Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You Might Be Married to a Liturgiophile If...

I love attending a beautiful, prayerful, spiritually uplifting liturgy as much as the average Catholic.  (And, just for your information, I deliberately refuse - in this post at least - to further explicate what I mean by "beautiful, prayerful, and spiritually uplifting".) I would consider myself a reasonably theologically and liturgically informed Catholic laywoman. When dating my future husband, I would have said he possessed a similar attitude.

Recently, I forced myself to confront reality, the reality that since our marriage, my husband has exhibited the gradual onset of liturgiophila...indeed I would have to admit he now is a qualified, bona fide liturgiophile*. I can't say I have much hope of ever reversing this condition. The most I can do is to share a list of symptoms, documented from experience, so that other unsuspecting Catholic wives can accurately diagnose and cope with the condition in their spouses.

Your liturgiophile may exhibit some, all, or additional symptoms. Rest assured, the exhibition of one or two does not necessarily warrant a diagnosis of liturgiophila - it is the confluence of many (or additional) symptoms, sustained over a significant period of time that decisively indicates the condition.

Thus, and with no further ado, 

You might be married to a liturgiophile if...

..."Holy" is his standard response to "How was Mass, dear?"

...the New Liturgical Movement and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf are daily reads AND bookmarked.

...two of the family bookshelves are reserved for his "liturgical collection".

...the big purchases he negotiates with you for are tailored cassocks and embroidered surplices.

...the Ceremonial of Bishops is the most frequently consulted reference work in the house.

...you receive a mantilla for Valentine's Day (thank you, Fr. Z)...and the offer of a chapel veil in a color of your choice for Mother's Day so as to coordinate with various outfits.

...over supper, he reveals that he knows "ambones" is the plural of "ambo".

...he can advise an instituted acolyte on serving as subdeacon.

...he knows and discusses the use of obscure pontifical vesture, and repeatedly calls for the return of the use of the cappa magna by the Bishops, (and the triregnum by the Pope).

...(in that vein), you knew that the first thing to mention was the return of the papal fanon when he asked you about the broadcast of the recent canonizations...and you weren't surprised when he made the former the subject of a facebook post.

...(and still proceeding on this theme) his opinion on which particular style of Roman Chasuble is the best (it's a toss up apparently: the Philip Neri or the Italian style) qualifies as romantic conversation. 

...his friends guffaw knowingly when new acquaintances ask his opinion on Children's Liturgy.

...your spouse frequently debates the merits of Fortescue vs. O'Connell with random clergy.

...and while he owns both texts, his modus operandi is WWFS (What Would Fortescue Say?).

...he is determined to have a son named "Gregory", and your adamant refusal to even consider "Pius" is near occasion for argument.

...he spends hours researching to find you free PDFs of out-of-print books on ecclesiastical embroidery.

...your friends come for a casual cup of tea, and leave wide-eyed, asking, "How does he KNOW all this stuff about the Mass??"

...he knows which clerics can only wear wool, and which can wear silk. 

...Gammarelli's is top of the "tourist" list when your family travels to Rome.

...and he insists on taking a photograph to document the visit:

*As a qualification, though I am not overly naive on this point, I would generally expect the clergy to possess a working knowledge of and love for the liturgy and all things liturgical.  I am therefore identifying symptoms of this condition as manifested in the laity. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We have a new saint!

If you're a Catholic hailing from the U.S. of A., you may be excited for today's canonizations because they include the first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, the "Lily of the Mowhawks".  In addition, our family is delighted that another, Anna Schäffer of Mindelstetten, Germany (whom I introduced in a post last autumn) has also been elevated to the canon of saints.  Like Kateri, Saint Anna Schäffer's life was one marked by great suffering.  If you know German (or recourse to the very useful, though not always accurate, google translate)  this address on her life given in 1999 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger is worth a read.

Saint Anna Schäffer, pray for us!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Need to Learn Ecclesiastical Languages? There's an App for that.

A good student of theology knows the sacred languages! By this standard, I am far from a "good" student, but I am trying to work hard at it, because I think it's important.

To that end, I have found an ingenious app (FREE!) for training on basic ecclesiastical vocab in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin! Even better, the app is optimized for the iPad, which I like very much.

The app is called iDoms Vocab, and seems to be a joint project between the Irish Province of Dominicans and the St. Joseph's Province in the USA. They have another app, called the iDoms Reader, which I haven't downloaded but looks like a news app of sorts.

The app works well! It is a very new app, only released a few days ago, but it has good navigability, and is a clever way of improving on the old handwritten flash cards, building in a nice scorekeeping feature to make it a little more fun. The ingenuity in the app lies in the repetition and introduction of new words. Each time you start a session, it gives you 30 words to do, so it only takes a few minutes. As you learn words consistently enough, the program replaces the words you have mastered with new words automatically. Go through the flash cards a few times a day, and you'll expand your vocabulary immensely! Because the app is so new, the word bank is limited, but they have intentions of expanding.

A clever integration of the Apple iCloud technology helps for those who have on-the-go lives. For those of you who don't speak Apple, that means that if you have an iPhone and an iPad with the app installed on both, whatever progress you have made on one of them, you can continue on the other, working seamlessly between the two.

Overall, a very impressive little app! It should be noted that it is only for memorization of vocab, and doesn't help with learning and memorizing declensions and cases-- a feature that, if they were able to figure out a good means of integrating, would be priceless for us students.

Some more pictures:

Your language options-- it comes with a free sample Greek vocab list, but then you can buy other word banks through their in-app store using your appleID. I downloaded their Latin word bank with words from the Prima Pars of the Summa for only $0.99.

A new word, "sicut," as in "sicut cervus ad fontes". You can choose "I know!," which skips immediately to the next word, or "Don't Know" or "View," which displays the translation.

What it displays once you click "View". You can then say that I got this one "Right", or "Wrong," which helps with the programs' ability to track your progress and create future study sessions.

Overall, a really great app, and many kudos to the Dominicans who came up with this app-- I know that it is going to help me out immensely this term.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In the Spirit of "Christmas Isn't Over Yet"...

Though many families have already bid farewell to their Christmas tree, holiday decorations, baked goodies (not a moment too soon for the pursuit of that ever elusive slender figure), and Nativity scenes, our household belongs to that variety of Catholic who obstinately refuses to relinquish our Christmas festivities until Candlemas, the traditional end of the Christmas season. Be the tree completely needle-less, be the Christmas cookies completely consumed, be the stores filled with Valentine's Day sweets, we persist in our Christmas celebration.

This was the first Christmas our little family has spent on our own - and as such, we found ourselves in need of Christmas decorations to suit our budget. Our aim for decorating was to make as many of our decorations as possible, using for the most part items we either had around the house or could easily collect. I began my planning and collecting back in November, stashing away these items in the weeks before and during Advent:

Beer and Irish cream bottles
Fallen pine tree bark
Platan seed clusters (they're slightly smaller than a golf ball)
Cardboard boxes
Toilet paper rolls
Used tissue paper
Christmas napkins
Rags/worn clothing of all sorts
Old jewelry
Stray ribbon and yarn
Used (but reasonably clean) aluminum foil
Brown construction paper

And what can one assemble with all these miscellaneous items, you may ask?

A beer bottle Nativity scene!

(with a dried fruit, pinecone and popcorn garland and crocheted Star of Bethlehem)

Each figure (the Baby Jesus excepted) is a beer (or Irish cream) bottle, with a platan seed head covered in fabric. I dyed a few rags using coffee grounds and tea bags for the heads, used some spare yarn for hair, and rags and other odds and ends for the clothing.

The cardboard served as a base for the stable, with pinecones and bark used to create a "natural" effect. Here are some close-ups:

I believe a "recycled" Nativity scene just may become a family tradition - especially when our children are old enough to participate in annual Nativity figure "makeovers". I already have plans for next year's additions: some animals, a new and improved stable, and possibly some more majestic clothing for the Three Kings.

Our beer bottle Nativity (barring any unforeseen accidents) will see us through Candlemas, in keeping with the longstanding tradition of displaying the creche until the end of the forty days of Christmas.

However, if your Christmas decorations have already been packed away, do not despair. It's never too early to start your Christmas 2012 recycling! If you've been bitten by the Martha Stewart bug, to increase the variety of your project, and considering the wealth of items that are often simply thrown away in the post-Christmas cleaning, I would recommend starting a little "crafts bin" now: a storage place for all the odds and ends that may come in handy for your own beer bottle Nativity, or other projects to celebrate the liturgical year.