25 December 2010

Christmas Morning

After having gone to bed at nearly 4:00 AM...

Maria woke everyone up a little after 9:00 AM.

Edmund looks more wakeful than Katie, who had slept in the living room under the lights of the Christmas tree, with Thomas and Maria.

A new pink pillow for Maria.

A stick-horse for Thomas
(Maria got a stick-unicorn)

The obligatory reading (and re-reading) of The Nutcracker.

24 December 2010

Christmas Eve!



In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made man.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh!

21 December 2010

Happy Anniversary

Happy 30th Anniversary, mom and daddy! A day late, I know. With John being busy with finals, and having no internet at home, I was unable to post yesterday. But John is done, yay, and we are told we should have internet when we get back next semester.

Hope it was a wonderful day, and that many young couples look to you to see what good, Christian marriages are made of.

16 December 2010

Presentation on Vatican Council II

We're in our first day of final exams here today, and Katie and I have each taken one already this morning. I don't have another until Tuesday, but I have to write a paper on original sin in the meantime. Just last Monday, I and a couple of other students made a joint presentation on the Second Vatican Council, in which we tried to suggest some ways in which it could be interpreted in continuity with Catholic tradition (an important question for me personally, as many of you know). One of my classmates gave some background information on the Council, I focused on the difficult question of 'religious liberty', and then another classmate offered some suggestions on the question of the possibility of salvation outside the Church. A link to my third of the presentation is on the sidebar.

05 December 2010

Winter Meetings

It's already been a busy Winter for the Tigers, who have resigned Brandon Inge at 3B and Jhonny [sp!] Peralta at SS, and then gone on to add Joaquin Benoit RP and Victor Martinez DH/C. I like the look of it so far. What do you think? Something like this for the starting lineup?






CF. Austin Jackson
2B. Carlos Guillen (until he breaks again, and then fill in Will Rhymes)
RF. Magglio Ordonez (I'm hoping they bring him back)
1B. Miguel Cabrera
DH. Victor Martinez
LF. Ryan Raburn
SS. Jhonny Peralta
3B. Brandon Inge
C. Alex Avila

29 November 2010

Advent

Wishing you all a blessed season of Advent! We had our first real snowfall last night, and the kids couldn't be more excited. Maria refused to go to Kindergarten today in order to maximize her playing in the snow time. Thomas is very cute, because he doesn't pronounce the first two letters of the word, so he points out the window yelling, NO! NO! NO! What Thomas?, 'snow'? JAH! NO!

16 November 2010

Die Kuche ist da!

It seems that while I was on the computer yesterday complaining about the lack of a kitchen in our new apartment, Lisa was trying to cut some meat with a dull knife. She went upstairs to borrow a sharp one from a neighbor, saw a man installing a kitchen in an empty apartment (i.e. where there is nobody yet living), and basically burst into tears. By mid-afternoon our kitchen was entirely installed, minus a few tiny details that we don't hinder our use of it in the least. A woman / mother under great stress is a force to be reckoned with.

Thanks for the prayers!

15 November 2010

News and Notes

Our move to the new campus has temporarily cut us off from the internet, which means not only are postings here even more irregular, but talking via Skype has also become rather difficult. We've had great news, though. We've received a grant/gift type thing specifically to cover the cost of installing wireless internet in all the new student housing apartment buildings. And the rumor is that this may even happen sometime within the next couple of weeks, although our experience of the kitchen installation process makes us inclined to doubt such swift efficiency. Speaking of which, however, there has been some minimal activity from the kitchen installation folks, but we're trying not to get our hopes up.

Day 19 without a kitchen, and counting...

06 November 2010

Update

Here are some pictures of our new home on the School Campus:

This is the grassy area between our flat and the road. There are stables across the street, and the kids love watching the horses walk by. Next are a few shots of the Living / Dining Room.



Below is the kitchenless kitchen (we're still waiting). That electric griddle is sure earning its keep, but I hope I never have to see another sausage.

This is the entryway:


Maria is very excited about having a bunk bed now. And Thomas likes making his lower bunk into a fort with blankets.


Here's the only shot of the master bedroom that hides the mountain of laundry which has amassed since we moved:
Bathroom:

And, very exciting, a WC with a sink in the same room!


That's it for our place. The new campus is great and even includes little guest apartments, so should any of you care to take an Austrian vacation, we're well equipped to take care of you while you're here!

31 October 2010

Feast of Christ the King

Our new apartments are wonderful, but we are lacking a few things...like a kitchen, and the internet. To be honest, the kitchen is more of a priority (for me, we'll see if it is for the workers), but having no internet will mean that posting may be a little scarce. But we'll do our best, we can get online at the Schloss, which is now very close.

Yesterday we heard Mass in Vienna, and had a simple but very nice lunch in a Heuriger dating the 1100s. We then took the kids to the courtyard of the Schloss to play in the huge piles of leaves, while John and I watched some baseball.




27 October 2010

Moving Again

Today saw the ceremonial handing over of the keys and the official opening of the new and permanent campus buildings of the I.T.I., complete with long speeches and plenty of food and drink. So now we have a set of keys to one of the new flats on the other side of town (much closer to the Institute). About half of our furniture and some of our belongings are already moved across, with the rest to follow tomorrow. If all goes well, this may be our last night in our current place, although I suppose we'll be returning for a couple of days yet for a thorough cleaning. Third time's the charm, right? So perhaps this one will remain our home for the remainder of our time in Austria.

25 October 2010

Pumpkins

Canned pumpkin is impossible to buy in Austria. However, John really, really likes pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (and/or Martinmas). For the past three years, he's had to make do with apple pie, but this year, we decided to pay a visit to the "pumpkin lady," who we pass sitting at the edge of the driveway leading to her farm each time we go to the Schloss. Maria picked out a good one, and we took it home and baked it, pureed the flesh, and froze it for Thanksgiving. It was so easy that we asked Katie to pick up two more, and now we are eating very tasty autumn desserts.





A pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling.
Made by Maria

23 October 2010

Happy Birthday, Anna!


Hope it was a great day, with pumpkin cake and cream cheese frosting!
(Stay tuned to find out why this is on Maria's mind)


21 October 2010

Feast of Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria


His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty,
Charles the First,
By the Grace of God,
Emperor of Austria,
Apostolic King of Hungary,
of this name the Fourth,
King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia,
Slavonia, and Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria;
King of Jerusalem, Archduke of Austria;
Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow,
Duke of Lorraine and of Salzburg,
of Styria, of Carinthia, of Carniola and of the Bukovina;
Grand Prince of Transylvania;
Margrave of Moravia;
Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia,
of Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla,
of Auschwitz and Zator, of Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa and Zara;
Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol,
of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca;
Prince of Trent and Brixen;
Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria;
Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg;
Lord of Trieste, of Cattaro, and in the Windic March;
Grand Voivode of the Voivodship of Serbia.

And it's also Katie's birthday!



18 October 2010

30 Years!




Happy Anniversary,
Mom and Dad / Nana and Grandpa!
We love you and can't wait to see you again soon!




12 October 2010

Cute Kids

Just because...

Edmund smiles all the time now


We all think he's quite cute

And all three of them, for Nana.

02 October 2010

Happy Birthday, Jake!


Happy Birthday, Uncle Jake! And a present from Edmund, his first ever smile to be caught by a camera, just for you!

26 September 2010

North American Martyrs

These are they who came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb...

O God, Who didst sanctify the first-fruits of the faith in the vast regions of North America by the preaching and blood of Thy blessed Martyrs, John, Isaac, and their companions: merci-fully grant through their intercession that the abundant harvest of Christian souls may increase everywhere day by day. Through our Lord...

22 September 2010

Michaelmas Embertide

The Ember Days are upon us again, and that means fasting and praying for priests and for a good harvest. Meanwhile, here are a couple more pictures of the boys.


17 September 2010

A Franciscan Feast Day


Commemoration of the Imprinting of the Holy Stigmata on the Body of St. Francis

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

This, like the Seven Sorrows of Mary, is another feast day that very appropriately falls within the Octave of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It's also one of my patronal feast days, and it's about time I got to choose what to have for a dessert instead of Maria (she gets most of the feast days around here), so we had cherry pie instead of yet another chocolate cake.

15 September 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows


The Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

O God, at Whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary: mercifully grant, that we who with devotion honor her Sorrows, may obtain the happy fruit of Thy Passion: Who livest and reignest...

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are (1) the prophecy of Simeon; (2) the flight into Egypt; (3) the loss of the child Jesus in the Temple; (4) her meeting with Jesus carrying His cross; (5) His crucifixion; (6) His deposition; (7) His entombment.

On a happier note entirely, it is also the birthday of one of our dear nephews: Alexander!



12 September 2010

Our Excursion to Kahlenberg

In honor of the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, and in memory of the great victory won by King Jan III Sobieski and the Christian forces of the Holy League over the Ottoman Turks, we drove out to spend the afternoon at Kahlenberg, the site of the King's encampment the night before the historic battle at the walls of Vienna.

First things first, we climbed up the slope before the Kahlenberg, which can be seen above running down toward the Danube, to one of our favorite heurigen for a few glasses of Sturm. September and October are Sturm-season in Austria and it is one of our favorite times of the year. Sturm is wine at the second stage of fermentation. Since much of the sugar from the grapes is still unfermented at this stage, the Sturm is lower in alcohol content than mature wine and quite a bit sweeter. It is also intensely fizzy. In fact, no matter where you buy a bottle, whether at a big grocery store or at a little stand at the edge of a vineyard, it will never be sealed, but only loosely capped, for fear of explosion. It's great stuff.

Anyways, walking through Kahlenbergerdorf up to the heuriger we passed a mural depicting the siege of Vienna. The banner reads: Wien 1683. II T├╝rkenbelagerung (Vienna 1683. Second Turkish Siege).

After a few drinks on the hillside, we continued on to the top of the Kahlenberg, where we had a modest picnic with some friends - a very pleasant time except for the few minutes of hysterical screaming following Maria's first bee-sting.

The Church on Kahlenberg.

The Most Holy Name of Mary

As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and mine inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.

Today's Marian feast, like that of October 7 (Our Lady of Victory / Feast of the Most Holy Rosary), commemorates a great victory of the Christian forces of the Holy League (an alliance of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburg Monarchy, Bavaria, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, etc.) over the Turkish Islamic armies of the Ottoman Empire: the raising of the siege of Vienna in 1683. The Count von Starhemberg led 16,000 troops and civilians in the desperate defense of Vienna, which was besieged by the Turkish army of at least 150,000.

On September 11 the King of Poland Jan III Sobieski reached the Kahlenberg, a hill overlooking Vienna from the North, and there encamped for the night. In the early hours of September 12 the King heard Mass atop the hill, and then, just as the Turkish miners were preparing a last blast beneath the fortifications, which had already been breached in many places, and while the starving and exhausted Viennese prepared for hand to hand fighting within the city, the King moved his infantry forward to engage the besiegers.

The Battle of Vienna

The Holy League forces numbered only 80,000 men, but their great advantage lay in the strength of their cavalry - almost 40,000 all told, of which more than 20,000 were of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The most famous of these fearsome warriors were the Winged Hussars of Poland. The Hussars were the elite cavalry forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and were rarely ever defeated in battle during their heyday (16th and 17th centuries), despite frequent engagements against overwhelming odds.

A Winged Hussar

Late in the afternoon, after watching the infantry fight for twelve hours, King Jan III Sobieski ordered the Holy League cavalry to charge the field - the largest cavalry charge in military history. Four groups of cavalry charged downhill toward the field of battle, one comprised of Austro-Germanic forces, the other three of Polish-Lithuanian. At the head of the whole body of galloping horsemen rode the King himself with 3,000 Winged Hussars. They clove through the Turkish armies, riding straight for the camps and tent of the Grand Vizier. At the same time the last defenders of Vienna poured out of the city to engage the suddenly overwhelmed Turks on the other side.

King Jan III Sobieski at Vienna

The victory of the Christian forces was complete. Paraphrasing Julius Ceasar, the King sent a message to the Pope which read venimus, vidimus, Deus vincit - we came, we saw, God conquered. The Pope extended the feast day on which the battle was fought - the feast of the Holy Name of Mary - to the Universal Church, as a lasting memorial of thanksgiving for the deliverance of Christendom.

The 1683 battle of Vienna is perhaps the single most important historical reason why Europe is still - at least so far - Christian rather than Moslem. God willing, it will remain so, but those who would see Christian Europe survive would do well to call on the Most Holy Name of Mary.

02 September 2010

The Charismatic Experience

I just discovered that my old article on the so-called "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" is now available online at the website of the journal Antiphon, published by the Society for Catholic Liturgy. Although I hope that the quality of my academic writing has improved somewhat over the course of the intervening years, I still remain convinced of the conclusions which I reached five years ago. I know that some (or perhaps even many) of you have read this before, but in case anyone hasn't, here it is again, this time available for general consumption and public debate:


Antiphon 9.2 (2005): 141-165.

29 August 2010

Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist

And many happy returns of the day to you, John Peter. Um, two days late. Sorry. Again.


There's a big prost for you!