Archive | March, 2012

“The Deer’s Cry”

22 Mar

If you know someone

… who is making a pilgrimage,

… who is headed out on a new (ad)venture,

… who is danger

… who has been ambushed by something in life that threatens to destroy them,

send them a copy of “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” – or refer them to a song called, “The Deer’s Cry.”

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me.
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me.
From all who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in a multitude.

Against every cruel
Merciless power
That may oppose my body and soul.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,

Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,

Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ to shield me.

Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me.

I arise today.

“Allow him to continue to do the same for us”

19 Mar

For the Little Sisters of the Poor the feast of St. Joseph (March 19) is huge. They rely on St. Joseph as their protector and provider.

Many of us say that God provides, and some of us even preach about Divine Providence. But the Little Sisters of the Poor believe it! You might know that the Little Sisters do not receive any direct funding from our archdiocese. Did you know that the Little Sisters of the Poor do not have any endowments? They are not permitted to have endowments. It is not the government or the Church that forbids them; it is by the intention of their foundress, Jeanne Jugan. Mother would insist that having large sums of money stored away and living on the interest would not be trusting that God will provide. So, the Sisters beg, every day for every need of the aging residents of their home.

When the Sisters need something, they pray to St. Joseph. They believe that, through the intercession of St. Joseph, God will provide. God entrusted Jesus and Mary to Joseph. That is an impressive reference and resume: he took good care of God’s Mother and God’s Son. So, the Sisters quite confidently pray, “God, allow him to continue to do the same for us.”

On the feast of St. Joseph the Little Sisters of the Poor delight in telling stories of how their protector and provider has come through for them, sometimes at the last minute but always on time.

on St. Paddy’s Day – a song for protection on a journey

17 Mar

 “The Deer’s Cry”, or St. Patrick’s Breastplate, sung by Angelina, (EWTN)

 I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,

Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,

Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prayers of patriarchs,

In predictions of prophets,

In preaching of apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of holy virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation.

these “new-old” doors “open wide” at the thought, too

15 Mar

On this day, March 15, new Honduras mahogany doors were installed at the corners of St. Andrew. They match the main doors.

The doors and the hardware are new.  The windows – you guessed it – were taken out of the old doors, refurbished, and built into these new doors.

They are glorious. Come see them.

These doors, too, open wide at the very thought of your coming!

“In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic.”

15 Mar

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is distributing one million cards (pictured above) in order to cultivate evangelization among Catholics. They are “credit card” size, and are intended to be carried in purse or in pocket. When the person carrying it sees the card,  it is a reminder. In the event of an emergency, when someone else sees it, it is a request.

The pastor of St. Andrew, Milford (yours truly) has it in his mind that all parishioners at St. Andrew will eventually get something similar. It is one of those good ideas that gets tucked away to be used at a later time, when the time seems right – and ripe.

My card will be especially designed, with a slight change of words, to read: “I am a Catholic priest. In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic.” 

Bless the One who shapes your beauty

7 Mar

As they waited for the Skype connection with the 1st grade students of Miss Ruya from the Latin Patriarchate School of St. Joseph in Nablus (West Bank, Palestine), Mrs. Phillips explained to her students that the children that they were going to meet were 6,000 miles away, and lived near Bethlehem.

The parents in Palestine had brought their children back to school a couple hours after school was out in order to Skype with our children from America.

The Palestinian children had a song ready – “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” Our children clapped with joy, probably because they recognized the song. They probably didn’t realize how extraordinary it was that 6-7 years olds, whose first langauge is Arabic, were singing in English. Later, the same children would sing a song in Arabic, which Miss Ruya explained was about how they loved their country very much.

The teachers on both sides of the world tried to put some order into the energy and the enthusiasm of their students. Sometimes they were even successful. First graders, wherever they are, are first graders!

When it was our turn, the CD player went on, and our friends in Palestine heard, “All you works of God / Every mountain, star and tree / Bless the One who shapes your beauty / Who has caused you all to be / One great song of love and grace / Ever ancient, ever new / Raise your voices, all you works of God.”

Mrs. Phillips sang.

The children sang and made hand gestures that expressed the words of the song.

The  Arab children clapped with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as our children did.

They asked questions …

… and waited for answers.

There were questions (and answers) about snow, favorite sports, how old they were.

At the end of the visit, Mrs. Phillips spoke with the principal, Miss Abeer, who personally visited Mrs. Phillips classroom back in October. In June, Mrs Phillips goes to Miss Abeer’s school – and the circle of friendship will be complete.

with tears and prayers

2 Mar

محادثة “skype” مع مدرسة “Saint Andrew”

1 Mar

On February 28 students from Saint Joseph School in Nablus, in the West Bank of Palestine, visited by Skype with 6th graders from St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school in Milford, Ohio.

Students from the two Catholic schools were 6,000 miles away, but technology brought them together to see each other’s smiles and to hear each other’s voices.

As one of the Palestinian students sat close to the computer, the others in the classroom watched on a large screen. They saw our students sitting in the hall below our church. Note in the bottom right corner of the next photo: in Palestine it was 420 p.m. The students had finished their school day, had gone home to eat the main meal of the day, and returned, yes, returned to school in order to meet our students who were just beginning their school day at 9:20 a.m.

In the classroom with the students …

… were Miss Abeer, their Principal, and Miss Ruya, their English teacher. Both Miss Abeer and Miss Ruya had visited our school last October. Our 6th grade teacher at St. Andrew, Mrs. Barbara Ambs, worked out the details of the online visit with Miss Ruya. They each prepared their own students, and pulled off this miracle visit, not giving up, even after technological problems forced them to cancel the first two attempts.

And look who else was in the classroom in Nablus: Father Johnny, the parish priest of St. Joseph.

A Palestinian girl asked her question. She spoke in English. She and her classmates began studying English in the first grade – and French, too. Notice the piece of paper. Isn’t that cute? She had her question ready.

Then she smiled, as she got an answer from her new American friend, who also spoke in English, of course. It would have been a very short visit and conversation, if our students needed to speak in Arabic.

It was fun for all: students, teacher and parish priest – on both sides.

This smile says it all. It’s for the children!