Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You've Heard of the Popemobile, Now Meet the Cardinalmobile

Newly named Cardinal Ranjith was welcomed back to Sri Lanka with a parade, and a new vehicle.  Check out his "Cardinal mobile":

East Meets West - The Feast of St. Andrew - Updated

Happy feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, the brother of St. Peter.  Eric Sammons has a nice post on the symbolism of the eastern and western Church as represented by St. Andrew and St. Peter.  In it he reports on a statement coming out of Moscow that a meeting between the Holy Father and Patriarch Hilarion of Moscow seems to be moving closer.  What a day for rejoicing that will be!  The separation of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is a tragic consequence of what seem to be both willful and unintentional misunderstandings over the centuries.

                                                   Tomb of St. John Chrysostom

During my trip to Rome, signs of the unity of the early Church abounded.   St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzen are entombed in St. Peter's. [see update below for clarification on this]  St. Josaphat, who was martyred in 1623 for his advocacy of union between the Catholic and the Orthodox rests beneath the altar of St. Basil.  These early saints and martyrs point back to a time when the east and the west were one.  [ Update:  I've since learned that the relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzen were returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2004 by Pope John Paul II.  The remains were originally taken from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and remained in Rome for the subsequent 800 years.  According to the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, November 30th is now observed as the feast of the Translation of the Relics as well as the feast of St. Andrew the first apostle.  I'm not sure whether or not any relics of these great saints remain in the tombs in St. Peter's.]

We were in Rome on November 15th, the feast of St. Josaphat.  There was a beautiful liturgy taking place at the altar above his remains, with row upon row of Eastern rite clergy in attendance.  Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement reports that there were over 30 concelebrants and that the chanting was performed by the members of the Pontifical Russian College or "Russicum."  I can tell you that it was very moving to see these very young priests all joined together around the altar chanting the divine liturgy.

                                         Divine liturgy at altar of St. Josaphat, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

 After the liturgy, the seminarians and priests stood at the foot of the main altar, before the tomb of St. Peter, and chanted the Credo.  Very moving, indeed.

Today, on the feast of St. Andrew, may we rejoice in the news that a meeting between the Holy Father and the Moscow Patriarch seems to be becoming more of a reality.  And may our ecumenical outreach bear the fruit of a true union between east and west.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Home from Rome

Back from a wonderful, prayerful, beautiful trip to Rome.  I'm catching up on things here, but will post soon.  I just wanted to start with a few images from the trip.

Talk about standing on hallowed ground.  The early martyrs of Rome left a lasting impression on me.   St. Peter's  stands on the site of Emperor Nero's "circus."  The oval where Christians were murdered for entertainment.  Their burial sites were revered over the ages and beautiful basilicas and churches were erected to house their remains.

Saint Peter's Tomb:

Saints Cosmas and Damian:

Ora pro nobis!

More to come...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are You A New Or Transfer Student Here, At The "Academy"?

Welcome to the "Academy"!

What's that?
Oh, yes ... homework assignments you may have missed and wish to catch up with?

That's an easy one!

Just scroll down the Sidebar to "Homework Assign-ments."

You'll find a Label listing which will link you to the many topics we've presented here at the "Academy" in the past.

So, welcome!

Oh, and lose that Lady Gaga t-shirt by tomorrow, okay? The "Academy" has a dress code.

The Assistant Headmaster

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Romcal - Just What CyberCatholic Academicians Need!

I don't know about you, dear Academicians, but for years I have been manually adding the dates from Catholic liturgical calendars (the General Roman Calendar of Solemnities, Feast days, Memorials, etc.), into calendar programs like Outlook, iCal, Thunderbird  and Google Calendar.  A lot of work, but something I wanted to have available to me when I'd scan my calendar for upcoming appointments.
Well, Academicians, we can all save ourselves a lot of typing!  I just discovered Romcal!  I had not even imagined of a software app like Romcal yesterday, when I began the process of entering Catholic calendar events into the upcoming year's calendar (I use iCal, on an iMac).
It dawned on me (after an hour or so of typing) that there might be a solution for this available on the internet.  Long story shortened, after doing the search engine drill for an hour, I stumbled, gratefully, into
Romcal.  And without a hitch, I downloaded the 2011 and 2012 General Roman Calendar files and imported them into iCal -- and am living happily ever after!
Here's the description from the
Romcal site:

Romcal is a software package to generate the General Roman Calendar for any given Gregorian calendar year in various output formats. The program uses the revised liturgical calendar for the Western Church as approved by Paul VI in Mysterii Paschalis dated 14 February 1969, and implemented in the United States in 1972, although any year may be given to the program. The data files that support the program have been updated to include celebrations added to the calendar through 1995. While the liturgical year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, this program computes based on a calendar year.
The program is written in the C Programming Language and is designed and packaged for UNIX based operating systems.
Data files are provided for ease of modification to the PostScript®, HTML, and RTF output and the fixed celebrations of the year.
Please note that this program was developed as a mental exercise. No fee is charged for it, no warranty is given, and use is restricted to non-commercial applications. The author's employer has no association with this program. Please read the license and disclaimer.
  • All source code included
  • Free!
  • Plain text output
  • "List" format option for ease of import and parsing
  • PostScript® (including color) output option
  • HTML output option
  • RTF output option
  • iCalendar output option
  • Uses revised liturgical calendar of the Western Church
  • Valid for any year of the Gregorian Calendar
  • Easily updated for new fixed date celebrations (feasts, memorials, and optional memorials)
  • Easily updated HTML, RTF, and PostScript® prologues
  • Modular separation of calendar computation from output form
  • Stand-alone executable
  • Option for Epiphany on January 6
  • Option for Ascension on Sunday
  • Option for Corpus Christi on Thursday
  • Option to turn off Optional Memorials and Commemorations
  • Option for "today only" output
  • Option for a specific date output
  • Option for web page output.
My sincere thanks and highest praise to Kenneth G. Bath, the beneficent creator of Romcal.  As the Assistant Headmaster of this esteemed cyber-academy, I bestow a Catholic Jedi Academy cyber-honorary-degree upon Mr. Bath for his outstanding contribution to the maintenance of all good things Catholic!

God Bless Our Veterans!

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul. 
Michel de Montaigne

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. 
It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. 
G.K. Chesterton

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. 
Jose Narosky

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? 
George Canning

As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them. 
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

In the beginning of a change,
the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds, the timid join him,
for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. 
Mark Twain

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
William Shakespeare

Lord, bid war's trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

President's Trip to India

Somehow this doesn't seem right. The president is going to India for four days this week. Reports state that his entourage will include 3,000 people (3,000 people!). The description of the trip almost sounds like a military invasion. In addition to the personal and security entourage, the president will be accompanied by 40 aircraft and 34 warships. A security tunnel has been built overland by our military so that the president can visit a museum. The entire Taj Mahal hotel is booked for the U.S. delegation (over 500 rooms).

I do not begrudge a president the need for security. I do not begrudge a president the need to travel and meet world leaders. But, I am bothered by the size and scope of this trip. Is it necessary to spend so lavishly at a time when unemployment in our country is so high?  At a time when people are hurting financially, is it wise for a leader to exhibit such extravagance?

Just think what a fraction of this money could do for the soup kitchens that are being depleted in our country, for the outreach programs, or for the truly needy.

Or, as one writer highlighted, what it could do for our wounded veterans who have to reach out for charity to have their needs met.

Update:  The White House says that the reports these costs are too high, however, they won't give any cost estimates.  No matter what the cost, I think it's important that those in authority, no matter what level, do their best to serve the public at the lowest cost possible, and to always keep in mind that they are "serving" the public, not the other way around.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls Day - Dies Irae

"Dies Irae", the Latin Sequence used in Requiem (funeral) Masses and the Mass for All Souls Day means "Day of Wrath" and refers to the final judgment. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day - the Catholic Vote

Tomorrow is a big day for our country - Election Day. As Catholics we are called to keep our Catholic moral beliefs guide our choices. Here is Archbishop Burke, soon to be Cardinal Burke, explaining what should motivate us as Catholics in choosing those who will govern our nation.

For All the Saints...Remember the Martyrs of Baghdad

As you may have heard, there was a terrible tragedy in a Catholic church in Baghdad, Iraq over the weekend.  Terrorists attacked the worshipers and killed dozens of them along with three young priests.
Here is a report from the UK Guardian newspaper:
                                                       Sabah Arar/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
"At sunset yesterday, Raghada al-Wafi walked excitedly to mass with news for the priest who married her a month ago. Tonight, exactly 24 hours later, she returned to the Our Lady of Salvation church – this time carried by her family in a coffin that also contained her unborn child.
Today the priest who blessed her marriage and pregnancy minutes before he was killed will also be buried, as will several dozen other members of his congregation – all of them slain by terrorists in an attack that has drawn condemnation from around the world and left the fate of Iraq's beleaguered Christian community evermore uncertain ...  Survivors spoke of religious taunts, random killings and then a gunman slaughtering hostages en masse as the Iraqi army stormed the church to end the four-hour siege.
Ghassan Salah, 17, had just arrived for the Sunday night service with his mother, Nadine, and brother, Ghaswan, when the gunmen burst through the cathedral's huge wooden doors. 'All of you are infidels,' they screamed at the congregation. 'We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt.'
Thar Abdallah, the priest who married al-Wafi was first to be killed – shot dead where he stood. Gunmen then sprayed the church with bullets as another priest ushered up to 60 people to a small room in the back.
Mona Abdullah Hadad, 62, was in church with her family when the gunmen started shooting. They said, 'We will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell', she said. 'We stood beside the wall and they started shooting at the young people. I asked them to kill me and let my grandson live, but they shot him dead and they shot me in the back.'
Hadad was recovering in a Baghdad hospital along with 67 other people, many of them seriously wounded. Part of her kidney was removed yesterday and she remains heavily traumatised."
 Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.  Please keep the Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East in your prayers.

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.