Saturday 31 October 2009

Halloween Mass At Blackfen...

Hah! Bet that got a few of you to sit up and do a double-take!! There may even have been a few keyboards covered in spat-out coffee...

Noli timere, my blogging buddies, His Hermeneuticalness has not lost his marbles and started celebrating Mass ad pumpkinitum. And the only trick-or-treat to be seen was the delightful treat of Mass in the Extraordinary Form for All Hallows' Eve... (the Vigil of All Saints, geddit?)

I discovered a new setting on my camera - "continuous shots" - and I decided to try it out. I can see how this might be useful if you want to get "paparazzi" type photos, but, if you have a particular shot in mind, it's best to stick to single shot, and practice getting the timing just right! My experiment produced a total of 321 photos... which is a bit of a pain when going through to find out some of the best ones...

I did manage to capture this one of one of our youngest servers as thurifer, obviously perfecting his swing!

We were using a really heavy Missal, and the thurifer's brother had a tricky time with the Missal and stand...

After Mass, a few of us managed to find our way to a local hostelry for lunch... and then we returned to church for Round 2 - Solemn Vespers and Benediction...

Definitely the best way to celebrate Hallowe'en!

Friday 30 October 2009

More From SiteMeter...

Checking out SiteMeter again, I find that an awful lot of visitors have found their way to me by searching for St. Cecilia's feast day... and they probably get put off by the post on St. Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde, and one or two other mentions.

Wanting to be helpful, I shall just point out that St. Cecilia's feast day is 22 November... in both the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form (I think) although the 22nd being a Sunday messes it up a bit this year.

If you want to know a little more about the saint herself, you can check out the post I wrote a couple of years ago...

Showing Up The Parents...

My sister and her husband decided not to have their children baptised: I'm busy praying that it's a case of "not yet" rather than "not ever." We shall see.

I have made a few tentative overtures: glow-in-the-dark rosaries made an appearance on my recent visit, as did a little story book telling the events of the Nativity. This went down particularly well with my sister.

"Oh good," she exclaimed. "We'll start reading that one immediately!"

I was a little surprised by the response... however, it seems that last year, visiting the in-laws, Grandma had all the cousins around the crib, and she was telling the children all about Christmas.

"And, of course, we all know whose birthday it is on Christmas Day, don't we?"

To which my eldest nephew gleefully shouted out the answer:


Thursday 29 October 2009

That Time Of Year Again...

I was pretty surprised to note that November is nearly upon us. I mean, I knew it was the end of October, and that November follows October... but I hadn't quite connected the two.

There are only five weeks to go before I renew my vows.

After consultation with His Hermeneuticalness, I have opted to celebrate this on the first Saturday of December rather than sticking to a particular date: the visiting schola are here in the parish for the Missa Cantata, and they can help chant the Litany of Saints... and then there is the bun fight in the Large Hall afterwards.

I can't believe that it's been seven years...

If you are in the vicinity of Blackfen on December 5th, feel free to drop in. Mass is at the usual Saturday time of 10:30am, followed by Benediction, and my renewal of vows will happen after that, at about 12 noon. It's a short ceremony, so lunch will be at 12:30pm. I'm hoping that it will be possible to have the bar open as well. If you are planning to attend, can you let me know in the com-box (to give an idea of numbers for catering purposes) but please don't feel that you can't just show up...

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Books Review

A while back, I was sent a couple of books to review. I felt a bit guilty, because I was just too busy to read anything at the time, and I was having my little crise de blogging. However, the Forty Hours at Blackfen proved to be a perfect opportunity to get on with some spiritual reading.

The first book I tackled was Go to Joseph by Fr. Richard Gilsdorf. It's a very small book, which, I thought, would make it an excellent one for use in meditation. The back cover has a sort of flap, designed, I think, to serve as a bookmark, but this is something which I find irritating, as the book doesn't then lie flat.

I found the book interesting, in that it considered how St. Joseph must have learned about the Annunciation, and why, despite being described as a "just man," he wouldn't fulfil the requirements of Jewish Law and denounce Mary (according to Mosaic Law, she should have been stoned.) There is also some consideration of the development of devotion to St. Joseph.

I did get a little frustrated, though. Several times, mention was made of stories and details which were "commonly held" due to devotional works and spiritual writings: this book, however, wanted to concentrate more on what was known from Scripture, which was fair enough, but it assumed a knowledge of these extra elements.

For example, there is mention of the story of Joseph's staff flowering, and so he was chosen to be betrothed to Mary; this is cited as the reason why statues of St. Joseph are shown with him carrying a lily-like flower. I had no idea of the story, and, even if it is mythical (as stated in this book), it obviously had a profound influence on common devotion to St. Joseph, if his iconography includes such details.

Another little gripe (for me) is the inclusion of "study questions" at the end of each chapter: they just take up valuable space, as far as I'm concerned, as this isn't a school textbook.

Overall, I found the book interesting, and I did like the prayers to St. Joseph included in an appendix. I think it is a useful prompt for use during a time of meditation.

The second book was, for me, less interesting, falling into the category of self-help books. This is a category which, perhaps because of my Psychology background, irritates me. Let the Oppressed Go Free: Breaking the Bonds of Addiction, by Cardinal Rigali, is the seventh title in the Shepherd's Voice series.

In a question-and-answer format rather like the old Penny Catechism, the book goes through what addiction is, a Christian understanding of addiction, and the importance of the Sacraments and prayer in overcoming addiction, as well as a brief explanation of the "Twelve Steps" approach.

It's a small book (more of a booklet, really) and it is clearly written; however, I found it difficult to know whether the book was being written for people with an addiction, or people whose loved ones have an addiction.

Both books can be ordered from the Catholic Word website.

Sunday 25 October 2009

More Than Slightly Disconcerting...

Checking out my SiteMeter stats (reassuring myself that someone is actually bothering to read what I write!) I happened to look at the "search words" filter, to see what sort of things people are searching for.

I was rather disconcerted to find that someone in India (in Maharashtra, Bombay, to be precise) had googled "how to induce heart failure"... the visit length was 0 seconds, so my post obviously wasn't what was required...

Atheists' Holiday Date Announced...

I was sent this in an email...

In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days.

His argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, "Case Dismissed!"

The lawyer immediately stood, objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honour, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, Counsel, is woefully ignorant."

The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists..."

The judge replied, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools' Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' It is the opinion of this court that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned."
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