Thursday, January 29, 2015

Out of hell...

And now in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I came down here to visit friends. Very sunny, in the 60s. Locals are complaining about "the cold"!

Today I'll go see the Salvador Dali museum. So there, Fr. Z!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm in the lowest pit of hell right now

...that is, in my reading of Dante's Divine Comedy. I might have finished this last "canto," or chapter, last night, but this is where Dante and his guide, Virgil, encounter the "king of hell," Old Scratch himself. So I thought those might not be the best images to have in mind as I drifted off to dreamland! To fortify myself for this last episode in hell -- before we move to purgatory -- I am having breakfast at Denny's.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A few minutes ago...

Watching the sun go down on the Gulf of Mexico...

Stealing from a brother priest!

Last evening and today, I visited San Antonio Parish in San Antonio, Florida, just down the road from Saint Leo Abbey. Last night, the priest in residence, Father Emmanuel, persuaded me to be the celebrant -- but he preached. This morning, Father Palka, the pastor, did it all; I was the con celebrant. That is a great way for a priest to pray the Mass, so long as the Mass I'd offered reverently, which this was.

At the end of Mass, Father surprised me when he said more or less the following: 

Fr. Fox dutifully presented his letter from his bishop,attesting that he's really a priest, but I knew who he was, he's famous! (Uh oh...) then Father mentioned my blog, and encouraged people to go visit it! So I had to rush to get something posted!

I told him after Mass that I'd be stealing two things from him: 

First, his homily, in which developed the following point: that if someone says (regarding the first reading) that it is impossible for Jonah to have been swallowed by a big fish, because nature won't allow it, then that person ceases to be Catholic in his thinking. Note well: Father did not say one must interpret the Book of Jonah only that way; but he insisted that rule out super-nature ever overriding nature is to deny miracles, and eventually, everything of the Faith collapses. He's 100% right, of course!

Second, the parish has a very sensible arrangement for distributing Holy Communion. They have lined up several kneelers, and people come forward on one side, and line very much as they used to prior to Vatican II. Except--no one has to kneel. Many do, while many stand. Also, many receive in the hand, while many others receive in the age-old way, on the tongue. Meanwhile, on the other side, people line up in a fashion more familiar in most parishes.

Why do I like this so much better? Several reasons. First, it is much easier to give people communion this way with less chance of the host being dropped. Many times, people barely stop moving in a communion line; that makes dropping the host more likely. Second, many are unsteady, and this gives them something to hold onto. Third, this gives folks a chance to settle and be recollected before receiving the Lord, which is crucial. Fourth, it accommodates those who wish to kneel. Fifth and finally, I think it actually goes quicker, but I can't prove that. (Maybe it's a miracle? Hmmm...)

After last nights Mass, I joined a group for dinner, which was fun. I learned a lot about goats from one of the folks! I hope to visit with these lovely folks again before I go.

Now my breakfast is here, so...posting!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Saint Leo Benedictines

I am sitting on the screened-in back porch of the guest house at Saint Leo Abbey in Saint Leo, Florida. A gentle rain is falling; I suppose it's around 60 degrees. (By the way, does anyone else remember when typewriter keyboards had the degree symbol? I still hunt for it reflexively, even though it's probably been over 30 years, since I used a Royal manual typewriter in college!) It's very quiet.

The abbey is on the campus of Saint Leo University, which was founded with the abbey, but is now independent. It's a small place; I haven't relly looked around, as I got here from Tampa Airport not much before Vespers, then came dinner, then a short break before Holy Mass at 7. (And if you are wondering, no, I doubt I'll get up for Matins at 4:30 am.)

The March for life yesterday was a great experience as always. I have attended about fifteen times over the last 30 years, and I've never seen it so packed. We could barely move the whole way. For about the first third, we could only creep along. It helped that the weather was very fine, in the 50s and sunny.

During my retreat, I'll be reading and reflecting on Dante's Divine Comedy, or as much as I get through. Ive wanted to read it for years.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hitting the road...

I'm going to be away from the parish for the next ten days. Today I'm flying to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life tomorrow, and then on Friday I'm heading to Florida for my annual retreat, plus a visit to a friend.

It's not easy to post to my blog from my iPad, so updates may be rare. Perhaps I'll see you, however, at the March?