Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rich in what counts (Sunday homily)

In the second reading, the Apostle Paul is confident
the Lord will keep us “firm to the end”
because “you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.”

Saint Paul says we are rich;
but a lot of us aren’t feeling very rich right now.
Like you, I have to put money aside for retirement,
and I have not looked at a statement in months.

When I visit St. Clare Chapel,
I look at the prayers people write in the book—
a lot of us are praying for jobs, and for money to pay our bills.

What can we say? The economy is out of our hands.
But listen again to Paul: you and I are rich all the same,
in the only thing that will count
when the Lord returns to judge the earth.

Now, more than ever, is time to examine that balance-sheet.
Now is time to draw on these reserves—
and if our spiritual reserves are low—
now is the time to build them up!

One way in particular is to visit our Saint Clare Chapel—
open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Along with the Prophet Isaiah, we might cry out:
Lord, tear open the heavens and come down!
But he already has!

Come to our chapel and gaze at Him,
and let Him look intently at you.
The worry and fear so many of us face, and we can’t shake:
This is the one place we can find relief.
A lot of people struggle at prayer;
but the heart of prayer is intimacy;
“intimacy” describes the energy that holds a couple together;
but it also describes the easy closeness of best friends.

This intimacy doesn’t just happen, it takes time and effort.
As it grows, it becomes so powerful
and sustains us on the deepest level.

Well, it’s the same in our relationship with the Lord.
And, as with any other relationship,
there’s no substitute for time together.

Many of us keep a regular hour in the chapel,
or else we drop by sometime during our day.

You do realize that most parishes
do not have a chapel such as ours,
open all day and night, every day of the year?

Our chapel is an engine of prayer;
It is the storehouse of spiritual riches beyond measure!
It is the throne-room of heaven, come down to earth, for us!

We do need people to commit to each hour;
We have a few hours that are vacant.
If you ever said, “one of these days…”
Maybe this is the day?
Please see the bulletin and make the call.

Of course, that kind of commitment holds us back.
So how about this? Sign up for two months; or just a month.
Give it a try!

Soon, we are going to begin bringing our younger schoolchildren
across Miami Street to make short visits to the chapel,
so they learn to pray before the Blessed Sacrament—
to see Jesus lives right here in our midst!—
to help them build their lives on him.

Parents, I’d like to suggest you do the same—
bring your families for visits!
It doesn’t have to be long;
but think of the message this will send:
your children will see that you know how much you need the Lord;
you will give them an example of humility and trust.

What family doesn’t face trouble?
Bring those troubles to the Lord side-by-side
is a powerful way to bond your family together.
Some have tried everything else…

In the Gospel the Lord gave us a one-word command: “Watch!”
We never know how long we have or when the Lord will come;
but when we are close to the Lord in the Eucharist,
that’s something we don’t have to worry about.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christ the King homily

Sorry, once again I did not have time and/or energy to write out my homily, so what follows are the points I tried to make, as I recall making them:

> I explained the origin of the feast, established by Pope Pius XI, in 1930.* To understand why he felt the need for it, consider what was happening in the world in that year: so much of the world was under the thumb of dictators who needed a reminder of who was the rightful king. Almost 80 years later, many things have changed, yet many in government, entertainment and business need the reminder still.

> We recently had an election and exercised our vote, and we must live with the result--but we have a right and duty to communicate to those elected the reminder of Christ's law, and their duty to care for the weakest--"I mean the unborn, the poor, the disabled and the elderly."

> The first reading struck me particularly as a human shepherd--the Lord said, "I myself will shepherd my people." We human shepherds often fail--"it is hard when you know that some percentage of your decisions are almost certainly wrong!"--and I thanked the Lord for being the shepherd, and ask him to continue to help me, for I cannot do it.

> I talked about how if we want Christ as king of the world, we begin by making him king of our hearts, that is where we can have the most say. That's what we do in the sacrament of confession. I talked about going to confession many years ago, before I entered the seminary, feeling great as I left, and on the drive home, all of a sudden I reflected on this Gospel passage of the sheep and goats, and realized--every time I was curt or rude in driving, every time I was sharp or harsh to anyone, every time I was sarcastic, every time I refused someone help, every wrong I ever did--I did to Jesus! It hit me so hard, all at once, that it was all I could do, not to make an immediate U-turn, and go right back to confession! That was, for me, a moment of deep awareness of what this Gospel passage means.

> At St. Boniface, I talked about the Infant of Prague, because we returned the image to public display and I explained a little about the image's history.

> I concluded by talking about how receiving the Eucharist is when we invite the Lord to be enthroned in our lives in the most personal and profound way; and that if we long for Christ to be king of our world, it is up to us to show the world what that looks like.

* Oops--I realized after my last Mass that I was off by four years, it was in 1926. It doesn't really change anything else I offered.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Invest your Faith that the Kingdom may increase (Sunday homily)

What did we just hear?

A man went on a journey,
and entrusted his possessions to his servants…

The Lord Jesus is the man,
and he has entrusted care of his Kingdom to us.

This is not so much about how we use our natural gifts,
but how we use the supernatural gift of Faith.
And how readily and with how much real investment of ourselves,
we put ourselves on the line, so that his Kingdom can grow.
If you and I put your Faith out there, at risk—it will grow.
If we bury our Faith and do nothing with it, we will lose it.

And when I say, the investment of our Faith will "grow"—I mean;
we really will see other people drawn to our Catholic Faith.
But they will only be drawn, our investment will grow
only if they see our lives are really changed.

The early Christians won their world and even their persecutors
because people said, "they really do forgive their enemies";
"they really do love one another";
"they really do live as if Jesus is Lord—and he’s this close."

Our Catholic Faith, our Catholic parishes, our Catholic schools,
will grow, only if people see the same in us.

I am sorry to say, it is discouraging to me and many others,
that there remains pettiness and division
between our two Catholic parishes.

As soon as I say that, someone brings up something from the past.
You want to bury something—bury that:
all those grudges and bad memories!

What must people in this community think,
when there are Catholics
who won’t pray in each other’s churches?
Do you realize how much I have to walk on eggshells because of this?
What a waste of time and energy—mine and yours!

And, yes, I’m saying the exact same thing at both parishes.

When we talk about the investment of our faith,
putting it at risk, rather than burying it…
let me apply that, to our times, this way:
a lot of folks talk to me about fears and discouragement—
why are things the way they are?
why don’t more people come to church?
why do we have the troubles we do?

If you and I want to avoid experiencing these doubts and fears,
the only way is not only to bury our talents,
but to climb in the hole ourselves,
and pull the dirt over our heads!

Yes, it’s hard—but this is what it means
to put our Faith on the line, to put it at risk.

Remember who we are: we are Christians!
The first Twelve…one was a traitor,
the leader melted like ice on a skillet,
and the rest scattered.
The early believers were nobodies, they had nothing,
and they were hunted and arrested and killed.

In every age, the Church has had trouble—
in fact, when we thought all was well,
that usually meant we had even worse problems
that we didn’t even recognize.

So, here we are, the Year of our Lord 2008,
and we have so many problems.
We are tempted to discouragement and fear and defeat.
We are tempted to turn against one another—who is to blame?
We’re going to want to bury our faith in a hole, and figure,
it is only a matter of time before we close up shop.
I have heard the rumors—and all I can say is,
if you want them to come true—keep repeating that nonsense!

I don’t know what the future—even the next six months—will bring.
But I know this: We have Jesus Christ!
He has put everything on the line, everything at risk,
investing in us!
He believes in what we can be and what we can do,
if only we let him be in charge.

In a few moments, we will behold his Sacrifice for our sakes,
and we take part in the Eucharist,
his greatest Gift, of his own Body and Blood,
please, pray for one another—pray for me, as I do for you—
that we will realize how rich we are in what really counts,
and how much we really can do to increase his Kingdom,
to be ready for Him.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Firefox-Blogger problems again

I wonder if anyone else is noticing a problem with blogger, using Firefox. Yesterday and today, I couldn't log into this blog using Mozilla Firefox, my preferred browser, but using Internet Explorer, which I dislike, I did fine.

I assume it's the conglomerates Google-Blogger and Microsoft ganging up on Mozilla, but I don't really know...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

'Provide Fresh Water for our Community' (Sunday homily)

"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink"—
maybe you remember that line from the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"—
that poem I think all high schoolers learn.

But you and I have fresh water—water that gives life—
the Water of the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel tells us that Water flows from the Temple:
you and I receive this Water from Jesus Christ.
We are baptized here, born again in the Holy Spirit.
We come here to be made clean again in confession.
We come here for the Mass and the Eucharist.
This temple, this House of God, is where we receive the Life of the Spirit.

The occasion we are celebrating today
is the dedication of the Church of St. John Lateran in Rome.
You might wonder why we do this.

Because the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Catholic Church,
Rome is the mother Church for us all as Catholics.

When our Lord was on earth, he said to Peter,
"You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church."
Peter went to Rome—as did Paul—
and thus Rome is the mother Church for us all.
Benedict XVI is the Bishop of Rome, and St. John Lateran is his Cathedral.

So we celebrate the Gift of the Holy Spirit,
and we are grateful that Gift comes to us
through being part of the Catholic Church.

But notice what St. Paul was telling us:
we not only receive the Gift of the Spirit through our Catholic Faith;
we are the building-blocks of the Church,
we are the Temple that gives that Gift to our community!
The water flows out from us to make salt water fresh.

I see this wherever I go in Piqua. Our parishioners are everywhere.
Thursday, I was asked to give a blessing for a new business in town.
A group of people came from the Chamber of Commerce,
decked out in spiffy red jackets—and half of them were our fellow Catholics.

So we have been given a great privilege,
and we can have so much good influence on our community.
That puts an obligation on us:
to share our faith, we must know our faith.
Whether its RCIA, or my Bible Study, or the CDs we offer in the vestibule,
take advantage of ways to know your faith better.
If you have an idea, a suggestion—please let me know!

And to be able to provide Fresh Water to our community,
our own temple, the temple of our lives, always needs attention.
The Lord didn’t tear down the temple—but he did clean it up.
He wanted it to be a place of life,
and that’s always what’s trying to do in our individual lives.
If there’s something he wants us to clean up or clear out, in our own lives,
this is why—so that more Fresh Water of the Holy Spirit
flows out of us, into the lives of others.

When we go to confession,
we’re cooperating with the Lord to do that work in our own lives.
When we find time for daily Mass, or to make a holy hour,
or we give time to the needs of others,
we are opening ourselves up even more as channels of his grace for our community.

The Lord is building a Temple, made up of us, living stones.
He wants it to be a House where our whole community receives life.
That’s a great privilege for each of us! That’s an important task!
The Lord needs us and has a lot of confidence in us.

As we participate in this Mass, we might want to ask the Lord to show us
if anything in our lives needs cleaning out.
As we pray, we might ask the Lord to show us how he wants us to grow in Faith,
so we can share it.
As we take part in the Eucharist, we might ask the Lord to strengthen us
so we’ll step up and step out,
to make the difference he wants for our community.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our first black President

Instapundit tipped me (and everyone else) to this article which I think makes some good points. I'll make my own in my own way.

None of us who are committed to the prolife cause can be happy to have another president who is committed to legal abortion. We would rather be celebrating the election of an African-American president who didn't have that terrible baggage.

That being said, we can--and should--celebrate something remarkable about our nation. Our nation elected a black president; even five years ago, who would have thought it would happen so easily? It says something good about our country, because don't we want to live in a country where anyone can rise to positions of public or private achievement, regardless of race or ethnicity or their family history?

Why shouldn't we celebrate the fact that our nation, which has things to be ashamed of as far as prejudice and denial of rights to blacks in particular, has come so far, so fast (from a historical point of view), so easily, as compared with so many places in the world? Consider how racial, religious and tribal differences have meant so much shed blood, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and here we are, we have made the transition from Jim Crow to today, not without some shed blood, but so much less than anyone could have hoped.

We are accused of being a terrible nation, racist from top to bottom. Well, we're sure not perfect, but this mostly-white nation just elected a black president! And did you notice? The polls actually did not conceal a "Bradley affect"--people claiming to be for an African-American candidate, but actually not voting for him.
And while there is anxiety and distress on the defeated side, there is not a terrible sense of disaster...because we elected a black president. Those who are upset, are upset because of the agenda they expect him to press, which is normal, same every four years.

One more thing. I've seen, here and there, some early signs of what might be called "Obama Derangement Syndrome." Whether anyone likes it or not, Barack Obama will be our president. We have a duty to pray for him, and to help and support him in his responsibilities. That doesn't mean we don't oppose him when we disagree. But there's a right way to do it, and a wrong way. It does no one any credit to be hateful or ugly, and really will only work to the advantage of the very agenda you will be opposing, unless it really is just about hate?

I talked to the schoolchildren today about praying for our new president, and about the remarkable fact of this historic moment, and I said we wanted to encourage him to be mindful of protecting all people, including the weakest and most vulnerable. I even suggested they might want to write to him and wish him well, and tell him what hopes they have for him, including in defending human dignity. That's our right, and our duty.

Fear Not!

The election is over, the victors are crowing and the defeated are fearful. But there are some things to notice:

I found this article yesterday via Instapundit, which originally appeared at National Review Online, entitled, "He's not the Socialist Superman":

This nation still self-identifies as conservative. Bill Clinton thought he had a mandate to socialize medical care. That miscalculation effectively destroyed his entire agenda. Obama is not going to enter office with anything resembling a popular mandate, either. (And at this very late date, I am beginning to question whether he will enter office at all). I still think he’ll pull out a squeaker, but he’s not going to enter office on a rising tide of popular demand for his socialist policies.

No, it wasn't a squeaker--but Obama's victory is very similar to Clinton's, both in the Electoral College total, and really in popular vote, when you factor out Ross Perot's role in taking votes from Clinton and Bush.

And let me remind you: Here is the makeup of Congress on the day Bill Clinton took office.

Senate: Dem - 57 GOP 43
House: Dem - 258 GOP 176

Obama may end up with a similar bulge in both houses - but what did that buy Clinton? If Obama is stupid enough (as was Clinton) to believe he is being elected because people want him, rather than want the previous President (in both cases, a Bush) gone, he will probably indulge in the same sort of over-reach, with, I predict, the same sort of results.

Think about it this way: if aging hack John McCain, unable to enthuse his own base, running after a disastrous eight years of a George W. Bush administration, in the face of an utterly hostile mainstream media, a collapsing economy, and the as-yet undetermined aftermath of an unpopular foreign war, can still be near or within the polling margin of error, this is not a liberal nation, or one panting for an Obama administration.

I also found this article, substantiating the facts about the basic orientation of the nation:

No matter the results of the election on Nov. 4, and despite the tarnishing Republicans have given to conservatism, America remains a center-right country.

The Battleground Poll is a comprehensive, bipartisan public opinion poll sponsored by George Washington University and conducted by the Republican Terrance Group and Democratic Lake Research Partners.

In January 2000, the poll asked participants to describe their views of politics and government. Fifteen percent described themselves as very conservative, 39 percent as somewhat conservative, 13 percent as moderate, 24 percent as somewhat liberal and 6 percent as very liberal.

Here are the results of the same Battleground Poll question in October 2008: Twenty percent described themselves as very conservative, 39 percent as somewhat conservative, 3 percent as moderate, 26 percent as somewhat liberal and 10 percent as very liberal.

Did you catch that? After all the problems of the last eight years, just last month, the number of Americans seeing themselves as somewhat or very conservative went up--and it was all in the "very" category!

Yes, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, was crowing today the GOP wouldn't dare filibuster--but that's a bluster on his part. He knows he doesn't have enough votes, particularly on the most contentious issues.

One more fact, courtesy of Father Zuhlsdorf, concerns how Catholics voted. It is true, and dismaying, that Obama got a bigger share of Catholic voters this time; but: when you break out weekly attendees vs. non-regular Mass-goers, it's like this:

Mass-goers: McCain 54/Obama 45 Bush 56/Kerry 43
Non-Mass goers: McCain 37/ Obama 61 Bush 49/Kerry 50

That tells me something very significant: that regular Mass-goers, who were just as affected by all the other concerns, understood the prolife issue as much as they did four years ago. Obama did not improve his position with them significantly, in a year when he had every reason to do so, but for one: the prolife issue.

Of course, many will see the 45% that voted for Obama, and be unhappy about that; all I can do is point out Kerry got very nearly as much, and remember, folks were talking about what an accomplishment it was that Bush got 56% of these folks only four years ago. McCain got only a little bit less in a terrible economy.

There's more to say, but I have to run. But be very sure that tens of millions of prolifers are gearing up and they will hold President Obama accountable to his words to be president of all of us and to hear our voices. He's going to start hearing prolifers' voices very soon. And it will be deafening.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our 'Life Teen Mass' for All Souls...

It is an old tradition and norm under Church law to allow a priest to celebrate three Masses on All Souls. A lot of folks will be puzzled by this: why "allowed"? Isn't a priest always "allowed"--even encouraged--to offer more Masses day-by-day? The answer is no; the norm is to offer Mass once a day during the week, and perhaps two in need; twice on Sunday (for the sake of the people), three times in need. "In need" is the rationale for priests offering even more Masses, daily or on Sundays and holy days--but the value at stake here is to emphasize the specialness of the Mass and to preserve the priest's spirituality, of which the Sacrifice is the core, by not having him "crank them out."

So why the exception for All Souls? (And also for Christmas, if memory serves; parish priests tend not to worry about these things, because we seldom lack for opportunity to celebrate additional Masses!) For the good of souls, particularly the holy souls in purgatory.

As All Souls fell on a Sunday, the opportunity to offer three Masses was no trick--I had the 4 pm Mass on the Vigil (I am puzzled by the bishops said the Saturday evening Mass would be for All Souls, when All Saints outranks it, but again, I don't have time to puzzle over such things; perhaps I missed something), then the 9 am Mass on Sunday, and then a special, 7(-ish) pm Mass with the high school group. This is our Life Teen group; I thought you might be interested in how our "Life Teen Mass"--first ever--went.

Our excellent coordinator of religious education and youth ministry has wanted to have an evening, around Hallowe'en, on which we'd turn the basement of the former-rectory-now-parish-offices into a "catacombs," and have the high schoolers gather there, after dark for catechesis and perhaps Mass. We'd talked about for a couple of years, but didn't do anything until this year.

I was reluctant to have the Mass in the basement of the building--there is no altar there, no chapel, and one has the Mass outside a sacred place only for very special reasons. There were certainly practical reasons as well--no ventilation--but I can see why he liked the idea. Well, instead, we decided to have a period of catechesis in the "catacombs"--including the basement's whitewashed walls adorned with early Christian symbols--about this part of our history. Then we had a candlelight procession from there, outside, and around to our perpetual-exposition chapel (also in the basement of the church), for Mass. As we walked, we sang a Litany of the Saints.

Mass was not terribly out of the ordinary; I would like to have used incense, however the chapel is a very close space, and we do have at least one high-schooler who has serious allergy issues. We did chant many of the prayers, including several in Latin--the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. I gave the homily you see below, but added some about Hallowe'en and emphasized the idea of our joining a procession of the faithful that stretches across the ages, and forward into eternity, connecting to the catechesis we'd had beforehand. I used the Roman Canon, which has so many saints included.

We had over 20 of our high-schoolers turn out, plus a number of adults, about 30 in total. Not a lot by big-city standards, but good for us. At the conclusion of Mass, I mentioned to those present that next week, I'd do a "dry Mass" (meaning not an actual Mass, but a "show-and-tell" explanation of Mass) and that being part of that would be an excellent follow-up. And I pointed out one of the ways the Mass itself shows evidence of being a procession, reaching way back; we used four languages at Mass: English (rooted in the present); Latin, taking us almost all the way back; Greek (Kyrie) which is the language of the New Testament, and Hebrew (Alleluia, Amen), taking us back to the liberation of God's people from slavery.

Oh, and yes, I used black vestments.

No, we don't routinely do a Sunday evening Mass. Many would like it, but for a number of reasons, I have declined to start one. But a one-time, or once-a-year thing, is a lot easier to say "yes" to.

Before and after Mass, we had a fire going outside--with a parent keeping watch, have no fear!--which provided an opportunity for 'smores' after Mass while we waited for the kids' parents to pick them up.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Souls Day 2008 (Homily)

All Souls Day only falls on a Sunday
about every five or six years,
so this may be unusual for many of us.
It’s not a “feast day” exactly—but it is a special day.
The music, the priest’s vestments*, are different.
You might say, it seems like a funeral. Exactly.

November is when we reflect on how fragile life is,
and contemplate what comes after this life.
We recall the “four last things”:
death, judgment, heaven and hell.

We might compare how our culture handles these things
versus how we handle them as Christians.

Our culture tries to buy time!
Remember the Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon?
He was looking for the Fountain of Youth,
and he found Florida instead!
A lot of our technology is all about finding that fountain.

Even when death is near,
it can be hard to acknowledge openly.

If we or someone we love is facing death,
bringing it out in the open can do everyone a lot of good.
Sometimes family, sometimes the sick person,
has things they need to talk about.
This can break the ice.

As a priest, I will often come to a bedside,
and I don’t always know if the end is near;
it may even seem obvious to me,
and yet the person in the bed, the family,
are not facing it.

No one comes out and says, “give him Last Rites”;
And it can be upsetting to offer it in those cases.
The shame is, the priest will leave,
and not get called till its too late.

That can be a huge missed opportunity.
“Last Rites” are a lot more than just anointing—
which we can receive throughout our lives.
Part of it is simply going to confession;
the most important part is receiving the Eucharist,
and even people who can’t swallow can still receive
the Eucharist in the form of wine—
just give the priest some notice, and we’ll do it!

Think of receiving complete absolution,
and the Body and Blood of Christ, at that moment!
What peace! What a gift!

The final part of “Last Rites”
includes a litany of the saints, as if to say,
“Saints, we want you to lead our sister, our father,
safely to Christ.” It’s gives great peace.

This is the Gift of our Christian Faith!
We can’t see what lies ahead, but we fear no evil,
because we know who is there.

We need not be afraid; we have hope!

Every Mass is always offered for the dead,
and prayed in union with all the souls in purgatory.
Purgatory is “finishing school” for heaven
and we offer prayers and penances to help.
God purifies them like gold;
but they are safe in his hands.

We have Masses for the dead, and All Souls Day,
to be consoled by the confidence they aren’t gone;
they are only out of sight. They are ahead of us.

I just found this out recently—
do you know where dressing up for Halloween came from?
It came from France, in the 1500s,
and they did it on this day, All Souls Day.
The idea was to represent the procession of the Faithful,
at all the stages of their journey, from this life,
through death, hopefully to purgatory, finally to heaven!

This is our lives as Christians:
born again in baptism, we stay close to Christ,
with frequent confession, Mass, the sacraments.
My wise grandmother said it best:
being a Catholic can be a hard life—but an easy death!
When the saints go marching in,
we want to be in that number!

At every Mass, we “march” in a procession
at three points: at the beginning, the priest,
in our behalf, goes to kiss the altar;
then the people bring their gifts forward;
and then, after the Sacrifice,
we have a march of saints-in-training,
our hearts hungry for the Eucharist.

We join a long line that stretches through the ages;
it leads from this life, through the dark valley,
through purgatory, right to the throne of heaven!

This is why it is called communion—
it is the culmination of full union
with the entire body of Christ—
it is what those learning about the Catholic Faith seek:
union with the Catholic Church on earth,
union with those who are ahead of us, drawing us on.
They draw us forward to the Lord.

Addendum on Hallowe’en

(I decided to cut this out of my homily so it wouldn't be too long; but I thought readers of the blog would enjoy it.)

Our culture also tends to make death something dark and horrible.

Look at how what Halloween has turned into, all about “the dark side.” That’s a shame, because a lot of folks don’t know Halloween was originally, completely Christian, not pagan at all. It started simply as the celebration the night before All Saints’ Day.

Why did people wear costumes? This is something I didn’t know: it actually came from today, All Souls, in France in the 1500s, as a way to remember the dead.

The origin of “trick or treat”? That came from England, from the time when Catholics were persecuted, anti-Catholics would visit Catholic homes and ask for a treat—beer and cakes!—or else they’d face a “trick.”**

In a way, all we’re doing is the game kids play: I say “boo!”; you jump; you chase me around, and hopefully we end up laughing.

* Yes, I did wear a black vestment at St. Boniface; St. Mary has no black vestments, so I will wear purple.

** The footnote fell off when I uploaded this to the blog; this information came from Rev. Augustine Thompson, O.P., who posted an article at Beliefnet about this. As I add this note, I don't have that citation handy; I'll come back and post it when I get a chance.