30 April 2007

Who said nobody cares about the Pope?

Rome, Apr. 30, 2007 (CWNews.com) - More than 1 million copies of the new book by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), Jesus of Nazareth, have been sold in just 2 weeks.

The Italian edition of Jesus of Nazareth has sold 510,000 copies, while the German edition has sold 480,000, and the Polish edition 100,000, the latest figures show. The book went on sale on April 16, the Pope's 80th birthday.

The English-language version of the book, to be published by Doubleday, is due to appear on May 15.

Punctuation and Grammar

What follows is an exact transcription - names and spacing excepted - of a plaque I recently stumbled upon:





When first I read this plaque I was bit confused. Studying it, I think I understand what it is meant to say, but it certainly doesn't read like it.

The moral of the plaque? Do not let the size of the plaque limit what you need to say. If it does not fit, either scrap the idea or get a larger plaque. Also, be sure to use proper punctuation.

It has come

Saturday, I received in the mail the holy card and what will be the relic - we pray - ex indumentis ("from the clothing") of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II. It is a small piece of white cloth that is from part of one of the vestments he wore.

On the back of the holy card is the "Prayer to implore favors through the intercession of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II":

O Blessed Trinity,
we thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of Your Fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Spirit of love,
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your inifnite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with You.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be counted among Your saints.

For graces received, contact:
Postulazione della Causa di Beatificazione e Canonizzazinone del Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano, 6/a - 00184, Roma

29 April 2007

A Beggar for Love

My new blog - A Beggar for Love - is up and will contain my favorite quotations from the writings and words of our Holy Father Benedict XVI.

Be sure to check it frequently and give me time to post the quotes I've already collected.

Let Britannia Rise!

The Roving Medievalist has begun a new blog called Let Britannia Rise. If you've even the slightest bit of Anglophile tendencies to you, do have a look.

I'm honoured to have supplied the title to the blog. I lifted it from Henry Purcell's song "Ye blust'ring brethren", from his magnificent work King Arthur. The context of the quote is thus:
Ye blust'ring brethren of the skies,
Whose breath has ruffled all the wat'ry plain,
Retire and let Britannia rise
In triumph o'er the main.
Serene and calm and void of fear,
The Queen of Islands must appear.

Good idea/bad idea?

I'm pondering starting another blog, which will be ready, a better way of doing what I am already doing.

What is this new idea of a blog, you ask? It is simple: a blog with my favorite quotes from Pope Benedict XVI, to be updated as long as he continues speaking and writing.

What do you think? Good idea or bad idea?

A Prayer to the Good Shepherd

Lord Jesus, good and gentle shepherd, healer of body and soul: listen to your sheep who cry out to you in their need, consciously or not.

So many of your sheep are suffering, Lord. So many are wounded and confused. They have lost sight of you, Lord. They have strayed from you and now they stumble along trying to find the way forward, the way to happiness and peace.

They do not hear your voice, or, if they do, they cannot discern from where you call. Call out to them all the more loudly and clearly! Do not hide from them Lord, but manifest your loving presence to them.

With your rod and staff scatter the darkness, Lord! Make straight the path before them and lead them to your pasture.

Help those of us who seek to follow you guide them to you, as well, Lord. Let your voice resound from within our mouths and let our words be yours. Let us be your fellow shepherds.

Stoop down, Lord, and lift up your hurting sheep upon your shoulders. Carry them to your pasture beneath the shadow of the Cross. Speak to them a word that will rouse them from their deafness. Call to them, ease their burdens and give them peace!

28 April 2007

New pictures

I have added new pictures from my recent return to Quincy to my webshots account. Feel free to have a look. Captions, etc. will be forthcoming.

On the Limbo document

Via Amy, Inside the Vatican has pubished an interview with Sr. Sara Butler, a member of the International Pontifical Theological Commission, about the recent document "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Baptism."

I was fortunate enough to have Sr. Sara as a professor at Mundelein Seminary during my time there. Her work is excellent, which explains her membership on the IPTC.

Incidentally, Sr. Sara's new book The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church is now available. It should be especially good as she once was a proponent of women's ordination. However, the more she studied to support her argument, the more she came to understand and the believe the teaching of the Church. Now, she is one of the strongest supporters of the Church's teachings.

Homily - 29 April 2007

Today, on this 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Holy Father Benedict reminds us: “The Good Shepherd … invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that he may send vocations for the service of the Church.”[1]

We know that vocations, callings to the service of the Church, do not simply arise within vacuums or in the silence of individual hearts alone. Vocations very often arise within families and within parishes. Future priests do not simply drop out of heaven; they arise from within the people of God.

“My sheep hear my voice,” says the Lord Jesus. “I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27). It was within my home parish of St. John the Baptist that I first heard the call of the Lord to serve him and his people. It was because of the prayerful and loving encouragement of my fellow parishioners that I was able to discern his call; without them, I would not be standing here before you today. Of this I am certain.

The vocational story of every priest is different because the Lord calls men to serve him through the very personal experiences of their lives; no two priests are the same. The Lord continues to call men to his own priesthood so that, as he says through his prophet, “I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart” (Jeremiah 3:15).

I want to share with you today how the Lord called me to his sacred priesthood, both to encourage those whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood in this parish right now, and to help you support them as well.

We must go back to the beginning, or nearly there. When I was about five years old my Mom developed a brain cancer that confined her to a hospital bed in our home. Dad stopped working to care for Mom, my brother and I. Even so, it was a happy childhood and I was carefree like most children.

On the morning of 20 February 1986 my brother and I awoke and got dressed for school as we always did. Something was different, though: Dad was not up and breakfast was not ready for us. I went to his bedroom to wake Dad, but he wasn’t there; apparently, he fell asleep on the couch. I walked over to wake him, tapping him on the shoulder and calling to him. Thinking he must have just been sleeping heavily, I woke Mom and asked her to rouse Dad. She failed, too. We called the ambulance and when they arrived my brother and I were taken outside to wait with the neighbors in the gently falling snow.

When the paramedics came out of the house, one of the two looked at me and said not a word. He simply shook his head and I knew that Dad was dead. My happy and carefree world came crashing down around me.

My brother and I then moved in with Dad’s sister, her husband and their four children and Mom was placed in a nursing home. We visited her every Sunday after Mass and during the week. On 18 January 1988, as we were playing with Legos in the living room, building a bigger and better castle than the day before, the nursing home called: Mom had just died. At not quite ten years of age I was an orphan and filled with profound pain and sorrow. My life, personality and thought would forever be marked by these two events.

At this tender age, I yelled at God and asked him, “Why me? What have I done to deserve this?” How could God allow the two most important people in my life to be taken away from me? I never blamed God for their deaths but I demanded an answer.

To this day I have not received an answer, but as I continually questioned him, I slowly found myself praying and in the midst of this prayer I heard him say to me, “It is I. Do not be afraid” (John 6:20). “I am here. I love you.” “I will not leave you orphaned; I will come to you,” and come to me he did: through the Scriptures, prayer and the sacraments (John 14:18). I slowly came to know that “the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).

I began to feel his loving presence and I began to ask him – subconsciously, but I asked him nonetheless - “Who are you, sir” (Acts 9:5)? As I listened to him in prayer I came to know him and I recognized him as “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

In high school, I began to feel him stirring within my heart, calling me to his service. I heard his voice “in a tiny whispering sound” in the stillness of my heart (I Kings 19:12). I came to realize that his love that I had experienced and came to rely upon required me to give it to others; I could not keep it to myself. I heard him calling, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). As he called to the Apostles so he called to me, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). But unlike the Apostles I did not immediately leave everything to follow him. I said, “I am too young” (Jeremiah 1:6) and he responded: “Follow me” (Mark 2:4).

Even so, I thought myself unworthy of so generous a calling; indeed, I am unworthy of it. There were others in my parish more fit for his service, I thought. There were others more popular, more intelligent, more talented, more loving than I, and so I at first declined his invitation, choosing instead to teach history. I could not see why the Lord wanted me, wounded as I was. I did not yet realize that “In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”

At this time, I told no one about what the Lord was saying to me, which made even more remarkable what soon happened after: parishioners approached me before, after, and during Mass and told me, “You should think about the priesthood; you’d make a good priest.” I was stunned. Within a matter of weeks, it was not simply a handful of my fellow parishioners saying this to me, but dozens, and the number grew with each passing week.

Pope Benedict XVI has said of seminarians: "His soul is filled with amazement, which makes him ask in prayer: 'Lord, why me?' But love knows no 'why'; it is a free gift to which one responds with the gift of self."
[3] I knew this to be true. I was left with only one question: Why not me? I had no answer and so I knew that I must give myself to his service.

Finally, I decided that my fellow parishioners must see something in me that I did not see and so I took another look at the priesthood and realized that God created me for it and only in following his call would I ever find fulfillment, contentment, joy and peace.

My dear young men in this parish, if you feel or hear the Lord calling you, listen to him and follow him.

There is an urgent need for the emergence of a new generation of apostles anchored firmly in the word of Christ, capable of responding to the challenges of our times and prepared to spread the Gospel far and wide. It is this that the Lord asks of you, it is to this that the Church invites you, and it is this that the world - even though it may not be aware of it - expects of you! If Jesus calls you, do not be afraid to respond to him with generosity, especially when he asks you to follow him in the consecrated life or in the priesthood. Do not be afraid; trust in him and you will not be disappointed.[4]Let each of us cry out to the Lord:

Lord, look upon these troubled times, which need preachers of the Gospel, witnesses to you, persons who can point the way toward life in abundance! Look upon our world and feel pity once more! Look upon our world and send us laborers!
With this petition we knock on God's door; but with the same petition the Lord is also knocking on the doors of our own heart. Lord do you want me? Is it not perhaps too big for me? Am I too small for this? Do not be afraid, the angel said to Mary. Do not fear: I have called you by name, God says through the Prophet Isaiah (43:1) to us - to each of us.[5]
[1] Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
[2] Thornton Wilder, The Angel that Troubled the Waters.
[3] Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Seminarians, 19 August 2005.
[4] Pope Benedict XVI, Message to the Youth of the World on the Occasion of the 21st World Youth Day.
[5] Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, 11 September 2006.

iPod Shuffle

It's time for the iPod shuffle:

1. John Williams, "In the Devil's Snare and The Flying Keys," (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

2. J.S.Bach, "Sonata in C," (Bach for Breakfast)

3. G.F. Handel, "Concerto Grosso in B Minor," (Best of Handel, Disk 2)

4. Red Byrd, "Sanctus: Mater Mitis," (A Scottish Lady Mass)

5. G.F. Handel, "Concerto Grosso in A Major," (Best of Handel, Disk 2)

6. Rich Mullins, "Hatching of a Heart," (Brother's Keeper)

7. Henry Purcell, "Hither, this way II," (King Arthur, Disk 1)

8. Jaci Velasquez, "I'm Not Looking Down," (Beauty Has Grace)

9. John Rutter, "My True Love Hath My Heart," (The John Rutter Collection)

10. Vivaldi, "Summer," (Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, etc.)

Favorite Hymns Meme

The Roving Medievalist has exacted a bit of revenge for my tagging him for the Book Meme by tagging me for the Favorite Hymns Meme.

This is no easy task! Sadly, though, I can say that we do not sing too many of them very often at all.

At any rate, here goes, in no particular order (Christmas hymns, of course, are excepted):

1. All People that on Earth Do Dwell

2. Lift High the Cross

3. All Creatures of Our God and King

4. Lord, You Give the Great Commission

5. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

6. For All the Saints

7. Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

8. For the Beauty of the Earth

9. What Wondrous Love Is This

10. Where Charity and Love Prevail

Having too many to chose from, I've added five more than requested.

I hereby tag Thom of Ad Dominum, Barb of and my soul shall live for him, Megan of Musings of Faith, and - to find out about the other side of the world - Andrew of Unam Sanctam.
The statue of Saint Cecilia comes from the choir loft of Saint Francis Solanus parish in Quincy, Illinois. She stands in front of the organ pipes, which are painted with an Alpha on the one side and an Omega on the other.

Left out

Here's a lovely thought from Pope Saint Gregory the Great that will not make it into the homily this weekend. I wanted it to but it just won't seem to fit. I offer it for your reflection:

It is written, “All flesh is hay” (Isaiah 40:6). What is hay if not grass? The good shepherd has laid down his life for his sheep in order to change his body and blood into a sacrament for us, and to satisfy the sheep he had redeemed with his own body as food.

27 April 2007


There are too many angles and topics about the readings for Sunday's Mass that I want to talk about it. If I talk about everything I want the homily will last 45 minutes! What is a priest to do!?

Tagged again!

Andrew of Unam Sanctam has tagged me for a book meme. He wants to know what I am currently reading. Here they are in no particular order:

Homilies for Weekdays, Year II by Don Talafous, O.S.B. (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2005). This book is a series of short homilies for weekdays of Year II. It is a very helpful book with excellent reflections and homily starters.

Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI, ed. Peter John Cameron, O.P. (Yonkers, New York: Magnificat, 2006). This, of course, is a must have for every fan of the Holy Father.
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Christopher Tolkien (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007). You simply cannot go wrong with Tolkien.
God and the World: Believeing and Living in Our Time: A Conversation with Peter Seewald by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press, 2002). Again, a must have.
That's enough books to read at one time.

I hereby tag for this meme: The Roving Medievalist, DilexitPrior, Ellen at From Across the Net and Brad Harvey of Leave Your Head at the Door.

New text of Archimedes found

Archeologists have unearthed a lost text of the Greek mathematician Archimedes and the politician Hyperides at the same time they discovered a 13th century prayer book. Also included in the find is a commentary on Aristotle. [more]

26 April 2007

Do I win?

Or have I just cheated?

Apparently the Roving Medievalist and I have begun an arms race of sorts - at least according to Brad Harvey of Leave Your Head at the Door.

The Roving Medievalist has put forth a Greek fire catapult, asking if I can top it. How does this do?

Now there's a font!

Maybe we should try this again.

Kudos to Archbishop Burke

I am grateful to Almighty God for the witness be given by Archbishop Burke. I hope his brother Bishops come to his defense.

You'll notice that I haven't blogged about the situation yet, in no small part because so many others have done a fine job of it already.

The Curt Jester (from whom I took the picture) has a piece here and here and here.

Amy has good coverage here.

Rocco, too, has information here.

Don't forget the Archdiocesan information here.

From the Holy See to the United Nations

The Holy Father Benedict XVI has accepted an invitation to visit the United Nations. The American Papist has the news.

On Origen of Alexandria

The Holy Father devoted his Wednesday Audience address to the person of Origen of Alexandria, "one of the most outstanding" figures of the early Church.

Origen, "the most prolific author of the first three Christian centuries," teaches us "that in the prayerful reading of Scripture and in a coherent way of life, the Church is renewed and rejuvenated."

Origen emphasized the three-fold reading of Sacred Scripture according to the literal, moral and spiritual senses.

"This would be interesting to show," Said Pope Benedict XVI. "I tried somewhat, in my book Jesus of Nazareth, to show the multiple dimensions of the Word in today's world, of sacred Scripture, that must first of all be respected in the historical sense. But this sense brings us toward Christ, in the light of the Holy Spirit, and shows us the way, how to love."

As previously promised

The 500th Post

Prayer to St. Joseph (for Priests)

O happy man, Saint Joseph,
to you it was given to see and hear the God
whom many kings longed to see but did not see,
and longed to hear but did not hear.
Not only that,
but you were privileged
even to bear God in your hands,
to kiss him,
to dress him,
and to watch over him.

Pray for us, Saint Joseph, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God,
who has given us a royal priesthood:
You found Blessed Joseph worthy to hold your only Son,
born of the Virgin Mary,
reverently in his hands and to carry him.
Enable us, too, to serve at your holy altar
with pure hearts and innocent lives,
so that today we may receive worthily
the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,
and may be found worthy
of an everlasting reward in the world to come.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The statue of the death of St. Joseph is from my home parish of St. John the Baptist church in Quincy, Illinois.

A Letter to the Parish

23 April 2007
The Memorial of Saint George
My dear friends in Christ,

May the Lord give you peace!

St. Bonaventure tells us, "Do not extend yourself beyond the point your intelligence can reach, but neither remain short of it." With this bit of wisdom from the Seraphic Doctor, several years ago I approached Bishop Lucas about the possibility of additional studies beyond my ordination to the the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The Lord has given me a mind well suited for academic work, which became for me during my college and seminary years a great blessing and a true joy, indeed.

It was around this same time last year that I wrote to tell you that I would be returning to the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois to continue my studies pursuant toward a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.). After discussing the matter with His Excellency, Bishop Lucas, and the Reverend Monsignor Enlow, I write today to let you know that I will be returning to these studies again this summer with their support and encouragement. It is my hope - and theirs - that I will be able to conclude the course work for the S.T.L. this summer, leaving only my comprehensive exams and the defense of my thesis for the coming year (these would both be done during the span of a week or so).

These classes begin June 11th and conclude July 20th. You will not see me as much this summer as you did last because I have no weddings currently scheduled during those six weeks. I may return for a weekend or two, but not more, so as to devote as much time as possible to papers and to my thesis.

Prior to my return to academia, I will be away from the parish May 7th through May 18th attending the wedding of a cousin and visiting a friend from college. After that, the priests of the Diocese will gather for their annual retreat June 4th and 8th and I will join them there.

While I am away, the Reverend Carl Schmidt and the Reverend Ben Meyer have both graciously offered their assistance. For their generous help I am deeply grateful!

Be assured of my continued prayers for each of you while I am away. I beg your prayers for me as I return to these studies. May God bless you with a peaceful and restful summer!

Peace and Joy,
The Rev. Daren J. Zehnle
Parochial Vicar

Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized

Does anybody know if the International Pontifical Theological Commission's document, "Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized," is available in English online?

The Rome of the West

My seminary classmates will well remember my bold claims that Quincy either is or will be - within two hundred years or so - the "Rome of the West". This past weekend I was given a small taste of this city which has been referred to by others as "Hobbiton."

Monday morning I took myself on a little walking tour of the Gem City, snapping pictures of historic places and markers and just enjoying the city with the small town feel and many sidewalks of bricks (pictures and stories to come later).

Monday evening I walked a few blocks to join a few friends at the ristorante Italiano Tiramisu for dinner. I have always been impressed with this restaurant and for a number of reasons: the food is delicious; the prices and portions are quite reasonable; and the wait staff is still the same as it was when the restaurant opened some ten years ago.

Whenever I return to Quincy I try to gather with this group of friends who call ourselves the "Tuesday Night Supper Club", even though we have not met on a Tuesday for several years now.

It was a delightful evening with good food and very dear friends. Walking back to where I was staying after dinner in the pleasantly cool evening with a gentle breeze - just a few blocks from the Mississippi River - I was taken away in my imagination to the month I spent in Rome in the winter of 2005. Many a happy evening there ended just this way.

Tuesday afternoon I met a couple of priest friends at a restuarant called Sprout's Inn, also a Quincy favorite. They have recently added an outdoor dining area and we happily took advantage of it on a gorgeous afternoon. Once again, I was reminded of my days in Rome and I gave thanks to God for the gift that is Quincy, the Rome of the West!

A new book

Today the Pastor received a nice little book from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled Benedict XVI: Spiritual Thoughts in the First Year of His Papacy.

The 128 page book contains 175 passages from the writings and speeches of the Holy Father, each with a short heading and citation, and includes an index.

Somehow this book slipped completely unnoticed by me until now. I will be sure to obtain a copy of it.

25 April 2007

From my students

St. Gregory of Nazianzus says that "we must remember God more often than we draw breath." I asked my juniors to reflect on this statement. I was impressed by some of their responses and I offer them for you here.

Breathing to humans is a natural thing that takes no thought upon ourselves.

Times during [the day] that I think of God happen randomly.

Compared to what Gregory said, my remembrance of God is not near what it should be.

God does not want us to give up on each other, but for each other.

He could have said "every time we draw breath" or "very often", yet none of these do the job.
If only they knew the depth of what they wrote...

Another good laugh

This from Young Fogeys.

Ready for a laugh?

Take a look at the Papist Picture of the Day with its caption.

44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Message of the Holy Father for the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations is now available.

The Day of Prayer is Sunday, "Good Shepherd Sunday."

As usual, Pope Benedict XVI's message is succinct and full of meaning to be reflected upon and unpacked.

He has chosen to address the theme, "the vocation to the service of the Church as communion."

A few highlights:

In order to foster vocations, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord. The care of vocations, therefore, demands a constant "education" for listening to the voice of God....
The Good Shepherd, therefore, invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that he may send vocations for the service of the Church as communion....

It is indispensable that, within the Christian people, every ministry and charism be directed to full communion; and it is the duty of the Bishop and priests to promote this communion in harmony with every other Chruch vocation and service.I would suggest that this here lies among the foundation of the shortage of those who are responding generously to the call of the Lord to serve as a deacon, priest or consecrated man or woman. We have not fostered and nurtured unity, but rather discord, envy and spite.

Are you ready for the gem?

Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbour and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that the “Eucharistic love” motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist.
Be sure to read it, maybe even twice.

The Mundelein Psalter

The Adoremus Bulletin has a nice article on the forth coming Mundelein Psalter.

We chanted Morning and Evening Prayer from the Mundelein Psalter at the Liturgical Institute last summer. The tones are noble, beautiful and easy to learn. This Psalter will be a great blessing for the Church.

I would recommend you acquire a copy.

For the truly wise

Why is it that the journals and magazines to which I subscribe always come within three days of each other? I always feel so very far behind seeing the stack of them.

Only a thought

When attending meetings, please consider the following advice:

If what you intend to say has already been said no fewer than three times at the same meeting, please keep quiet. Nobody really wants to hear you say what has already been said, even it is from you.
Just a thought, and not directed at anybody in particular. It has been bouncing around in my head for a while now and I thought I would release it.

Just for kicks

The Roving Medievalist has posted a picture of a cannon, but I thought I could do better:
Cannons are really rather boring when compared to real weapons like this.
Curiously enough, those in charge at Castel San'Angelo have placed what appear to me to be cannon balls next to this ballista which launches not cannon balls but rather large arrows or crossbow bolts. Even so, most tourists and visitors won't know the difference, though I was rather intrigued standing near them.

Killing time

Here I sit in my office killing some time before my next appointment at 2:00. A tip of my hat to the Roving Medievalist for both of these.

I did better on this one than I expected:

You Are Pretty Logical

You're a bit of a wizard when it comes to logic
While you don't have perfect logic, you logic is pretty darn good
Keep at it - you've got a lot of natural talent in this area!
How Logical Are You?
I think they take a lot off of this one if you aren't a small talker:

You Are 72% Gentleman

You are definitely a gentleman. You're very considerate and you have excellent manners.
Occasionally, you slip and do something foolish... but usually no one notices!
Are You A Gentleman?

23 April 2007

A little shopping trip

This evening, prior to dinner at the excellent restaurant Tiramisu - Ristorante Italiano (where I think I will have the rigatonni tognazzi), I popped out to the Quincy Mall (I've no idea why there is a bride on the web site's front page) to find a cd or two by Joshua Bell, having been unable to do so earlier in the week.

Upon entering the mall, I noticed that the floor had been tiled since last I was inside (or at least I had forgotten it otherwise). For the longest time the floor inside the mall was brick, and not an even and level brick mind you. Tripping, stumbling and bumbling along were commonplace, and the racket from strollers, carts, etc. on the bricks was almost intollerable. Having worked in the mall at KB Toys for some seven years I knew this firsthand. The tile is a welcome improvement, though I must say that the brick was more appealing to the eye.

At any rate, after finding two of Bell's cds (Romance of the Violin and Voice of the Violin) I decided to wander through the mall to discover what else had changed. A couple of new clothing stores seem to have appeared, but nothing really of interest to me.

Meandering through the mall I passed Walden Books which, being a very tiny store, usually isn't worth my time. However, a sign outside caught my attention: they were offering 40% off J.R.R. Tolkien's recently released The Children of Hurin! I thought to myself: One hardcover book with beautiful illustrations of obvioius enjoyment...deal!

I happily purchased a copy and when I return from dinner I intend to sit down with the book and listen to the meloldious sound of the violin while I read. I like vacation :)

Incidentally, what I have heard thus far of Romance of the Violin is excellent!

On an entirely unrelated note, if you haven't yet voted for my blog, please do so if you have the mind. I've updated the link at the top of the page to make it even easier for you.

The TEC Mass

Last evening I celebrated Mass for a small number of the Great River Teens Encounter Christ community. There were around sixty people in attendance, fewer than what I expected, but good nonetheless. You can never been too sure of the turn out for a cancelled weekend. Many faces I recognized, many I did not, and there were many who had neither met me nor seen me before but somehow knew me nonetheless through mutual friends.

It is a humbling thought to realize that my reputation very often precedes me, and has since my college days. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it does save time with introductions! Seriously, though, I wonder if we fully understood how many people already know something of us because of what others have said about us - more often not through slander but truthful statements - how we might change our attitudes and the decisions we make. It is, I think, a call to a deeper and more pure love, to love with the love of Christ himself, as our Holy Father continually reminds us. It is a call to truly be, as St. Clare of Assisi says, the mirror of Christ.

The Mass itself - even though celebrated in a gynmasium because the chapel cannot normally hold all those who attend - was quiet (even with several babies and toddlers), moving and beautiful.

Most of the music was of a "praise and worship" style but was so very well executed it truly was prayerful and truly united those gathered. It reminded me that Gregorian Chant - may its revival be soon! - does hold the pride of place, as it were, but other forms of music are pemissable, as well, and fitting from time to time.

The music played last night was not overpoweringly loud and the people actually sang the songs together with the choir. My typical experience is that the "band" performs while the people stand there paying little attention becuase the quality of music is poor and they don't like the songs anyway.

The music last night actually seemed to fit into the Liturgy, rather than my common experience of feeling as though I - as the priest - only happened to be present to do something when the "band" was not doing something else. Such was not the case last night and my deep gratitude goes out to the choir.

I can safely say that this is a most unique community, one truly focused upon and blessed richly by the Crucified and Risen Lord. It was a great joy to be with them again last night and I eagerly look forward to being with a larger group of them again soon, though I know not when that might be.

I'm a tortured genius!

I often wondered...

You Are 92% Tortured Genius
You totally fit the profile of a tortured genius. You're uniquely brilliant - and completely misunderstood.Not like you really want anyone to understand you anyway. You're pretty happy being an island.

Hat tip to the Roving Medievalist.

22 April 2007

King Saint Alfred the Great

I have been reading a bit more this morning about who might very well be my favorite historic king: Alfred the Great of England (ca. 849-899).

One story about this holy king might help to illustrate why I choose him among my favorites.

It is said that as Alfred retreated from one battle through the Somerset Levels he was welcome with his small band into the home of a peasant woman.

She, unaware of his true identity, left the home and told Alfred to attend to the cakes she left baking on the fire. Alfred grew distracted by the battles and allowed the cakes to burn.

Upon her return, the woman naturally reprimanded Alfred for his failure. When she learned of his kingship, she apologized profusely, but Alfred refused to accept her apology, saying that she was, afterall, quite right: it was his fault the cakes were burnt.

The only king of England to be titled, "the Great," Alfred compiled a book of Adages and he has a great many other quotable phrases found elsewhere. Some of these include the following:

Therefore he seems to me a very foolish man, and truly wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear.
Power is never good, unless the one who has it is good.
The saddest thing for a man is that he be ignorant; the most exciting is that he knows.
Somewhere Alfred also said something to the effect of always having with him - and encouraging others to do the same - Pope Saint Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, but I cannot seem to find that quote at the moment.

Review of a film on the Liturgy

Jeffrey Tucker over at the New Liturgical Movement has a good review (with which I concur) of a video put out several years ago by Liturgy Training Publications (which in recent years has been improving the quality of its publications).

I link this because the video is one that you are likely to see shown in many parishes today as an adequate and good history of the Mass. It is not.

Quincy life is good

There is a web site to promote the city of Quincy with the address www.quincylifeisgood.com. How true this is!

A city of nearly 50,000 people, Quincy feels like a small town filled with beautiful trees, flowers and homes. Quincy is known for many things: architecture of all kinds (even a moorish castle, as it's called here), trees, history (one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred here; Quincy was a major stop on the underground railroad; the first black priest in America was trained through Quincy; and many other things, besides), friendly people, and for it's dogwood trees. Each May the dogwoods bloom and the city turns especially beautiful. I miss that very much. Nonetheless, it is great to back!

Popular demand has requested pictures of my nephew, Matthew William. He was not very photogenic last night so I'll post two olders pictures of him. For whatever reason, he liked my sandals a lot last night. I'll see him again tonight at Mass and I'll try to get a few pictures with him.

He is named after my twin brother, Matthew William, who died shortly after birth. Prior to his birth I was arguing that he should be named George something-or-other to restore a family tradition that named the firstborn son George. My father was George William, his George Arthur, his George, his Ambrose (Ambrose was also a named I supported strongly).

I'm not quite sure what happened with me. There are no other Darens (or Darrens or Darins or Derons [at one time I was friends with three other Darens and we each spelled our name differently; three of us worked on the same floor at the newspaper]) in the family tree so far as I have ever been able to find. I very much would have enjoyed being George something-or-other Zehnle IV and I would have used it well. I supposed now my nephew will be Matthew William Zehnle II, a fitting tribute to the memory of my twin.

21 April 2007

There and Back Again. A Priest's Tale

I am delighted to say that sometime before Noon today I will be happily plopping down in my driver's seat and taking the four hour drive - on what promises to be a gorgeous day - home to Quincy for a few days.

The retired priest - may God bless him richly! - will still take the Masses that he would have if I were still going on the retreat. He's a very generous man and a good friend. If I ever get to retire, I hope to be half as generous as he.

I haven't been home for some time, being far too exhausted after Easter to make the drive "there and back again," to borrow a phrase from the great Tolkien. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing my nine-month old nephew again. I've only seen him a couple of times.

I'll be in Quincy through Tuesday visiting with friends and family, working on special projects, and, in general, relaxing and resting.

I've been rather tired of late and this weekend will be just what I need, I think.

I'm not sure what my Internet access will be like so you might hear from me for a few days.

20 April 2007

The Holy Family

Here's the window that Jeffrey says has an "interesting" corner.

It's not the greatest shot, but you get the idea. I love the window for several reasons:
1. Mary is busy with her needlework
2. Jesus has already fashioned a wooden cross
3. Joseph pauses in his work and looks in wonder at his foster son and his wife, almost as if to say, "What do I do?" Joseph seems to sense already Jesus' mission


This evening I attended the First Annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet of the International Association of Mystery Solvers at the high school.

This was the dinner theatre mystery program put on by the high school students I mentioned earlier. I had never been to one of these before but always wanted to attend. I'm glad I did; I enjoyed the evening very much.

The students put the program together rather quickly, in about three weeks' time if I'm not mistaken. They did an excellent job, as usual, and the dinner sold out.

Our students are not only intellectually and athletically gifted, but dramatically as well (I'm not sure if this is a proper use of the word but I don't know how else to put it). They should be very proud of their accomplishments. I only wish the received as much recognition for their academic and dramatic feats as they do for their athletic ones.

Well done, thespians and crew! Keep up the good work!

New threads

Here I am standing this afternoon inside the church in my new surplice:

I hate posing for pictures...

Mother Theresa would pray for the souls in Purgatory every time her picture was taken. Bishop Lucas last night told me he prays for vocations with every picture taken. I'll have to find a prayer request during pictures, too. I suspect it will be vocations. Currently my picture - thankfully - is not taken enough to be too concerned about it.

The albs were taken to a seamstress this afternoon and she expects to have the alterations completed by Tuesday afternoon.

The trophy

The WYSE team's new trophy:

And before you ask: the sign with the spider web on it was for the dinner theatre mystery program put on this evening by the high school students. More on that in a moment.

WYSE team places 2nd at State

From the News Release:

The St. Anthony High School WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineeing) Team competed in the State WYSE Academic Challenge at the University of Illinois on Thursday, April 19th, finishing 2nd as a team in the 300 Division, missing out on 1st by only 1.1 points. They scored 414.9 points out of a possible score of 500, scoring the maximum number of points in both math and physics in the 300 Division.
Other delightful news here is that our students earned 1st, 2nd, 3rd places and two ties for 5th place in math. They also earned 2nd, 4th and 6th places in physics.

Well done, team! I'm very pleased and impressed Congratulations, team!!!

I only wish I could take some credit for helping with this. Congratulations, Mr. Poston!!!

The Confirmation Mass

The Mass with the sacrament of Confirmation went well last night. The church was packed and many people were present forty-five mintues before the Mass was to begin.

(Now if only we could get most of them to show up for Sunday Mass more than five minutes early, if that. I am always astounded at the number of people who flow into the church with less than one minute to go until Mass starts. My average count is about 150 - and there are two other entrances that I can't see!)

At any rate, the confirmandi selected the following Patrons:


They chose a wide range of saints and had to research their lives and write a paper about the patron they chose.

The confirmandi were responded well, I'm happy to say. The Bishop seemed pleased with things. All in all, it was a good night and a long and tiring day.

The dinner

Last night's dinner prepared by one of our high school students was excellent. The presentation was outsanding and the meal itself was delicious. My compliments to the chef!

The chef knows what he is doing. He made up small menus for us and even brought his own dishes. I was very impressed.

Bishop Lucas commented that he doubted this dinner would be topped this Confirmation season. I suspect he's right.

19 April 2007

Happy anniversary!

To the Holy Father Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, I wish a most happy and splendid anniversary on the occassion of his election to the See of Peter. May the Lord bless him with health and peace!

To celebrate this most happy of days, I wish to post a few of my favorite pictures of His Holiness. Many of these will be the "goofier" one and by them I mean to show no disrespect, but only my deep love and admiration of this man who is a blessing to the Church from God.
How can you not love this man?

Everybody needs a new hat from time to time.
Even the Pope gets thirsty.That's a lot of incense.

Simply spectacular!

Long may he reign!


The Kansas City Star has an article by Phyllis Zagano titled, "For Catholic's womens ordination may be here sooner than you think." Zagana says:

Yes, I know all about the chances of snowballs surviving in the netherworld, but I still think Pope Benedict XVI is moving toward ordaining Catholic women.
I wouldn't count on it.

Three times in the last year or so, the pope’s comments leaned in that direction. The telltale words are “governance” and “ministry.” Each is technically reserved to the ordained.
Yes, but, "Lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this same power according to the norm of law" (canon 129 § 2 [cf. canon 228 § 1). Call me silly, but I think this is what Benedict has in mind.

In the flood of ideas coming from the scholar-pope, the theme of charity stands out. Would a pope turning 80 on April 16 ordain women to minister in charity?
Not in the way you have in mind.

A year ago, a Rome priest publicly asked Benedict if women could be included formally in Church governance and ministry. Surprisingly, Benedict said yes. He said so again on German television last August.
Again, see canon 129 § 2.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, he threw a bouquet to women, recognizing their discipleship in the early church. Before 20,000 people in the Vatican’s General Audience Hall, Benedict recalled that Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, as well as Mary Magdalene, were close disciples of Jesus. He reminded the crowd that Thomas Aquinas called Mary Magdalene the “apostle to the apostles.” She did, after all, announce Jesus’ Resurrection.
The pope acknowledged St. Paul’s conflicting sentiments: In Christ there is neither male nor female, yet women should keep silent in church. Conflicting? Yes. Decided? No. That, Benedict said, should be left to biblical scholars.
And biblical scholars know well what women did in the early church.
And so does he and so do we: what women still do in the church today (with the exception of shielding the nudity of women at Baptism).

Benedict did not use the word “diaconate” (the ministry of deacons), but he leans in that direction, coinciding with the historical record of women’s ministry. Women once were deacons. That is a historical fact.
True, but not in the same manner of men. Their functions were entirely different and there is absolutely no record of women ever being ordained as men were to the diaconate. Learn the full history, not just the part you like.

Does history matter?
That may well be the dumbest question I've ever read.

Well, Benedict is a theologian with an eye for history. He knows that what the church once did, it can do again. He, too, knows about the piles of historical documentation of women deacons.
When Benedict talks about women, he always begins by deflecting the idea of women priests, pointing out that Jesus chose male apostles from among his men and women disciples. Such is the Catholic Church’s fundamental argument against women priests.
At least you have this part right.

But that has nothing to do with women deacons. In fact, Benedict has now — three times — reiterated that women were actively engaged in Jesus’ ministry. And “ministry” is the key word when we’re talking about deacons.

Ministry is what deacons do: They minister in and through the word, the liturgy and charity. Deacons preach. Deacons participate in the Mass. Deacons manage the Church’s charity, or at least they used to.
Let's see. "When the needs of the Church warrant it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion according to the prescripts of the law" (cannon 203 § 3).

Of course, don't forget that lay persons can preach as well: "Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous in particular cases, according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops and without prejudice to canon 767 § 1" (canon 766).

Umm...unless I'm quite mistaken all who present at the sacred liturgies of the Church participate in them, especially in the Mass. I think the Second Vatican Council said something about that.

Also, if we pay any attention at all, it might be noticed that now much of the monetary charitable actions of the Church are directed by lay persons, at least where I come from.

Deacons watched over the stores and treasures of the early church. They cared for the poor and the orphaned, for the homeless and the widows with church funds, properties, and possessions. They even paid the salaries of the priests.
Many lay persons today watch over "stores and treasures" of the Church. Aren't the temporal works of mercy about these other things, minus the last one? Isn't there a precept of the Church that might apply here, too?

That may not be the case today, but it begs the question: why not?
Umm...I think it is the case today. Last I checked, my pay check has two signatures on it: the Pastor's and the business administrator's.

As Catholicism is increasingly bereft of priests it is concurrently flooded with deacons — there are over 15,000 in the United States alone.
Umm...no. As of 2004, there were 405,891 priests in the Church and only 32,324 deacons (L'Osservatore Romano, 2 August 2006). This hardly seems to be a "concurrently flooded" situation. For the curious, there were 4,784 bishops, 55,030 professed religious non-priests, and 764,459 professed women religious.

These are capable men, able to run a parish plant, manage Catholic charities, or oversee the cemeteries or the various aid societies of a parish or a diocese.
Well, gee, thanks.

They can free priests to do priestly — rather than diaconal — ministry.
Lay persons call help free priests up, too, as so many do day in and day out.

If Catholicism were to return to its older tradition, that would add women to the mix.
But not how you're suggesting because it was never that way.

Then women could oversee church money and properties on behalf of the pastor or the bishop. What if women watched where the money went?
I think a lot of women do watch were the money goes. Her issue seems to be much more about money and power than about spirituality.

Perhaps then there might be more money around for the poor and maybe fewer financial scandals.
Call me silly again, but from what I've read and heard, many of the financial scandals were brought to light by women. And if you want more money for the poor, how about encouraging your brothers and sisters in Christ to be more generous to the Church. Here's another thought: why not lower the salaries of professional athletes and give some of that to the poor, as well? There is plenty of money available for the poor, but the vast majority of it never finds its way to the Church.

And what if women deacons ministering in charity could preach each Sunday? Would not the church hear more about the way the gospel functions in the real world, here and now, in the 21st century?
Not by judging from what I heard women who "preach" each Sunday have said.

It’s just a thought, but it might be Benedict’s idea too.
I wouldn't bet on it.