16 May 2008

Commencement 2008

A bittersweet day, to be sure.


Aer Lingus flight EI 661
departs Vienna on 17 May at 11:40am
arrives in Dublin on 17 May at 1:30pm

Accomodations in Dublin
Almara B&B

Aer Lingus flight EI 125
departs Dublin on 18 May at 2:30pm
arrives in Chicago on 18 May at 4:30pm

[Update] Safely arrived in Lansing, MI around 11:30 Sunday evening!

15 May 2008

Essays: Spring 2008

20 February 2008
Textual Analysis of Genesis 37
Pentateuch, STM 221.

10 March 2008
Presentation on Rudolf Bultmann's Commentary on John 6
Gospel of John, STM 421.

3 April 2008
Motion in Aristotle's Physics and Its Relation to the Infinite, to Place, and to Time
Motion and Order, STM 123.

16 April 2008
The Glory of the Cross: Revelation of God's Love and Source of Life
Gospel of John, STM 421.

30 April 2008
The Priority of Actuality to Potency: A Textual Analysis of Aristotle's Metaphysics Bk. IX, Ch. 8.
Metaphysics I, STM 223

7 May 2008
The Expiatory Power of Blood
Pentateuch, STM 221.

Pentecost Thursday (St. John Baptist de la Salle)

St. John Baptist studied theology at the Sorbonne. Inspired by God to give a Christian education to the poor, he founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools which soon spread throughout the world. In private life he treated himself with extreme rigor, and died full of merits and years in 1719.

One year of studies at the ITI successfully completed means Kartausenbräu dunkel bier for Mommy and Daddy, and ice cream for Maria!

Here's a big chocolatey "I can't wait to see you" grin!

14 May 2008

Ember Wednesday

At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.

One more exam down (Gospel of John), and one more to go (Metaphysics)!

13 May 2008

Pentecost Tuesday (St. Robert Bellarmine)

St. Robert was famous throughout Europe as a theologian, and as a strenuous defender of the Faith in controversy with Protestants. He joined the Society of Jesus, and was later made Cardinal and Archbishop of Capua. His numerous writings include works of devotion and instruction, as well as of controversy. He died in 1621, and was declared Doctor of the Church in 1931.

Two more exams were successfully completed today: on Natural Philosophy and on the Psalms. Both were interesting. In the former it was our task to present various aspects of the teachings of Aristotle, Francis Bacon, and Renee Descartes, as well as to compare and contrast them where appropriate. The questions that arose dealt with issues like whether natural philosophy / modern science is a speculative or practical philosophy, or whether or not there are formal and final causes in the nature (Aristotle: yes; Bacon and Descartes: no).

My assignment for the Psalms exam was to look at the Psalm chosen by the Church for the Feast of the Annunciation (Ps. 40) together with the other readings selected, and to figure out why this Psalm was chosen, and then to interpret the Psalm in light of the Feast. Part two of the exam: recite from memory Psalm 1 (only 6 verses!). This whole exam was thus quite unlike any others I've ever experienced, but it was interesting - I quite enjoyed the preparation for it.

Now only two exams remain: the Gospel of John tomorrow at 4:30, and Metaphysics the next day at 9:00. The end is near...

12 May 2008

Pentecost Monday

The Liturgy recalls the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles: and the Church extends the commemoration of it over eight days.

Catholics interested in the Ecumenical Movement will be delighted to hear some great news from the good folks over at Rorate Caeli: 3,000 Assyrians Received into the Catholic Church! A bishop (Mar Bawai Soro, pictured at left), six priests, 30 + seminarians, and about three thousand faithful of the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese were welcomed back into the fold on the great feast of Pentecost.

This is a wonderful example of Catholic ecumenism as it is so clearly enunciated by Pope Pius XI in his 1928 Encyclical Letter Mortalium animos (On Religious Unity), in which he teaches that "the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it..." (paragraph 10).

11 May 2008

Plenary Indulgence

A plenary indulgence is obtainable under the usual conditions today by reciting the Pentecost vespers hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus (available here in Latin with English translation). See this link from EWTN for an outline of the general conditions for obtaining plenary indulgences.

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

Pentecost (Whitsunday)

Our Lord Jesus Christ, being seated on the right hand of God, sent, as He had promised, the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, who, after His Ascension, continued in prayer at Jerusalem, in company with the Blessed Virgin, awaiting the fulfillment of His promise. Let us pray in like manner with the Church: "Come, O Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love."

Happy Mothers' Dayto our dear mothers! This morning after a beautiful Pentecost Divine Liturgy, one of the Byzantine priests, Fr Tomas, came over for brunch with his wife and their two daughters. They are from Slovakia and had never had pancakes before! So we had a good American style meal with pancakes, bacon, hard boiled eggs, and fruit salad. And, very cool I thought, we had twelve kinds of fruit to symbolize the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost: Pineapples, Bananas, Apples, Cantalope Melon, Honeydew Melon, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Mango, Raspberries, Blackberries, Johannisberries, and Blueberries.

The ever informative Fish Eaters remind us that for Israel Pentecost was a feast commemorating the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, which occured on the 50th day after their liberation from Egypt. Interesting to note that St. Peter's preaching brought about three thousand people to the waters of Baptism (Acts 2:41), whereas when Moses came down from Mount Sinai to confront the Israelites' idolatry, the sons of Levi, at the Lord's command, went throught the camp with the sword "and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men" (Ex. 32:28). Interesting, nicht wehr?

10 May 2008


Today, as I was walking to the park with Maria and some of her friends, I looked across a field I have passed by many times, and noticed two wonderful things: first, the sun is finally out, and second, the crane in front of the Kartause is gone. Now, neither of these things is breaking news, but it's the first time I've seen this view of the Kartause with both these things. So, I took some pictures. Here is one:

Maria and some of her friends:

Vigil of Pentecost

The Mass for Pentecost, formerly celebrated during the night, has since been anticipated. It seems as though this vigil were modeled on that of Easter. As on Holy Saturday, a vigil was kept during the night of Pentecost Saturday to prepare for Baptism. The term Whitsunday, another name for Pentecost, is an allusion to the white vestments of the neophytes. The feast of Whitsun is as ancient as that of Easter, and the Saturday following begins the liturgical season called Season after Pentecost.

I added an excellent book to my Reading List this morning, called Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen by Warren H. Carroll, who is easily (in my mind) the best Catholic historian writing in the English language.

[Update] Many humble thanks, of course, are due to my dear brother and sister-in-law for lugging this burden-some book (360 pages!) all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to bring it to us. In the face of such awesome self-sacrifice, one can only render woefully inadequate thanksgiving.

09 May 2008

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St. Gregory was educated at Athens in all the sciences with St. Basil the Great. He became bishop of Nazianzen and his profound knowledge earned for him the title of Doctor and Theologian, titles confirmed by the Church. He died in 389.

This morning I successfully completed my first exam (other than the German exam, which was held two weeks ago because the teacher is due to give birth any time now). This morning's exam was on the Pentateuch, a rather broad topic to say the least. Msgr. also returned to me the paper I wrote for this class, which is linked on the sidebar as usual. It's on The Expiatory Power of Blood.

On an unrelated note, in about an hour we'll be making our last shopping trip of the year to the Hofer, how sad! {:-(

But we'll be buying more beer than usual in order to bring home as much as the airline's (miniscule) weight allowance allows.

08 May 2008

This Afternoon's Walk

Another day of sunny skies and mid 60s weather was enough to warrant a break in the studies for a long walk this afternoon. We went up and along the mountain right behind our flat. There are many flowers in bloom now, and Maria can't get enough of them.

07 May 2008

St. Stanislaus, Bishop, Martyr

St. Stanislaus, patron of Poland, reproached King Boleslaus the Cruel for his dissolute life, and while saying Mass, was put to death by him in 1079.

06 May 2008


This past Sunday morning we heard drums and music coming steadily closer, and looked out the window to see a little parade marching right past our flat. We discovered later that it was the local fire-department.

Today, as I was trying to finish up my last paper, Maria had a fancy to listen to some of Palestrina's peerless polyphony. She likes it - looks like this one's going to turn out all right after all.

05 May 2008

St. Pius V, Pope, Confessor

St. Pius V, of the Order of Preachers, was a Pope of great sanctity. His pontificate was one of the most glorious. He enforced obedience to the decrees of the Council of Trent and revised the Missal and the Breviary. He died in 1572.

Today also marks my last day of classes here at the ITI this year. I have an exam this Friday, two next Tuesday, one Wednesday, and the last one Thursday. The end is near.

It's a shame I don't have the time or energy to write anything more about the great Pope Pius V. Of all the many popes who have not been honored by history with the title "the Great," he, surely, is more deserving of it than any.

O God, Who for the overthrow of the enemies of Thy Church and for the restoration of divine worship didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Pius as supreme Pontiff: grant that we may be defended by his patronage and so cleave to Thy service, that overcoming all the wiles of our enemies, we may rejoice in perpetual peace. Through our Lord.
(Collect for today's Mass)

The enemies of the Church referred to above are, of course, the Moslems who were overthrown at the battle of Lepanto in 1571, and probably also the Protestants.

04 May 2008

Sunday after the Ascension

Let us, like the Apostles gathered together, prepare in prayer for the holy Day of Pentecost; let us pray, as the Church prescribes, for the return of heretics to unity.

The celebrations for our president Msgr. Dr. Prof. Larry Hogan continued today. Divine Liturgy at 11:30, with Msgr. offering the sacrifice for the first time in the Byzantine rite, having just recently been granted the necessary faculties. Then roast lamb in the courtyard together with enough wine and cheese to keep all of Gaming in good spirits for days (mild exaggeration).

We also had dinner this evening with some friends, which was quite wonderful, although it meant another late night for Maria. I don't think she was in bed before 9:30. And, we arrived home to find the Tigers already ahead of the Twins 6-0! Although it's 6-3 now...

Only two weeks from today we'll be landing in Chicago!

03 May 2008

Commemoration of Ss. Alexander and Companions

Today a busload of us went to Vienna to celebrate Msgr. Dr. Prof. Larry Hogan's 40 anniversary of ordination. He is also the president of the ITI. Mass was at 3:00 and we arrived around 2:30, so the girls had time to play in the courtyard in front of the Church. It was a lovely afternoon. Maria, however, missed her nap and was an absolute wreck on the busride home. She finally fell asleep five minutes before we arrived back in Gaming.

02 May 2008

St. Athanasius, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

Bishop of Alexandria, St. Athanasius opposed Arius with admirable zeal. He has left us several works in defense of the divinity of Christ. He suffered frequent persecutions. He died in 373.

It was quite nice to be at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy for the feast day of this magnificent saint. They regard him rather highly, to say the least. One of the prayers said something about how St. Athanasius made Arius blush with shame...

Today is also the first day of the original novena, the nine days of prayer between the Ascent of our Lord and the Descent of the Holy Ghost.

Fish Eaters suggests the following prayers for day one:

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness of all our sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us Thy sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Recite one Pater Noster, one Ave Maria, and seven Gloriae Patri.

Perhaps one could add to the above the Pentecost Sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus.

01 May 2008

Ascension Thursday

Forty days after the Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ, attended by Angels, ascended into heaven, in the sight of His most holy Mother, His Apostles, and disciples, to the great wonder of them all.

He entered into possession of the Kingdom of Heaven which He had gained by His sufferings, and St. Paul declares that God "hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus." "There where the Head has gone, the Body is called to follow!"

It is quite wonderful to be in a country in which Ascension Thursday is still celebrated on... THURSDAY! Not only that, we had no classes today, and even the shops in Gaming were closed. Tomorrow begins the traditional novena to the Holy Spirit in imitation of the nine days that the disciples of our Lord spent in prayer between His Ascension and Pentecost - the original novena. It's rather a shame that there are so often only six days between the two great feasts these days...

This evening we had dinner at the Kartause restaurant to celebrate the feast day, and then joined a poetry reading in the ITI common room, with desserts made by one of Maria's favorite people (one of my professors). Everybody was quite impressed with Lisa's recitation of the entire Old Testament in rhyme!