We are just about two weeks away from Easter and as in years past I worked to create the Pascal Candle for my parish this year. For those who don’t know the Pascal Candle is normally a large candle used throughout the year in various liturgical celebrations. Its biggest role is at the Easter Vigil which begins around a fire and the Pascal Candle is used to bring that light, which symbolizes the light of Christ, into the Church. Also at the mass it is used to bless the holy water font and its light is passed around as we renew our baptismal promises that evening. The Pascal candle is placed by the ambo where we read scripture for entire Easter season. After that it is placed by the baptismal font and when we have a funeral it is placed by the casket. It’s my first Easter at St. Michael so an angel theme seemed appropriate. I tried a different technique this year to help create the art work on the candle. It’s my most detailed design and so to transfer the design onto the candle I needed to use an old trick I learned in art school. I first drew and organized the design on paper. Once I was happy with the design I made a photo copy of it. Next I sprayed the candle down with flat clear coat, (Testor’s Dull Coat to be exact). I then wrapped the copy face against the candle as tight as possible. […]
This weekend I am announcing that the Archbishop has asked me to become the pastor of St. Michael in Greenfield as well as the chaplain coordinator at Scecina High School. I have accepted and so will be leaving St. Teresa, my home for the last four years. I am sad to be leaving St. Teresa and excited to be moving to St. Michael’s. I ask for your prayers for both communities and myself during this transition. My last day at St. Teresa will be Sunday, June 14th and we will have a pitch-in dinner that afternoon from 2-5pm in the PCC. On June 15th I will leave for a previously planned trip to Ireland will return just before I take over at St. Michael’s at noon on July 1st. Thank you for your prayers. St. Teresa and St. Michael pray for us
This is this year’s Paschal Candle. The Paschal Candle is used to represent the light of Christ in Catholic rituals. We use it during baptisms and funerals and it plays a big role during the Easter Vigil. So much so that it has an entire hymn dedicated to singing its praises as the light of Christ. It is one of the most beautiful things to see each year as we gather around the Easter fire to bless the candle and bring light back into the Church after recalling Christ’s death the day before. This year I wanted to place the cross, Alpha and Omega, and year background or a field. I had what I thought was a nice stencil to use but it turned out to be impossible to really use the metal stencil on the candle. I just couldn’t get it wrapped around tight enough to the candle. So I had to go to plan B. I used a water motif and made the Cross and painted the writing in a complementary color. I’m pleased with the outcome, although it does look a little 70s or 80s in style. I wish the stencil could have worked but sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. But again I think the design works and it’s more unique than buying one from a catalog.
This last weekend ushered in Passiontide. The last two weeks of Lent. The most visible sign of the season is that the statues are veiled with purple cloth. It’s a striking sight, somber but beautiful. We had our adoration period which lasted from Friday morning into Saturday evening. Over the last couple of years we have a youth lock-in. It’s become something that I and our youth minister look forward to each year. The lock-in begins with Evening Prayer and Stations of the Cross with other parishioners. We then typically play some games, one of which is a miniature game that I put on. This year it was a zombie game in which the kids or their characters had to make their way through an infested industrial dock to hop on a ship to take them out to safety. There were about 8 kids who played and I always find it interesting how they play; will they work as a team or will they split up? This year it turned out to be both. They started to split at the beginning but then came back together to work to defeat the zombie horde. I think this is the first game in which every character survived which helped all of them to have fun. Some of the kids who had played before were surprised that everyone survived. It did help that none of the players tried to do something silly. After the zombie game was finished we headed back to church […]
This spring I’ve done a lot of habitat improvement at the woods. With the help of a friend I cleared some scrub area to plant some small food plots in clover and did some hinge cutting to create thicker areas for deer bedding. By doing so I’ve already seen an increase in the number of deer and turkey on my trail camera. While checking my camera pictures last week one caught my eye and when I went back to it I laughed because in the shot it looks like a cross in the middle of a deer’s newly growing antlers. Of course I immediately thought of St. Hubert who as the story goes was chasing a deer when suddenly he saw the deer appear with a cross in its antlers. It was a life changing moment for Hubert. While this is not a life changing moment for me it is a nice reminder as to why I go to the woods and why I hunt and ultimately a reminder as to what I’m really chasing in life. Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
During the Easter Vigil one of the first things we do is bless and candle that represents the light of Christ. Normally parishes buy them already made but a few years ago I learned how to paint them. It’s very easy. Get blank candle, sand it with very fine sandpaper so that it has a matte finish. Then paint it to your liking. There are a few elements required for its use. A Cross in the center, an Alpha and Omega at the top and bottom of the cross, the year placed in the quadrants of the cross, and the night of the vigil 5 nails are placed in the candle to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. Everything else is fluff but it does go a long way to make it more beautiful. During the Easter season the candle remains at the ambo where the reading are proclaimed and during the rest of the year it is placed by the baptismal font and it used during the baptism and funerals. This year’s candle is pretty simple but more colorful than my past candles.
I have had a number of projects this winter. One of course is the 3-D board game that is complete and I should be posting some new pictures of it in about a month or so. Another project this winter was a shrine to St. Hubert at the woods. I’ve been wanting to make this for a number of years but just never go around to it. A couple of years ago we cut a poplar tree down but left the stump nice and high so that we could do something with it. I had thought of carving it but I really didn’t think I had the time or the skill to do the job that would like to do on a statue. Instead I settled on a shrine to St. Hubert. For those who do not know St. Hubert is the patron of hunters, which is ironic since his conversion had him give up the hunt. Over the years I have begun to incorporate him in and his intercessions into my prayers particularly when I hunt or am at the woods. This past year was a great year of hunting. I saw lots of deer nothing big but it was always a nice time in the woods whenever I would sit. For me seeing nature and spending some safe and quiet time in the woods is more important than getting “monster” buck. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see a big buck but realistically with my schedule it’s more likely […]
Lent begins tomorrow. I’m having my last steak, with added salt. My next taste of red meat, and added salt, will be the leg of lamb I’ll cook on Easter Sunday. I also made the ashes for ash Wednesday. They are made by burning the ashes from last year’s palms from Palm Sunday. Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, Offerings and libations for the LORD, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep, And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people. Joel 2:12-18
Today I awoke to here that Pope Benedict has decided to resign. I am sad. I really have a great deal of admiration for him and his work. I saw him a couple of times in Rome and Germany. (which is where I took these pictures) Each time I saw him I was struck by the depth of his wisdom and knowledge. While no one would argue that he was a dynamic speaker his humble demeanor spoke volumes. And his talks or homilies where incredibly packed with faith. His resignation today came with surprise as far as the day but as far as him deciding to resign it is not that surprising. He has spoken on this subject in the past and in the last couple of weeks he has done some things that Popes normally do toward the end of their papacy. Like filling out the College of Cardinals and naming close advisers as bishops. The Vatican announcement a couple weeks ago about World Youth Day did not promise his attendance at the event. So looking back there have been some signs. I think it is fascinating to put this resignation into the context of him being a cardinal under John Paul II. He was one of the leading cardinals at that time and he would have seen John Paul II suffer and see in some ways how the Church might have benefited from more active leadership. This is certainly not to deny the fact the John Paul II’s suffering was […]
My parish and I are off to the March for Life. While I lived in DC I was never able to attend but since getting ordained I have attended every year. Last year over 400,000 were in attendance and this year with it being the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade it is expected to be higher. We will see. It is pretty amazing to see this number of people show up year after year for this cause and it is even more amazing that hardly anyone covers it. We live in a great country because we are able to peacefully protest but I pray that we can become greater. Say a little pray for our safe travel and pray for the cause if you’re able.