Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Memories of Fraser Island near Hervey Bay

A friend from Australia took these photos during his Easter vacation. He is the principal of Xavier Catholic College in Hervey Bay, Australia. He is visiting Boston this summer and I'm glad I will get to see him again.

He took me to Fraser Island, which is a 75 miles sand island off the northeast coast of Australia. The East Side has a precipitous drop-off at the continental shelf. No one goes into the water because of the sharp drop, which attracts many sharks. Though it looks serene, it is dangerous. The west side is less dangerous, though it has sharks on that side as well. The island has fascinating flora and vegetation.

It is great that four-wheelers are allowed on the sand. Many campers set up for their holiday. This island is for fresh air and fun.

Photo: Spring!

Click to Enlarge

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Franciscan Hand Puppet

A retreatant on the five-day Triduum retreat made a puppet of a Franciscan saint: Betancourt. It was cleverly done.

Click to Enlarge

(Note: When I import these photos, they are vertical, but are horizontal when I add them to the blog. I can't seem to rotate them back to their original image.)
(Photos by: Patricia Hollander Gross)

Santo Hermano Pedro de San Jose Betancur (or Betancourt)

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Paschal Moon

To see photos of the Paschal Moon that determines when Easter is celebrated, click on the link below:

Pics of the Paschal Moon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday Notes

These are some notes I wrote a friend in an email to explain what was happening during the Holy Thursday liturgy. The notes are rough, but I thought I would post them.

 We celebrate many rich events on this day. It is called Maundy Thursday because of the Mandatum - the mandate to wash another's feet. It is about humility and the service of love given to each one of us who believes. It is radical when we let Christ wash our feet - with our resistances, fears, and hesitations. So much comes out of us because we want to say 'no.' The only answer possible is to say yes and then there are so many feet for us to wash. Again, our resistances rise up strongly.

 We watch the Last Supper - the institution of the Eucharist. It is his last moments of relaxation and intimacy with his closest friends with whom he shared so much. The Jewish seder becomes important as his actions at the end are radical. He takes the fourth cup and makes it into his blood. The bread to be broken is stunning when his friends realize he is changing the rite. He binds himself to them before he gets arrested.

 The last supper was a celebratory seder. It was to remember the way God remained steadfast to them throughout all of history and continues to do so. It is a time of forgiveness of sins and gratitude to God who is more active in our lives than we admit. Jesus knew he was going to his death and he hoped that God would be steadfast to him - though he didn't know what that meant.

 The grace we seek is to let him suffer and die for us alone. It is perplexing because we don't want to do that. But we are all like Judas at some point; we are all like Peter who denies him repeatedly; we are like the other disciples who scatter and flee. Our task is to ask Jesus how he is feeling as this happens. We want to have compassion on him as some of the women were able to give him. We stay in vigil with him as best we can - knowing that we will fall asleep.

 It is also the celebration of the priesthood. While it is both the institution of the regular ordained priesthood, it celebrates the priesthood of us all. Secular priests will make a promise to their bishop and will renew their vows on Chrism Tuesday so they can stand with him in solidarity on Holy Thursday.

 The Holy Oils that were consecrated at the Chrism Mass are brought into the local churches on this day as well. They are brought in procession so that all can see the dignity they retain as sacramentals. Especially important is the oil of the catechumen that is used to baptize and receive new members on Easter Sunday and the whole Easter season.

 The reposition of the Blessed Sacrament is touching as well. It is reserved until the Easter Vigil because we mourn the physical loss of Jesus in the Holy Week re-enactments. It signifies he has gone to his Passion and has died. We do not have Mass on Good Friday. It is forbidden.

Memory is important. It is the function whereby we call to life those events and people we remember. Holy Week lives and unfolds before us. We live the Passion with Christ and there is always something new that we glean from our relationship with him.

 Mark's Gospel is the rawest, the most violent, because it is closest to the time of his death. Mark shows up in the readings as the man who runs away naked. Matthew takes from Mark and has a greater emphasis on Jewish customs. Luke is the healer-doctor, reconciler. The presence of the thieves take an ascendant part. John is the only one where the foot washing occurs. He doesn't say much about the supper, like the others do, but his discourse is substantial.

 We sing with Gloria tonight after having it disappear for 40 days. Still no Alleluia. The smells and bells are a great addition to the liturgy. Maybe you can read each of the Last Supper narratives to see the nuances. It is a great thing to do.

Retreat at Bon Secours near Baltimore

To see photos of the Bon Secours Retreat House, click on the link below:

Pics of Bon Secours

My Brother's Landscaping Projects

To see photos of my brother's yard work, click on the link below:

Pics of my brother's yard work

Northern Virginia in Spring

To see photos of Manassas, Virginia, click on the link below:

Pics of Manassas, Virginia in Spring

District of Columbia's Flowers

To see photos of D.C. at cherry blossom time, click on the link below:

Pics of Cherry Blossoms