Thursday, December 31, 2015

YOUR GOOD NEWS YEARS EVE 2016: What Are You Watching?

What are you watching this New Years Eve? 
Have any good news
Father D and the guys from the Chancery are hanging out to watch a Rocking New Years Eve.

I, for one, am in the midst of preparing another Supper for the Promotion of Clericalism.
I have ten clerics tonight, for a classic Greek line up of the 7 courses, which I am doing with a hotplate and a toaster oven. I have two hot plates, actually and I wheeled the microwave in from the common room.
Because of the number of guests, I had to rebuild an old table that belonged to one of the former bishops of the diocese.

You know which one. He would never drink coffee from a mug. ALWAYS a cup and saucer.

Anyway, as an appiteaser I prepared fresh ginger fingers for each guest. Reynaldo says this treat is very popular at the NAC instead of traditional holiday figgy pudding.

As I type this, I find that my hands aren’t working so well after dealing with the squash. I have had to retype and retype, so I am stopping here.

Don't want to be sharing these!

We'll all have ginger fingers. Reynaldo insists everyone will love them. I have my doubts.

Then a light snack and some wine.

One Monsignor insists this reminds him of Reynaldo. Odd!  Reynaldo isn't even Greek.

Amazing what one can accomplish with limited resources and a generously fulfilled Amazon Wishlist!

So even after the meal one of the monsignors insists that there will still be hungers that will need to be satisfied and he thinks Reynaldo will be able to help.  Keeps mentioning "Reynaldo's Rockin New Years Eve."
I hope he's not disappointed. Reynnie makes a mean cocktail, but can't prepare a ham sandwich to save his life.

So, this is good news: more clericalism!
What’s up with you?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22: O King of Nations

O come, of Gentile hearts the King,
A world that needs thee ransoming,
And save thy servants, who confess
With humbled hearts their faithlessness.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Is born to save thee, Israel!

Tr. Ronald A. Knox

Monday, December 21, 2015


O come, thou Daystar seen on high,
With healing for our hearts draw nigh;
Do thou the mists of night dispel,
And death's foreboding darkness quell.

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Is born to save thee, Israel.

Tr. Ronald A. Knox

Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights, 
Skies, and be perfect! Fly, vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors, 
And disappear. 
You moon, be slow to go down, 
This is your full!

The four white roads make off in silence 
Towards the four parts of the starry universe. 
Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth. 
We have become more humble than the rocks, 
More wakeful than the patient hills.

Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent, 
holy spheres, 
While minds, as meek as beasts, 
Stay close at home in the sweet hay; 
And intellects are quieter than the flocks that feed by starlight.

Oh pour your darkness and your brightness over all our 
solemn valleys, 
You skies: and travel like the gentle Virgin, 
Toward the planets' stately setting,

Oh white full moon as quiet as Bethlehem!

Thomas Merton
Abbey of Gethsemani, 1946

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 20: O Key of David

December 19: O ROOT OF JESSE

Friday, December 18, 2015

December 18: O ADONAI

All-powerful God,
we are oppressed and weighed down
by the ancient yoke of sin.
Grant that the birth of your only Son,
so long awaited, yet always new,
may deliver us and set us free.

We ask this
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

He is the one foretold by all the prophets,
whom the Virgin Mother awaited
with love beyond all telling,
the one whose coming John the Baptist heralded,
and whose presence he proclaimed.
This same Lord invites us to prepare with joy
for the mystery of his birth,
so that when he comes
he may find us watchful in prayer,
our hearts filled with wonder and praise.

And so, with angels and archangels,
with all the heavenly host,
we proclaim your glory
and join their unending chorus of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts,
heaven and earth are filled with your glory:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord:
Hosanna in the highest!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What a beautiful Advent weekday: the day after the Jubilee Year began . . .

In a few moments I will have the joy
of opening the Holy Door of Mercy.
We carry out this act – as I did in Bangui –
so simple yet so highly symbolic,
in the light of the word of God
which we have just heard.
That word highlights the primacy of grace.
Again and again these readings
make us think of the words
by which the angel Gabriel
told an astonished young girl
of the mystery
which was about to enfold her:
“Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28).

The Virgin Mary was called to rejoice above all
because of what the Lord accomplished in her.
God’s grace enfolded her and made her worthy
of becoming the Mother of Christ.
When Gabriel entered her home,
even the most profound and impenetrable of mysteries
became for her a cause for joy, a cause for faith,
a cause for abandonment to the message revealed to her.
The fullness of grace can transform the human heart
and enable it to do something so great
as to change the course of human history.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception
expresses the grandeur of God’s love.

Not only does he forgive sin,
but in Mary he even averts the original sin
present in every man and woman
who comes into this world.
This is the love of God which precedes,
anticipates and saves.
The beginning of the history of sin
in the Garden of Eden
yields to a plan of saving love.
The words of Genesis reflect
our own daily experience:
we are constantly tempted to disobedience,
a disobedience expressed in wanting
to go about our lives
without regard for God’s will.
This is the enmity which keeps striking
at people’s lives,
setting them in opposition to God’s plan.
Yet the history of sin can only be understood
in the light of God’s love and forgiveness.
Sin can only be understood in this light.
Were sin the only thing that mattered,
we would be the most desperate of creatures.
But the promised triumph of Christ’s love
enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy.
The word of God which we have just heard
leaves no doubt about this.
The Immaculate Virgin stands before us
as a privileged witness of this promise and its fulfilment.

This Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace.

To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover
the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone
and goes out personally to encounter each of them.
It is he who seeks us!
It is he who comes to encounter us!
This will be a year in which
we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy.
How much wrong we do to God and his grace
when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment
before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy
(cf. Saint Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, 12, 24)!

But that is the truth.
We have to put mercy before judgment,
and in any event God’s judgement
will always be in the light of his mercy.
In passing through the Holy Door, then,
may we feel that we ourselves are part
of this mystery
of love,
of tenderness.
Let us set aside all fear and dread,
for these do not befit men and women who are loved.
Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering
that grace which transforms all things.

Today, here in Rome
and in all the dioceses of the world,

as we pass through the Holy Door,
we also want to remember another door,
which fifty years ago
the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council
opened to the world.
This anniversary cannot be remembered
only for the legacy of the Council’s documents,
which testify to a great advance in faith.
Before all else, the Council was an encounter.
A genuine encounter between the Church
and the men and women of our time.
An encounter marked by the power of the Spirit,
who impelled the Church to emerge from the shoals
which for years had kept her self-enclosed
so as to set out once again, with enthusiasm,
on her missionary journey.
It was the resumption of a journey
of encountering people where they live:
in their cities and homes, in their workplaces.
Wherever there are people,
the Church is called to reach out to them
and to bring the joy of the Gospel,
and the mercy and forgiveness of God.
After these decades, we again take up
this missionary drive with the same power and enthusiasm.
The Jubilee challenges us to this openness,
and demands that we not neglect
the spirit which emerged from Vatican II,
the spirit of the Samaritan,
as Blessed Paul VI expressed it
at the conclusion of the Council.
May our passing through the Holy Door today
commit us to making our own
the mercy of the Good Samaritan.

By the way,
as the Jubilee Year of Mercy begins,
these non-Roman Catholic people still hate Pope Francis:

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Sorry I've been gone for so long.

I should never have given myself to this apostolic adventure but look at those lovely Orthodox old and even younger Nuns of the convent named after the Virgin Mary whose icon adorns the Nunnery and is called "Легко собирается Мать Чокнутый ЛЮДИ" supposedly "Joy of All Who Sorrow,"
but I think the Russian means, "Easy-Going Mom of Every Freaking Total Whack-Job." But I digress.

Once the gang of my old novitiate showed up (and I do NOT miss living there and instead - thank you JESUS! - sailing around the stipend scoop-ups waterfront missions on my own!), we got the size of everything just about right!
Because the last time Vladyka Eureka of Topeka came to visit, the phosphora was slightly on the "big" size. If you get my drift!
There he is banging the diskos with the tire-iron from my pickup truck!

At the end of the whole project, we monks and nuns first watched the EWTN (Elderly Woman Talking Nonsense) presentation of the Pope meeting with Lutherans in Rome (Lutherans over here are the ones our MSNBC people thought just blew up that place in California, but I digress).

The Lutherans presented the Pope with an Advent Wreath. I don't think that coming from South America, Francis would even know what the hell that is. Benny would have I'm sure. Anyhow they used red candles (you'll see MY choice later on!):
We were amazed at what Francis gave them!
Same Chalice he gives Catholic bishops to show that they're all in Communion with him. And one Catholic wife had asked him if her Lutheran husband could receive Communion in the Catholic Church. We thought the way he looked at HER after giving her husband's pastor the same Chalice he gives Catholic Bishops kind of gave her an unofficial answer:
Wow. Imagine how pissed off Cardinal Capote must have been when he saw pictures of that on the computers up at the Transylvanian Vampires where he's spending Advent. Great shot of his face!
Then we finished the day up by first praying together a special service remembering "the gang that went before us"
And then had a fun-fun outdoor dinner together
Well, they did! But after those prayers around all the skulls of our previous monks and nuns, I couldn't imagine keeping the smoked sausage down in my tummy, so I boated on home to the hermitage.

Invitations galore came over my iPhone. OK, I'm supposed to be "abiding in silence" but I have to be "in touch" with all those who are "out of it."

And I visited these on my way home:

Episcopal friends mixing Roman purple, Sarum blue, and Pinky Rose. What the heck, looks OK, don't you think?

Then the BIG Roman guys on the other island. Look at those brass wax-catchers. I wonder what the hell they cost?

One of the other guys is about 6'7" and wants EVERYTHING up front in the church standing up as tall as him. Look at the Advent wreath!

Then there's the "OTHER" parish. I had to stop. But I did NOT stick around. If you get my drift!

Then I stopped at the local "active" Sisters' two places. Remember them? They "minister" . . . ahem . . . at the beach!
Well, she tried (but not very hard, given her limited amount of time away from the beach):

The older Sister's a bit more inspiring, habit-wise:
Lovely wreath (ahem). But I digress.

And finally I made it home. Not much to look at, but here you go. Except for the pink, I don't pick out any special color. Purple. Red. Burgundy. Maroon. Depends on your eyes. But I digress.
And after the wreaths, it's time to pick out music. I don't know about you, but I've dumped some of the typical Advent chants that can really be depressing.

Now at the Liturgy instead of that groaning and grinding chant "Let Us Who Mystically Represent the Cherubim . . . " I lead the crowd in this. Hey before being laicized to become a movie star, Rev. Bing Crosby was a parish priest both in The Bells of Saint Mary's:
and Going My Way:

So why not let him, as a layman, sing this deeply religious song?

Then, when the people are leaving after the final blessing, since we don't have to keep it strictly liturgical at that point, we always put this on the speaker system!

So even though the scriptures boom, "PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD!" (Scary as hell or MSNBC news)! this sends everyone home smiling!

Like the President did when his Mom prepared him to govern us in time of Lutheran (?) jihad!
Obviously a tough ruler right from the friggin' beginning, right?  Remember how serious he grew up to be?
Fear ye not! Unless ye be a malignant belligerent Lutheran (or whatever they are).

Meanwhile, speaking of tough, one of our constant posters (I'll let you guess her name!) has written in and asked to send out this special dedicated Advent-Christmas hymn to some dancing seminarians she knows will soon be on their way home in their Gammarelli attire! Looks to me like the place is getting ready for Truman Cardinal Capote's election as Pius XIII!
But according to our poster (I can't give her name!), the dancing seminarians will be home with gifts - for themselves and their bishop friends at home! Little pics right from the catalogue according to her!
Perfect Advent vestments!
And funeral vestments that tell you what they think of eternal life when Jesus calls us home to eternal joy!
And always wear your seminary hat, when you're looking for some Christmas $$$ from the folks back home. Don't wear these to the seminarians' usual clubs, if you get my drift.

And she (did you guess her name yet?), wants a musical dedication to those dancing seminarians heading home. So let me close with her very specific suggestion while I go bake the cookies for the Sisters who are stopping by this evening.

Happy Advent! This video will inspire some great Fund Raising Dinner Entertainment for next year! After the Thanksgiving Cornhole Tournament, the two tap dancers will fit right . . . uh, right in here, that is. According to the writer (know who she is?) these are "future bishops' secretaries . . . under Pius XIII maybe even monsignors!"

But seriously: