Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ugliest Church Art

The Carolina Cannonball is running the Ugliest Church Art Contest. She's taking submissions until July 15th. Do send her some examples. We can all groan and gape together.

If Beauty is the Splendor of Truth, what is Ugly?

10 Honest Things About Myself

Well, having been nominated twice for this award, should I give 10 things or 10 times 2?

I try not to reveal too much about myself on this 'blog unless it has something to do with my work as a church musician. You can probably guess what things I consider important through my previous posts or looking over my sidebar. If you glance through the categories, you'll see that there are a lot of things that interest me. Out of fairness to those who've been following this little 'blog for years, it's time to reveal something of myself.

Thanks to Vir Speluncae Catholicus and to the Divine Lamp (oh, no, is that fur flying? Please, fur doesn't go with my black couch.)

1. I drive a battered black five-speed stick-shift Dodge Neon. I used to drive a silver convertible sports car, but the neighborhood where I work made it increasingly unsafe for me to drive around such a conspicuous car. Considering one seminarian who was staying with us one summer got beaten up and his car stolen, a nondescript scratched up car is perfect camouflage.

2. I love Eucharistic Adoration and Processions. A friend called me an Adoration junkie once.

3. I think that surfing and being online has made me a little duller intellectually. That's why I am trying to curtail my time online. Am I successful? No comment.

4. Question or comment that will earn you logorrhea from me: But why does Father have to turn his back to us?

5. My organ shoes are bright gold. I'm thinking of getting a red pair for Red Calendar Days...

6. I don't think I have enough books.

7. I don't think I have enough bookshelves.

8. I try hard not to roll my eyes or get exasperated while playing for N.O. Masses. It's not what Father does. It's what others do in "active participation" that drive me crazy. I asked him once if he noticed and he said, "No, I'm concentrating hard on Our Eucharistic Lord."

9. I am, by nature, more of a hermit than people realize. I can go for days without needing to encounter anyone but my family. It takes me days to recover from a whole weekend of being around people. Don't call me on Mondays because the phone will ring off the hook.

10. The coolest thing that's ever happened to me is being in Rome for a Corpus Christi procession with Pope Benedict...surrounded by all kinds of Catholics from all over the world (oh, and a token Protestant here and there).

Okay, I'm supposed to give this Honest Scrap Award to some other bloggers. Hmmm.
Holy Cookie, have you done this one yet? Quantitative Metathesis, before you go off to your hidden life! Ubi Petrus, is a moving target (*snirt*). CUAguy, who has just a few days left before he starts his summer job. Mike Liccione who constantly challenges the way I think. Philip, but he's on his way to France so he probably will just ignore me. Cathy, here's something to cheer you up...winning an award!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.

Friday, June 26, 2009


One of the reasons it's such a joy to be in Rome. From one our 'blog friends:

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Dear Friends,

I've returned from more peregrinations and needless to say, I'm very tired. So that's why the 'blog's been static for the past week. My sleep patterns are all out of whack. Travel does that to you. In addition, I still have about 14 gigabytes of pilgrimage pictures left to wade through and post some select ones here. That's a lot of pictures!

Anyway, I'll be back after a few more days' rest.

Take care. Hope you are getting some summer reading done and enjoying down time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Burgos Cathedral II

The interior is beautiful, from the Capilla Mayor Retable to the ambulatory chapels. The wonderful cimborio and delicate stonework. What an amazing place, truly magnificent.

Rose window

Capilla Mayor Retable

Central panel, detail of the retable

Cimborio over the nave crossing and high gate over the Choir

Click on the picture to see the exquisite details. Read the Latin!

Embellishments on the support pillar of the cimborio


Upper Cloisters

More photos coming!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral is a major stop along El Camino de Santiago. It is a gloriously Gothic cathedral begun in 1221 and wasn't completed until the 16th century in 1567. Imagine being a pilgrim who's walked for days and days and you finally see this cathedral rising from the distance. Burgos Cathedral is truly a city of God, not just the rising spires that reach to the skies, but the beauty outside and inside, gives you a glimpse to the splendor that must be heaven.

The Gate to the Cathedral

Our Lady atop the gate

King Charles

Is this not glorious?

Cimborio, the central tower over the nave crossing

The facade

Facade towers. If you click on the picture for a larger res, you'll see the words "Pulchra es et decora" carved above the central bay door.

Facade and central tower

Delicate stonework

Rose window

Portada de Coronera. Christ with his apostles and the four Gospel writers at their desks.

Tomorrow, we'll have interior pictures.

Renewing Devotion to the Sacred Heart

For those of you in the New York area, you might be interested in this Conference on Renewing Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Check out some of the speakers and celebrants!
  • Dr. Timothy O'Donnell, President of Christendom College
  • Fr. George Rutler, Pastor of the Church of the Savior (host of the conference)
  • Fr. John Zuhlsdorf will celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal
  • Fr. John Santos will celebrate Mass according to the ancient Rite of Braga
  • Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, Editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review
  • Solemn Pontifical Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Fernando Rifan the night before

If you're anywhere near there, go! Our home was consecrated to the Sacred Heart and we enthroned the Sacred Heart. You might want to consider doing so for your home and family.

New Secretary for CDW

We interrupt our virtual pilgrimage to bring you this piece of news from the Holy See's Daily Bulletin:
Il Santo Padre ha nominato Segretario della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti il Rev.do Padre Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., finora Sotto-Segretario della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, elevandolo in pari tempo alla sede titolare di Oregon City, con dignità di Arcivescovo.
The Holy Father has nominated the Reverend Father Joseph Augustine De Noia, O.P. as the new Secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. He was previously an Under-Secratary in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He succeeds Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith who returns to as the new Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Monday, June 15, 2009

El Camino de Santiago

Here is a small portion of the Camino along what is known as the French route. A pilgrim picks up his credentials at the border between France and Spain in Roncesvalles, comes down the Pyrenees, walks the blistering plain, and then up the Cordillera Cantabrica only to face more mountains in Galicia. We only walked in the Navarre area since our time was limited. Someday, I'd like to return and walk the route from Roncesvalles to Santiago. First, I have to earn a month of vacation!

Sign that you looked for while on El Camino. What looks like a yellow starburst is a stylized shell on its side. The yellow arrows were for pilgrims on foot.

In Navarre

Flowers along the route

A church in a village along the route in Navarre

In Nájera

Open stretches

Entering Castile y León. Very nice map showing all the towns through the region.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Monasterio de San Salvador de Leyre

Near Sangüesa in Navarre. Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos revived the monastic life here in the 1950s. The monastery was consecrated in 1057. Gregorian chant permeates the walls and spaces of the monastery. The interior is austere and beautiful with no embellishments but the stonework. I didn't take any pictures inside because we were there during Mass and it just didn't feel right to be clicking away while the monks were chanting and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was being offered. Ancient kings and monarchs of the old Kingdom of Navarre are buried here.

Porta Speciosa, Romanesque door to the church

The new monastery

The old monastery

The church

Mountains surrounding the monastery

The apse in early morning light

The monastery overlooks a lake

Friday, June 12, 2009


Xavier, the birthplace of the great missionary saint Francis Xavier (hah-VYER, not egg-ZAV-yer), is in Navarre, northwestern Spain. There's a Jesuit seminary next to the family's castle. The oldest part was built in the 10th century and was gradually expanded through the centuries. When Navarre became part of the kingdom of Castile, the castle was partially destroyed. Thankfully, the castle has been restored.

The castle keep, the oldest part from the 10th century

Ramparts from the 13th century


Closeup of chain links

View of the Navarrese mountains from the top of the castle keep

A meditation corner in the castle's new chapel.

A walnut crucifix which survived the ravaging.

The Basilica tacked onto the castle in the 19th century. Completed and dedicated at the turn of the 20th century.

Inscription dedicating the church to the glory of God

St. Francis Xavier

Representing the Gospel of Matthew




Chapel to Our Lady

A close-up