30 September 2011

Playoff Time!

Novena to Saint Joseph

Perhaps some of you would be so kind as to join us in a novena to Saint Joseph (October 1-9) for the intention of employment next year.

Pray once a day for nine days:

O glorious descendant of the kings of Judah, inheritor of the virtues of all the patriarchs, just and happy St. Joseph, listen to my prayer. Thou art my glorious protector, and shall ever be, after Jesus and Mary, the object of my most profound veneration and confidence. Thou art the most hidden, though the greatest Saint, and art particularly the patron of those who serve God with the greatest purity and fervor. In union with all those who have ever been most devoted to thee I now dedicate myself to thy service; beseeching thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who vouchsafed to love and obey thee as a son, to become a father to me; and to obtain for me the filial respect, confidence and love of a child towards thee.

O powerful advocate of all Christians, whose intercession, as St. Theresa assures us, has never been found to fail, deign to intercede for me now, and to implore for me the particular intention of this Novena.

(Mention your intentions here)

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.

Present me, O great Saint, to the adorable Trinity, with Whom thou hadst so glorious and so intimate a correspondence. Obtain that I may never efface by sin the Sacred Image according to the likeness of which I was created. Beg for me that my divine Redeemer would enkindle in my heart and in all hearts the fire of His Love, and infuse therein the virtues of His adorable infancy, His purity, simplicity, obedience, and humility.

Obtain for me likewise a lively devotion to thy virgin spouse, and protect me so powerfully in life and death, that I may have the happiness of dying as thou didst, in the friendship of my Creator, and under the immediate protection of the Mother of God. Amen.

* * *

Although not part of the novena, you might also be interested to know that Pope Leo XIII composed a prayer to Saint Joseph which he wished Catholics to pray after their recitation of the Rosary during the month of October.

To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.

O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.


A few more Norcian pictures. Well, actually, the first one is from Florence again. Thomas is inside the cathedral, admiring the inside of the great dome with the wide-eyed wonder which it deserves.

In Norcia now, after the ordination, there was an elegant reception with the complete seven course Italian dinner. Edmund enjoyed the fruit and ice cream dessert course. Below, Maria sits astride one of her favorite lions in the main piazza of Norcia.

En route to Norcia: Florence

This past weekend we embarked upon another crazy road trip to our favorite destination, Norcia, Italy, in order to witness our dear friend Brother Basil become Father Basil. We departed at 4:15am on Friday morning and stopped for lunch in Florence. The Duomo is a magnificent sight to behold, and the children thoroughly enjoyed chasing pigeons (Thomas actually connected solidly on a few firm kicks).

18 September 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The nearby Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz celebrates the external solemnity of the exaltation of the cross on the Sunday following the actual feast day, with a solemn Mass at 3pm, followed by a procession with the largest relic of the true cross North of the Alps. Afterwards there is an opportunity for each person to venerate the relic with a kiss.

Most of the student body set off on foot from Trumau a little after 7am to make the 23km pilgrimage to the holy place. The walk itself is also quite beautiful. It begins in the farm fields of Trumau, passes through the town of Traiskirchen and the rolling vineyards above Pfaffstätten, and then enters the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) for the remainder of the way.

The Mystical Heart of the Wienerwald

Stifit Heiligenkreuz - Interior

Relic of the True Cross of Christ

17 September 2011

St Francis

Commemoration of the Imprinting of the Holy Stigmata on the Body of St Francis, Confessor

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. I cried to the Lord with my voice: with my voice I made supplication to the Lord. Gloria Patri...

Two years before his death, while at prayer on Mount Alvernia, the Seraphic Patriarch st. Francis of Assisi, was rapt in contemplation, and received in his own body the impression of the sacred Wounds of Christ. Pope Benedict XI ordered the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis to be observed on September 17. Pope Paul V extended it to the whole Catholic world.

15 September 2011

Ecumenism in Action

An important step toward the reintegration of the Society of St Pius X into full unity with the Church occurred yesterday. After a series of doctrinal discussions between representatives of both sides tackling the difficulties which occur in trying to reconcile the Second Vatican Council with the tradition of the Church, a 'doctrinal preamble' was formulated and given to the leadership of the society for careful study. If they are able to sign it, complete and formal reunion may be at hand. Don't underestimate the importance of an influx of hundreds of traditionally-minded priests in the Church.

Here is the press release from the Vatican:

12 September 2011

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, similar to that of October 7 (Our Lady of Victory / Feast of the Most Holy Rosary), commemorates a great victory of the Holy League (an alliance of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburg Monarchy, Bavaria, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, etc.) over the Turkish 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 dedicated himself and his forces to Our Lady; 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 throughout the 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. [Think of the battle of the fields of Pelennor in the Lord of the Rings.]

King Jan III Sobieski at Vienna

The victory of the Christian forces was complete. Paraphrasing Julius Caesar, the King sent a message to the Pope: 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. God willing, it will remain so, but those who would see Christian Europe survive would do well to call more urgently on the Most Holy Name of Mary.

11 September 2011

New Semester

We've begun another academic year here at the ITI. My class load is quite light this time around compared with previous editions. The only regular class that I am taking is on the Song of Songs. In addition to that I am assistant-teaching a class on biblical interpretation (which Katie is taking) and an Intro to Scripture class on the Old Testament. So far that's all going pretty smoothly. The rest of the time I spend researching and writing my thesis and studying Italian.