1. Yesterday was such an unbelievably windy day here in the north Texas area. Apparently it affected plane landings/takeoffs at DFW. And, it did affect us. I had big plans to go pick strawberries to freeze and to make jam. The strawberry patch is only open 3 days/week for picking; Tuesday it was too muddy -- we found out after driving all the way over there; Thursday was waaaay too windy; do we dare try it on Palm Sunday afternoon?
I must say I am very tempted to load up the boys after Mass and go for it. I have missed the availability of fresh (self-picked) fruit since moving over here. I love making jams and jellies. My extended family likes it, too.
2. My little garden is growing well. We have eaten a whole row (admittedly not huge rows, given the size of my garden) of radishes and are beginning to work on row two. From the photo, you may be able to see how well the onions are doing. I also planted four tomato plants, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, green beans and peas. This is all experimental, since my main attempt at growing things to eat has been limited to herbs in past years. I like the small size of my little raised beds. I can easily keep them weeded and planted. I'll keep you posted on our progress.
3. We were part of a slightly smaller group at morning Mass today. Perhaps folks are saving themselves for all the upcoming Holy Week liturgies. My oldest boy is getting very good at being the sole altar server, although today he did forget about holding the book for the intercessory prayers before helping to prepare the altar. Our priest is very kind... gave him a little pat on the arm to let him know it was OK.
4. I have printed up Mass programs for Palm Sunday and Good Friday in preparation for Holy Week. I still need to finish up the special edition for Easter Sunday and then the Easter Season following.
I had a bit of extra space available on the back of the booklets for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, so I have started including a few little excerpts from the CMAA publication Frequently Asked Questions on Sacred Music. These questions are typical questions such as: " What is Sacred Music", "Why should we regard Gregorian chant as the ideal?" and "Isn't this just a matter of taste?". The answers are well-documented and feature many quotes from Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Paul VI, Pius X, etc. They also give the references from various Church documents. I am hoping some of the folks at Mass will take the time to read a bit about it. Maybe we will gain some more supporters of the cause.
5. I am amazed at the many ways our new government is intruding upon our lives and the freedoms we have. In recent weeks, we have seen attacks on the unborn, amazingly high governmental expenditures (all in the name of saving our economy), an attempt to restrict freedom in organic farming, bullet casing recycling, etc. The first two items I am sure no one can escape knowledge of... other things seem to be happening quietly and behind the scenes.
Here is some information about the organic farming issue:
House and Senate are about to vote on a bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING-- the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next week before people realize what is happening.I find this very disturbing... not just the fact that it will impact organic farmers who grow for sale to grocery stores, etc., but also because it will affect the backyard gardener who brings his excess to sell at farmers' markets. The biggest concern of all, though, is the idea of the reduction of the availability of heirloom seeds. I don't know if, as a practical matter, many folks are aware that many of the wonderful hybrid seeds we happily buy and use for our home gardens will not produce seeds that we could save and use in future years. Heirloom seeds offer that possibility.
Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related agri-giants) . This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply". This may include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds.
One other little known fact of a small, but rather insidious change since Pres. Obama took the reins of power: He recently put out an executive order prohibiting the sale of spent brass casings collected at military shooting ranges to U.S. armaments manufacturers for use in reloading and sale to the public.
Up until now, it has been (from what I have heard) fairly common practice to have all brass casings collected from the ranges and sold to these bullet manufacturers. It greatly lessens the cost of ammunition to the general public for the particular caliber bullets that would apply. Well, military installations are no longer allowed to sell them to U.S. manufacturers. They must sell them to Chinese manufacturers now. I don't know if those Chinese manufacturers would be allowed to sell these products in the U.S. at all, so perhaps the intent is to lessen the supply to U.S. consumers. Just check it out to see if you can find any ammunition to buy for an AR-15. It isn't to be found currently.
Update: A friend corrected my info. This executive order only lasted a week. Here is a news release:
6. I am reading a book I just received by Pope Benedict XVI: The Spirit of the Liturgy. It was recommended very highly by many different MusicaSacra forum participants. I am about 20% into the book and am finding it absolutely wonderful. As with Pope Benedict's other books, I find the amount of information about the historical aspect of things and especially as it relates to the Jewish history gives so much depth to the writing.
This is not a quick read... but well worth the effort.
7. I am appalled that Notre Dame has invited Pres. Obama to speak at their commencement and give him an honorary law degree. I signed the petition against it online... along with many others. I don't have much hope that any of the outcry will touch the heart of Fr. Jenkins, but we should all pray for him.
For a bit of consolation, read this letter sent to Fr. Jenkins by one of our fearless bishops with a few extra comments by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (in red):
March 31, 2009
Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Dear President Jenkins:
I wish to express in my own name and on behalf of the Catholic community of this Diocese, my dismay and outrage [goes a little beyond the soft-peddling "disappointment", right?] at your decision to invite the current President of the United States to address the 2009 graduates of the University of Notre Dame and to receive an honorary degree.
This decision of your flies in the face of the expressed directive of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the year 2004, that Catholic institutions not so honor those who profess opposition to the Church’s doctrine on abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
I would ask that you rescind this unfortunate decision and so avoid dishonoring the practicing Catholics of the United States, including those of this Diocese. [He is sticking for his flock.] Failing that, please have the decency to change the name of the University to something like, “The Fighting Irish College” or “Northwestern Indiana Humanist University.” [simply.too.good] Though promotion of the obscene is not foreign to you, [! This refers to Fr. Jenkin’s relationship to the play The V. Monologues ] I would point out that it is truly obscene [i.e., this is worse yet] for you to take such decisions as you have done in a university named for our Blessed Lady, whom the Second Vatican Council called the Mother of the Church.
I sign myself
Very truly yours,
The Most Reverend Thomas G. Doran, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop of Rockford
h/t Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
I wish any readers the very best for this coming Holy Week and Easter!