Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

25 Jun 2017

London Fires, Mostly



Many folks who lived in Grenfell Tower got out. Many others died.

We don't know how many. A current estimate is 79. Determining the exact number will be difficult, since high temperatures may have effectively obliterated some human remains.

Some survived because they didn't listen to official instructions to stay in their homes. That advice makes sense in a building with sprinklers and adequate interior firewalls.

In Grenfell Tower, not so much....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 May 2017

More Than a 3-Day Weekend



Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

It's equivalent to Dodenherdenking in the Netherlands, or Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The holiday's original purpose was to honor those who have been killed while serving in our nation's military.

That's still the holiday's official purpose. Recent generations have used the three-day weekend as an unofficial start of summer vacation season. That's not, I think, entirely inappropriate. I'll get back to that.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 May 2017

Mother’s Day, and Mary

Upwards of 40 countries celebrate mothers at some point during each year.

America's Mother's Day doesn't seem to connect with Phrygia's cult of Cybele or Japan's Haha no Hi, apart from being a recognition of motherhood.

Our Mother's Day has roots in my country's civil war. Ann Jarvis organized a committee in 1868, promoting "Mother's Friendship Day." The idea was "to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Apr 2017

The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting

Easter is when we celebrate "the crowning truth of our faith in Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 638)

It's among the top major events so far. Depending on how you count them, there have been only three to six: the creation of this universe; humanity's creation and fall; and our Lord's arrival, execution, and resurrection.

There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.

The idea that the Son of God was human and divine has seemed insufficiently 'spiritual' to some folks for two millennia now. But like John 1:14 says,1 "...the Word became flesh...."

The crucifixion, and what happened later, wouldn't mean much otherwise....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 Mar 2017

Trinity

I say "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" a lot: mostly when I start praying. I generally make the sign of the Cross at the same time.

The sign of the Cross is a very "Catholic" gesture. It "reminds us in a physical way of the Paschal Mystery we celebrate: the death and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ."1

It's a prayer, a blessing, and a sacramental; and that's another topic. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1668-1670)

Dali's "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" is very "Catholic," too; although not it's not like the mass-produced 19th-century stuff many associate with our faith.

I wouldn't be surprised if a half-millennium from now, some tight-collar Catholics will be upset by new art that doesn't present the Cross as an unfolded tesseract, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Mar 2017

Living With Consequences



I've missed one morning set, and several of the evening prayer sequences, in the routine I started February 13. (February 19, 2017)

I'm doing a little better with so far with the Lenten Chaplet. I started that Ash Wednesday.

Emphasis on "so far." I nearly forgot twice, which doesn't surprise me. There's a very good reason for my wife handling the household's schedules, and that's another topic.

This is where I could quote Romans 7:19 and launch into a 'wretcheder than thou' lament. It'd be accurate, on one level, since I've felt this way often enough....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Feb 2017

Oatmeal For Lent



I'll be eating oatmeal for breakfast during Lent, and walking around more. If I was in England, I'd probably call it porridge, and that's another topic.

It'll be be good for my health, and I'm sure that's one reason my wife suggested it. But that's not the only, or the main, reason.

Lent isn't about me....

...Lent is when we join Jesus in the desert. Sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Jan 2017

Epiphany Sunday



Statues1 of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started near the clock in our living room. I took those pictures of them on Wednesday. Their trip to the nativity scene ended today, Epiphany Sunday.

We read about "magi from the east" in today's Gospel: Matthew 2:1 through 12:
"1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
"saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.'"
(Matthew 2:1-2)
"Magi" is how μάγοι, mágoi, looks in my native language. That's the Greek version of an Old Persian word that would sound something like "magus" if I tried pronouncing it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Dec 2016

"Good News of Great Joy"



The Christmas Mass marathon — that's not what it's called — started yesterday with the Vigil Mass. Mass During the Night was next, followed by Mass at Dawn and Mass During the Day.

I didn't go to all four, I don't know how many folks do, but I looked up the Gospel readings for each....

"...We heard parts of the Vigil Mass Gospel last week. That's Matthew 1:18-24, when Joseph learns why Mary is pregnant...."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Dec 2016

Gabriel, Joseph, and Mary



Monday's Gospel reading, Luke 1:26-38, is a repeat from December 8.

It starts with....

...A little earlier in that chapter we get an account of Gabriel's interview with Zachariah: Luke 1:10-20. That's when Gabriel personally delivers God's response to Zachariah's prayer — and Zachariah demands proof.

Zachariah got proof, all right. He couldn't talk for for months. Not until he agreed with his wife about his son's name: in writing.

Elizabeth said the boy's name was John, the same name Gabriel had specified....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Dec 2016

Jesus and Expectations



Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.'

"...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me"


We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2-11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.'
"2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him "4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'
"Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see:
"5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' "
(Matthew 11:4-6)
Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7-15, and a complaint about folks who wouldn't listen to John or Jesus....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Dec 2016

Sin, Awareness, Repentance

Today's reading from the Gospels, Matthew 3:1-12, doesn't seem particularly Christmassy. Not in the 'presents wrapped under the tree' sense.
"1 2 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea. "(and) saying, 'Repent, 3 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' ...

"...When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees 7 coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance....."
(Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2016

Advent and Being Prepared

Today's the start of this year's Advent cycle, leading up to another Christmas.

With my culture's annual focus on flying reindeer, decorated trees, and overflow crowds in Bethlehem, this verse from today's Gospel reading might sound odd:
"25 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."
(Matthew 24:42)
We know when Jesus came, and where. That happened about two thousand years ago, near the east end of the Mediterranean.

Advent is the season when we look back at our Lord's first arrival. That's important.

It's also when we look ahead, to the day when the Son of man returns. That's important, too.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Oct 2016

Happy Halloween!



Showing this picture to a few online groups, I learned that Halloween, our version, is a somewhat "American" holiday.

Today is also the feast day of St. Wolfgang of Regensberg, AKA The Almoner. He had a good reason for throwing his ax into a thicket, and that's another topic....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Jan 2016

Jesus, the Magi, and Me


(Our Lady of Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Saturday afternoon. (January 2, 2015))

Statues of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started out across from the nativity scene in our parish church. They were lurking by the poinsettias during Friday's Mass — the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God — and no, Catholics do not worship Mary. We're not supposed to, anyway.1

Getting back to the statues, they were in place at the nativity scene when I stopped by with a camera Saturday afternoon. Two look like they're kneeling to the Baby Jesus, the third is bowing slightly.

But Friday they were in front of the altar, by the poinsettias you see in that top photo. Two of them seemed to be crouching behind poinsettia leaves; with the third several paces back, leaning out from behind a plant. It looked like they might be getting ready to yell "surprise!"...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Dec 2015

Joy to the World!


(From Silar, Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Nativity scene at the Christ the King Church in Sanok, Poland, 2010.)

Shepherding is a comparatively new occupation, compared to hunting and knapping.

The earliest evidence we've found so far puts the first shepherds north of Sargon's Akkadian Empire, where the Hittite Kingdom was, a dozen or so centuries later. I've mentioned them before. (August 21, 2015; October 16, 2015)

That was about the time someone carved a bit of siltstone into the Narmer Palette, and folks started building Stonehenge; and that's another topic.

Around the time Emperor Ping died, leaving Wang Mang in charge — he was either a great reformer or conniving scoundrel, depending on who you read, and that's yet another topic — the Roman Emperor ordered an empire-wide census.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Nov 2015

Advent: Looking Both Ways

It's been nearly a week since I've seen someone's announcement that the end of days is upon us.

False alarms are nothing new. It's been about 18 centuries since St. Hippolytus of Rome figured the Second Coming would happen in the year 500.

Swedenborg speculated, in 1758, that the Last Judgment happened in the previous year — I give him points for originality — and Harold Camping got it wrong twice. (January 25, 2015; April 19, 2015)

Me? I believe what our Lord said: including what's recorded in Mark 13:32-37, which ties in with today's Gospel reading....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Jan 2015

It Started With the Magi

Some folks, like the magi and shepherds, were happy about our Lord's birth. King Herod, not so much. Today's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, talks about this mixed reaction.

Two millennia later, I'm on the same page as the shepherds and wise men. I think our Lord's birth is cause for rejoicing. (Matthew 2:10Luke 2:20)

"Only the Beginning of a Great Procession"

"For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history...."
("Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Homily of Benedict XVI," (January 6, 2013))
Today is Epiphany Sunday, when the wise men arrive at the nativity scene in our living room, and we remember Matthew's account of the magi. As usual, there's quite a bit going on....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.' Sunday Reflections, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Canaanite Woman,  Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry   [ Wikipedia ] For Readings and Reflections for the 20th Sun...