Friday, August 26, 2011

Alright it is time to quit goofing off; time to start formation classes again. This will be an interesting time because this is the beginning of the end with:

  1. Only seven more class days; and
  2. Scrutinies to be completed in September (i.e. we will find out by the end of the month if we are on track for ordination in February).
The time has flown by; I am not sure where it has all gone. All I know is that I am energized for class and looking forward to seeing my fellow brothers in formation in the morning.

God is Good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Missing Mom

I have been out of sorts lately and I was not really sure why. But then it hit me; it has been a year since Mom became very ill, which ended in a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. She went home to God seven weeks later. It was certainly one of the most difficult periods of my life.

If your Mom is still with us; give her a call and tell her you love her. They are a gift from God that cannot be replaced.

The Calling

The Calling

Friday, August 12, 2011

Churches of Cologne: Gross St Martin

This church was constructed in 1150 as a Benedictine Abbey Church on the site of a former 2nd century Roman storehouse. It was not completed until the 13th century and the spire dates from the 15th century. The interior is very Romanesque, with later Gothic additions (you can see the Gothic arches in the background and the Roman arches in the foreground).

Although the church was heavily damaged in World War II between 1942 - 1945, the locals carefully returned the church to its former glory after 40 years of restoration efforts (we Americans could learn something from this).

It is now the home of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem, which is a monastic organization founded in 1975 to bring monastic life into the heart of the city. We had the privilege to attend a vespers service during our visit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St Lawrence: Deacon and Martyr

This photo was taken in the Ettal Monastery in Bavaria. As you can see, he carries the grate on which he was grilled to death. No wonder he is the patron saint of cooks and roasters (I will add grillers to that list as well).

Saint Lawrence, pray for us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Plague Cross in Cologne

Three churches in Cologne have extremely rare crosses that are very unique in Christendom. Originating in the 14th century, they are called the Plague Cross. This cross comes from that period of time when the Black Death was ravaging Europe where as much as 50% of the people died. To express Christ's solidarity with the people, these crosses began to spring up in churches throughout Europe. They are unique because the shape of the cross is very distinctive.

In addition, they are also unique because they showed that Christ shared in their suffering. On these crosses, the wounds of Christ are not from the scourging He received during the passion but the wounds a person has when they are dying from the black death.

These crosses are a tangible reminder of how we look to Christ to comfort us in difficult times and how we express this through his participation in our suffering.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

St Ursula: Patron Saint of Cologne

St Ursula is one the Patron Saints of Cologne, Germany (along with the three magi and St Gereon). She and 10 virgins were martyred in the city by Huns who were besieging the city in the year 383. The Church, named in her honor, is located where the massacre occurred.

A Church has been on this location since the 4th century. The current church was constructed in the 12th Century in the Romanesque tradition. Gothic elements were added in the 13th and 14th century.

It Continues

A car bomb exploded outside a Catholic church in central Kirkuk, Iraq, early Tuesday, wounding at least 20 people, authorities said.

The attack took place in Kirkuk's Shatterlo neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Monday ET), according to a police official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The wounded included staff from the Holy Family Church and people with homes nearby.

The Interior Ministry said 23 people were injured.

Read More Here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back from a Pilgrimage of Sorts

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Germany. In many ways, it became a pilgrimage that included many beautiful churches dating from the early church of the 4th century to the counter-reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you these beautiful places and some of the history of the Catholic Church in homeland of our Pope. It is quite a story.