31 January 2010

Septuagesima Sunday

Septuagesima is a whole liturgical season that fell under the ax of Msgr. Bugnini and his team of liturgical "reformers". In the Missal of Paul VI, these Sundays have been tacked on to the end of the Season after Epiphany, which received the plodding new name of "Ordinary Time".

My Roman Catholic Daily Missal (1962) introduces this season as follows:

"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 in Latin: 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 sorrows 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."

Fr. Zuhlsdorf offers a slightly lengthier introduction to the season, together with slavishly literal translation of, and commentary on, today's proper prayers, the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion.

We, however, experienced none of this; although the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, which we frequent here in Trumau, also begins a pre-Lenten season of preparation on this Sunday of the Prodigal Son.

As regular bad Catholics we were far removed from such a spirit of sorrow and affliction. Instead, we saw that today is the feast day of the lovable St. John Bosco... who is Italian... and we like Italian food, and Italian wine... hence... a Bosco Bash!

Katie started us off with a spicy Suppa Toscana; Bryan and Kilty contributed the salad which followed; the pasta course was a delicious lasagne by Lisa and Katie together; the meat course was Br. Basil's turkey parmesan; plenty of Italian wine and Nana's bread accompanied every course, and for dessert, pannacotta with raspberries by Jessica. A strong shot of espresso applied the finishing touch.

30 January 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Thomas!

Thomas filled up on dinner (shepherd's pie, his absolute favorite), so believe it or not, he didn't really want to eat any cake. So this is the best one we have of him trying it, the rest of the time he was just smashing it everywhere.

Opening a gift from Grandma and Papou.

And from mommy and daddy, a rocking horse.

Another Day in Vienna

Maria and I took Nana and Mrs. Brown into the city for a few hours of sight seeing. We rode the U-Bahn into the center, and popped up out of the ground right in front of the majestic Gothic / Romanesque Stephansdom, which dates from 1147. Below, the High Altar and the 136m. South Tower.

One of the most famous streets in Vienna is called Der Graben, literally "The Trench". The name dates to the old Roman encampment of Vindobona. A long ditch ran along the South-Western wall of the encampment, which remained until the 12th century when the Babenburg Dukes enlarged the city with Richard the Lionheart's ransom money. The ditch was filled in, leveled, and become one of the first residential streets of the new district of the city.

The Graben is now a broad pedestrian-only street, with some of the most glamorous shopping in the city. The most prominent feature of the street is the Pestsaeule (plague column), built by Emperor Leopold I in thanksgiving to God after the Great Plague of Vienna (1679) finally subsided. It was completed in 1693. The street also features a fine set of antique WC's, dating from the late 19th century.

29 January 2010

Happy Birthday, Will!

Hope it's a good one. Maria's wish for you is that you have a strawberry cake with green frosting.

25 January 2010

The Conversion of St. Paul

I know Whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him, against that day; being a just judge.

With today's feast, the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to a close, but I don't suppose that means that one should stop praying for conversions to the true faith...

I am a big fan of Caravaggio, by the way. His paintings are always arresting. Here is his "Conversion of St. Paul", dating from 1600.

Meanwhile, I am contem-plating throwing out my paper on Galatians 3:13 altogether, and starting afresh, perhaps with some-thing more interesting from Romans...

How about some pictures of the kids? I think it's been awhile since we've had any new one up here.

Maria reading a story book to Thomas.

A huge triumph for me, getting this kid to sleep when we were home alone earlier this week.

23 January 2010

The End of the Semester

It is freezing cold outside. Seriously. Ridiculously cold. It hurts. The end of the semester approacheth. I still have to write 10 pages on a topic of my choice relating to Romans, Galatians, or Hebrews. My first thought was, well, John, pick a verse relevant to your thesis topic, and do a little biblical exegesis on it, with commentary on St. Thomas's interpretation. Alright say I, how about Galatians 3:13 with that bit about Christ being made a curse for us to redeem those under the curse of the law? Interesting, nicht Wahr? So, I get started, write a few pages, and then it slowly dawns on me: there doesn't seem to be that much to say. Strategy number one: do some digging into the Greek and Hebrew texts to turn up whatever minutiae might be found there. Strategy number two: add some interest and flavor by seeing what Martin Luther has to say about the verse. Sure enough, he starts right out with some colorful language about "popish sophisters" who misunderstand everything. It's still not 10 pages. Now what?

18 January 2010

St. Peter's Chair in Rome

The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever.

Today marks the opening of another Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, always observed from 18-25 January, that is, from the feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome to the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The dates in themselves say something rather pointed, I think, in terms of what the Catholic Church understands the ecumenical movement to be all about:

The authority of the Roman Pontiff...


So let us pray for that "full ecclesiastical communion" of which Vatican Council II speaks in its decree on ecumenism Unitatis redintegratio (no. 3).

Let us pray for that day when "all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church [i.e. the Catholic Church] in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church [i.e. the Catholic Church] from the beginning" (UR, no. 4).

Perhaps the great intercessions of the Good Friday liturgy are pertinent this week as well. The prayer for the conversion of the Jews was changed last year by Pope Benedict XVI, but I only have the old one to hand.

Let us pray also for heretics and schismatics: that our Lord God would rescue them from all their errors, and recall them to their holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church: Almighty and everlasting God, Who savest all and wouldst that none should perish: turn Thy gaze to souls deceived and led astray by the devil; may they cast off the evil of their heresy and in true repentance of their errors return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

Let us pray also for the Jews: that our God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts: that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ: Almighty and everlasting God, Who drivest not away from Thy mercy even the Jews: hear our prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people: that acknowledging the light of Thy truth, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

Let us pray also for pagans: that almighty God would remove iniquity from their hearts: that, putting aside their idols, they may be converted to the true and living God and His only Son, Jesus Christ our God and Lord: Almighty and everlasting God, Who ever seekest not the death but the life of sinners: mercifully hear our prayer, and deliver them from the worship of idols: and join them to Thy holy Church for the praise and glory of Thy name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

In view of the promising steps made within the last few years, special intentions this year should include the complete restoration to Catholic Unity of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, and of the Traditional Anglican Communion. God willing we will see many souls return swiftly home to the one and only Church of Christ.

The Catholic House of Habsburg

Here's a fine tribute to the great Habsburg dynasty if ever there was one. The words of Adolf Hitler in Main Kampf, vol. 1, ch. 3.

"...above all the House of Habsburg was destined to be the misfortune of the German nation."

16 January 2010

Another Visitor

A wandering seminarian travelling under the name of Vincent arrived at our abode late last night. He is currently exploring the castle ruins of Rauhenstein, featured here earlier when our last two visitors were with us. He's with us only a couple of days - today Rauhenstein, tomorrow Vienna - and then back to Rome to complete the semester. I can assure his parents (and friends of his parents) that he's looking as tall as ever!

13 January 2010

Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord

Epiphany, which means manifestation, celebrates the manifestation of Christ's divinity. First, in the adoration of the Magi; secondly, in his baptism in the Jordan River; and thirdly, in the miraculous change of water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. Although all three of these events in the life of Christ are celebrated in the feast of Epiphany, the accent is clearly on the adoration of the Magi, and understandably so in light of the proximity of the feast to Christmas. To keep us from overlooking the other two manifestations of Christ's divinity, however, the traditional calendar commemorates our Lord's Baptism on the Octave-Day of the Epiphany, i.e. today, and then gives us the Gospel of the wedding feast at Cana on the following Sunday, the first after the Epiphany Octave.

Let us continue to rejoice, therefore, in the divine Son who deigned to become man in order to save us from our sins. Happy feasting!

10 January 2010

More Video

This one is of Thomas giving his big sister a ride in the doll stroller. Enjoy!

Feast of the Holy Family

The father of the just rejoiceth greatly, let Thy father and Thy mother be joyful, and let her rejoice that bore Thee.

Today's feast is another one that got shuffled around in the NO calendar, which celebrates it on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas (in between Christmas and New Year's); while the NO celebrates the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River today, instead of on the Octave Day of the Epiphany (Jan. 13) as in the traditional Roman Rite. Such being the case, the Pope offered Mass for the Baptism of our Lord in the Sistine chapel ad orientem as has become customary for him.

What an awesome picture. Offering the Mass while staring at Michelangelo's depiction of the Last Judgment. And hey, now that people are getting used to seeing his back turned toward them, maybe he'll offer a public Tridentine Mass one of these days. What? Can't a guy hope?

07 January 2010

Burgruine Rauhenstein

Aaron's and Brigid's final adventure in Austria was to explore the castle ruins of Rauhenstein, just outside of Baden. I can't say that I know very much about the castle, except that it dates from the 12th century, and that it was one of the favorite haunts of Ludwig van Beethoven, whose nephew incidentally tried to commit suicide there. Anyways, though, there were very impressive ruins up on a hill overlooking the valley.

06 January 2010

Our Visitors

Sampling the Hennessy

Enjoying the Opera Tiolet

Riding the Badenerbahn

Enjoying a measure of beer

Thomas Walking His New Chair

Thomas's New Glasses

04 January 2010

Climbing Mount Snow

Here are just a couple of the pictures from Katie, Brigid, and Aaron's climbing of the Schneeberg, the tallest Mountain in Lower Austria at 2075 meters.

A Child's Counting Catechism

1. God

2. Natures of Jesus Christ

3. Persons of the Holy Trinity
Holy Spirit

4. Evangelists

5. Books of Moses

6. Days of Creation
Sun, Moon, and Stars
Birds and Fish
Animals and Man

7. Sacraments
Holy Communion
Extreme Unction
Holy Orders

8. Beatitudes
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
Blessed are those who Mourn
Blessed are the Meek
Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Justice
Blessed are the Merciful
Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Blessed are those who are Persecuted for Christ's sake

9. Choirs of Angels

10. Commandments
"I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, thou shalt not have strange gods before me."
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
"Remember that thou keep holy the Lord's day."
"Honor thy father and thy mother."
"Thou shalt not kill."
"Thou shalt not commit adultery."
"Thou shalt not steal."
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife."
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."

11. Virtues

12. Apostles

03 January 2010

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

In the traditional Roman calendar, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus always follows the Feast of the Circumcision, being celebrated either on the next day, or the next Sunday. This, of course, is because circumcision, like baptism under the Christian dispensation, is the occasion on which one's name is formally received. That Christ was circumcised shows that he entered under the old law in order to fulfill it in his own person and thus inaugurate a new and definitive covenant such that those who are in Christ are no longer bound under the old law, thanks be to God.

It occurs to me that the eighth day is probably a highly appropriate one on which to baptize one's children, a mark which we've twice overshot by two days.

02 January 2010


Since Katie, Brigid, and Aaron were flying into Bratislava, the capital of modern-day Slovakia, instead of Vienna, we took advantage of the opportunity to spend the afternoon in the city before heading to the airport to pick them up.

Long known as Pressburg, this important city on the Danube was the capital of the Habsburg kingdom of Hungary from 1536 (owing to the advances of the Turks) until 1783, when it lost some of its importance under the so-called "enlightened despotism" of the terrible French-Revolution era Kaiser Josef II.

Pressburger Schloss, or in Slovak, Bratislavsky Hrad, the city's hill-top castle overlooking the Danube River.

Maria trying to keep warm in a crazy windstorm.

St. Martin's Cathedral, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, was coronation site of eleven kings and queens of Hungary between the 16th-19th centuries.

01 January 2010


Aunt Barb, Joey, and Vincent's last night with us before catching an absurdly early flight back to Chicago.

One last tea party.

Octave-Day of the Nativity

Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ

And because we didn't get any pictures of Maria in her beautiful Christmas dress, here is one from today.

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!