Sunday, February 25, 2007

Traveling to Pittsburgh

First, as the header says, I am traveling this week, this time to Pittsburgh. I've been to the airport there, but never to the city. My hotel is right in downtown, right where the rivers all converge. I leave Monday night and I fly back home next Sunday afternoon/evening. I'm not taking my laptop with me this time, so I will be out of touch the whole week. However, feel free to give me a call if you like, I will have my cell phone. If I don't answer it's just because I'm busy hanging with colleagues/friends that I only see once a year! :)

Second, my weekend was okay. It was busy despite how sick I've been. I finally started feeling better today. But yesterday's dress rehearsal was awful! I felt terrible. I thought today was going to be terrible too, but somehow I remained clear and had energy during the concert. I've been congested since, but it doesn't seem as bad as it was the past few days.

I hope everyone is having a prayerful Lent. Take care and have a good week!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Pope as Shepherd

Protestants often view the Pope as some kind of all-powerful religious figure over Catholics like some kind of a dictator. Or, at least, that is the impression I get when this subject comes up with non-Catholics. However, today's readings point to something very different.

You'll notice that I now have a link on the side bar of this blog directly to the day's readings. Very convienent! Hope you enjoy that added feature.

All three of the passages from the Bible read at Daily Masses today point to the leader of the One Church as a shepherd. The first reading is from St. Peter himself. Not only that, but today's feast day is the Feast of the Chair of Peter. How appropriate! Peter tells the other church leaders to whom he is speaking to be examples to their flocks. Then we move to the Psalm, one of the best known Psalms: #23: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

Finally the Gospel passage from Matthew. This is the passage where first Jesus asks who the people say He is. Then He asks Simon Peter who he thinks He is. Peter proclaims Jesus as the Son of God! Jesus then blesses Simon Peter and calls him the Rock that he will build his Church on. Thus his name is now Peter for petra which means rock. Not only that (it just gets better and better, doesn't it!) but He says he will give Peter "the keys to the keys to the Kingdom of heaven." Peter was the first Pope, and it is at this moment that he has that distinction because Jesus himself gave him that gift. If His church on Earth was to remain One, united church, it needed a leader. You can go back to the first reading to see just how good a leader Peter was, despite his many faults (as is seen later in the Gospels).

The Catholic Church also believes in Apostolic tradition. In the creed that we say at Mass each Sunday we proclaim the church as "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic." Peter was an apostle of Jesus. Jesus gave him the keys to the Kingdom and made him the rock. The Pope (Peter and all his successors) give the leadership of the church to the cardinals, bishops, and priests. Basically it is a direct line (no breaks) from Jesus down to our very own priests today. it's kind of cool to think about!

The Mass readings aren't always so clear, at least not to me. But these are all very clear. For those who question the Pope's position and why we Catholics have a Pope, this is why. It was instituted by Christ himself; hard to argue with that. I heard a wonderful speaker last month sometime give a talk on defending the Pope. She had a lot of great things to say and I could never be as eloquent as she.

However, if you are interested in more information I suggest looking at books on Apologetics. There is a great series called Beginning Apologetics. All of them are fairly thin, but packed with information. They look a little like the workbooks you got in school to accompany a textbook. I looked at and they don't seem to have one devoted to the Holy Father, but I'm guessing that volume 1: How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith probably addresses the issue of the Pope. It's worth looking at.

Hope everyone had a good Thursday (I was home sick today). God bless!

Update: Was just browsing through and came across the following title: Upon this Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church by Stephen K. Ray (ISBN-13: 978-0898707236). I have not read this book, but it looks very interesting. Written by someone who was an Evangelical Christian who found his way to the Catholic Church through (it seems) trying to prove the Catholic Church wrong on many matters. If anyone has read this book and would recommend it, I've love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday -- the beginning of the Lenten Season. Music at church will be solemn from now until Easter when it becomes glorious again. This is always such an amazing time of the year.

At the Cathedral we use the same song at the beginning of Mass every Sunday of Lent. It's slow and solemn and very repetetive. When I played with the music ministry, my parts were either very simple or non-existant. Instruments (except organ & piano) are discouraged. Also, we started using some chant during Mass last year for Lent and we will be continuing that this year as well. I think it really adds to the solemnity of the season. The hardest thing to get used to is the end of Mass. During the Recessional no music is played at all. The priest and the rest of the entourage leave in silence. This makes people feel uncomfortable, so many leave as soon as Mass is over and don't wait for the recessional. They miss the point. Recessional music is supposed to life our spirits as we head out into the world after celebrating the sacrifice of the Mass each week. However, during Lent we're not joyful so it doesn't make sense to send us forth with joyful music. This is a solemn and contemplative time. Thus no music. It feels awkward and unnatural, even pretty uncomfortable, but that's the whole point. It's supposed to feel that way. Think about it when you're at Mass today or this coming Sunday.

Today, Ash Wednesday itself, is actually not a Holy Day of Obligation. Most people don't seem to know that, but why bother correcting them. There are usually more people at Mass today than there are on actual Holy Days of Obligation. So we'll keep it a secret so that they continue showing up each year. Chris and I will be attending the 7:30 Mass tonight and then going to dinner afterwards. I'm sure we'll be pretty hungry by then, we're following the rules of fasting and abstinence today.

Fasting and abstinence is something we do during Lent to remind us of the sufferings Jesus went through for us. Ash Wedensday and Good Friday are days of fast: two small meals that don't equal one normal size meal when combined together and one regular meal. All the Fridays of Lent plus the two previously mentioned are days of abstinence: no meat. In truth every Friday of the year is a day of penance. Before Vatican II meat was not allowed during any Friday. Since then that has been changed, we are still supposed to do a penance on Fridays during the rest of the year, but it doesn't have to be meat. Chris' family always did no meat on Fridays and he still keeps that up, so I have been following suit lately.

Lent is also a time to give something up, to make a sacrifice as (again) another reminder of what Jesus sacrificed for us. So for Lent this year we have decided to give up TV. We can watch a rented movie, but no actual TV. I did this several years ago and it was such a good thing to do. I'm not sure that this is much of a sacrifice, but it will be difficult. We are also going to say a Rosary every day, together whenever possible.

Next week I am going to Pittsburgh for a conference. I don't recall ever going to a conference during Lent. It might be a bit of a challenge, especially in the hotel room with two roommates. I can't really expect them to not watch TV just because I can't.

Anyhow, I wish everyone a good Lenten Season. May this time of year bring you closer to our Lord!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Our busy weekend

Happy Monday to everyone!! I hope everyone had a good weekend. We got snow again on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday the roads all cleared and dried out, the rest of the snow is now starting to melt since it is finally warmer today (finally above freezing).

Chris and I have been very busy lately. We signed a contract with a Cake decorator and we are set with a florist. We also went to Macy's Saturday and started our registry. That took a lot longer than I expected and we still didn't get as much done as I wanted to. We also went to the Mardi Gras Dance Saturday evening at our church. Between us we won 6 of the raffles!! We did so well that Chris is feeling guilty, since the event is supposed to raise money for the Music Ministry. But he shouldn't feel guilty, the prizes are all donated anyway.

Sunday we spent the entire day together. He picked me up for Mass (thank goodness, I didn't want to drive on the still-icy roads) and after Mass we went to his house for breakfast. Our wedding photographer came by at 1:30 and spent an hour and a half with him doing our engagement photo. After that and a little downtime we headed out to dinner around 5:00. Chris had made reservations somewhere for us to celebrate the first anniversary of our first date; I didn't know where we were going. He took me to Giuseppe's down Nicholasville Rd. past Man o'War. It was excellent and neither of us had been there before. After dinner we went to see a movie (Bridge to Terabithia). The movie was really good, I cried a lot at the end.

So, the wedding is coming along well. Plenty of other things are also keeping us busy (young adult activities in the parish and diocese, work, band stuff, etc.) Next week I am going to Pittsbugh for a conference for the whole week. I haven't decided if I am bringing my lap top with me or not; I like the convenience, but hate carrying it around. I'll keep you posted.

Hope everyone has a good week!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!! I hope the day brings lots of love to you all.

Chris and I aren't really celebrating the day ourselves. We've had so much going on that neither of us have had time to even buy a card for the other person. But that's okay, because our one year anniversary is this weekend. So we'll celebrate that together.

Tonight we have our Young Adult meeting at Church followed by dinner at a German restaurant in town. Hope everyone has a wonderful night!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wedding, weather, and much more

There is so much going on these days, I can barely keep up myself. The snow finally started going away today, but that's because it rained all day. However, we're expecting a wintery mix and below freezing temps. So lots of icy roads tomorrow, especially black ice! I think Cincinnati had about 6 inches of snow. I'd rather the snow than the ice. Hopefully it'll get warm enough in the morning to become slush. But that may be wishful thinking.

My veil is in!! The bridal shop called me yesterday to let me know. In other news: we have an appointment with a florist on Saturday. She came highly recommended and I expect to really like her. Also, we met with a cake baker/designer today and she raved about this florist too. The cake person was also highly recommended to us. We spoke to her for a while and she gave us three pieces of cake to take home and try. Chris ate all three of his pieces, I could only eat two (I'm saving the third for tomorrow). They were very good and we discussed what cake flavors and fillings we like. Chris is going to sign a contract with her and make the deposit. So we're on our way to getting all the big things taken care of!! Oh, and we're having our engagement pictures taken this coming Sunday!

There is so much more going on right now. We are in the process of making some changes to the Young Adult group at church and we are in the midst of helping to organize a mass at the Cathedral for young adults. We have help from other young adults from three other parishes, but Chris and I are the ones who know the Cathedral best, so we'll be doing most of the on site work and answering questions from everyone else. Plus, there is the NFP class and the homework we have to do for that. This time we have 6 weeks between classes, but we both have to do the reading.

Okay, so I'm watching the news now. Wow, I had no idea there was a blizzard happening just north of me! And we are now below freezing and they are calling for possible snow now, plus snow this weekend.

Time to say goodnight! Hope everyone has been having a good week! God Bless!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Libraries are important

For those of you who wonder what it is librarians do:

Check out this article

Book will not be replaced by the Internet, the Internet is not free, and not everything is available on the Internet are just three of the 33 reasons this article says Libraries are not going away!!

Hooray for Libraries!

Monday, February 05, 2007

More snow and COLD

Sunday morning I got ready to leave for Church and was surprised to see snow everywhere! I hadn't looked outside at all and last I had heard we weren't supposed to get more snow. I was alreayd running a little behind, but quickly shoveled as much of the driveway as was necessary and headed out. Luckily it was early, not too many cars on the road, but I still took it slow. They were doing the processional when i got to Mass.

This morning the same thing, but I checked outside when i got up at 4:30, so I was prepared. I managed to quickly shovel the driveway a bit and got to church right on time: 6am.

Streets and sidewalks have pretty much cleared off, but it is darn cold out there. I checked the weather earlier this afternoon before I walked across campus to the main library and it was 11 degrees, but felt like -1!! I'm getting ready to leave work now, I think it is around 14 or so now. Public schools did cancel classes today, it was too cold. I hear this is happening throughout Ohio, upstate New York and other areas, so we're not alone on that one.

Have a great week!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snow, snow, and more snow

It has been snowing all day today. I think it has finally stopped. Yesterday I was praying for snow, I wanted a good reason to not have to go to rehearsal last night. But, it didn't snow yesterday and I went to rehearsal. I think I wouldn't dread rehearsal so much if I could just find the time to get a new reed and get a key fixed that keeps sticking. However, last night's rehearsal was much needed and wasn't so bad.

Then this morning I woke up to snow, lots of it, and it was still coming down. When I went to leave the house, I shoveled the driveway but it was already building up again when I finished. It took me about 30 minutes to drive to work (only 4 miles), but it was slick and everyone was driving slowly. Last I looked out the window the snow appeared to have stopped, finally, and the roads and sidewalks around here actually look passable now. But that's just the University, who knows what the rest of town looks like.

And this morning, Chris called me at work, just to make sure I got here safely! Isn't he sweet!

Update: I was wrong, the snow has not stopped. Still coming down pretty heavily with no indication of stopping. At least it is pretty to look at, just wish I didn't have to drive in it.