Saturday, December 30, 2006

LOTR begins!

I have begun The Fellowship of the Ring , and, I must admit, I am enjoying it much more than I ever thought possible. It is very interesting to compare what the movie did with the characters as opposed to Tolkien's original conceptions (i.e., Sam as servant, etc. ). And, of course, some of the dialogue is just hysterical. I have read 100 pages (got the books last night) and will continue to read on. I am abandoning my usual practice of the "plow-through" and am instead reading slowly and thoughtfully the first time through, which I usually do not do. Usually I just try to get the thing down in one big gulp.

Will keep you informed...

Saddam's execution

Well, I can't really say, in all honesty, that I'm upset he's dead. The man killed who knows how many people and tortured countless others. It's not like he was really bringing Joy to the World, or anything. I know the Church's stance on capital punishment, but in my mind the country and the people are safer knowing that he's not around anymore. Maybe that's just me. In any event, I'm not going to waste tears on him.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

I hope you all had a glorious Christmas Eve and had fun at Mass. Our Mass went wonderfully--the Haydn rocked , and we were so proud!--and the Messiah pieces also went well. It can be hard to gauge the quality of sound since you're listening and surrounded by everyone, but we got a lot of nice compliments so I'm assuming it went well. But the Haydn just rocked. I am so proud that we got that down. Woohoo!!

Christmas morning here began at 8:00 and the Christmas Carnage began. :) After the gifts we had Mom's great Christmas breakfast of Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls and sausage links (mmmmm...if my blood sugar was low before breakfast--which it kind of was--it isn't now!) and coffee that I made for me and my siblings. Currently Dad and Bryan are setting up his new MacBook (I am sooooo jealous! I want one!) and Mel is being George Lucas with her Santa-given videocamera. I have been immersing myself in the new Pride and Prejudice gift set, which includes 3 DVDs (a bonus disc!) and the making-of book, which is very enjoyable. I am also looking forward to ravaging The Silver Spoon , the Italian cooking Bible with more than 2,000 (yes, 2,000 ) recipes. much good food, so little time....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

DeArdo family christmas

"Clark! Audrey's frozen!"
"All part of the experience, honey."
--National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

So, you may ask, what exactly does a DeArdo family Christmas entail?

Well since I've started singing Midnight Mass (Mom used to sing it when we were little, but we didn't all go together), that's the Mass we haul ourselves to. That means dinner is around 5, starts the baking festivities in the am, usually around 10 or so (as I write the marble cakes have been baked and smell yum-o....mmmmmmmm). We usually have ham, a pasta bake, some potatoes (we're Irish, come on), bread (mmmmmm) and this year we have a jell-o/pretzel concoction, which I'm sure will be good (Mom's a Heilmann, and all Heilmann events must have some sort of jell-o thing. It's a rule or something.). We will also have sparkling red/white grape juice (yeah, OK, Emily can't drink the good stuff right now, give me a break) and then the cakes and cookies Mom's made over the past few weeks post-Mass.

The gifts have alredy been placed under the tree, divided into recepient piles so that no one accidentally opens someone else's gift and causes confusion/havoc in the wee hours.

After dinner, we usually watch some sort of Christmas-y movie, like A Christmas Story , which we all love. I am also partial to Meet Me In St. Louis since it has one of the best Christmas songs ever, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas , and Judy Garland looks so great, sitting there in her red velvet dress (mmm) singing it to Margaret O'Brien. Great stuff. AMC or TCM usually has it on, so check if you don't own the DVD. But we love A Christmas Story. We watch it all the time...I've probably be watching it several times a Christmas season since I was about 6. Great, great movie. I don't care what anyone else says.

Around 9 or so we'll probably start to change into our Mass clothes, and I'll get my music ready. I'm sure a nap will happen this afternoon so I don't fall asleep tonight. At 10:15, I'll leave and my parents will show up sometime before 11:15, when we will start our program with the fantastic Haydn.

Yeah, I'm excited. :) :) Good times!

One down...

and goal to go!

Sang the 9:00 Mass at SPX, which went pretty well. We actually had a nice-sized crowd; not as many as the 10:15 but more than the 8:30. Before Mass ended, Fr. Ochs (our pastor) made an appeal to us to help move the billions of poinsettias from the Bride's Room to the sanctuary to help get ready for Christmas, as the first Vigil Mass is at 4:00. Nice to see so many people helping...we come when we're called!! Hopefully they can get the rest of the church ready in time.

I have to be at church by 10:45 but, knowing me, I will probably leave the house at 10:15 to 1) get good parking and 2) get there early to whip my troops into shape. :) Not that we need it, at this point. The time for practicing is gone, and now we just have to have fun with the music we've been working since August!

I will blog tonight/tomorrow morning and let you know how it goes...I know you are all breathless with anticipation. :)

Awesome Mary picture

Check that is awesome.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Swimming with scapulars

OK, I've read it again, and confirmed my first impression: good book. However, there is a point I'd like to quibble with re: music in Mass.

I agree w/ Matthew that waaaayyy too much of the music has gone 1) prosaic 2) too "teen pop" and 3) boring. Glory and Praise has some nice tunes, but too many of them are just 1970s quasi-pop junk we need to stop singing. Let us move on and sing more of the "Warhorses"--"Holy, Holy, Holy" , "Holy God We Praise Thy Name", "Be Thou My Vision", "The Church's One Foundation", etc. Nothing wrong with sappy; sappy can be good. For example, I love "Here I Am, Lord." Great tune. I like "On Eagle's Wings." But there have been one too many singings of "Though the Mountains May Fall." And for the love of Pete, can we sing Advent songs during Advent? And Lent songs during Lent?? Please?

Anyway, to my quibble: Matthew talks about his issues with the choir singing up front, as opposed to in a choir loft, applause from the congregation when a song is over, and the idea that it's more of a "performance" than anything else. Now I obviously cannot speak for all choirs and I am sure that in some places this happens. But let me relay my experience.

First off, my church was built post Vatican II. There is no choir loft. We used to sit on the altar but then we got a new pastor and he vetoed that. So now we sit in a section of pews by the organ. The problem with this is that our sound is affected because we're basically singing to a wall. The congregation really can't hear us, or at least not the way we're intended to be heard. For some numbers we did go "up front", and that worked. The congregation liked it. But then it got vetoed. So now we're back to the pews for everything and we have to do all sorts of fancy mic work to make sure we can be heard. Which means spending money on good mics. It would make a lot more sense to just have us up front and eschew all the fancy-schmancy technology, or at least some of it, because we wouldn't need it anymore.

People who are not musicians tend to downgrade how much work it is being in a choir/band/orchestra, whatever. They assume we practice, but they don't know the intensity of it. Our choir rehearses at least and hour and a half a week. The closer we got to Christmas, the longer practice got. Sometimes we are beginning at 7:15 and rehearsing until 10:00 or later. Not much later, and not often, but it does happen. We put a lot of effort into every piece we sing, and we do sing one choral piece every week. For Christmas we're singing a piece from Haydn's Creation and several movements of Handle's Messiah . We've been having twice a week practices since October to prepare. This is not fluff stuff. Our families know how much we practice, but the general congregation? Who knows. So if we're going to put all this effort into it, it's nice to have some appreciation. The congregation doesn't clap very often (we do two pieces that are guaranteed applause) but when they do, we appreciate it. We are there to help them worship. It's not like we're there to satisfy our humungeous egos. Some of us are classically-trained, some of us can't read music. But it takes a lot of work and commitment to do what we do. And a lot of the time, people just don't get it. If the congregation wants to applaud, heck, I'm not going to stop them.

This Christmas, take some time to appreciate any special music your parish does. I am positive they put a lot of work into it. And tell them if you liked it!! We like to know we're not just singing to the walls. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006


Some new arrivals at the Emily library:

--Swimming with Scapulars: Confessions of a Young Catholic : Just got this one today with a few other Amazon books. By Matthew Lickona, it's a memoir of growin gup Catholic, how his faith has shaped him, trials he has with faith, etc. It's refreshing honesty is very nice. It can be a bit sporadic and disjointed, but I kind of like that, since memoirs that tend to be strictly linear in their construction can be boring. He touches on all sorts of topics from Novus Ordo, The DaVinci Code, music at Mass, holding hands during the Our Father, and parenthood. He's 31, so I guess that still fits the "young" definition. Good first read, hope to get more insight the second time through.

I also got:
-- Cooking with the Saints from Ignatius Press: pretty self-explanatory. A great cookbook with patron saints, information about them and recipes associated with them. Lots of breads and desserts, and lots of German and Austria recipes. Some of them look really fantastic. There's even a recipe for suckling pig!!

-- Catholic Education:Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn (Scott's wife) and Mary Hasson. Since David and I like the idea of homeschooling (fitting in with our somewhat "crunchy" ideas), I thought I'd read this to get a leg up. I just started so I can't tell you too much yet, but anything Kimberly Hahn writes is good. :)

I am also going to start reading the LOTR books, due to some insightful posting over at Cubeland Mystic (link in the list) about which character you feel you are most like. There's been some really great discussion over there and I want to enter it intelligently, not just with movie knowledge, which, as we know, can be very, very wrong (although I don't think it's as wrong with LOTR as it was with, say, Troy . I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gaudete Sunday!

Happy Gaudete Sunday, everyone!

OK, I bet half of you are looking at that going, "uh, Emily, it's the third Sunday of Advent. What the heck are you talking about?"

It is the Third Sunday of Advent. But it is also Gaudete Sunday. Ever wonder why the priest wears rose garments today? Why we have a pink candle admidst all the purple in the wreath? Well I am about to you my Catholic Education and tell you. :)

"Gaudete" Sunday is a derivitative of "Rejoice!", which comes from today's second reading (one of my favorites, by the way):
Philippians 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters: rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The LORD is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

As my seventh-grade teacher told us, if Paul is telling us to "rejoice!" twice, he means it! We are almost done with Advent, the peninential season is almost over! Christ is about to be born! We should be happy about this! That's why we see the pink candle..the somber purple shades are warming into the sunshine of our redemption. We should "have no anxiety at all" (clearly, Paul didn't have to Christmas shop!). And we celebrate that by changing the colors. Coincidentially, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (called Laertae Sunday) is the same principle.

On a somewhat non-related note: purple candles are to be used in advent wreaths because of their penitential connotation. So many churches (including, sadly, Catholic ones) are going to blue because it's less penitential. Um, that's the whole point of the season--to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. That's why we have penance services, why the readings tend to be so dour and focuses on preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. We can't forget the real meaning of Advent--it's not just the countdown to Christmas. There is some preparation that (should) go into it.

Housekeeping: be sure to check out Amy Welborn's blog today--a great Gaudete Sunday Angelus meditation from BXVI. Today is also the day we start the "O Antiphons" and she's got a link to that, too! So check it out.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Meeting Fr. Barry

I met the new Children's chaplain yesterday, Fr. Barry, who seemed really nice. I believe he spent some time in London, and he's African, and I've always like African priests. There's just something about their spirituality that I really connect with. He's a lot of fun, soft-spoken but good.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For the love of all things holy!

From today's Dispatch

For the love of all things holy! ---III
NEW ALBANY SCHOOLS Religious songs pulled from concert Wednesday, December 13, 2006David Conrad THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

After pulling two religious songs from a fifth-grade holiday concert, New Albany school officials found the program a little too short for prime time.

When Silent Night and Hayo, Haya, which celebrates Hanukkah, were removed from the program, the principal moved the show from Thursday evening to the afternoon.

The district said a Jewish parent complained that Silent Night, which contains the lyrics "Christ, the savior, is born," was included in the program.

So officials yanked the song and then pulled Hayo, Haya, which contains the lyrics, "Oh, sing our songs and praise the Torah, praise the Torah."

"We wanted to show respect for the religious sensibilities of all students," said Chris Briggs, principal of New Albany Intermediate Elementary School, which serves grades 4 and 5.

Briggs said that from now on, the two grades will include only cultural songs in their holiday programs.

Three nonreligious songs are left for Thursday’s concert.

The Columbus Public Schools took a similar stance a few years ago. In 2001, the district was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union after choirs sang Christian songs at two high-school commencement ceremonies.

The school system responded the next year by passing a policy that required holiday music to be "based on sound educational principles" and not "manifest in preference of religion or particular religious beliefs."

"I think the (New Albany) school made the safest decision that it could possibly make," said Gary Daniels, of the ACLU of Ohio. "A winter performance is a bad time to take a wrong turn from being at a choir concert to a church assembly." (WHAT?!)

However, Daniels also said that he doesn’t believe that schools need to do away with all religious songs.

"The key issue the courts look at it is whether the purpose of the performance was to enhance a particular religious message," he said.

"You’re not going to find a court decision that says you can’t have any religious songs. But if every song in a 10-piece holiday concert is about a certain religion, then you have a problem."

ME: Um, we have problems with Silent Night??? LEt's get real! When I was in high school I sang Jewish songs and I;m not Jewish! If you don't want your kid singing Christmas songs then just tell the director and boom, your kid doesn't sing them. Sheesh. But if they are in a choir and there is a holiday concert, chances are pretty good you're going to be singing Christmas songs! I know there are other holidays in December. When they have as many songs written about them as Christmas, then we'll talk. And these are little kids! Come on now. But of course, once the ACLU is involved....

Feast of St. Lucy

I've always loved the feast of St. Lucy,probably because the idea of more light in December in Ohio is a great idea. Course if I wasn't here in the resort I;d be home making my St. Lucia buns, which may be labor intensive (two risings!) and take hours to make, but they are quite yummy. Oh well, I'll just have to make them for Christmas instead...I get my recipe out of an old American Girl cookbook, but if you want to try them I;m sure Yahoo! foods or whatever would have a recipe, or Google. Mine have raisins, yeast, and some sugar, which make them sweet although you wouldn't expect it. I also think an egg wash is involved somehow.

Christmas bleg

Christmas questions
Stole this from Life In A Nutshell (; also listed on the blogroll..

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, esp. since I just bought Hot Chocolate and a Hot Chocolate pot from Williams-Sonoma! (

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? That's Mrs. Claus and the Elfettes' job(Yes I just invented a word :))

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored, even though I don't have any up personally. My parents, however, have the awful retro 1970s big, colored bubls that have been in, out, and in again....

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I would if I could find some!

5. When do you put your decorations up? Thanksgiving weekend, but usually the weekend before since we're not here Thanksgiving weekend...what can I say? I love my tree!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? The cinnamon rolls and sausage links mom makes for Christmas morning breakfast.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Tye year I got the Care Bears kitchen set I wanted and thought I didn't get. I had opened everything--no set. My parents had hidden it in the basement. :) And you know, we still have parts of it that we use to store books/ it's lasted! And Pittsburgh Christmases...see below.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was about 8, I think...not very traumatic or anything.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Now we open one gift on Christmas Eve since I sing Midnight Mass and we all go to that. Opening one gift keeps us enteratined and hopefully awake. But when Iwas little Christmas was a three day extravaganza. We opened family gifts Dec. 22 or 23rd, went to my dad's mom's house to do Christmas with them in Pittsburgh (Corapolis) on Christmas Eve, where there would be great cooking in both kitchens (wish I had that now!) and we'd open gifts from my grandma and my two aunts. Then we'd head over to my mom's parents' in South Hills/Baldwin, where a few of my aunts still lived until they got married. We'd do presents there Christmas morning. Oh it was good times.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? My colored lights and two strands of Target garland, one gold and one white (kind of snowflakey), and, of course, my ornaments, including Glinda in her bubble, Lucy and the wardrobe, a talking Ariel, Christmas carol ornaments,'s fun!

11. Snow? Love it or Dread it? As long as I can stay inside, love it.

12. Can you ice skate? Yup, I can even do fancy stuff.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The highlight reel: the Coach evening bag I got last year; American girl dolls (various years); the first edition Virginia Woolf diary; my Coco Mademoiselle perfume (mom got me the really good stuff, not just the eau de toilette, so I only use it very , very rarely).

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you? Seeing my cousins! And exchanging gifts with Tiff and Milia.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? My spicey cookies, the Snickerdoodle cake. The new chocolate chip cookies I made Sunday are good, too. I also like my St. Lucia buns, which are making a Christmas return this year,.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Singing Midnight Mass, opening gifts with my family, the Heilmann reunion.

17. What tops your tree? An angel I got from my mom.

18. Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? Both have their joys, but I really can't wait to see Tiff, Milia and David's reactions to their gifts this year.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? The original "have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in Judy Garland's range! (also know as: not the really high one all the arrangers wrote so that wimpy little Sopranos could sing it. Not cool) Also: All Come, All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night.

20. Candy canes? They are enjoyable. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Crunchy Christmas

From Rod's blog...

A Family Christmas, Crunchy Con Style
By Cary McMullen

For all you bleary-eyed shoppers out there, here's a story from author and blogger Rod Dreher. Before he was married, Dreher told me by phone from Dallas that he spent a Christmas in Holland visiting a family with three adult daughters, the Jeurissens.

"The family celebrated in a typically Dutch way. They got together on Christmas Eve and cooked a meal. We ate together and told stories. At midnight, they brought out gifts they had made for each other. Then we put on our coats and went to Mass, even though they were not especially religious. As an American, I was waiting for the big payoff, but that was it.

"It made a big impression on me. It was so stripped down. What mattered to them was family, and faith, too," he said.

I called Dreher because I recently read his book, "Crunchy Cons." (The book's subtitle would take up the rest of this column, but the title refers to countercultural conservatives, with emphasis on the countercultural.) Dreher, himself a conservative, has written a literate and much-needed critique of how America in general and a rabidly pro-big-business Republican Party in particular reduces its citizens to nothing more than consumers or potential consumers - "the sum of our desires," as Dreher puts it.

"We believe that modern conservatism has become too focused on material conditions, and insufficiently concerned with the character of society. The point of life is not to become a more satisfied shopper," he writes in point two of his 10-point "Crunchy Con Manifesto." Instead of blindly acquiescing to being regarded as walking pocketbooks, Dreher wants us to fight back. He argues for a way of life that stresses family, community, faith, simplicity, beauty and humility.

Although I didn't agree with Dreher on some of his political and lifestyle arguments, much of what he had to say struck me as healthy skepticism and right on target. Dreher is married now and has three children under the age of 7, and I asked him how he and his wife manage to be countercultural during the holidays, the biggest assault of the year on our consumer sensibilities, with children as special targets of opportunity. He admitted it isn't easy.

"We have a family ritual. We light an Advent candle (and) read Scripture and pray together. We do have a Christmas tree. We also made a vow not to smother the kids with presents on Christmas Day. It's amazing to hear about people going into debt just so they can give things to their kids," he said.

Even if couples manage to set limits on gift-giving, they may have difficulty enforcing that rule on extended family members, especially grandparents, Dreher said. Limiting the number and price of gifts goes against the ethos. It's our culture's everyday math: Love equals things.

"We're told if you don't go all out, somehow your children will think you don't love them," Dreher commented.

The Drehers even allow their children to be visited by Santa Claus, because they felt "we didn't have the right" to deny their kids an experience both Rod and Julie Dreher had enjoyed themselves when young. But they play down Santa's role in Christmas in favor of emphasizing the role of Christ, he said.

The decision to have a countercultural Christmas requires work, he went on, not just in constantly saying no but also in constructing positive alternatives.

"It's not just joyless and grim. There's a lot of light and color in the Christian tradition. The trick is to find a balance," he said.

The thing that intrigues me about Dreher's philosophy is that although he's a former staffer for the National Review, often he doesn't sound much like what passes for contemporary conservatism, and he describes in his book how ideological conservatives have attacked him as a closet leftist. For instance, because consumerism is driven by capitalism, Dreher is not a fan of one of capitalism's biggest engines, advertising. Television is limited in the Dreher household.

"The media - by which I mean entertainment and advertising - are designed to separate you from your values. That makes it easier to sell to us. It's not a grand conspiracy, but it's true," he said.

What Dreher commendably embraces is traditionalism. Recalling his Christmas in Holland, Dreher still expresses wonder over the gifts the Jeurissen family gave to each other. One daughter wrote a poem. Another sewed an article of clothing.

"They poured love and affection for their family into them. They took time and thought," he said. "It was tremendously affecting to me, coming from a country where Christmas meant more, more, more."

Cary McMullen is religion editor for The Ledger. He can be reached at or 863-802-7509.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Since today is her feast day, here's some more from Amy:
Today is the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On the morning drop-off route, I just stopped by the parish that's the locus of the Hispanic ministry (St. Patrick's, founded for the Irish who were working on the railroads more than a century ago. The wheel turns.). I should have put my thinking cap on last Saturday instead of yesterday - of course, as the sign told me, their major celebration was Sunday. Harrumph. They'd also evidently been having a novena that ended this morning of course - at 5:30 AM, followed by cafe y chocolate and so on. Oh year, perhaps.

Some Guadalupe-related news articles, and if you like, add your own experiences of any celebrations this week:

Sancta. org is the major umbrella website devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In Houston, a story of gratitude:

The work is his pleasure. Galvan believes Our Lady kept him alive during triple bypass heart surgery a few years back. She watched over two of his sons when they served in Iraq. He believes she will continue to watch over the young men when they return to the war-torn country next year.

"This shrine," said Galvan, 60, "represents the mother of God. She has pulled me through a lot of miracles."

The Arizona Daily Star has an overview, with some interesting photos

Here's kind of an odd column from the OC Register, which attempts to see the bright side. The columnist writes of an interesting parish tradition, in which a statue of Our Lady, purchased by parishioners on a road trip to TIjuana without the pastor's knowledge, goes from house to house. A marvelous compromise! Perhaps. The columnists comments on the
"austere beauty" of the interior in which there is hardly any statuary, except in a side chapel. So, basically - the powers that be don't want statues in the church. So, folks, keep it in your houses, okay? Ni-ice.

Oh, let's be positive, shall we?

The AP story on the Mexico City celebration.


Even though the warming weather created muddy conditions at Maryville's grass parking lot, cars continued to pour in through the evening. Organizers estimate that between 60,000 to 120,000 people will take part in the two-day celebration.

Des Plaines police had shut down Central Road at River Road starting 5 p.m. Monday to handle the crowds. It will reopen at 6 a.m. today.

"You do Maryville honor by coming here in such big crowds," the Rev. John Smyth said in his welcome address.

At times solemn and at times festive, Mass, which began at 8 p.m., was primarily in Spanish, as the celebration is largely attended by Hispanic parishioners. The ceremony was peppered with Mexican dancing and songs.

Las Cruces:

From the Arizona Republic, the perspective of Hispanic Protestants:

Twice a day, Jose Gonzalez used to pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe. But when he turned away from Catholicism, he let her go. Now, the Phoenix pastor speaks directly to Jesus.

"Traditionally, Mexican people believe that the Virgin of Guadalupe is a mediator between God and the people," said Gonzalez, 55, of Nuevo Nacimiento Church on 27th Avenue near Van Buren Street.

"We pray only to God, through Jesus Christ," he said. "The Virgin of Guadalupe plays no role. Not at all."

San Antonio, on the devotion crossing cultural lines:

The parish's Society of Guadalupanas, a ministry promoting devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, has grown from just 12 members, mostly Hispanics, to nearly 140 men and women, almost half of whom are Anglo, the priest said.

Nick Young was devoted to the Virgin long before he came to St. Mark's in 2001, having overcome his early skepticism about some Marian devotions.

But it was here that he first learned about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"She has appeared in many different places, such as Lourdes and Fatima, and we have many devotions to her," Young said. "She's still Mary, the Mother of God. We can go to her and pray for her intercession under any of her titles."

He said the unusually deep devotion and dedication displayed by the parish's Guadalupanas attracted him to join the society. He said he'd never seen such devotion and reverence elsewhere.

"I'm doing OK, slowly," Martinez said, walking stick in hand, as he looked out over Las Cruces from the heights of Tortugas Mountain.

Martinez, born in San Miguel and now 81, is in many ways the embodiment of what the annual Tortugas trek is all about — faith, sacrifice and promises to a higher power.

Monday marked yet another occasion on which Martinez climbed Tortugas Mountain, also known as "A" Mountain. He was just one of hundreds who made the trip.

For 92 years the faithful have walked from Tortugas Pueblo to the top of the mountain in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, commemorating the day in the 16th century when the Virgin Mary appeared in what is now Mexico City.


Heredia has led the veneration, held on the eve of Dec. 12, the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, since she and her 84-year-old husband, Manuel, bought their now-sprawling Southwest Side home, which started out as a single-room brick dwelling more than 50 years ago.
"I have 11 children in all, and not one ended up in jail or gangs," said Heredia. "They've all been so good. For all that, I thank the Virgin."
The movie:
The movie, produced by Dos Corazons films and distributed by Slowhand Cinema, was not reviewed by major newspapers even though it was released to 150 theaters nationwide in major markets such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Miami.

Most of the marketing and distribution of the film was aimed at areas with high concentrations of Latinos and channeled through Spanish language radio stations and publications, said Sandra Eckardt of Sentir Marketing, a Newport Beach-based firm that promoted "Guadalupe."

The distributors were relying on word of mouth generated through e-mails and Catholic parishes, she said.

"The core audience are the Spanish-speaking Latinos that are religious," Eckardt said. "The movie has a lot to do with the Mexican culture and beliefs of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It has appeal to first-, second-, third- and fourth-generation Hispanics. It can help later generations tap into their culture and the way they were raised, especially from a religious standpoint."

The content of the movie could make it a big movie here," Carrillo said. "La Virgen is a very traditional symbol that at the same time is very contemporary and links Latinos in the United States to their culture and families in Mexico."

Constructed with documentary style and dramatic elements, the film introduces a modern plot surrounding two Spanish siblings who travel to Mexico for a scientific exploration of the 475-year-old story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It features some well-known Mexican actors including Eric del Castillo, Angelica Aragon and Pedro Armendariz.

The film's website (The trailer has a very DVC feel, btw.)

Molto propito (sp?) out soon...

From Amy:

The publication of the Motu Proprio on the part of the Pope which will liberalise the celebration of the Mass in Latin according to the missal of Saint Pius V is close` Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, member of the Commission Ecclesia Dei which this morning met to discuss the liberalisation of the Mass in Latin confirmed this. ” We have studied the document calmly” the cardinal affirmed. ” We have discussed together for more than four hours and have made some corrections to the text of the Motu Proprio” The next move belongs to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos ( president of the commission) who will present the text to Benedict XVI. Perhaps, added Medina, there will be another meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission. Another member of the body, the Cardinal of Lyon, Jean Pierre Ricard did not want to make any comment, emphasising that he is “bound by the pontifical secret”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

confessional question

All right, this may be a little personal, but...

I have always disliked confession. I suppose that's normal human nature, to dislike telling a total stranger what we've done wrong and actually having to own to it. Hence the necessity of confession for conversion and all that. But still. I have a disinclination for the sacrament. But, I went last week, since I hadn't been in, oh 16 months.

Now here's a question. Once you've confessed sins, you're forgiven. (well, OK, once you do your penance, technically). But what if you still feel bad about it? No, I haven't done anything bad (well,OK, that bad. Obviously it was bad if it was confessed, right?). Anyone else ever felt this way? What did you do about it?