Archive for April, 2009

It’s Not What You Think!

April 30, 2009

A common feature in Spain is the almost general usage of the nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions. This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip (capirote) used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.These nazarenos carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, may walk the city streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance.

The Dome of the Sky

April 27, 2009

“It is he that sitteth upon the globe of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as locusts: he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”–Isaiah 40:22

The Reredos

April 23, 2009

From Latin “retro”, backwards, and “dorsum”, back. A decorative screen or facing on the wall at the back of an altar. Sometimes the reredos extends across the whole breadth of the church, and is carried nearly up to the ceiling. This decorative screen, retable, or reredos is also called the altarpiece.

Tabernacles Part Deux: The Aumbry and Dove

April 20, 2009

“Eucharistic reservation in the sacristy would undoubtedly have entailed in many churches some recess or cupboard in the wall. The first known document attesting to the use of an aumbry (armarium) for the reserved Sacrament is in 1128. Wall tabernacles were in very general use in Italy throughout the middle ages, which Gothic and Renaissance art enriched with sculpture.”

“The earliest indication of a vessel in the form of a dove is found in Tertullian (c. 200), but there is absolutely nothing to suggest a eucharistic purpose. The first unambiguous reference to a suspended vessel for reservation in the form of a dove is found in a Life of St. Basil in the 8th century, in which it is said that the Saint, while celebrating the Liturgy, divided the eucharistic bread into three parts, with the third part to be enclosed in a golden dove suspended over the altar.”–From Eucharistic Reservation in the Western Church

Happy Birthday, Alles gute zum Geburtstag Pabst Benedikt!

April 16, 2009

Today, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, turns 82.

Christ Our Light

April 14, 2009

The origin of the pascal candle is lost to far antiquity. Ss. Jerome and Augustine both refer to carmina cerei, “songs of the candle”, in reference to the blessings of the candle at the Easter Vigil. By the 8th century, the custom in Rome was to inscribe the date on each year’s Paschal Candle.

“This is the Wood of the Cross”

April 10, 2009

Legend attributes the discovery of the True Cross to St. Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine, who travelled to the Holy Land in search of relics of the Savior. She found the True Cross on which he was crucified; it was later fragmented and dispersed throughout the whole world.

A statue in St. Peter’s Basilica is dedicated to St. Helena, here holding the Cross of Christ.

May you all continue to have a blessed Triduum, and may we all have strength to embrace the Cross.

“Our Holy Father, John Paul, has returned to the house of the Father…We all feel like orphans this evening.”

April 2, 2009

On this day, 4 years ago, pope John Paul the Great passed away. He was a source of inspiration for many to rise up and follow Christ, including for me.

A description of the last moment of the holy father from father Jarek Cielecki, director of the Vatican service news and of the Italian TV catolick Tele Padre Pio, tells us the last moment of life of this great man. “The Holy father died looking at the window, gathered in prayer. As such he was conscious. Just before dying, the Pope raised his right hand in a sign of blessing, as if he was aware of all the people gathered in prayer. Then, as soon as the prayer ended, the Pope did a huge effort, said the word ‘Amen’ and died.”

“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer “fully reveals man to himself”. If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly “expressed” and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must “appropriate” and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he “gained so great a Redeemer”, and if God “gave his only Son “in order that man ‘should not perish but have eternal life’.” –From Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Redemptio Hominis, #10.