacred Body of Christ!
The lamb of God,
the sacred Body of him
who died for our salvation!

The sacred Body of him
who revealed the mystery of grace
of the new covenant
to his disciples.

The sacred Body which
washed with water
the feet of the apostles,
and with the Spirit
washed their souls.

The sacred Body which
pardoned the penitent woman;
the sacred Body whose blood
makes us clean.

The sacred Body which
received the kiss of betryal;
the sacred Body which
loved the world so much
as to accept even death on a cross.

We bless and glorify your name.

Wonderful isn't it...

the weekend

Got a lot to catch up on..... busy weekend. After our first Friday breakfast after Mass, number one son and I headed out to help some friends move; this took the rest of Friday and Saturday. Boy I have a lot of muscles that need more action based on my soreness Sunday and still today.

Sunday after Mass we planned on a 'quiet' day at home as Mrs. Curley and number one son were leaving town this morning to visit Mrs. Curley's grandparents in FL. Didn't quite turn out that way. But we had a great time, even if we got a bit rushed and are tired today.

We left at 4:50 AM this morning to get to the Columbia airport. Got Mrs. Curley and son off okay. They got to FL before we got home!

More later.....

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good books

When I read a book with ideas that I find good and suitable-I really take it to heart and try to implement those ideas in my (or my family's) life. Sometimes everything is not possible, but I do the best I can.

At times what I read scares me, because I know how good it is, but also how hard it will be to carry out. (I guess the Gospel can be like this.)

I am reading an unpublished manuscript now which is one of those books. I can't say anything about it-and it is killing me not to quote from it-because I don't have it under contract yet.


Speaking of books, our schedule to 2007-2008 is really coming together. We have an exciting mix of new books and reprints coming. Don't fret, as soon as I can I will let y'all know what's in the works.


It is First Friday! For a year I have missed the monthly breakfast gatherings after First Friday Mass at St. Catherine's. I am looking forward to this morning. I have some other things to do afterwards, so I may be scarce today. Have a great day!

(If you need something to read, you might try Russell Shaw's latest on Catholic Exchange..)

Oremus pro invicem!

Gardening and Peace

Yesterday I tilled another section of the fall garden. I ran out of time and didn't put the manure and the peat in. I guess that will wait for the weekend.

But I did plant turnips and turnip greens in the last section I prepared. I am not too partial to either, but they should grow well here, and we have room to grow them. The greens have a root that may not be too suitable for human consumption, but the chickens may like it.

We are going to plant broccoli, but the packets say to start them indoors. We should have done this a few weeks ago. But we'll go ahead now with it. We have a long growing season here.


I have enjoyed working and planting the garden these days in the afternoons after a full days' work in my office. For some reason I have a great peace and happiness right now. This does not seem quite right. There are storms swirling around our family at various levels these recent weeks, so I should not have this personal peace at this time. I can only accept this as a gift from God-maybe because He knows that I would not be able to take the stress of it all otherwise. Whatever the reason, I am grateful.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Presidential Politcs

I haven't made much of a foray into the race for president yet. It just seems so early. A friend of mine is the state campaign director for Sen. Brownback. Many bloggers who I respect are pulling for darkhorse Ron Paul. Then, people ask: How about Mitt Romney? Here is my answer.

Article V. (of the Massachusetts constitution) All causes of marriage, divorce, and alimony, and all appeals from the judges of probate shall be heard and determined by the governor and council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision.

Which means (in my reading) that no matter what judge ruled about homosexual marriage, until the legislature passed a law about it, the governor had the power to do he wanted about enforcing it or vacating as a practical matter.

As governor Mr. Romney had the constitutional power to instruct clerks not to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples until the legislature passed a law or amended the constitution. Yet while Mr. Romney supported legislation protecting marriage, he did not stick his neck out and do what he himself had the power to do. After all, maybe he had to honor the endorsement he received from the Log Cabin Republicans.

On abortion, in his 1994 race against Ted Kennedy for Senate he made clear that while 'personally opposed' he thought abortion should be legal. Now running for president, Mr. Romney says this was just a youthful indiscretion. Yet when running for governor of MA in 2002, his platform stated:

As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's.

Mr. Romney's flip flops and hedges on several issues are hurting him-and rightly so. Yes, I believe people can change their mind-but there has been a history of hedging and trying to play both sides for years with this candidate. I don't think he can be trusted, and I don't think I could in conscience vote for him even if he was paired against Hilary. If someone could persuade me his conversions were real.... I don't know.

As time goes on I will make my case for and against other candidates-although the obvious smelly choices, i.e. the likes of Mr. Guiliani-will be neglected.

Accepting Service

TS blogs today about the balance between serving and being served. Similar thoughts struck me after Sunday's Gospel. We are uncomfortable being served or being the object of charity. Yet if no one was in need where would we sow our charity. So it is in service of charity that we accept graciously the goodwill and goods of others.

This is a hard lesson-one Mrs. Curley and I have had to learn in these recent years. So many have given to our family without thought of a return (as we had no means of repayment)-simply out of love. We were taught alot about love in the past few years.

Christ's admonishmnet to the host of the banquet in Sunday's Gospel to invite those who could not repay struck a chord with me, as our friends have done this for us, and now as we must do for others.

When Benedict XVI's first encyclical came out, this is one of the points I wanted to make-but never found the right words. Christian communities give of themselves and to others without considering the payback. And those receiving must accept with charity but not with greed or expectation.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thomas More

(As mentioned here before) We have plans to release a sketch of the life of Thomas More this November. This short book (~100 pages) has never been published (to our knowledge) on this side of the pond, and was part of a larger collection of the lives of the English Martyrs. (In fact our 'Cuthbert Mayne' booklet comes from this collection.)

We are struggling to get rights to use the cover art we'd like to use. Most books on Thomas More use the famous Hans Holbein the Younger portrait, which although very good, is over-used (Thomas More as Chancelor/statesman).

The Gerald Wegemer book on Thomas More (from Scepter) uses another Holbein portrait-this time of the More family (Thomas More as husband and father). I like this one too.

In my search, however, another one caught my eye: it is lesser known and more recent. It is Thomas More confronting Cardinal Wolsey in Parliament by Vivian Forbes. (see it here) This work hangs in St. Stephen's Hall in Parliament. It seemed a perfect fit. However, after contacting Parliament, the rights proved too expensive for our small operation here (even after I talked them down a bit).

So the search goes on. There are two attractive paintings of Thomas More's final farewell to his daughter Meg. One is by Edward Ward, but my favorite of the two is by the Tyburn Convent (no painter listed-but shown here).

Of course, there is another Holbein work, a portrait-more of a sketch-done a year before the famous painting. It is attractive-is not over-used, but is recognizable. (I am investigating this cost now.)

What image captures all that Thomas More represents: Catholic, martyr, husband, father, chancelor, judge, lawmaker, friend, writer, prisoner? (I am sure I can't afford a collage of all these images.)

It is interesting that there are very few paintings or sketches of Thomas More in prison or at the execution block. It would be a great picture of Thomas More forgiving his executioner, for example.

Well, the search goes on. Of course I have used original artwork in the past-and it is a possibility-but getting late in the game to find an artist and commision. Much to work on.

Oremus pro invicem!

Muscadine Jam

Update: Buttered, toasted bread, topped with home grown and homemade muscadine jam this morning. Wow! Mrs. Curley said we'd have some for lunch in sandwiches (with peanut butter) but we all protested. It's too good (and too precious) to waste on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (This may seem to be no big deal to many, but for us transplanted cityfolk, every success on this front is exciting and gratifying.)

Mrs. Curley and number 2 daughter spent the afternoon yesterday in the kitchen with cheescloth, boiling water and muscadine grapes. At the end of the day they had canned a half-dozen or so 1/2 pint jars of muscadine jam. And it is good! (Can't wait for breakfast this morning!)

We do have grapes left over (and there is more to be picked) so we may make more jam or just eat some grapes.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Was not going to post anything else today, but then came across the CMQ Extra! I have been posting a bit about parish life/community here lately-with no undue risk it appears. But the CMQ Extra deals with the "Most Important Parish in the World" (in Mark J. Kelly's view):

Our parishes are called to be lamps set on a basket, the salt of our local society. Many would settle for “good” or even mediocre! But we are called higher, if by small Newman like degrees, “…one step enough for me”.

Go read the whole thing here.

Oremus pro invicem!

on the small holding

Yesterday, I planted carrots. Let me say that again: I planted carrots.

This is the first time in our 3 years here that I have done any planting. I have tilled the garden, watered the garden, weeded the garden, but never planted anything.

Yesterday I planted both carrots and radishes. Today the broccoli goes in. We will do another round of carrots in 10 days or so. And we have a few more vegetables to plant for the fall.

We also should be getting a fig tree and a few blueberry bushes in a few weeks. We're excited about these. Last year we got lots of figs from out neighbor-but his tree was damaged this past year and bore no fruit.

Mrs. Curley is going to grow sprouts this year also (alfalfa, broccoli, and mung bean sprouts).

With all the muscadines, Mrs. Curley will be making jam or jelly today. She was going to last night, then realized she didn't have cheese cloth nor lids for her jars.

The chickens are getting big. Pretty soon I will be inviting our neighbor over to pick out some of our chickens-recall that our dog got some of his.

We are still getting tomatoes-the only thing that came in really well. We have some peppers still on the vine and growing. And we may get a watermelon after all. We finally have some on the vine-yet only one of them seems to be big enough at this point that it will make it before the cooler weather sets in.

Our soil is so sandy I really believe we need more manure and more peat to help hold the water. We will try to remedy this in the fall garden.


This morning at 7:00 AM I held our first PE class of the year. I am sure we were a sight to the cars going to work this morning. Mostly we did calisthenics-introducing the younger ones how to do jumping jacks and squat thrusts etc. I think they had fun.

Before we moved here, when I was employed by a corporation, I would run in the morning before the kids got up. They would straggle down to the living room where I would be doing some calisthenics to cool down. We would then do some together. It was fun and I think some of the kids were remembering those days this morning.

CCD classes start tonight at our parish. Mrs. Curley and I are helping out this year again. It may be a little less stressful this year because Confirmation is behind us. (Unless you are a big parish, the bishop only comes every other year or so for Confirmation.)

We will doing some Apologetics this year and some Church History with the high school class. This should be real fun. Church History is of course one of my favorites.

Much of the remaining focus of the class will be on developing a prayer life. I was lucky when I was in high school. I frequented an Opus Dei Center in those years and had spiritual direction and learned (at least the start) of mental prayer.

Every year I start the class with a little discussion of why we come. Here's an outline of how it gets directed. (Of course it is a discussion, but I bring it around to these points):

1. We come to CCD to know Christ.
2. We come to know Christ by reading about Him, i.e. Holy Scripture. ("Ignorance of the Gospel is ignorance of Christ!")
3. We come to know Christ by learning about the Church He founded. The Catholic Church was founded by Christ precisely to help us know Him and get to Heaven through the sacraments and by giving us a moral and doctrinal guide through life.
4. We come to know Christ through prayer-listening, petition, adoration, etc.

We need each component. If we skip one, we risk getting a distorted view. [In some years past, doctrine and morality i.e. The Church was emphasized sometimes to the detriment of the other 2 components. In recent years it has been the opposite: the Church (especially doctrine and morality) has been forgotten in favor of the other two.] Yet these components work together and complement and supplement each other. Holy Scripture, the Church, and Prayer are all gifts from God to help us know Him and fulfill our mission on earth.

Oremus pro invicem!