Dec 092015
 

Traditional Christmas carols have been a love of mine since I was a child. The beauty of them always just stopped me in my tracks. The secular Christmas songs never had the same pull for me. Sure they were familiar and comfortable and brought pleasant feelings for the season. A part of the seasonal vocabulary like drinking hot chocolate and sitting before a fire.

I had really no idea what traditional Christmas carols really meant. I had a vague awareness of Jesus and knew nothing of the theology regarding the incarnation much less anything regarding the Blessed Trinity. Still some subliminal message regarding they sacred hymns still stirred me.

You know you are getting old when you can remember singing sacred Christmas carols in a public school. I was always part of choirs and enjoyed nothing better than singing these sacred carols. Actually caroling was also a joy. My atheism was willing to dismiss anything regarding belief in God and to ridicule it. But the exception was for these traditional Christmas carols all about the birth of Christ.

So each Christmas I would turn on the radio to listen to my favorites. Every year though I was hearing less and less of my favorites and more and more of the “Christmassy” songs more about winter and a Hallmark sentiment of the season. This drove me to Protestant radio stations to get my fill. I was even willing to put up with the “Christian indoctrination” of these stations between songs. Many events in my life, especially my multitude of bad decisions, were for the first time opening me up to this “indoctrination”. Protestant radio was kind of the second movement of my conversion that I could detect.

So yes I love, love, love traditional Christmas carols and I could listen to them all month. Still over the last couple of years I have been trying to develop a more deeper advent of a time of expectation. Delaying this love of carols to a time closer to Christmas. This along with developing a deeper awareness of Christmastide and that these carols could be my joy through at least the Epiphany of the Lord.

As part of this I decide to explore music appropriate for Advent and this time of expectation and thinking about the various comings of Christ and his kingdom.

One thing that proved use for this was the “advent” of streaming music services where you pay a monthly fee for access to their catalog. So first I started to search around for traditional hymns for Advent and to build up a list of them. Then I would search for these hymns and add several versions that I liked of specific hymns to an Advent playlist that I could play and shuffle.

One of the surprises I found from doing this was that there were a bunch of traditional Advent hymns that I grew to love. Most of them I would never have heard before starting my Advent project.

I have used multiple streaming music services. Starting with Spotify, RDIO, Google Play Music, and now Apple music. So I keep rebuilding my Advent playlist. Still the catalogs for all these services are mostly the same with some exceptions so can usually find the same versions of hymns across all of them.

I’ve found though that there seem to be rather few albums available dedicated to the season of Advent, but that you could find a lot of the hymns individually mixed in with other hymns.

Of the albums I found so far these are my favorites:

Advent at Ephesus – Benedictines Of Mary, Queen Of Apostles – Pure perfection.
Advent Carols from St. John’s – Choir Of St. John’s College & Christopher Robinson
Gregorian Advent – Hubert Velten conductor Cantarte Regensburg
Advent Promise – Roger Wilcock & The London Fox Players
Music For The November Feasts – The Schola Cantorum of St. Peter’s in the Loop

So what are your favorite Advent hymns and Advent albums?

Dec 022015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 6 August 2015 to 30 November 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Homilies

Letters

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Mungu abariki Kenya! God bless Kenya!” @Pontifex 25 November 2015
  • “May my visit to Africa be a sign of the Church’s esteem for all religions, and strengthen our bonds of friendship.” @Pontifex 26 November 2015
  • “The world is witnessing an unprecedented migration of peoples. I want to thank Uganda for its generosity in welcoming refugees.” @Pontifex 27 November 2015
  • “Uganda has experienced the witness of Christian martyrs. May they help us spread the joy of the Gospel without fear.” @Pontifex 28 November 2015
  • “I have great hope for Africa, and for the harvest of grace that the Lord is preparing in your midst.” @Pontifex 28 November 2015
  • “I come to the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope.” @Pontifex 29 November 2015
  • “Where there is violence and hatred, Christians are called to witness to the God who is Love.” @Pontifex 29 November 2015
Nov 282015
 

Ten years ago I decided to create my own Advent Wreath graphic instead of just using the normal animated gif that I had used previously. If you would like it for your own blog you can use the html code below. I will replace the graphic each week so that it correctly shows the number of candles that should be lit. On Christmas I will change it to another graphic I created for Christmastide.

<img src="http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/wp-content/uploads/Advent/curtjester_advent.gif" width="170" height="189" />
Nov 262015
 

Robert L. Barile a Catholic blogger has a couple of posts on Thanksgiving Day in the two year run of his blog “Incipe, procurre, persiste!”. Yet has not mentioned once that Eucharist means Thanksgiving. No mention at all regarding the etymology of Eucharist from the Greek eucaristia. Other Catholic bloggers and blog readers have shown some surprise at this lack.

Exie Doolittle who is a convert to Catholicism and a heavy reader of Catholic blogs just kept waiting for Mr. Barile to make this connection of his blog. “I kept refreshing his blog today and still no mention of this connection. It is traditional for Catholic bloggers to remind readers of this on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t know what his problem is.”

Others have noted that not only has he failed to mention this but hasn’t even referenced once that the Native American Squanto who helped the Pilgrims was Catholic. Also he totally failed to mention that the first Thanksgiving actually took place in St. Augustine, Fl in 1565 fifty years before the Pilgrims arrived. A Mass was given which included the local native people (Timucuan).

Nick Hardwick who reads this blog says “I’m hoping that next year this will finally happen. If not I am giving up on his blog. Hopefully he will get the word that he is failing in his duties as a Catholic blogger.”

  • Note: I picked up the fictitious blog name from a post at Aliens in this world. It does make a good motto.
Nov 242015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 31 October 2015 to 23 November 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

Nov 182015
 

The Lafayette Diocese has created a new and easier way for outreach with the Catholic Church.

They’ve converted an old ambulance into a mobile confessional called a spiritual care unit. With a picture of Jesus and Bible verses on the side, the new unit is for spiritual emergencies, specifically remodeled for prayer and confessions.

“It’s a way that we can give some pride and public expression of our Catholic faith that is not just meant for the walls of the church, but on the streets,” Father Michael Champagne, a priest at Lafayette Diocese, said.

The unit is part of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy that begins on December 8. Thanks to an anonymous donation, it took two weeks to complete the unit that Champagne calls a church on wheels.

“We need to go to where people are. People come to the church as a center of worship and pray, but we also have to do outreach,” Champagne said.

Not only is the vehicle a way to bring more people to the Catholic church, but it makes going to confession easier for people with busy schedules.

“Pope Francis is asking us to go out of to the peripheries of the church and now we have the means to do that,” Bishop Michael Jarrell said.

Inside the unit there are Bibles, rosaries and even holy water. It’s fully equipped to spiritually care for others.

“There’s no sin in the world that’s too big for God’s mercy,” Champagne said. “We want to extend and preach the gospel of mercy to our people.”

The spiritual care unit will make stops around Acadiana beginning on December 8, for the beginning for the holy year of mercy. Source

One of the things I love about this story is the direct connection between repentance and mercy. Often when mercy gets bandied about there is hardly a connection to sin. That mercy is a free-ride requiring no repentance.

Archbishop Chaput recently wrote for First Things a mentioned in the National Catholic Register.

“Ironically, a pastoral strategy that minimizes sin in the name of mercy cannot be merciful, because it is dishonest,”

I only hope I hear more regarding the Archbishop’s correct view of mercy than the false view of mercy often pedaled during this upcoming Year of Mercy. As Pope Francis wrote in Misericordiae Vultus

Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe.

Now as to mobile confessionals this certainly not a new idea. I’ve seen pictures of one in Germany and another from France. No doubt there are many others.

Sadly the following image is not real as it was done by a hoaxster.

Nov 172015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 1 November 2015 to 15 November 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “As Christians, we are called to imitate the Good Shepherd and to help families experiencing difficulties.” @Pontifex 12 November 2015
  • “I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks in Paris. Please join me in prayer for the victims and their families. #PrayersForParis” @Pontifex 14 November 2015
  • “I am happy to pray today with the Lutheran community in Rome. May God bless all who work for dialogue and Christian unity.” @Pontifex 15 November 2015
Nov 162015
 

Last Sunday at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in Huntington, NY a series of unfortunate events left the parishioners on edge and confused.

It started during the singing of the Responsorial Psalm when the cantor failed to raise her arm up to indicate when the parishioners were to sing the response. People were just looking at one another waiting for the cue to sing. An awkward silence was evident while people awaited the visual cue.

The confusion continued when before The Universal Prayer that no mention of the proper response was made. One person did manage a tentative “Lord hear our prayers”, but stopped when no one else joined in. One person complained after Mass that “Just because Lord hear our prayers was the same response used everywhere for years, you just felt comforted knowing exactly what you were to say beforehand.”

Due to a scheduling problem there were not enough ushers to stand next to a row of pews to indicate when that row was to get up to go to receive Communion. As a result everybody from the first to the last row tried to all go at the same time.

The problems multiplied when at the end of Mass there was a failure to read the various announcements from the parish bulletin. Several parishioners were thus forced to read the bulletin themselves.

This uneasiness continued when after the priest said “Go forth, the Mass is ended” there was no “Have a good weekend everybody!” Without the final, final dismissal people were unsure if the Mass had actually ended or not. Some people were actually delayed before they could finally rush out to their car and speed out of the parking lot.

Nov 102015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 3 September 2015 to 8 December 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Messages

Prayer

Speeches

Nov 032015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 20 October 2015 to 29 October 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Speeches

Papal Tweets