Saturday, November 23, 2002

Tommorow is the Feast of Christ the King
The Kingdom of God- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
1. MY Lord Jesus, how wonderful were those conversations which Thou didst hold from time to time with Thy disciples after Thy resurrection. When Thou wentest with two of them to Emmaus, Thou didst explain all the prophecies which related to Thyself. And Thou didst commit to the Apostles the Sacraments in fulness, and the truths which it was Thy will to reveal, and the principles and maxims by which Thy Church was to be maintained and governed. And thus Thou didst prepare them against the day of Pentecost (as the risen bodies were put into shape for the Spirit in the Prophet's Vision), when life and illumination was to be infused into them. I will think over all Thou didst say to them with a true and simple faith. The "kingdom of God" was Thy sacred subject. Let me never for an instant forget that Thou hast established on earth a kingdom of Thy own, that the Church is Thy work, Thy establishment, Thy instrument; that we are under Thy rule, Thy laws and Thy eye—that when the Church speaks Thou dost speak. Let not familiarity with this wonderful truth lead me to be insensible to it—let not the weakness of Thy human representatives lead me to forget that it is Thou who dost speak and act through them. It was just when Thou wast going away, that then Thou didst leave this kingdom of Thine to take Thy place on to the end of the world, to speak for Thee, as Thy visible form, when Thy Personal Presence, sensible to man, was departing. I will in true loving faith bring Thee before me, teaching all the truths and laws of this kingdom to Thy Apostles, and I will adore Thee, while in my thoughts I gaze upon Thee and listen to Thy words.

2. Come, O my dear Lord, and teach me in like manner. I need it not, and do not ask it, as far as this, that the word of truth which in the beginning was given to the Apostles by Thee, has been handed down from age to age, and has already been taught to me, and Thy Infallible Church is the warrant of it. But I need Thee to teach me day by day, according to each day's opportunities and needs. I need Thee to give me that true Divine instinct about revealed matters that, knowing one part, I may be able to anticipate or to approve of others. I need that understanding of the truths about Thyself which may prepare me for all Thy other truths—or at least may save me from conjecturing wrongly about them or commenting falsely upon them. I need the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind of the holy Fathers, and of the Church by which I may not only say what they say on definite points, but think what they think; in all I need to be saved from an originality of thought, which is not true if it leads away from Thee. Give me the gift of discriminating between true and false in all discourse of mind.

3. And, for that end, give me, O my Lord, that purity of conscience which alone can receive, which alone can improve Thy inspirations. My ears are dull, so that I cannot hear Thy voice. My eyes are dim, so that I cannot see Thy tokens. Thou alone canst quicken my hearing, and purge my sight, and cleanse and renew my heart. Teach me, like Mary, to sit at Thy feet, and to hear Thy word. Give me that true wisdom, which seeks Thy will by prayer and meditation, by direct intercourse with Thee, more than by reading and reasoning. Give me the discernment to know Thy voice from the voice of strangers, and to rest upon it and to seek it in the first place, as something external to myself; and answer me through my own mind, if I worship and rely on Thee as above and beyond it.
- From "Meditations on Christian Doctrine", Meditations and Devotions

Now this is funny...
Found briefcase. Thanks to One Pilgrim's Walk for this one.

Friday, November 22, 2002

The building where I usually attend Mass
It has its drawbacks, most of them stemming from the fact that it belongs to the University of Pittsburgh and therefore is missing certain features a Catholic church would (or at least should) have: i.e there's no kneelers, which makes it tough on the knees, and the Blessed Sacrament cannot be reserved there. We have to bring in a crucifix and a statue of Our Lady, and the incredible stained glass windows have some folks in them I'd rather not see. However, I still think it's lovely.
Heinz Memorial Chapel

Jeff Miller is cool.
When I posted a link to this picture and asked what could possess someone to build a church which looks like that, he sent me some great comments.
"I think that your word"possessed" is aptly chosen. It used to be churches made you think of heaven and not hell."
"That church is also an example of what happens when a young architect is deprived of Legos."
Mr. Miller has a wonderful blog, which can be found here, as well as on a link on the sidebar of this blog.

From the homily
Fr. David celebrated the noon Mass. His homily was short, since he is a bit ill and his voice isn't up to par. (Prayers would, of course, be appreciated.) The point that stuck me the most was when he said that we, in our souls and our bodies, are temples of the Lord, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and most especially when we receive the Lord in the Eucharist. "How often do we profane these temples by putting the things the world values ahead of Christ ?"
Turns out I can blog today after all
Besides being the Feast of St. Cecilia, today is also the anniversary of the day
C.S. Lewis went to his reward.
"So far I have felt the normal feelings of a man my age- like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots." - J.R.R. Tolkien to Priscilla Tolkien, November 26, 1963
In honor of the day, I also publish a Lewisian quiz result.

The only book which doesn't take place in Narnia at all, per se, you're the story of a voyage to find the end of the world and hopefully the Seven Lost Lords (remember Rhoop!). You contain some of the most unique people and places and beautiful descriptions of the whole series.

Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

I'm glad I got that one, since it's the one that has a lot of Reepicheep, who is probably my favorite character in the books.

Thanks to Sacra Doctrina for the link.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Tommorow's feast
is the Feast of St. Cecilia . As a choir member, I really should blog on the patroness of musicians, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog tommorow.
Here's a poem for the feast. The last part in particular is one of my favorite bits of verse.

JOHN DRYDEN (1631-1700)

From harmony, from Heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
Arise ye more than dead.
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And music's pow'r obey.
From harmony, from Heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man.

What passion cannot music raise and quell!
When Jubal struck the corded shell,
His list'ning brethren stood around
And wond'ring, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound:
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot music raise and quell!

The trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thund'ring drum
Cries, hark the foes come;
Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat.

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains and height of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.

But oh! what art can teach
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their Heav'nly ways
To mend the choirs above.

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place;
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia rais'd the wonder high'r;
When to her organ, vocal breath was giv'n,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd
Mistaking earth for Heav'n.

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the bless'd above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.

Courtesy of Representative Poetry Online .

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"In Jesus Christ is the fulness of the Godhead with all its infinite sanctity. In Mary is reflected the sanctity of Jesus, as by His grace it could be found in a creature.
Mary, as the pattern both of maidenhood and maternity, has exalted woman’s state and nature, and made the Christian virgin and the Christian mother understand the sacredness of their duties in the sight of God.
Her very image is as a book in which we may read at a glance the mystery of the Incarnation, and the mercy of the Redemption; and withal her own gracious perfections also, who was made by her Divine Son the very type of humility, gentleness, fortitude, purity, patience, love.
What Christian mother can look upon her image and not be moved to pray for gentleness, watchfulness, and obedience like Mary’s? What Christian maiden can look upon her without praying for the gifts of simplicity, modesty, purity, recollection, gentleness such as hers?
Who can repeat her very name without finding in it a music which goes to the heart, and brings before him thoughts of God and Jesus Christ, and heaven above, and fills him with the desire of those graces by which heaven is gained?
Hail then, great Mother of God, Queen of Saints, Royal Lady clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars of heaven, whom all generations have called and shall call blessed. We will take our part in praising thee in our own time and place with all the redeemed of our Lord, and will exalt thee in the full assembly of the saints and glorify thee in the Heavenly Jerusalem."
- From "A Short Service for Rosary Sunday" by Venerable John Henry Newman C.O.

Interesting post
by Matthew Shaddrix at Kross & Sweord , involving The Silmarillion and the Scandal.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Now this is just sad...
Now exactly what would possess somebody to build a church that looks like
this ?
Thanks to Mark Sullivan for the link.

From the homily
Fr. Joseph was the celebrant at noon Mass today. He had a lot of interesting points in his homily. One point dealt with one of the ways in which today's Gospel reading from St. Luke differs from the parallel text in St. Matthew which we heard on Sunday. It has a setting the other lacks, in that Our Lord is said to be "going to Jerusalem" as He teaches this particular parable, and St. Luke's account of the first Palm Sunday follows it immediately. Just as the other citizens in the parable protest that they do not want the nobleman to be their King, so the people of Jerusalem, egged on by the chief priests and elders, will turn against the Son of God and reject His Kingship. "They chose Caesar over Christ the King."
How often we are tempted to do this ourselves !
Blogger oddness
Blogger seems to have screwed up my archives again. I tried the same technique as the last time they disappeared, but it is not working now. Sigh.
UPDATE: Obviously, the archives are back. It must be been some sort of temporary glitch.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

This brings back memories...
Gregg the Obscure posts about
a dog showing up during Mass. Back when I was in college, the Catholic campus ministry had to celebrate several of the Sunday Masses in an auditorium, since the secular university's chapel was far too small for the number of people who would come on Sunday. Apparently, one of the professors was often in the building on Sundays, because his dog, a huge black Standard Poodle named Balzac, would turn up outside the auditorium door after Mass Sunday after Sunday, trying to cadge doughnuts from people. He was usually thwarted though, since his owner had attached a cardboard sign to his collar which read, "Hi ! My name is Balzac, and I'm a bit silly. Please do not feed me, since I will overeat and then get sick."
Balzac came to Mass occasionally, but unlike the Golden Retriever in this above post, he didn't saunter down the nave, since there was no nave. He either paced back and forth just inside the door or barrelled down the auditorium steps like a curly-haired freight train,either of which was distracting, to say the least. One of the students would have to tug on his collar a bit and get him to go back outside until Mass was over. Fortunately, this did not happen often.
This was over ten years ago, and doubtless Balzac has since gone wherever good, if sometimes goofy, dogs go. I hope his end was kind. He was a sweetheart, if a bit overenthusiastic about food !

Monday, November 18, 2002

Something to ponder
"Men, Not Angels, the Priests of the Gospel" -
Discourses to Mixed Congregations, Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
The Pittsburgh Oratory
Well, I blogged on the life of the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, St. Philip Neri. However, I am a Secular Oratorian at a particular Oratory..the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Pittsburgh. I'm going to blog on the history of this particular community, by posting an article which, in revised form, may be on the still-being-constructed new Pittsburgh Oratory website. (Don't worry. It's a lot shorter than the St. Philip Neri article !)

The Pittsburgh Oratory

While the history of the Congregation of the Oratory goes back more than 400 years, and the history of the Oratory in the English-speaking world began almost 150 years ago, the history of the Congregation of the Oratory in Pittsburgh begins less than 50 years ago. This makes it a young Congregation, but by no means the youngest, as about 20 Oratories have been founded more recently than Pittsburgh, and there are more communities in formation.

The Beginning

It began with John Wright, then the Bishop of Pittsburgh, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. (He later became John Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy.) He was aware that many Catholic students were attending secular colleges, where their faith was sure to be challenged. The bishop also realized that while there were already Newman Clubs on Pittsburgh campuses, it would be a great help to students to have an actual community of priests, which would minister to the students.

Bishop Wright was familiar with the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman (now Venerable), who had written so eloquently on education, and thus had been taken as the ‘patron’ of Catholic campus ministry. Putting together the need for ministry and his knowledge of Newman, he came up with an idea: why not have a Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Newman’s own community, in Pittsburgh, with its members working as chaplains to the students of secular universities? This would be especially helpful because Oratorians would stay in one place for life, giving the ministry a measure of stability, which would be particularly needed by college communities, which are transient, by their very nature.

This was not an entirely new idea. Newman himself had, at one point, hoped, and even taken steps to begin an Oratory at Oxford. However, this had not come about, due to opposition to such a measure by various people in the hierarchy. Pittsburgh was not Oxford, but now followers of St. Philip would be serving Catholic students at secular universities, as Newman himself had dreamed so long ago. (Oxford now has an Oratory as well, which was established in 1993.)


Bishop Wright was a man of great vision; however he knew that having an idea is quite different from implementing an idea. Much labor was needed to make his vision a reality. Bishop Wright contacted the Rock Hill Oratory in South Carolina for help in getting this fledgling community started. He was also in communication with the Birmingham Oratory in England, Newman’s own community, and they were also most helpful, sending one of their priests to assist the new foundation for six months.

By 1961, a community was established at 4040 Bigelow Boulevard, in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, close to three of the secular universities in Pittsburgh: the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham College.
When all of the formation was completed, and the requirements for a fully established Oratory met, the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Pittsburgh was canonically erected April 15, 1968. In the years to come, the apostolate to students continued to grow and thrive, and as hoped by the founders, the Oratory provided stability and strength to students trying to live their faith in troubled times.


During this time, the Oratory acquired a large farmhouse in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, along with about 90 acres of the surrounding countryside, to be a retreat house for the Oratorians and their ministry. This house was named ‘Rednal’, after the retreat house of the Birmingham Oratory, as a tribute to the community that had played an important part in the formation of the Pittsburgh Oratory. Through the years, the house has been enlarged and improved a great deal, but its purpose has remained constant: to give those who visit there the ability to build up their faith in a quiet and beautiful setting, in a respite from the hectic life of the urban university campuses.

Building and Growth

In 1994, the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Pittsburgh moved to its current location, at 4450 Bayard Street. This building, unlike the community’s previous home, had been built specifically for the Oratory and its ministry, with funds raised by the Oratory itself. The new building, which has more spacious facilities for the ministry to students, also includes room for the housing of new members. If it be God’s will, the Congregation of the Oratory in Pittsburgh will continue its ministries, in the spirit of St. Philip, serving and strengthening the life of faith in the university communities in this new millennium.

My patrons

John Da Fiesole has a list of his patron saints. I think this is great, and herewith post a list of mine.
1. The Blessed Virgin Mary -
I have particular devotion to her patronage under the titles "Our Lady of Walsingham", "Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal" and "Our Lady of Vallicella".
2. St. Jeanne D'arc - My confirmation name saint.
3. St. Philip Neri - Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory.
4. The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales -Some of the most amazing saints I've ever read about, and far too little known in the US !
5. Venerable John Henry Newman. C.O.- I know, he's not canonized yet. I'm including him anyway.
I could list many, many more saints, but these five are particularly close to my heart. This was made particularly obvious to me when an ill-considered attack on Number 4. was made by a man who claims to be a follower of Number 5.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Silly quiz time..

cartoon dog are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at

I am linus

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz

Actually, that second one is pretty close to true.......particularly the 'opinionated' part !

Thanks to Chris Lugardo for the quizzes.
A Prayer for the Servants of the White Hand...
Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith
-Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
"St. Paul tells us to "look on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith." Faith is the first step towards salvation, and without it we have no hope. For St. Paul says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." It is a divine light; by it we are brought out of darkness into sunshine; by it, instead of groping, we are able to see our way towards heaven. Moreover, it is a great gift, which comes from above, and which we cannot obtain except from Him who is the object of it. He, our Lord Jesus Himself, and He alone, gives us the grace to believe in Him. Hence the Holy Apostle calls Him the author of our faith—and He finishes and perfects it also—from first to last it is altogether from Him. Therefore it was that our Lord said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark ix. 22-23). And hence the poor man to whom He spoke, who believed indeed already, but still feebly, made answer—"crying out with tears, I do believe, Lord; help Thou my unbelief." Hence, too, on another occasion, the Apostles said to our Lord, "Increase our faith" (Luke xvii. 5). And St. Paul draws out fully the whole matter when he reminds his converts, "And you (hath He raised), when you were dead in your offences and sins, wherein in time past you walked, according to the course of this world, ... in {183} which we all conversed in time past, ... and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest; but God (who is rich in mercy), for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together in Christ ... By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God" (Ephesians ii. 1-8).

Let us pray for all the scorners, scoffers, and unbelievers, all false teachers and opposers of the truth, who are to be found in this land.

O Lord Jesus Christ, upon the Cross Thou didst say: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And this surely, O my God, is the condition of vast multitudes among us now; they know not what they might have known, or they have forgotten what once they knew. They deny that there is a God, but they know not what they are doing. They laugh at the joys of heaven and the pains of hell, but they know not what they are doing. They renounce all faith in Thee, the Saviour of man, they despise Thy Word and Sacraments, they revile and slander Thy Holy Church and her Priests, but they know not what they are doing. They mislead the wandering, they frighten the weak, they corrupt the young, but they know not what they do. Others, again, have a wish to be religious, but mistake error for truth—they go after fancies of their own, and they seduce others and keep them from Thee. They know not what they are doing, but Thou canst make them know. O Lord, we urge Thee by Thy own dear words, "Lord and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Teach them now, open their eyes here, before the future comes; give them faith in what they must see hereafter, if they will not believe in it here. Give them full and saving faith here; destroy their dreadful delusions, and give them to drink of that living water, which whoso hath shall not thirst again."
Music at noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"
Offertory: "De Profundis Clamavi" - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Communion: "Venite Comedite" - William Byrd (1543-1623)
Recessional Hymn: "God the Omnipotent"