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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Worth your time

On the Touchstone (a Christian magazine) blog "Mere Comments" is this poignant post on the spiritual life of Mother Teresa (and, obliquely, a jab at the media "frenzy" that has erupted over it) and what she says by it to us as Christian believers. This is a must read for all, and worth passing around your e-mail list, especially if you have people on there who might be caught in the net of the media's misinterpretations about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

On the other hand, all this media attention will certainly have one good result - many more people will be heading to the bookstore to get Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light when it is released on September 4th. Some Catholics may be nervous about the book, if they let the media's perception guide them, but I want to assure you all NOT to. The compiler of these letters, of this book, is none other than Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, who was one of Mother's closest companions and is now in charge of presenting her cause for canonization to sainthood to the Holy See. He, and this book, are indeed trustworthy.

I predict that this book will be a wonderful way for Mother to evangelize beyond the grave, and in particular perhaps for the many people in our culture who are suffering from their own "dark night" of doubts, depression, anxiety and fear.

Buy a copy today, and move it up to #1 on the Amazon top-sellers list!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

St. Louis IX, pray for us!

St. Louis, King of France

Today, I almost thought I was in Rome again, when visiting the festal church of the day was a routine joy!

The Church celebrated the feast of St. King Louis IX today, and so a friend and I went on pilgrimage to the beautiful parish of St. Louis, King of France in downtown St. Paul.

Emmanuel Masqueray, the architect of my beloved Cathedral as well as a number of the other beautiful and historic churches in the Twin Cities (including St. Agnes, the chapels on the University of St. Thomas campus, and the Basilica of St. Mary), was also the architect behind the creation of this parish church. The parish itself claims to have been his "little gem" (totally likely - being a Frenchman himself, he's bound to have been particularly fond of this, the local French ethnic Catholic community parish). Regardless, it is a beautiful church and quite a worthy example of Masqueray's artistic and architectural gifts.

The "winter chapel" of this church is my favorite part, and I wish you all could pray in it personally. I took a couple of photos while I was there, for those of you unable to experience the chapel yourself; I could only take a couple shots before another person came in to pray. So, a brief tour:

The main nave of the tiny chapel. As you can see, the Blessed Sacrament is prominent and veiled beautifully, I wish the veil showed better. On the right side of the shot, you can just barely see the exquisite "built in" Lourdes Grotto - the only one of its kind I've ever seen.

All in all, this chapel is one of the most POD places I've ever seen - wall-to-wall CATHOLIC, with beautiful stained glass, mosaic apse, marble sanctuary furnishings, a zillion vigil candles, and a trillion statues! It's a pretty tight fit for it all, but yet, in that totally French kitschy way, it somehow works. The chapel is built lengthwise along the back of the main church, so only the left wall has windows. The other wall contains most of those vigil candles and statues I mentioned, and of course, the Grotto as a "side chapel" to the main apse.

The chapel's statue of St. Louis, located along the non-window wall about halfway up the nave. I really wish I could draw an architectural plan of this chapel for you - it's very strange, kind of shoehorned in so to speak! Now that I think about it, though, I wonder which came first... perhaps the main church was the addition! In any case, it is a unique arrangement. (FYI, here is a tiny pic of the main chuch nave, if you're interested in what's on the "other side" of that wall)

Along the narthex wall, at the entrance to the chapel, is this plaque - the most POD one I've ever seen (in English anyway!) Click the picture to get a bigger version, and READ IT! (See? Didn't I tell you it was totally POD!?)

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of St. Louis' "winter chapel", some day go and see it for yourself, and participate in one of the many offerings that this parish has for the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist in the chapel! I will warn you, it gets REALLY crowded in there - standing room only is common for the weekday lunch hour Mass, and as far as the Saturday noon Mass goes, if you're there 10 minutes early it may already be too late to fit in the nave (yes, it is the DAY Mass for Saturday, at noon! Latest time around for those sleepy-head daily Mass-goers!). One might ask, if it's so packed, why not use the main church? Honestly, the main church is pretty too, but there is just something about this chapel that makes one long to be in it - it is the real heart of the parish I think, and I think this is why they prefer to keep the daily Masses here!

Add to this the fact that the Marist priests here offer one of the most convenient Confession schedules of any parish in the diocese, and boy do us sinners line up for it - I've seen them stretch down to the narthex and loop back around halfway down the nave! "If you build it, they will come" is certainly true here!

All this, despite the fact that the parish has a parking lot that only fits maybe 10 cars, and almost no street parking nearby. Wow.

Visit the Little French Church this week!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Heaven Kisses Earth

Not only does this give you a marvelous glimpse of Love Himself in the Most Blessed Sacrament, but it also is a great "tour" of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, home of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Mother Angelica! The procession takes you through the beautiful columned nave, with the exquisite marble floor, and right up into the sanctuary.

Look for the "Sanctus" written on each of the three steps going up to the altar of the Lord! Sweet!

And check out the inscription on the INSIDE of the tabernacle door!! One of you in particular is going to really appreciate this special touch ;)

To the musically-inclined: don't you just love this version of "O Salutaris"? I've never heard it used before, actually.

O Sacrament Most Holy,
O Sacrament Divine
All praise and all thanksgiving
Be every moment Thine!

Pick a link, any link!

One of my favorite blogs is Fr. Jim Tucker's "Dappled Things". He's a young priest who manages to write smartly on a good many things - I've often thought Chesterton would get along with him well :)

Well, whether you've read Fr. Jim before or not, he's got a great little selection I'd like to call the Best of Dappled Things post!
Do click overe there and check out one or two of them today, pick a link, any link! Personally, I really like his posts on "I Don't 'Feel' Spiritual", "Ecclestiastical Etiquette", and on "Being in Communion with the Church even if imperfectly".

The "Book recommendations for seekers" is also worth checking out if you are seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus and His Church, or if you have any would-be converts in your circle of neighbors God has given into your sphere of life... or drifted away Catholics that might need a dose of high octane in their fuel tanks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bored, distracted, and overstimulated

Domenico has another great post up called Bored, distracted, and overstimulated. Totally true.

Ever since I returned to the Church, I have always been impressed at the behavior of certain children at Mass when compared to other children. I bet you've noticed the same thing:

Family 1 - The children file in basically quietly, sit down in the pew, and pretty much stay there observing Mass (with varying levels of comprehension or interest, likely). Perhaps the younger one plays with Mom's rosary, or sits on Dad's lap and looks at the misselette, perhaps the baby needs to be taken to the cry room now and again, but for the most part the kids are well behaved and still. So well-behaved in fact that when left all alone in the pew, these kids stay in their spots (with maybe a few more pokes - they are kids after all). At the end of Mass, outside, these kids explode with energy and prove themselves to be "normal" kids after all, not just little statues.

Family 2 - During Mass, the children are all over the pew, driving Mom & Dad crazy. In an effort to distract the children, Mom drags out the bottomless Mary Poppins carpet bag filled with goodies, and the children soon begin throwing Cheerios at each other or grinding them into the pews. Soon the rustling of the bag is heard again, and then the clanging of a toy car hitting the pew. Then "zoom zoom" sounds as the lad races his car along the back of the pew, until he drops it onto his sister's head and she starts to cry and hits him with her board book. These are the kids that start singing loudly the Sesame Street song (don't get me started on that show!) during the Consecration and ask Dad when they can go. Oh, and I have to go to the bathroom. At the end of Mass, they explode outside exactly the same as their friends from the first family.

Admit it. You've all seen both these types of extremes at Mass (granted, most families are in the middle - but I bet still tilted one way or the other). I also bet that many of you have blown off the behavior of the first family, perhaps also making a comment such as "What do they do, drug the kids?", "Just let them have MY kid for the day", "Home schoolers", "Strange family", or (with a shake of the head) "Not normal".

Now, don't get me wrong, I completely acknowledge, as Domenico did, that a lot of this does have to do with the personality of the child. Some kids are obviously going to be more active than others, more inclined to "boredom" than others. However, like Domenico, I see a direct correlation between the overstimulation of children by their parents and the world, and their "boredom" at Mass. Likewise, I see a direct correlation between the overstimulation of adults by themselves and the world, and their "boredom" at Mass (usually seen by crossed arms, glazed eyes, and the sprint to the parking lot, instead of clanging toy cars on pews). As Fr. Stan Fortuna so aptly put it:

“You are deeply and profoundly bored before you walk into the church, and when you come into the presence of the Almighty in the fullness of love, it is then that the awareness of your boredom begins to bubble,” he said.

Many people merely distract themselves from their boredom by turning something on, changing the channel, upgrading or downloading. This constant activity only “feeds the boredom beast,” he said.

Like father, like son! Is it coincidence that those who have reasonably well behaved children are also typically those who make Mass and the formation of their children in the faith a priority? I think not. I think it is the case of parents' example leading the children - the same way that parents who make Catholicism merely a "Sunday duty" are giving a different example to their children. This type of parenting doesn't just matter in the pews, however, as it seems to me that the principles behind this also help to account for the rest of the "family adventures" we see out there in society.

One of my favorite professors calls this modern day parenting nightmare the "Sesame Street Syndrome". Ever really sit down and WATCH that show as an adult? Try it. It's non stop activity, with constant leaping from fun times to fun times, oh and the number for the day is 3. What does this method of "edutainment" really teach our children? On the other hand, the other beloved children's favorite, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood", has the exact opposite effect. Rather than attempting to "grab" the kid's attention for at least a fleeting moment, Mr. Rogers understood how to draw a child in and hold their attention on a subject.

The problem today is not with the kids themselves, I honestly think it comes back to the overstimulation of the culture at large, and the expectation of parents that children cannot understand and must always be entertained and "distracted". This, I think, comes from the fact that the parents themselves are bored with the world and all their "things", but they think that the solution to this is yet more "things". Therefore, Johnny of course needs even more things than I have to keep him from being bored. It's a cycle of destruction, far as I can see. Endless stimulation leads to endless boredom, whether you are 2 or 92.

True story - some friends of mine had a 2-year-old boy (now 4). This child was as squirmy as any kid I've ever seen, but when they brought him into church for Mass, he was dead silent and awe struck at everything around him. Why? I think it is because they did not condescend his youth - instead, they constantly stayed with him, murmuring to him what was going on, why they were doing what they were doing, what was happening up on the altar. Instead of assuming that he couldn't understand what was going on, and attempting to "time the distraction" of toys to the Consecration, they assumed he COULD know what was happening and who Jesus is. And so he did. And so can your child - if they're not already addicted to the 30 second rule of entertainment!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

70 or 70 x 7 - Part 2

For those who don't read comments, I thought this important enough to put in a post of it's own, so that my position as stated in my last post would be clarified. This is in response to Michael's comments on that post (also, please do check out Michael's blog too):

...It seems your main reason in doing so [posting these comments] is to defend the NAB as being a valid translation - ok. We agree. You see, while I agree with Fr. Neuhaus in my distaste for the NAB monopolyl, my commentary on this blog has very little to do with what the scholars of the day think of the NAB, much less of what the highly-esteemed Fr. Brown thinks. I have read Brown in two of my courses, including his "Introduction to the New Testament" text, and was not particularly impressed, Pontifical Biblical Commission seat and all. It is quite clear that he is very keen on the modern historical-critical method, to the detriment of any other method. As such, I do not see him or his opinions to be of much use to the average Catholic who seeks to be formed in the faith - namely, the majority of people who sit in the pews each day. Likewise, I don't think the NAB is really good for us to use to study either - the vague and banal language on it's own might be forgiven, but the often horrendous commentary in many of the NAB editions is what is most to blame for my dislike of it as a good Catholic study Bible.

The thing is, as far as my blog post was concerned, the key issue here is what Scriptural texts are used at Mass. This is a different kettle of fish than what you are discoursing on.

As far as the LITURGICAL use of Scripture is concerned, my understanding is it has to do with 1) the authentic proclaimation of the Word of God by an appropriate person (ordained man in terms of the Gospel), 2) in a way fitting to the dignity of worship and 3) by the use of a text that the Church, by the authority of Christ, has deemed to be an accurate expression of God's written Revelation to mankind.

As our Holy Father has said time and again, it is NOT just Scripture that we look to as authoritative - we look equally to Tradition. If all we cared about was having the perfect set of Scripture, we'd all have nervous breakdowns and none of us would ever be able to trust that we really knew what God was ACTUALLY saying (as is evidenced by the 20,000 + Protestant denominations today!). Or we'd all become Mormans, since at least they claim that God told Joseph Smith word-for-word exactly what he wanted to say; or Muslims, who are the most consistent of anyone by acknowledging that ALL translation is traitorous, as the saying goes, and ergo forbidding any translation from claiming authoritative status!

Fortunately, as Catholics, we don't just have Scripture, we have Tradition. Now, Tradition might not be enough for the scholars such as yourself - and indeed, perhaps it shouldn't be, as I do not deny that it is a good thing to always seek for more literally accurate manuscripts, or to constantly seek more anthropological and historical/cultural understanding. However, when it comes to eternal salvation, Tradition is inseparable from Scripture in terms of allowing us to be confident that we are indeed truly receiving the fullness of divine revelation. This touches most strongly on the latter half of your first comment, regarding the "errors" of the RSV due to it's source material.

To me, it is helpful to recall our Holy Father's words regarding the Mass. All vernacular missals are translations of the Latin Missal, which is normative, however, the Latin Missal is a sacred text in it's own right and is NOT subject to re-interpretation based on Scriptural studies. For example, it is my understanding that in the Scriptural texts pertaining to the Last Supper, there is incongruity between whether or not Jesus used "for all" or "for many". However, this argument is non-authoritative when it comes to the liturgy according to Pope Benedict. Why? Becuase the Latin Rite is itself a sacred text, and hence all translations of it need to be done SOLELY from it's own language, not from any source that it might be claimed that it is derived from. Ergo, the Holy Father decreed that all future translations of "multis" from the Latin missal MUST be "for many", and not "for all."

Now, moving from the Missal to the readings usesd in the contexxt of that Missal, Tradition has consistently taught that the Latin Vulgate - while you may find it inadequate for your use - does adequately express the Word of God, and the faithful will profit spiritually from their study and prayerful reflection on the text. Likewise, so does the RSV, the NJB, and yes, even the NAB (even with it's annoying inclusive language that offends my feminine intellect). All are approved translations. That's not my beef.

What I've said so far, and what you have stated, deals mostly with the third part of my little outline above. The first part, regarding the appropriateness of the person who is proclaiming the readings, doesn't really apply to this discussion either. So, let's move to the second part - the fittingness of the text for the sacred liturgy.

My beef is, first and foremost, that LITURGICALLY a translation should be used that contributes to, and does not detract from, the dignity of the liturgy and the active participation of the people. The NAB here fails, I think, and so do many others. In the first instance, by it's banality, and in the second by it's inconsistent grammar and unreadable style (downright confusing if you ask me, when I listen from the pews or read from the ambo). In the same ways, the RSV is, I feel, a much more dignified AND clear translation for public proclaimation. The ideas are conveyed more precisely (and literally, which is important particularly in the Psalms where neutering often damages both the cultural understanding and the typology), and the grammatical style is much easier for the average listener to follow - and contrary to the condescending complaints from certain liberals, the more specific vocabularly is by no means too difficult for us to follow easily.

One may argue that this is more of a subjective issue than the other two - and I agree, as you will note by my closing comment on this original post. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. At the same time, if you are a Catholic, then you must pay attention to the thinking and practice of the Church universally. It is quite clear that throughout the Church there has been and is continuing to be a trend towards ensuring that a more ecclestiastical tone be used in the sacred texts, whether they be prayers at Mass, or the Scriptural readings and citations. Likewise, simply by looking at the climate of the other English-speaking countries, you find that clearly the sensibility is of a different type of translation than the casual, banal style of the NAB. Finally, simply look at the coming re-translation of the Roman Missal - Vox Clara would agree with those of us who argue for more options in lectionaries here in the States, I'd wager.

Therefore, my opinion regarding all of this remains unchanged. I still believe that the NAB is an inferior translation to be used liturgically, and that the dictates of the USCCB that it be used solely are suspicious insofar as the USCCB stands to lose out on a lot of money if they were to actually let us choose between translations. Personally, I think there are only two ways in which this will happen - 1) the Pope decrees that RSV is a universally-approved liturgical translation, or 2) 10 years from now there's all new faces at the USCCB and someone bites the bullet and gives up the cash cow.

70 or 70 x 7?

Fr. Neuhaus says - the NAB has problems. To put it mildly. As a reader at daily Mass, I can tell you that I often cringe at having to read some of the ridiculous phrasing in our, ahem, "Americanized" version of the Sacred Scriptures. Of course, we can't really complain, since our bishops' conference wants only the best for the flock. I'm sure that's why it is the ONLY translation that can be licitly used at our Masses. Right?

My time in Ireland this past July reminded me once again just what we American Catholics are missing out on - the use of the RSV Catholic lectionary (often the New Jerusalem is an option too in other parts of the world!). The clarity and cadence of the RSV translation spoken aloud makes it a far more fitting choice for liturgical purposes. Why does every other English-speaking Catholic in the world get to have all these options for their Mass readings? Oh wait, none of the other English-speaking bishops' conferences actually OWN a copyright on the Word of God that they make substantial revenue off of their people for the use of it
("Just count it as part of your tithe!" wink, wink).

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but methinks money-colored glasses might be skewing the vision of some of our leaders...

Ecclesia Domestica

UPDATE: It seems that my friend Sara and the Koop family have already connected, as Brendan kindly commented! I'm very excited that the Lord introduced them, I pray that wonderful fruit may come from this joining of research and development. Brendan also tells me that Sara has begun her own blog on this topic, you can find it at A House for the "Domestic Church". Sara's original thesis is also online at Brendan's blog, linked below, and you can even hear her Theology on Tap talk online by clicking here (WMA audio file)

A good friend of mine did her master's thesis on the topic of residential architecture and the living out of the domestic church - it is this kind of project that she had in mind, and it's happening right near us in Ham Lake MN! I'm passing this link on to my friend, and I hope you check it out too (especially those of you who are contemplating building/buying a new home in the future!)

As a Catholic, one's goal should be to become a saint; that is, a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. If that's not the goal, then something's wrong, as Fr. John Corapi would say. Further, as a parent, the goal is to raise citizens of the kingdom of heaven, to raise children who will become saints. It's a simple worldview, but when taken seriously, it should transform just about everything in your life, both as an individual and as a parent. So then, why shouldn't this worldview transform the way one thinks about designing a home?

Get the rest at Ecclesia Domestica

Friday, August 17, 2007

Voices of Heaven

The Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL. Go on pilgrimage there and hear them for yourselves, in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sr. Maria Francesca of Jesus Our Eucharistic King

This past week I once again took to the airport - this time to Alabama (it's been a busy summer, I agree!)

The occasion? The first profession of sacred vows of Sr. Maria Francesca of Jesus Our Eucharistic King, of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, AL!

Jesse Jensen is a dear friend of mine, we (kind of) grew up together, in the same rural area of Wisconsin, though we did not really know one another until we met Providentially at one of Archbishop Flynn's vocations dinners about four years ago - we saw each other across the room, recognized each other vaguely, then realization hit and we've been friends ever since. :) On top of that, we realized that we both had the same priest for a vocations director in St. Paul, and that he was the one who had invited us both to that dinner without knowing that we knew each other. How cool!

Not too long after that, Jess went off on a "nun run" that unexpectedly changed her life - they weren't even really planning on visiting the Poor Clares in Alabama! The lot of them had driven down the center of the US, stopping at various convents along the way, and when they finished at the Nashville Dominicans they decided to keep driving down to Alabama to visit the Shrine and see the EWTN studios. Well, as Jess said when she got back, as soon as she entered the Shrine she KNEW it was here that she was called. Things happened really rapidly, she met with the prioress there that same day, and I believe she even met Mother Angelica right away too! This order does not just take anyone who walks up, they truly do discern with their potential sisters whether or not they are called to this life of prayer and penance for the salvation of the world. But in this case, God seemed to have deemed it time to set His plan in motion - doors opened up and Jess had her application turned in and approved in record time! Now, after three years, she has made her first profession of vows before the community, to live their rule of life in a spirit of poverty, chastity and obedience. And I've never seen her happier!

The Profession Mass was held on Tuesday, August 14th - and it was glorious. At the Shrine, they celebrate Mass on a "people's altar" separated from the tabernacle, but ad orientem. Almost the whole Mass is in Latin, except for the changing parts (collect/prayers, readings, petitions, homily, preface). Instead of hymns, they seem to typically use the propers for the Mass - beautifully sung by the nuns, it sounds like you are surrounded by the angelic choir!

For the distribution of Communion, yes, they have chosen to use the Communion rail. In one of their brochures there is a beautiful statement about the fittingness of using the Communion rail: "...the altar rail is an extension of the main altar. As the faithful kneel at the altar rail to receive Holy Communion, it is as if they receive from the altar of sacrifice itself." I don't know about you, but I sure never think along those lines when I receive from an Eucharistic Minister, especially when they are trying to slap a Host in my hand or throw it into my mouth out of fear of evil "mouth germs".

At the time for Sr. Maria Francesca's vows, her brother Jamie (who is wheelchair-bound) was able to bring up her new black veil to be blessed by the priest and then gave it to his sister Sr. :) It was the moment when suddenly all the stoic faces suddenly became wet with tears around me. Her voice as she professed was like that of an angel, it was calm and yet full of power and eagerness. It was the first time that I have heard her voice in three years, and it sounded more like her, somehow, than I expected. These words she spoke, she MEANT them, and she was overjoyed to say them!

Sr. Maria Francesca may be a newly professed nun, but as they say, "join the convent, see the world!". This fall, the PCPA religious order is working to re-found the original convent, where the first nuns of the order lived and died. This convent has been empty for many many years, but now PCPA nuns from around the world are coming together to make this old convent alive again. Sr. Maria Francesca is going, therefore, to France, under obedience to her vows! Her vows are only for a year at a time for the next few years, so all she knows for sure is that she will be there for a year - however, I suspect that if she continues to remain with the community and renews her vows, she will be there for some years to come, and Lord knows, maybe for the rest of her life! Prayers for her and all those sisters who will be traveling from India, Europe, and the US to refound this convent would be greatly appreciated.

May this renewed convent of prayer and Adoration of Our Lord for the sake of the world bear much fruit, particularly in the lands of Europe where faith seems to be dying out.

(For a selection of photos that I took down in AL at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and with Sr. Maria Francesca, click the picture below. I do not have any photos of the Mass yet, as they are very strict about photography - understandably so. Plus, I wasn't really there as journalist, but as a pilgrim visiting a friend. :)

Visiting Sr. Maria Francesca

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hear it to believe it!

Grab your headphones (that's right - headphones, you need headphones, not just computer speakers) and LISTEN to this YouTube "clip"! Prepare to be amazed and even perhaps cringe a bit (in a good fun-scary way!)

Tip 'o the hat to Zadok for yet another find!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bridge collapse in Minneapolis

Oh dear Lord...

Suddenly being stuck home with pneumonia REALLY doesn't seem so bad.

At 6:05pm, one of the most heavily used bridges in the Twin Cities suddenly collapsed into the Mississippi River. No warning. No escape - gridlocked cars. I'm only glad that it was not one of our double-decker bridges with cars underneath it - the river is bad too of course, particularly that stretch of it which is fast flowing and deep.

No word yet on what happened. Road work was being done the bridge, as with almost all of the Twin Cities freeways these past weeks, but no word yet on whether that had anything to do with it.

To make matters worse, there are severe thunderstorms that are moving into the metro, and the bridge scene is right in the path of the storm. Rescue efforts are going to be severely hindered unless a miracle happens.

Prayers are urgently needed for all affected, and for those rescue workers who are still hard at work trying to find people trapped or in the water. Especially prayers for the road crews that were on the bridge when it happened - they did not have the protection of a vehicle during the fall.

WCCO - CBS channel 4 streaming live video

I'm... back?

Hello world! I have returned - almost. As you may recall, when we last spoke I was about to begin a marathon of activity. Well, I have run the race - and that finish line was beautiful to behold!

It all started with our parish Vacation Bible School back in June. Right after that finished, I took off for Ireland of my dreams; a day after returning from over the ocean I took a group of teens on mission trip to St. Ann's parish on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, ND; after a week of that we drove 9 hours back to St. Paul to join up with the parish group going to the (totally awesome - details next post) Steubenville North II youth conference held this past weekend. By the time Sunday evening rolled around, I was completely beat and feeling miserable. Today I felt lousy enough that I went in to the "Minute Clinic" again - turns out that I not only garnered beautiful memories of my summer adventures, but that I've also been blessed with a bout of pneumonia. Yay.

So, since the doctor ordered me off of work for the rest of the week and on "bed rest, or at least rest near a bed", I just might be able to work on that puzzle of the Cathedral in Orvieto (that I found randomly in a tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere in northern North Dakota - weird) after all. Maybe I can catch up on my blogging too - hey, I can blog while resting on my bed, just following doctor's orders! :)

Oh, and here's my photos from Ireland if you missed them on the other blog:


Fra Angelico's Annunciation