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Happy New Year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 23:25
The tradition round here - as I mentioned last year - is fireworks at midnight on the top of Pike's Peak. No matter what the weather. The Ad-a-Man club has been climbing the mountain and setting off fireworks for over 80 years.

Here's a charming story of one man who has done it 42 New Year's Eves in a row.

It's amazingly warm here tonight - 48 degrees at 11:30 and clear although very windy. I may bundle up and pop out to see what I can see.

Starry, starry night . . . from the Garden of the Gods, New Years 2004.

Apostles & Martyrs 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 30 December 2008 10:28
From CNS:

At least 20 church workers were killed in 2008, demonstrating that Catholic men and women -- bishops, priests, religious and laity -- continue placing their lives at risk in order to proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor, said the Vatican's Fides news agency.

Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Iraq, led Fides' 2008 list. The 65-year-old archbishop was kidnapped Feb. 29 in an attack that left his driver and two bodyguards dead. His body was recovered two weeks later after the kidnappers told Catholic leaders in Iraq where he had been buried. For more on the aftermath, go here.


The last name on the list is that of Boduin Ntamenya, 52, who was killed Dec. 15 in Rutshuru, Congo. The husband and father of six children worked for an Italian Catholic aid agency running schools in the war-torn country. Ntamenya and a driver were visiting the schools in the region to ensure they survived recent fighting when four armed men opened fire on their vehicle. Ntamenya died on the way to the hospital; the driver was wounded in the hand and the side.


From the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2008, at least 193 church workers were killed, Fides said, adding that the actual total is likely to be higher because the figures include only missionaries whose violent deaths were reported to the evangelization congregation.

A communion of saints, indeed.
The Crowd, Disciples, and Apostles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 30 December 2008 10:20
Fr. Gregory over at Koinonia has posted these great, thought-provoking notes from a retreat he recently gave. He is speaking from an Orthodox perspective (Orthodox parishes are unbelievably tiny by our standards - so they can commit suicide quite literally) but so true to my experience around the Catholic world.

Fr. Ted Bobosh, the priest of St. Paul the Apostle Church (OCA) in Dayton, OH, has a very helpful way of thinking about the parish. In a blog post, "Seeking Christ: The Parish as Crowd," he begins by observing that:

Every parish gathering is a time for people to come to be near Christ. As in the Gospels, people came to Christ for all kinds of reasons - some to hear Him, some to see Him, some to oppose Him, some to touch Him, some to be healed, some to be fed, some to trap Him or trick Him, some to be His disciples, some out of curiosity, and some out of animosity, some in hope, some in despair, some to debate Him, some to stop Him, some to be comforted by Him, some to learn from Him, some to be praised by Him, some just to touch the hem of His garment and some to be glorified by Him. Whatever the reason, they came and crowded around Christ - friend, foe, follower. And He allowed it. He didn't chase away the curious or the hostile, the needy or the greedy, the hungry or those full of themselves. And just as the bishop notes in Leskov's novel On the Edge of the World, some really do just want to touch the hem of His garment and not become His disciples or his ambassadors. He welcomes them all blessing some, bantering with others, shepherding and being lamb, teacher and foil, giver of light and lightening rod.

As I have thought about this, and especially as I have thought about this in light of our conversations here, I have come to see the value of Fr Ted's observation.

During His earthly ministry, the vast majority of the human community was unaware of the events happening in Israel. Of those who may have had some awareness, most were indifferent. Of those who weren't indifferent, some were hostile, some were believers, but the vast majority were somewhere in the middle.

And even among those who were followers of Jesus Christ, there were two different groups: disciples and apostles—an outer circle and inner circle of believers. We can draw from the Gospel a typology of the Church that lets us see three concentric circles of believers: the crowd (who are the vast majority), the disciples (who were once part of the crowd but now have drawn closer to Jesus Christ as students who form their lives around Him and His teaching) and the apostles (those disciples who have said yes to a personal call to be ambassadors of Christ).

But again, we need to keep in mind that at any given moment, the majority of parishioners are going to be members of the crowd. These men and women are not—at least not yet—disciples, much less apostles, of Christ. This does not preclude them from the life of the Church, from her liturgical life or the sacraments.

As with the crowds who surround Jesus in the Gospels, they have their own motivation for coming Liturgy on Sunday, for receiving Holy Communion, baptizing their children, for having their marriages blessed, and it is important that we not put any obstacles in their way. The temptation of disciples and apostles is to send the crowds away, to leave them to their own devise, and to refuse to feed them from the bounty they have received from Christ. When they do this, when they drive away the crowds (whether passively or actively, by word or deed), the disciples and apostles fail in their own obligation.

This then raises a question: What is the obligation of the disciples and apostles to the crowd?

The task, the vocation of disciples and apostles, relative to the crowd is to invite the men and women in the crowd to become themselves disciples. This is hard work and work that is often met with frustration. But it is essential that those who are disciples and apostles within the Church understand that they are no more or less members of the Body of Christ then are those who are in the crowd. And just as those in all three groups are equally members of the Body of Christ, so to they are members of one another and they need one and other.

Events such as this one, retreats, workshops, pilgrimages, visits to monastic communities, adult education classes, preaching that has as its goal the spiritual formation of those who listen, all of these things need to be supported in the parish by those who are disciples and apostles. And they must encourage—and even make possible—the participation of those who are members of the crowd in these and other events that have as their goal awakening people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Where we usually go wrong in the parish, is in one of two ways. First, and this is more the shortcoming of converts and communities in which converts are prominent, we want to exclude the men and women who are in the crowd. When I was first ordained, I did damage I think to people because I wanted a parish of all disciples and apostles. While this might seem a noble goal I wanted to be more successful than Jesus.

The second mistake that we often make is that we fail to distinguish the different groups within the parish. At the risk of being offensive, we cannot entrust leadership positions in the parish or the diocese, to the crowds. Discipleship is the prerequisite for any leadership position in the Church. Members of the crowd are certainly member of the Body of Christ, but they can't serve as parish or diocesan council members or church school teachers. Those who are not disciples, can't undertake the apostolic works of outreach and evangelism. And they cannot be seminarians and they certainly can't be ordained into the clergy.

Unfortunately, this is often what does happen. We are often so concerned to get volunteers, that we entrust leadership roles to those who are themselves not disciples of Christ. Doing this is it any wonder that we have some of the problems we have in the Church?

Let me conclude by encouraging you to take seriously the necessity of a personal commitment to Christ. And let me encourage you, no, better yet, let me beg you, to support your priest in his limiting leadership roles in the parish to those who have demonstrated by the integrity of their lives, their commitment to the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church, their stewardship of time, talent and treasure and their life of philanthropic involvement to others (whether inside and outside the Church), their commitment to Christ.

Leadership in the Church cannot be simply a matter of functional skills, much less a popularity contest or a frantic attempt to fill slots. Christian leadership is the fruit of a personal commitment not only to Christ and His Church, but also to the poor and all those who the world deems marginal and even useless.

I often hear from people that their parish is dying. And every time I've heard this, and heard the reasons why this is so, I have also seen possibilities for life and growth that people simply weren't taking. Parishes, I have concluded, don't die. They commit suicide.

The Way of Life for our community, your community, is by embracing all who are members of Christ, not only those who are disciples and apostles, but also those in the crowd. But not only this. We must understand that Christ has called to serve as leaders in the Church only those who are disciples. Having said this, though, we must remember that those who see themselves as disciples, as leaders—whether lay or clergy—must never tire of inviting, encouraging and sustaining those in the crowd to become disciples.

Your thoughts?
Fathers Without Borders PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 29 December 2008 08:21
A glimpse of our truly catholic, multi-cultural future:

The New York Times is running a fascinating series of articles on foreign priests working in the US. The introductory article, Fathers Without Borders" ran on Sunday and gave the lay of the land in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky and in the nation as a whole.

"One of six diocesan priests now serving in the United States came from abroad, according to “International Priests in America,” a large study published in 2006. About 300 international priests arrive to work here each year. Even in American seminaries, about a third of those studying for the priesthood are foreign-born." Be sure and click on the graphic side-bars. They give a great sense of how much the "priest shortage" is a global matter and how much better off we are in the US than in many places like Brazil or the Philippines.

Just FYI, quotes a 1957 book that gives Catholic figures as of that year:

...Pope, Pius XII, wields spiritual authority--through 62 cardinals, 1,427 bishops, some 400,000 secular priests, 300,000 religious priests and lay brothers, and 970,000 sisters--over some 484 million souls served by 410,000 churches in the world. " The author seems to merge the category of religious priest and religious brother because he is quoted elsewhere as saying that the Catholic Church has 700,000 priests in 1957 - which seems tremendously exaggerated since the number of priests has stayed about 405,000 since the mid 90's.

Although we've yet to work in Owensboro, The NYT figures are not a surprise. We run into foreign-born - usually African or Vietnamese - priests everywhere and in the seminaries we've worked in. (See my post on our experience at St. Patrick's Menlo Park.)

Today's piece is a heart-warming tale of a missionary priest from Africa and his 4 years at largely rural, largely white St. Michael's parish in Kentucky.

" In Kenya, Father Oneko became the sole pastor for 12 satellite parishes in an 80-mile stretch. He served more than 3,000 people communion on a typical weekend and ran a girls high school.

It was a hardship post. His car, the only one in the vicinity, was used as a school bus, an ambulance and, if the local officers caught a thief, a police car — with Father Oneko the driver."

Fr. Oneko has adapted successfully to his new congregation's very different ways but his profoundly different experience of life has left him with little sympathy for American self-pity.

"He confessed that he had an easier time relating to white Americans than African-Americans because he did not understand why blacks carried such resentments toward the United States.

“Their ancestors are long gone,” he said. “They are bitter for I don’t know what.”

He has little tolerance for what he sees as unnecessary self-pity. When an unemployed Vietnam veteran told him he blamed his war experience for his poverty, Father Oneko said he told him: “I blame you, because military people have so many opportunities. You are getting some pension from the government, so you should not complain.

“There are some poor people, poorer than you, somewhere, in Africa, in Jamaica,” Father Oneko said. “But you, at least you have freedom. You have somewhere to sleep."

Fr. Oneko's experience of injustice and poverty is much more immediate:

"One morning in January, Father Oneko received a phone call from his family in Kenya, where a disputed presidential election had just set off a wave of intertribal anger and violence.

A mob had set fire to his parents’ house because they had given shelter to a family of a rival tribe the mob was chasing. Father Oneko’s 32-year-old brother, Vincent Oloo, arrived in time to help their elderly parents escape the burning house. But the mob turned on Father Oneko’s brother, shooting him dead. He left a wife and three children.

“My parents were just crying and crying,” Father Oneko said. “My father is crying and saying, ‘Now I’m losing all the children, who will bury me?’ ”

Father Oneko phoned his friend the Rev. John Thomas and then Mrs. Lake, his faithful volunteer administrator. She was stunned at the news, and for half an hour listened to and consoled her priest — a sudden role reversal. Father Oneko was troubled to hear his mother wailing on the phone and to know that he could not go to Kenya to perform the funeral. His parents insisted it was too dangerous for him to come."

His congregation of 300 - 400 clearly cherish him and responded magnificently.

"Mrs. Lake called three of the church’s Silver Angels, a club of elders. They phoned more church members, and in two hours 60 people had assembled at a special noon Mass in memory of Father Oneko’s brother.

At the end of the Mass, they lined up in the center aisle as if for communion, and Father Oneko stood at the front receiving their embraces one by one.

He was overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy. Children in the parish school in Hopkinsville made him cards; one showed his brother with a halo, in the clouds. The bishop and priests of the diocese e-mailed and phoned their condolences. St. Michael’s and the parish in Hopkinsville took up a special collection for his family that totaled $5,600.

“It seems the whole church is praying with me,” Father Oneko said a few days later, as he read through the children’s cards. “You feel like you’re not a foreigner, just a part of the family. It makes me know how much I am to them.
Hot Tip PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 27 December 2008 11:48
Here's a hot tip for those who are going to be outside in the cold this winter.

Cayenne pepper. Who knew?

Yep - the word from the outdoor pros here in the Rockies is Cayenne pepper. Sprinkle it in the toe of your sock before you pull it on or cover your toes in vaseline first and the sprinkle a handful of cayenne pepper on those greasy little piggies and then cover them with said sock.

Yum! Winter athletes working out in sub-sub-freezing temperatures swear by it.

Just make sure you take a shower afterwards . . .
What's In Your Bible? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 27 December 2008 10:57
Here's a nifty way to compare and contrast Biblical canons. From Bible Study Magazine. comes a colorful chart which compares and contrasts the 7 major canons: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Syrian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, and Samaritan.

The issue of the canon is a very complicated one and this chart is simplification - but a very helpful one.

The Ethiopian canon is the least known to me - and the one with the most books. And the Samartian canon is by far the shortest

And for those of us from English language Protestant backgrounds - a little note on the history of the "Apochrypha" or Deutero-canonical books.

"Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther doubted the canonicity* of the Apocrypha*, but when Luther prepared his translation of the Bible into German, he did not remove the Apocrypha; he simply moved those books to an appendix. This tradition continues in many European bibles.

The English were the first group of people to remove the Apocrypha altogether. In 1599, an edition of the Geneva Bible was published without the Apocrypha. In 1615, during the reign of King James the First, George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared the penalty for printing a Bible without the Apocrypha to be a year in prison! But over the next three centuries the growing influence of Puritans and Presbyterians over the populace, the government, and the British and Foreign Bible Society led to a strong tradition of printing bibles containing only 66 books.

The situation today reflects this bifurcation. The bibles used by many European Protestants, as well as the Anglican Church, still include the Apocrypha. Most other English-speaking Protestant churches have bibles without the Apocrypha."

(The Protestant canon in the chart below is the European/Anglican version which does include the Deutero-canonical books - not the 66 book version that I grew up with. Here's the link:

What's in Your Bible? Find out at
Christmas in Mosul PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 26 December 2008 18:35
Ah, the luxury of reading the dead tree version of the New York Times while sipping a grande decaf non-fat Latte with sugar-free Hazelnut. Must be the second day of Christmas!

Anyway, I was struck by a poignant story from Iraq about the Christians of Mosul - and the impact that one brave young Chaldean priest and a few fearless sisters have had on the community. God bless and protect them!

"But many of the Christians who have returned said they did so because they were inspired by the determination and faith of one priest and a handful of nuns to remain in the city against the odds.

At St. Paul’s, Mikhail Ibrahim said the only reason he returned to Mosul after fleeing for a few weeks with his family was because of his faith in the Rev. Basman George Fatouhi, the Chaldean Church’s de facto leader in Mosul.

“He was the only one who stayed and took care of the community,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “He told us to come back and we did.”

Father Fatouhi, a charismatic 27-year-old priest, was thrust into the effective leadership of the Chaldean Church in Mosul after the kidnapping and death this year of its leader, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. Archbishop Rahho’s closest aide, another senior figure in the church, was killed in 2007.

Father Fatouhi had negotiated with the archbishop’s kidnappers, who abducted the archbishop after a church service and killed three of his companions.

Their demands went from $300,000 to $20,000, but after the lesser sum was paid the negotiators were told that the archbishop had died in captivity because he did not have his diabetes medication.

Father Fatouhi and another church member dug his body out of a shallow grave and took it to the morgue.

Since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians have been hit hard, particularly in parts of Baghdad and Mosul. Numerous churches and the Chaldean archdiocese building in Mosul were bombed, and many priests and parishioners were killed or kidnapped for ransom."


"Amid the violence, the few remaining church leaders like Father Fatouhi and Sister Autour Yousif, who also belongs to the Chaldean Church, are working against the tide to keep their faith alive.

During the depths of the crisis in October, they were not only providing moral and spiritual support, but often venturing out at great risk to buy food and provisions for families who were too scared to even go to the market. They have also been determined to maintain church services in some of the most dangerous parts of the city.

On numerous occasions the pair have found themselves carrying out the grim task of collecting the bodies of Christians from the morgue because their families were too afraid to do it.

Sister Yousif is among three nuns at a convent next to the Miskinta church who have refused to leave Mosul. They care for 27 orphan girls and reach out to Muslims and Christians alike.

“We are like the rest of the people,” she said. “We will remain until they all leave. The poor need us.”

In his homily on Thursday, Father Fatouhi compared Jesus to a flame that continued to “warm the hearts” of the faithful during difficult and trying times."

Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Peter's PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 11:02
How many of our Christmas traditions that we consider immemorial are very recent indeed? you know that midnight Christmas mass at St. Peter's is both an ancient and very new development? I watched parts of it yesterday on EWTN with no idea.

Here is a picture of the 1944 Christmas Midnight Mass celebrated by Pius XII. (h/t Monastic Musings)

It was the first midnight Mass at St. Peter's since the coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas Day, 800 - 1,144 years earlier. A mere bagatelle! Rome had been liberated just 6 months earlier - and after years of war and occupation, the turn-out for midnight Mass was enormous and I"m sure, heart-felt for many. The joyful American soldiers here are perched onto of a confessional to get a better view.

Here is a contemporary description of Charlemagne's coronation:

"On the day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ all [who had been present at the council] came together again in the same basilica of blessed Peter the apostle. And then the venerable and holy pontiff, with his own hands, crowned [Charles] with a most precious crown. Then all the faithful Romans, seeing how he loved the holy Roman church and its vicar and how he defended them, cried out with one voice by the will of God and of St. Peter, the key-bearer of the kingdom of heaven, "To Charles, most pious Augustus, crowned by God, great and peace-loving emperor, life and victory."(Salus et victoria) This was said three times before the sacred tomb of blessed Peter the apostle, with the invocation of many saints, and he was instituted by all as emperor of the Romans. Thereupon, on that same day of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most holy bishop and pontiff anointed his most excellent son Charles as king with holy oil."

No Vacancy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 08:42
A Blessed Feast of the Nativity to all!

Here's a most appropriate meditation for Christmas Day from Catch the Digital flow:

"Alicia Robey, a Vincentian Lay Missionary stationed in Ethiopia, writes to us from Kenya where she is waiting to renew her visa. I’ve excerpted some wonderful reflections on the Advent Season. . .

“Jambo from Thigio, Kenya, everyone!! Today is Jamhuri Day
(Independence Day) here, so we have had a relaxing day celebrating
this wonderful country’s 45th anniversary of their independence from
Britain. This morning I went out with the postulants (three young
women who are in the discernment process of joining the Daughters of
Charity… they live next door to us) to visit the elderly in the area.
For the first time in my entire life, I got to spend some joyful,
laughter-filled moments with a person who is 105 years old (and, I
know you’ll find this IMPOSSIBLE to believe, as I had difficulty
myself, but he has a son who is, at most, 3 years old and others in
grade school… Wow, I know, right?). Samuel was a delight… pure
delight. Even though I understood no more than 4 words of what he
said, my face hurt because I was laughing so hard. I so wished that I
spoke Kikuyu, as I wanted to ask him a million things about living the
good life (as he seems to be doing just that), but I settled with just
basking in his presence and the warm Kenyan sun.

I’m headed back to Ethiopia tomorrow night, so I wanted to share with
you a little bit about my time in Kenya while I’m still in the

. . . .Shortly after Kids’ Club, we went into Karen for Saturday evening
mass. It wasn’t until the choir began singing “O Come, O Come
Emmanuel” that I realized the purple cloth covering the altar and saw
the advent wreath displayed at the front of the church. I said (loud
enough for the family two rows in front of me to slightly turn), “Oh
my goodness, it’s Advent!”

I was surprised by how shocked I was (that sounds a bit redundant,
eh?). I knew Thanksgiving was celebrated back home just a few days
before, so why the shock? I sat through mass contemplating this, and
I found myself asking a very basic question… the theme of nearly every
cheesy holiday film… What is the true meaning of Christmas?

To the first question, I think I realized that I was so shocked
because the usual external cues that for so long have told me that
Christmas is coming were absent this year. Stripped of cookies,
carols, Christmas trees, and commercials… presents, parties, and
pageants… and without a ground covered in snow, houses bedecked with
lights, and bellies filled with hot chocolate… I have been gratefully
forced to consider the following: How do I know that Christ is coming
and how am I making myself ready and preparing the way?
Finally, later that afternoon, I accidentally walked in on Esther’s
formation class with Sr. Catherine. They kindly invited me to join
them in their discussion of Fr. Gregory Gay’s Advent letter (he is the
Superior General of the Vincentian family). He begins by quoting Luke
2:7, “And there was no room for them.” Though I’ve heard the Nativity
story countless times, rarely have I paused to consider this phrase as
it relates to the true meaning of Christmas. What does it mean on
Christmas, in our world today, in my life, that Jesus was born into
and lived a life among the rejected, the outcasts, the unwanted? When
I am preparing for Christmas, I don’t know that I have ever paused
during the frenzy to consider those I have told, “Sorry, there is no
room for you in my life.”

All of this is heightened this year, as I spend every day in a
community that was formed because its members were cast out of their
home communities due to leprosy. Though those who live in Ginjo and
Tulema make it easy for me to make room for them in my life, and they
have certainly welcomed me wholeheartedly into theirs, I know all too
often I have been one of those innkeepers turning away the Holy

How can I keep expanding my heart and never post a ‘no vacancy’ sign?"

H/T Susan Stabile
Escape from Seattle PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 07:49

Depending upon whom you talk to in Seattle, either Seattle never gets snow like this, or they used to get snow like this but don't anymore, or yeah, it snows like this every year. I heard all three from people who live in this suddenly snowbound city. If snow like this is a regular occurrence, the city is woefully unprepared for it.

Thanks to the generosity of the Dominican community in Seattle, and the quick thinking of Fr. Daniel Syverstad, OP, the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Seattle, I made it home to Tucson yesterday afternoon from Seattle. My original flight on USAirways was cancelled, as I had mentioned earlier, with December 26th as the next departure I could be offered. After frantically trying to find options, I settled on an Alaska flight to Idaho Falls, connecting to Salt Lake City, then to Tucson, departing at 11:30 a.m. yesterday. Yesterday morning, as I was packing, Fr. Daniel told me he was talking to a representative at Alaska about a non-stop from Seattle to Tucson departing at 12:20 p.m. on Monday. While she was telling him it was sold out, a seat opened up. Fr. Daniel booked it for me, and took me to the airport Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. The Seattle airport was a madhouse, with lines for ticketing, checking luggage, and going through security that seemed endless. Not to mention people trying to figure out what to do since their flights had been cancelled.

I cancelled my Idaho Falls junket before leaving for the airport. While I waited in line to check a bag (fortunately Fr. Daniel had printed out my boarding pass, so I missed one line), I chatted with the fellow in front of me who was headed to (drum roll) Idaho Falls. While looking for the end of the line for one security checkpoint, I overheard a volunteer mention there was another checkpoint that might not be as crowded. Understatement. There was one person in front of me when I got to that line.

While I was waiting for my flight to Tucson, I noticed the flight for Idaho Falls had been cancelled, and while walking back from getting lunch, I saw the fellow from the luggage line now standing in a line to get re-booked. I offered my condolences, and said a prayer that he and all the other stranded passengers would get to their destinations quickly and safely.

If you're home, be grateful - and say a prayer for those whose travel plans have been disrupted, as well as for the harried airline and airport workers who are spending extra hours at the airports struggling to get these passengers to their destinations.
Arabic Christmas Chant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 07:22
Mysterious and magnificent.

A Byzantine era Christmas chant in Arabic with wonderful images from the middle east and English subtitles.

It is 7 minutes long but worth it.

O Emmanuel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 22 December 2008 22:17
The O Antiphon for December 23:

O'Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

The Huron Carol: In the Moon of Wintertime PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 22 December 2008 08:19
Really lovely and different.

The Huron Carol, written in 1643 by Jesuit missionary and martyr,Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born").

Brebeuf was part of the 17th century French revival that I have posted about before. (Here, here, and here) The Iroquois, who martyred Brefeuf 6 years later, also attacked and destroyed the Huron mission in 1649 and 1650. St. Marie Among the Hurons has been recreated as a living museum and there are some fascinating details about life in the mission on their website. There is a fascinating museum of western Jesuit missions at St. Louis University Art Museum. (Blogger Mark Scott Abeln posted some very nice online pictures of some of the collection here.)

Next time I'm in town, I must visit!

According to Jesuit Father Francis X. Heiser's accoun, the Hurons who escaped the Iroquois attacks preserved the hymn. They later settled at Loretto, near Quebec, led by other missionaries. Father Étienne de Villeneuve recorded the words of the hymn, which were found among his papers following his death in 1794.

Father Heiser gave the second stanza of Father de Brébeuf's hymn in the original Huron language. (He said that the Hurons have no M, so the missionaries substituted for it the French dipthong ou, so "Mary" appears as "Ouarie" (pronounced 'Warie').

Aloki ekwatatennonten shekwachiendaen
Iontonk ontatiande ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Ouarie onnawakueton ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Iesous ahatonnia!

The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

This recording is in all three languages: Huron/Wendat, French, and English.


The English words sung in this recording are different from the lyrics I've been able to find about the net and I don't know why. The English rendition of the text of the hymn as it appears here is from Selections from the Pius X Hymnal except for the second stanza, which is from Father Heiser's book.

The Huron Carol

Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O, harken to the angels' word,
Do not decline
To heed the message which you heard:
The Child Divine,
As they proclaim, has come this morn
Of Mary pure. Let us adore.
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty 'round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high:
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
The helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before Him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heav'n
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy;
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
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Stuck in Seattle PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 21 December 2008 23:27

My flight from Seattle to Las Vegas to Phoenix to Tucson was cancelled for Monday. The next flight I can take on USAirways gets me home on 12/26. It was crazy trying to get another flight out. It's still snowing (see the picture taken from a second floor landing at Blessed Sacrament Priory) and Seattle's already had about 7-10" of snow, I'm guessing. Folks are saying they've never seen so much snow in Seattle before. All of the flights out of Seattle to warmer places were sold out. I even looked into flying into Edmonton, Canada tomorrow (where the HIGH will be -11 F!) That got sold out from under me. I know am scheduled to fly in a prop plane to Idaho Falls, ID to Salt Lake to Tucson. I leave a little later in the morning, so maybe the flights will be departing by then. I have about a two hour layover in Idaho Falls, so maybe I have a little leeway should my Seattle flight be delayed.

I'm just praying I don't spend several days in Idaho Falls.

Last year I was stuck in Colorado Springs in a blizzard 12/20-24. Still have Christmas shopping to do, too! Please pray for people who are stuck in airports, or whose vacation plans are being spoiled, or whose long-awaited trips home are being threatened.
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