Thursday, February 26, 2009

Have a dolorous Lent

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. . ." (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Here's wishing you all the most excruciating, starving, sorrowful, miserable Lent. May your days be rainy. May your soup taste bad. May your drinking water be luke-warm. May your bones ache. May your prayers be painful. May your hair fall out. May yours be an all-around dolorous (and, okay, blessed) Lent, and a happy Easter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Now available!

In 1521, the staunchly Catholic King Henry VIII of England wrote a theological treatise “Assertio Septem Sacramentorum” (aka. a "Defence of the Seven Sacraments") as a rebuttal of Martin Luther’s "Babylonian Captivity of the Church," in which the reformer had crossed the line from reformer to revolutionary, attacking the doctrine of the sacraments and describing the pope as the "antichrist." King Henry received the title "Defender of the Faith" from Pope Leo X for his work of refuting Protestant heresies.

This new edition of the "Assertio" (edited by yours truly) reprints the English (only) text of Henry's work along with Fr. Louis O'Donovan's classic analysis and commentary, plus three new appendices: A historical timeline of events, the text of Henry's Six Articles of Religion, as well as Fr. E.S. Buchanan's translation of Luther's scathing reply to Henry and his “Assertio Septem Sacramentorum.”

Though a crucial element of our Anglican heritage, this classic writing was largely forgotten, until now. You can purchase your copy online for $12.99 or save on shipping costs and make your purchase at the St Alban's Bookstore. Come join us for Mass on Mondays at 10am in the Chapel, with our book study following until noon in Room 10.

Click below to purchase.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Confession makes a comeback

I've always thought that confessional booths are much better than reconciliation rooms, especially for the beginner. By the way, we have a booth at St Alban's. Now it's time to get shriven. I made my confession last Sunday, are you ready to make yours?

Published: February 20, 2009

STAMFORD, Conn. — The day after Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni was installed in June 1998 as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church here, he walked through the quiet sanctuary, appreciating the English Gothic grandeur and tallying all the repairs it required. One particular sight seized him. The confessional at the rear of the pews had been nailed shut. The confessional in the front, nearer the altar, was filled with air-conditioning equipment. And these conditions, Monsignor DiGiovanni realized, reflected theology as much as finance.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church began offering confession in “reconciliation rooms,” rather than the traditional booths. Even before the setting changed, habits had. The norm for American Catholics was to make confession once a year, generally in the penitential period of Lent leading up to Easter. Monsignor DiGiovanni, though, soon noticed that there were lines for the St. John’s reconciliation room the only time it was open each week, for two hours on Saturday afternoon. So within his first month as pastor, he pried open the door to the rear confessional, wiped off the dust of decades and arranged for replacing the lights, drapes and tiles.

Then, in the fall of 1998, Monsignor DiGiovanni rolled back the clock of Catholic practice, having St. John’s priests hear confession in the booths before virtually every Mass. By now, as another Lent commences next week with Ash Wednesday, upwards of 450 people engage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as confession is formally known, during 15 time slots spread over all seven days of the week. Confessions are heard in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Going out West

This morning I was the supply priest at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Graham, Texas. Melisa, Maddy and I had a great time. We stopped by and looked at some cows on the way back. I also took a picture of this old and interesting looking closed-down hotel in Mineral Wells.

As Pcasso pointed out, it is the Baker Hotel. Just for fun, here is a link to "Ghosts of the Baker Hotel." Also, for some amazing photographs of the hotel interior and exterior, visit Noel Kerns' Baker set on Flickr.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Read the stimulus

Now that we've saddled the grandkids with the bill, be sure to take time to read what they're actually paying for. There is a searchable database at which will let you see for yourself. Thanks to the people who provided this service. Like the tagline says, "$850 Billion, 1588 pages, and counting... somebody needs to read it!"

Graphic: Washington Post

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Repair to the rose window

The glass in the rose window at St Alban's has been removed as a part of our capital improvements. It has had a perpetual leakage problem whenever it rains. Apparently, when it was remade after being blasted apart by lightning back in the 90s, it was made an inch or two smaller than the holes for the window. The gap was made up with caulk, which would only last so many years. The window is being reframed to make up the difference and ensure a snug fit. It should be back in place around the end of February / beginning of March.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Good and faithful servant

The Rev'd Canon James P. DeWolfe, Jr.