Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Few More Pics of St. James the Greater and Easter Sunday

The interior of St. James the Greater, with the altar set up for TLM:

The stained glass windows there are beautiful:

The crucifix:

Another interior shot:

Adam, David, and Daniel...

St. James the Greater and Easter Pics

On Easter Sunday, we attended the high TLM at St. James the Greater in WV. After Mass, I was able to get some photos.

Here is their choir loft:

An exterior shot of this lovely parish:

A wider-angle shot of the exterior:

The steeple showcases the beauty and simplicity of the design. I don't know who the architect is, but I'd love to see some of his other work.

The altar set up for the TLM.

Quiet prayer after Mass. Nobody here was talking until they got out into the foyer. It was wonderful.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Can you seez it?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Farewell, Lent...

Lent always seems to be shorter than it really is. Blink, and it's gone.

Here's wishing you all a holy, healthy, and happy Easter season.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Some pics from recent weekends...

Baby Greggie, being silly and upside down...

Uncle Frank plays with Baby Greggie... is chewy!

Here's Dave...all happy about something...probably pizza.

Up high in the floor to ceiling chimney wall at Frank and Joanie's place, there are two fairly large statues nestled in. One is Jesus, and one is the Blessed Mother. Here is an up-close image of the Blessed Mother. Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some pics from the Pitt

Here are some pictures from a recent day trip to Pittsburgh!

Here is St. Anthony's chapel, where the largest collection of saints' relics in the United States is housed:

This is the statue that is on the top of St. Anthony's chapel (you can see it in the pic above, too).

Here's Dave, outside the doors to the chapel.

These are just some buildings downtown that I thought looked cool.

This is a picture of the city, coming down Troy Hill.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Lady of Lourdes

I am preparing some materials and activities on Our Lady of Lourdes for religious education class tonight.

In thinking about the apparition, and what Our Lady asked of St. Bernadette, I have been blessed with a great illumination about my own faith and my conversion.

Our Lady asked St. Bernadette to perform acts "for the sinners" and asked her to do things like kiss the ground, eat grass, and dig up a spring. These were actions that required tremendous obedience and humility on the part of St. Bernadette, only fourteen years old at the time.

I was thinking about this, and reading the fifteen promises made by Our Lady regarding the rosary, and I was pondering why Our Lady would ask St. Bernadette to do those tasks, and why she so wants us to pray the rosary.

I thought about the things that Our Lady has said to people in Church-approved apparitions. Repent. Make reparation for sin. Pray. Be obedient. Ask Jesus for mercy.

And then it became clear. All that Our Lady asked St. Bernadette to do, and all that she asks us to do, requires humility and love. Few practices can build our sense of humility as effectively as praying the rosary. In praying the rosary, we begin to develop a stronger understanding of Mary and Jesus, a deeper appreciation and love for Jesus, and a real sense of just what Catholic Marian devotion is all about.

Yes, we honor Mary because she is God's most perfect creature. We love Mary because she is the Mother of Jesus Christ and our Mother, too. We model ourselves after Mary because of her obedience and humility, and look to her for an example of how to say "yes" to God.

But there's more to it than that. When we honor Mary's obedience and humility, we are honoring more than just her choice (which of course, in and of itself, warrants respect). We are honoring the very will of God, we are honoring the kind of person He has designed us to be. Mary's life was overflowing with humility, love, obedience, faith, suffering, and grace. Before the Gospel was written, Mary was living it. Before the Early Church Fathers wrote about our Trinitarian God, Mary knew Him well and lived in an intimate relationship with all three Persons of our one God.

And this is how she continues as our Blessed Mother. She appears to St. Bernadette, who in turn gives us a shining example of humility and obedience. And there we have the very message of Lourdes. Humility. Obedience. Love.

Of all the places I could have ended up as an adult, thirty minutes from the National Grotto of Lourdes was simply the best place for me, and the best place for my hardened heart, in dire need of conversion. God, more kind and generous than I could ever have hoped, gave me a place to see humility at work. To suffer through my pride and to pray with my Mother, at a place where humility is honored abundantly.

I just came across this, which I think is lovely reading for a day like today. Here you go, a little Merton on Mary:

"It is because she is, of all the saints, the most perfectly poor and the most perfectly hidden, the one who has absolutely nothing whatever that she attempts to possess as her own, that she can most fully communicate to the rest of us the grace of the infinitely selfless God. And we will most truly possess Him when we have emptied ourselves and become poor and hidden as she is, resembling Him by resembling her."