Thursday, March 22, 2007

I have moved the blog. I'm now at

Vist Abbot Joseph's blog to find out why, at

It's just completely ridiculous.

I'll be moving the blogrolls and graphics as soon as I can figure out how. but the verbiage is all over there, plus a new post about my visit to St. Mary's, previously mentioned.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I knew if I was patient, I'd get something upon which to wax bloggy.

One of the parishes here in Morgantown, St. Mary's in Star City, recently had a 'parish meeting' at which was discussed (using the term loosely) the renewal(?) of the worship space (?). This meeting was led by the pastor along with a Father Richard Vosko who bills himself as a 'liturgical consultant' and two other men (architects? interior designers?) - all three of whom were dressed in black suits and carrying briefcases.

(Imagine 'shark-coming-at-you' music from the movie "Jaws" here)

Go to to read about Fr. Vosko. Sources tell me he's responsible for Cdl. Mahoney's cathe'dull' in Los Angeles, and the website if St. Charles Borromeo parish in Kettering, Ohio, which was also a product of Father Vosko's process, has only a couple of small photographs of the church on its home page but it looks awfully generic, and definitely not Catholic.
The picture is of the interior of St. Mary's at the beginning of Advent. One of the things I've been told that's probably going to change is that the big beautiful crucifix there behind the altar is on its way out.....sources say that 'people must be able to touch it, so it should be in the gathering space and be brought into the sanctuary for Mass'.
And no, folks, this isn't my parish, although I was a member for several years when I lived in this part of town. But it IS my faith, and I can't stand to sit idly by and watch yet another Catholic church in Morgantown get protestantized in the name of renovation.
More news, photos and information as it becomes available.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Among other things, I have been teaching girlchec how to tell time. I think she knows, but just likes the extra attention. Not having many analog clocks in the house is a major bummer - but the ones we do have are near a digital clock so she and younger boychec can see what the time looks like in either type of display.

Go read this, it's awesome:

Also I have been: figuring out a schedule to teach Pysanky workshops here during Lent; supervising and advising older boychec on his first-ever real research paper; refereeing all sorts of sibling wars; attending basketball practice and games, yada yada.

Younger boychec's team finished first in their division - YAY!!!
Girlchec was a cheerleader (her team didn't do so well....the only game they won was when they played a team of girls)
Older boychec's team made it to the semifinals in the championships, and lost 35-24 to a team of all 4th-graders from a local private school (his team was 3rd and 4th graders together, but this school fields two teams in the division, one of 3rd graders, and one of 4th graders).

Some thoughts of my own on Lent, this my first one in the Byzantine tradition, (hopefully) later...

Oh yes, we've had another crab demise. We're down to 3 now and I think we will keep it that way at least until we get a bigger aquarium.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last week we (or rather I) bought hermit crab came home with us an a little shell painted with a cute flower....then over the weekend we gave them a bath (never a dull moment around here) and within 24 hours it had moved into the American-flag-painted shell, that crab had moved into a previously unoccupied shell, and the green medium-sized one had evicted the large one from its gray shell and forced it to move into a shell WAY too small, but without taking over the gray shell. Also the large crab lost its antennae and a leg. we have nursed it back into its original shell and are watching it carefully to see whether or not it will survive. So you see they trade around freely, and you could decorate the shells, but if you have crabs of about the same size and temperament, they could trade and you would be calling them by the wrong name (not that they come when you call them but you get the idea). Absent some way of decorating the crabs themselves, we have un-named them and now just call them by the description of their shell and their size.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I have come to the conclusion that it is pointless to name hermit crabs. They end up in each others' shells and they are pretty much the same color, so it has the potential to be very confusing.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I truly did not mean to drag this out for so long! My cable company got sold, and my internet service was transferred, and for several days the only thing I was able to do was check I didn't want to trust anything important to that mail-to-blog thing you can do (but I've never tried).

Anyway, to summarize so far: The Catholic Church is where Jesus is Truly Present in the Eucharist, so if you want the Real Thing, you gotta be Catholic. That means keeping the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments, and the Precepts of the Church. Yes, Virginia, it's still a mortal sin to lay out of Mass (or Divine Liturgy) just because!

Now - C4 through C10 are covered by GC2 (see previous posts for explanation of abbreviations). I think for the average person this should be pretty much self-evident. Also p5 is part of GC2 - contributing to the support of one's pastors. Obviously your pastor is your neighbor. And his support, directly or indirectly, comes from your contribution in the offering plate.

p6 is not as obvious a part of GC2, but it's in there. We are enjoined by GC1 to love God to the utmost. GC2 instructs us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and we are to desire holiness and sanctification for ourselves by virtue of the fact that God has given us Faith and Hope in everlasting life. Therefore we should desire nothing less than that same holiness for all people. Marriage is a sacrament of joy and ought not to be celebrated during penitential seasons, since by doing that we are putting our own desires above that of God, Who through His Church has given us times of reflection and penance (Lent/The Great Fast and Advent/St. Philip's Fast). During these seasons we ought to be preparing to celebrate the Nativity and Resurrection, and our thoughts and actions should all reflect this preparation (this is called 'living your faith, people). And if you're serious enough about your faith to follow this simple little bit, then go just a bit further and don't marry your first or second cousin, or someone who isn't Catholic, or someone who isn't even baptized.

But wait, there's more! Even if you are OK with all of these, there are bunches of other Catholic teachings, the denial of which is enough to keep you away from what you're after - Jesus, Truly Present in the Sacrament of the Altar.

The fifth commandment - are you truly pro-life? Really? Do you condemn abortion in ALL circumstances, because it's MURDER? Do you truly understand that contraception, whether physical or chemical, is also a violation of this commandment? If you hold the view that 'young people are in such a grip of their hormones that they are going to have sex outside of marriage anyway, so there should be birth control/condoms so that abortion doesn't enter the picture, and no unwanted/unplanned babies are conceived, then you are in dissent from the Magisterium of the Church and should not present yourself for Communion.

More later. If there's error here, correct me. I retract whatever is wrong in advance, but I need to know where I err so I can further educate myself.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Continued from previous post -

I should add while I'm thinking about it that the Orthodox also have valid sacraments (all seven of them). And that (please correct me with a comment if I am wrong) only the Lutherans and Episcopalians/Anglicans admit of seven sacraments, out of the Protestant denominations. I think all of them recognize baptism and marriage. Anyway, that's not my point and I'm getting on a tangent.

So - if a person desires, and believes to be necessary for grace and the spiritual life, to receive the Real, True Jesus when that person goes to communion, then that person ought to be Catholic.

And herein is the problem, the bugaboo, the stumbling block!

Of course it would be foolish to say "well, OK, I will become a Catholic to get Jesus in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity when I go to communion, because for me it is that anyway, it's not just a symbol or a representation. But that's really the only part of being Catholic that applies to me. The other stuff (on which in a minute, be patient) I just don't hold to personally, so I can just go on believing what I want to, and go to communion wherever, even in a Catholic church, because Jesus didn't say you can only receive Me if you go through 6 months of instruction first."

AAAH! Big alarm bells going off! There are TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS in the New Testament: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ***AND*** You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Great Commandment #1 goes hand in hand with Old Testament Commandments #1, 2 and 3. It also dovetails quite nicely with 4 of the 6 precepts of the Church - (1) to attend Mass on Sundays and all Holy days of Obligation, (2) to obey the prescriptions of fasting and abstinence, (3) to go to confession at a minimum of once a year, (4) to receive Communion at a minimum once during the Easter season.

It should be fairly obvious to just about everyone how the first of the Two Great Commandments relates to the first three of the Ten Commandments. So let's look at the precepts of the church -

(1) Of course if you're even making a halfhearted attempt to fulfill the first Great Commandment (hereafter GC1), then of course you're not going to want to miss Mass on Sunday. This precept (p1) directly addresses Commandment #3 (C3) to keep holy the Sabbath day. As for Holy Days of Obligation, these are all feasts and solemnities in which Christians celebrate and remember a great point of Church doctrine - the birth of Christ, His Holy and Glorious Resurrection, His Ascension into heaven, the purity-from-conception of His Holy Mother, etc.
(2) p2 is binding on all who have reached the 'age of reason' which is not something I want to has h out here. But anyhow, Friday is traditionally a day of abstinence from meat, as it is the day when, throughout the year, we remember our Lord's Sorrowful Passion. Fast days have been enjoined on us in order to further make clear the desire for our sanctification that God has for all of us - as we feel the pangs of hunger from denying ourselves a plethora of foods on certain days, we are united with Jesus on the Cross, and further the Holy Spirit's work in us to grow in holiness. So it can be argued effectively that those to whom this precept applies who ignore it, are not following the teaching of Christ in GC1.
(3) p3 applies to all who have made their First Confession (and First Holy Communion in the LR, since the two sacraments are linked in this rite). The virtue that opposes the sin of pride is humility. All who are truly seeking to cultivate the virtues in order to root out sin from their souls ought to approach the Throne of Mercy through Confession at a MINIMUM of once a year. The Church encourages us to go more often than that. Some saints went daily! If this has struck a nerve, and all you've been doing is the minimum, then try 4 times a year. Then 6, then pretty soon you'll be going once month (and one advantage of this is that you won't have to rack your brain so much to think of things to confess - they are easier to recall when you've just committed them).
(4) p4 presumes that we will make our minimum annual Confession during Lent. But really, how serious can you be about being a Christian if you only receive Jesus in the Eucharist once a year? If you think this is all that's necessary, then maybe you ought to go be a Protestant. Although I don't think there are any Protestant denominations that only have 'communion' once in every year. I think the Presbyterians have it every three months, some have it once monthly. If it's really and truly Jesus, and it's true that He is with us 'always, until the end of time', and you believe that (really believe it, not just say you believe it), then you gotta go where He is, which is the Catholic Church.

Next: how GC2 encompass C4-C10, how p5 relates to them, and what is the point of p6 and whether or not it still applies.

Again, if anyone reads error here, PLEASE comment and correct me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I keep having these conversations with ByzCat where we preach to each other - the choir, as it were. Most recently I was ranting about non-Catholics and their attitude toward the Eucharist. I guess I should go backwards a bit and explain MY PERSONAL REASONS for believing that I'm in the right place, faith-wise.

Scripture has it that Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Thereby establishing Peter as the visible head of the Church on earth, and the method by which our sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession all in one fell swoop. He didn't give this authority to all of the Twelve, but they received it from Christ through Peter. Thus we have the hierarchy of the Church on earth, from deacons to priests to bishops and archbishops all the way to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. Since the Pope is head of the Catholic Church, then in order to follow Jesus as a member of His Church I must be a Catholic.
I can't be Orthodox because I acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. I can't be any denomination of Protestant because I believe Jesus taught all the things that Protestants deny or gloss over - the obligation to render regular worship to God; necessity of individual auricular confession; efficacy of anointing of the sick and/or dying; the value of works as a complement to faith; the reality of the Communion of Saints; necessity of penance/repentance; etc. etc. ad infinitum et nauseam.

OK. Based on Jesus' words as recorded in Scripture, what we as Catholics receive in the Eucharist is truly Jesus - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - whether unleavened as in the Latin Rite or leavened as in the Eastern Rites. Since Jesus instituted the sacred priesthood, and also established Peter as the first Pope, then it naturally (to me) follows that ONLY A VALIDLY ORDAINED CATHOLIC PRIEST (or a validly ordained Orthodox priest) CAN EFFECT TRANSUBSTANTIATION, or the change from bread and wine to the Most Precious Body and Life-Giving Blood of Jesus.

I can't. A Baptist preacher can't. A Presbyterian minister can't. And, so sorry, neither can an Episcopalian minister. No amount of wishing or deciding is going to cause any bread or any wine (or grape juice) to be mysteriously and miraculously changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, by anyone other than a validly ordained priest of the Catholic Church.

I mentioned this before, but I will repeat it now: if anyone reads this and sees ANY ERROR, please comment. Hold me accountable. Please.

I see that I shall have to continue this later.....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Go there. Read entire post. Think. Pray.
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Exalted Highness Duchess Sieglinde the Erudite of Yetts O'Muckhart
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I got this through The Ironic Catholic (here), who got it from.....(I'm not very good at this yet, so bear with me).

This is actually quite interesting for more than one reason. Back a few years ago, I had a business partner and we did tailoring out of a commercial storefront over on the other side of town (now I hold the overhead to a more reasonable and less crushing level by working from home). Because we (and now I) were the people who would take on sewing projects that no one else in town would touch with a ten-foot measuring tape, we occasionally needed the assistance of ridiculous titles for each other so as not to get discouraged....I was the Duchess, and she was the Dowager Duchess, being older than I. We also had a dime-store little girl's tiara that we put on at moments when we were about to have to admit defeat.

At various points in my career as a tailor, I have done the following:

Altered a dog sweater (twice, actually)

Put sleeves in a sleeveless dress (more than once)

Made a doctor's lab coat for a teddy bear

Made a baby sling for a doll (betcha thought I forgot about that, huh ByzCat!)

Said 'yes, I can do that' as a matter of policy when it would have been much simpler to just say 'no, not possible, so sorry'

Threatened to stick a (usually male) customer with a pin due to wiggling during a fitting

Fired a customer for being too difficult (only once)

I have got to figure out how to remember all the erudite insights that come to me when I am nowhere near my computer, so I can blog about them.

I'm still praying for two priests a day - today it's Father Prechtl, who has now been at his new parish - St. Luke the Evangelist in Morgantown, for 24 hours; and Father Colombo Bandiera (retired), formerly of St. Francis de Sales in Morgantown. St. John Vianney, pray for us!

Last Friday, January 5, I took the checs over to St. Mary's NO Church in Star City to our regular Blue Knights & Little Flowers Catholic homeschoolers meeting. At one point ByzCat had to take one of her littlies to the bathroom, and afterwards popped into the nave to listen to one of the other (older) kids practicing on the organ.....when she and her child returned to the room where we were having our class, she said "You'll NEVER guess what I just saw when I peeked into the church to watch (name of other child) practice -


A note of explanation here - the tabernacle is not on or behind the altar, but in a little niche on the Gospel side of the nave, just outside the sanctuary. There is a kneeler there, and a chair, and a pencil with paper and a 'prayer jar' (don't ask - it's been there as long as I can remember) for personal intentions/thanksgivings.

Evidently this woman was in the niche, rubbing shoulders with Jesus in the tabernacle, so to speak, chatting away on her cell phone!

I got a letter from our LR bishop, and since I'll never have the opportunity to personally discuss with him the series of events that led to my request to switch rites, I'll do it here, for the boredom/edification of anyone who may be wondering 'why in the world would anyone want to do that'?

Paragraphs of his letter to me in italics; my response/explanation in regular type:

As I am certain you know, it is the Church's desire that individuals remain in and preserve the connection with the Ritual Church to which they belong by baptism.

Well, actually, I'm a Moravian by baptism, if you're going to pick nits. And as I was confirmed in the Presbyterian church as a teen, I was a Protestant up till the time, at Easter Vigil 1991, I was received into the Church under the Roman Rite. I have spent considerable time meditating on whether I would have chosen the Roman Rite, had I known about the Byzantine Rites at that time. I think I would have been VERY drawn to the Eastern Churches. It is interesting to note that the current pastor of the parish where I became Catholic (Holy Family in Lawton, OK) is also the administrator of the Byzantine community in Oklahoma City - he's a bi-ritual priest. I really think (with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, of course), that I was done a real disservice in RCIA in that NO MENTION was made of there even being other Rites besides the LR. We did touch briefly on the fact that the Orthodox have the same sacraments but that Catholics can't go to Orthodox liturgies unless there is no Catholic Mass available, but that's as far as it went.

While the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is certainly theologically profound and deeply beautiful, the distinction between the Ritual Churches is not merely liturgical. Indeed, a distinct spirituality and, in many cases, an ethnic or national character identifies the Ritual Churches.

You're not kidding! I'd have to say that, at the present time and in this diocese, the differences in spirituality devolve from differences in liturgy. The universal reverence that EVERYONE at my Byzantine parish displays during the Divine Liturgy naturally flows from the intense and deep spiritual meaning and 'non-ordinary' terminology and language used during worship. As I have witnessed personally in several local parishes, the more 'everyday' the language used in the Mass, the more it appears that the worshippers are casual about posture and attitude - and the more amazed they are when someone displays true reverence/piety - see my previous post about my youngest chec receiving the Body of Christ at a NO parish on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Comception.

In your own case, with three children under the age of 14, the request is even more momentous since the children will be transferred with you, though they will have the right to return freely to the Latin Rite when each celebrates his or her fourteenth birthday (can. 112 sec. 3). This is a great deal to explain to your children. There is also the question of how transfer will affect your member ship in a Latin Rite Confraternity.

HELLO!!!! The checs started referring to themselves as Byzantine Catholics within a week of my registering at the parish. Before I even applied to switch. They no longer whine about going to church or Sunday School. They know the Truth when they experience it. And as for it affecting my membership in a Latin Rite Confraternity, our foundress is thrilled that I'm at a parish where the words 'penance' and 'conversion' are part of regular catechesis. She knows that at my previous parish I was viewed as a total wierdo for being in the CFP. And she hopes that my witness at my new parish will help spread the word to Byzantines that the CFP exists. The CFP even has several spiritual advisors who are Byzantine priests and religious.

In the meantime, I ask you to recall that you are free to continue celebrating the sacraments in the Byzantine Catholic Church, no matter what decision you eventually make. And I thank you for your devotion to the liturgical life of our Catholic Church.

Um, well, I've already decided. That's why I wrote Metropolitan Basil and you, Bishop Bransfield. And it is precisely that devotion to the liturgical life of the Church that drove me to that decision.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Byzantine Dominican (here) only has 3 posts on the front page, but all of them are worth a read.

It occurred to me the other night, if the Ironic Catholic's kiddos are chic(s), and I'm an EC, would that make my kiddos chec(s)? And when they don't understand something I have just told them in plain English, they would then be blank checs?

If all three of them are invited to different social occasions on the same day, is the youngest therefore a third-party chec?

Jumping on a trampoline: bounced checs

Sleeping in a seemingly anatomically impossible configuration: rubber checs

ByzCat's kiddos on a sleepover or playdate: guest checs

Displaying a typical (for them) aversion to umbrellas: rain chec

Anybody got any others?

I got up at 1:30 this morning, intending to awaken oldest sleeping chec to come outside and view the Quadrantid meteor shower (when moon & clouds don't interfere, supposedly one can see 100+ meteors per hour). When we went to bed at 9 p.m. the sky was nearly perfectly clear - I went out to check the view before getting him out of bed and ARRGH! the only thing visible besides the clouds was the FULL MOON, directly overhead, and so bright it was casting shadows. Needless to say we'll have to try again in April (the name of that one escapes me for the moment).