Saturday, 19 April 2014

Traditional blessing of Easter Food




Each year on Holy Saturday our Parish Priest blesses meat, bread and eggs brought in by families that will be used for their Easter feast. I've been told that this is an ancient Catholic tradition that has survived best in Eastern Europe - Poland in particular where it is referred to as Święconka or in some regions Święcone. I'm half Polish, although grew up without any Polish customs or traditions in my family, so it's lovely to incorporate this into our family Easter rituals - so my quarter-Polish children have some sense of the Grandfather's culture.  


The prayers are particularly beautiful and remind us of the passover and the resurrection. Today the families who brought in their food also received a blessing and together we prayed Blessed Pope John Paul II's Prayer for Families. 




After the rigours of Lent -- and particularly Holy Week -- this simple ceremony feels like a gentle push towards the coming celebrations of the glory of the Resurrection. 




I wish all my readers a blessed and happy Eastertide. Blogging will resume after Easter and I will pray for you all at the Easter Vigil this evening.
 

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!





Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tablet making you sick?

...here's a simple, Traditional home remedy: print up a few of the signs below and leave them on the newsstand of any parish foolish enough to sell heretical lavatory paper masquerading as a Catholic journal...

(...these are a 2010 version, but easily updatable and I'm sure that you can make up your own suitable wording...)

 

... Oh, and btw these were just spotted and photographed at the back of a church, who knows who might have left them there...

 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Vandalising the Rosary

Photo credit: Vintagethisretrothat on Flickr

 

Apparently it wasn't just the Mass of Ages that the vandal Bugnini intended to demolish in the name of ecumenism and "noble simplicity" (a.k.a.Brutalism): the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary was also in his crosshairs. A fascinating article on Venermur cernui (a new-to-me blog from Dallas, Tx., well worth a rummage through) describes what can only be called Bugnini's evil masterplan to destroy reform the Rosary including only allowing one "Our Father" per five decades and removing everything after the word "womb" in the Hail Mary. This is all detailed in Bugnini's Reform of the Liturgy which I haven't read but am now sorely tempted to - if only to raise my (usually too low) blood pressure! The whole article is worth a read, you can read it here.

 

My first thought after reading this was about the children at Fatima. As I remember, one of the very first actions of Our Lady in her apparitions was to teach the three children to say the Rosary properly: until then they had rushed through it, simply saying the first words of each prayer: "Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Glory Be..." etc..

...and if Our Blessed Mother thinks that saying the Rosary properly is both important and necessary, then who are we to argue?


That the Rosary is recognised as a particularly efficacious prayer against evil makes any attempted sidelining or attempted vandalism even more sinister. I'm thinking specifically of its use as a tool in prayer campaigns outside abortuaries against the slaughter of innocents and towards the conversion of the hearts of those involved in the grisly business of abortion.

Being a post Vatican II baby, I ran a reasonably high chance of never encountering the Rosary. It wasn't until I was an adult that met anybody who prayed it, apart from my grandparents; sadly I never saw them praying although I am positive that their prayers for me are in large part responsible for my return to the Faith in my late 20s. For that I remain ever-grateful.

As a child in the 1970s, I remember my grandmother had sending me Rosary beads. I asked my parents what they were for. "Oh it's a lot of Hail Mary's and you're supposed to think about other things as well" was the gist of the answer. The message was clear: it's long and boring and we're not going to do it. I loved my Rosary beads though and tried to make up what I thought the Rosary might be, although rather unsuccessfully.

About 10 years ago, having been back in the arms of Mother Church for some time, I decided I to find out more about the Rosary. At first I only said one decade, at night, usually as I nursed a baby to sleep in bed. At the time a decade -- a whole decade! -- seemed like a lot. Sometimes I would even fall asleep before I finished. It took some time for me to remember the different decades of the different mysteries, and I read various books, various approaches. In time, and as the children were a little older, I suggested to my husband that we pray a decade together as a family before bedtime at night. It was awkward and a bit clumsy the first few times, but we could feel the graces flowing and soon it was a habit that we wouldn't dream of breaking for any reason. Around the time of the Papal Visit we decided to graduate from our nightly decade a whole Rosary including the Creed and the prayers for the Pope and we built our family night prayers around this. My husband leads our prayers, but we each take turns to lead a decade of the Rosary, with parents helping the youngest children. This has been a great blessing for our family -- a time of calm contemplation before bed. When we have Catholic guests, we share our night prayers with other families. Reading through the description of Bugnini's proposed truncated version of the Rosary, I wonder whether, had his vandalism been accomplished, I would have had a chance to know Our Lady's Rosary, let alone witness the great graces that flow from it to my family, to all who pray it, and to the whole world. If you haven't tried praying a regular Rosary - do. It will, literally, change your life.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Ora pro nobis,


 

 

 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The family ... holy in essence, holier when shared



We've just spent a pleasant impromptu evening with two other families: chatting, eating, laughing. Children from toddlers to teenagers romping and playing. As with many similar gatherings, the evening ended with everyone together in one warm room, praying together in the gloaming light of the fire. Together young and old sang the last carols of the Christmas season. We prayed the Rosary, the father of the hosting family leading a decade, then the young girls, then the boys, followed by the mothers and finally the fathers all praying together. A savvy teenager reminded us that we could gain a plenary indulgence if we prayed the Creed and the Prayers for the Pope as well as our rosary, and we sang a Salve Regina with even the youngest children raising their voices to God. I was acutely aware of what a blessing this gathering of souls was, and that the warmth I felt was not simply the contrast of the cozy woodstove compared to the rainy night outdoors, but the far more profound warmth of true fellowship and a shared love of God and family. There is something both humbling and ennobling about groups of families praying together; it is as though the raging storm stills for a moment and Heaven bends its ear to the collective prayers.

Today is, appropriately,  the Feast of the Holy Family (E.F.)  - I wish all my readers and their families a happy and holy feast day.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy Feast of the Epiphany!

 

Just home from High Mass and the blessing of chalk. With this and Epiphany water from yesterday's blessing, my husband led the traditional Epiphany blessing of the home. Lovely way to round off Christmas. We are so very fortunate to have a Parish Priest who encourages the traditions that keep the Faith alive in the family. Deo gratias!

 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Hay in my mantilla

Our family had the great pleasure and privilege of assembling the parish nativity scene this afternoon, in the few hours between the Solomn High Mass for Gaudate Sunday (with two of my favourite seasonal hymns: the sung Rorate Caeli and Veni, Veni Emmanuel) and the annual Christmas carol concert later in the afternoon. Amed with tiny scissors intended for cutting wiggly lines in paper (all we could find!) my four children gathered any greenery they could reach in the church grounds and along with some wonderful variegated holly brought in by another family brought the nativity setting to life. We carefully added each beautiful figure, arranged them, rearranged them, and then rearranged them again before stepping back to admire the scene. All it needs now is our Saviour and Lord...

As we left I realised that I was taking more than a few pious thoughts with me... I had ivy twined into my sweater and a good deal of hay woven into my mantilla: a sort of rustic traddy look probably best avoided.

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
Nascetur pro te, Israel!