28 February 2009


My class on Christology is all but over for the semester, with only a quiz and a paper remaining. The class focused on the major Christological controversies of the 4th - 8th centuries, i.e. on the heresies of Arianism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Monoenergism, and Iconoclasm.

In regards to the latter, I found this anecdote edifying:

"One day, a monk from Nicomedia was summoned before the emperor, who said to him contemptuously: 'Stupid monk, do you not see that anyone can walk on the image of Jesus Christ without being disrespectful to his person?' Quick to retort, the monk threw a coin stamped with the emperor's portrait onto the palace floor and responded: 'In that case, I am permitted to walk on your face without dishonoring you!' The emperor's assistants stopped him in the act, and the monk was put to death for having insulted the emperor's image." 

From The Icon: Window on the Kingdom by Michel Quenottranslated by a Carthusian Monk (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996), pp. 26-27.

Maria's New Haircut

As you can see from all the pictures, Maria's hair has grown really long. Every morning has become more and more of a fight, keeping her still while I brush it and braid it. I always tell her that if she doesn't let me brush it every day, I'll have to cut it, and that has always worked. However, yesterday she told me that she wanted me to cut it (unfortunately for her, I'll still have to brush it every day). She was actually really excited about it.

I think she looks a lot older (I'm not so happy about that).

26 February 2009

Thanks, Nana!

Your little nipolta loves the stickers, Nana.

25 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

Lent, of course, means that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are especially in season; but for us at least, it also means that pretzels are in season! On a related note (related to eternal salvation, that is, not to pretzels), we received some pictures taken by a friend who was at Thomas' Baptism, and we've made a web album for them here.

Oh, and one more thing: the Tigers opened Spring Training play with a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. Go Tigers!

24 February 2009

Shrove Tuesday

From the Fish Eaters' fine website:

The Tuesday of Shrovetide is a particularly big party day known as "Mardi Gras" (French for "Fat Tuesday") - or "Pancake Tuesday" because fats, eggs, and butter in the house had to be used up before Lent began, and making pancakes or waffles was a good way to do it. In many places, especially in England, pancake races became popular and remain popular today. In these races, women must run while flipping a pancake so many times, and whoever crosses the finish line first wins. The largest pancake race in England is in Olney, in Buckinghamshire. There, the women must wear a dress, apron, and bonnet, and flip the pancake three times -- while ensuring it is intact after they cross the finish line, of course. The story told to explain the origins of this race is that in 1445, a homemaker heard the shriving bell (the bell rung to summon people to confession on this day) as she was busy working in her kitchen. Not wanting to be late, she rushed about and ran off with her skillet still in hand.

At Westminster School in London, the "Pancake Grease" is held, an event during which the schoolmaster tosses a very large pancake over a bar that's set to about 15 feet high. The children make a mad scramble for it, and whoever emerges with the largest piece is the winner.

21 February 2009

A Sad Farewell

Three weeks have gone by all too quickly,
but we had a great time!

P.S. The snow is up to 60 cm (c. 2 feet) and shows no sign of letting up.

19 February 2009

Mice and Mozart Balls

Above: Maria was pretty excited about the idea of eating a chocolate Mozart Ball; below: she loves the playdough that her grandparents brought for her.

18 February 2009

More Snow

It's been snowing almost non-stop for the past couple of days. This morning it measured 31 cm (just over a foot) on the roof of the Spar behind us.

16 February 2009

More Pictures of Baby Thomas

We're featuring this first photo to show you all how fat our little porker is getting. This little guy is not like Maria! He eats constantly. Check out those cheeks, and the protruding belly. Also unlike Maria, we've found that he doesn't mind baths too much.

14 February 2009

Commemoration of St. Valentine

Priest, Martyr
This holy Roman priest assisted with other pious Christians a great number of martyrs. He was beheaded under Aurelian in 270. 

Happy birthday and happy Valentine's day to my lovely wife.

We made Lisa (well, mostly Katie made it) omelets and hash browns for breakfast, with Irish coffee. When we all had our backs turned after breakfast, Maria made her move for the whipped cream.

12 February 2009

Our Trip to the US Consulate in Vienna

We were fortunate to catch a ride to Vienna with a few others from Gaming who were heading that way. We left around 7:00, and were dropped off conveniently behind the Opera House, which is where the famed Sacher Cafe is located. After some Wiener Melange Kaffee and Sacher Torte we headed toward the Stephansdom while Lisa's parents went to drop off their bags at their hotel on Mariahilferstrasse. They found us at the Stephansdom, but it was almost time for us to head for the Consulate already, so we split up again, we heading for the Consulate and they for the Opera House to check out the scheduled happenings there.

The Consulate was in the same building as a ridiculously fancy Marriott, right across the street from the very pretty Stadtpark:

Our business at the Consulate went quite smoothly, Deo gratias, especially since there was one line for US citizens and another for non-citizens (we were the only US citizens there). We filed for a birth report, passport, and social security number for the little guy, and are told that the birth report and passport will be here in about a week. So there remains now only to get him a visa from the Austrian government so that he can live here with us, and then to get him onto the Austrian state medical insurance.

We were out of there at 1:30, and had planned to meet Lisa's parents only at 2:30 (expecting it to take longer than it did), so we decided to head for the Naschmarkt (the big outdoor market) to get some lunch before meeting up with them at the Augustinerkirche. What a surprise then when we actually ran into them in the Naschmarkt! Apparently they too had decided that would be a nice place for lunch.

In the end we had time only to walk around the Hofburg palace to admire it from without, and to have another fine coffee in a cafe just outside the Hofburg before it was time for us to head off to meet our ride home at 4:00. We made it home safely and without much event (other than a quick stop to buy a car for the ITI). Lisa's parents stayed there and will rejoin us in Gaming on Saturday.

11 February 2009

Feast of the Apparition of the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes

The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come, the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come; My dove in the cleft of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall (Cant. 2:12,10,14).

10 February 2009

Thomas Joseph is now a Christian

The godparents:
Daddy (Papou) representing Uncle Tom, and Aunt Katie

09 February 2009


Papou and Grandma made it safely back from their weekend excursion into Salzburg and Munich, where they seem to have had a fine time. Maria was delighted to see them back again. I'm driving to Scheibbs tomorrow morning to pick up Thomas' birth certificate, and, if I can make it back to Gaming by 11:00 (in order to get the documents to the parish priest here in town), Thomas will be baptized tomorrow at 5:15.

08 February 2009

Always a Tiger

Tigers.com has a truly inspirational video online called, 

Septuagesima Sunday

The three Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, which mean, respectively, the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth day, that is, before Easter. They are mere names to correspond with the name of Lent (Quadragesima, fortieth); obviously they do not actually correspond with the period they indicate. Man, victim of the sin of Adam and of his own sins, is justly afflicted; groans and sorrow encompass him. 

On these Sundays the 
Gloria in excelsis and Alleluia are omitted, except when the Mass of a feast is said, and violet vestments are used in preparation for Lent.

For more information on the lost season of Septuagesima, see Fish Eaters or the Catholic Encyclopedia.

This morning there was another baptism at the Kartause: the granddaughter of architect Hildebrand. Speaking of which, Thomas will most likely be baptized this Tuesday before the 5:15 community Mass. That would be 11:15 Michigan time - please keep the little guy in your prayers.

07 February 2009

Picture Album

We've finally gotten around to making an online picture album of little Thomas. You can view the pictures by clicking here, and we'll have it permanently linked on the sidebar as well.

06 February 2009

Maria and Thomas

Papou and Grandma boarded the train for Salzburg this morning. They'll stay there tonight, and then head on to Munich in the morning, were they'll be until Monday.

03 February 2009

Lisa got "churched" today

The Church has instituted for Christian mothers the fine ceremony of Churching in memory of the compliance of the Virgin-Mother with the Jewish Law of Purification after childbirth. The Christian rite is one of blessing and thanksgiving.

The mother goes to church with her babe as soon as she is able to go out again; she kneels at the entrance of the church, holding a lighted candle in her hand. The Priest sprinkles her with holy water and says:

Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.

R./ Qui fecit cœlum et terram.

Et cetera...

And, of course, another picture of baby Thomas.

02 February 2009


We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple; according to Thy name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of justice.

Lisa and Thomas came home from the hospital today.

And here you see a typical evening in the life of the family.

01 February 2009

Papou and Grandma made it safely here

I'm afraid I have no pictures today. After Mass this morning, Katie, Maria, and I left almost immediately on a small school trip to the Cistercian Abbey of Heilegenkreuz, and then on to Trumau (destined home of the ITI), and finally to the Airport in Vienna to pick up Lisa's parents who were just arriving from Michigan via Dublin. Tomorrow we'll make a trip to Scheibbs so that they can see Lisa and little Thomas.