Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

26 December 2006

Reporting from Y-town

I'm back home in the Greater Youngstown Metro Area. Despite its numerous problems and deficiencies I have a special place in my heart for the Youngstown area.

Being back home has been great. The Star Trek tree is up and glorious, more about this soon.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were primarily spent here at home with family except for Sunday Mass and Midnight Mass. My mother sings in two choirs, the St. Charles Contemporary Ensemble and the Choir of the Shrine of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted. We went to St. Charles for Sunday Mass and midnight Mass at the Shrine to hear Mom sing. The director of the Shrine, Fr. Vit, was a professional cellist in the Czech Republic and Canada before joining the Franciscans. In addition to the choir, Fr. Vit played for us before Mass which is always a treat, he's really an excellent cellist and I'm a tough critic of such things.

Today we visited my grandmother and great aunt at their various nursing homes. This evening some family friends stopped by and we ended up having an inpromptu party, which are the best kind. It was an evening of many good stories.

21 December 2006

Quick Post

The past week has been event filled. Last weekend was the Loyola House Christmas Party, which was a big success and Joe's visit which was also excellent. I hope Joe enjoyed Loyola House as much as we enjoyed having him. Cyril's friends who were visiting last weekend proved delightful as well. I do enjoy having visitors at the house.

The past three days I've been on retreat at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. It was a wonderful, peaceful time in preparation for Christmas. There is something indescribable about the profound silence of a retreat.

Tuesday night the Richard's, my brother novice, father died. Tomorrow the community departs for Chicago to attend the wake and funeral.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

Saturday after the funeral, I'll head home to Y-town for Christmas. The directions say it's a 6.75 hour trip but with Christmas traffic I'll be happy with anything less than 7.5.

14 December 2006

Last Day of Hospital Experiment

Today was our last day of Hospital Experiment. The past few months working at Alexander Mercy Living Center and the Columbiere Center have been a real blessing. There is much to be learned at these places both from the staff and the residents. The staff are an example of dedication and love for those in their charge. The residents show grace and perseverance in the final days of their lives. It is remarkable how much can be learned from those residents that can no longer speak.

The two ladies in the picture are Sister Bonnie, O.P. who is the Director of Spiritual Care at Alexander Mercy and was in charge of our activities there. She helped teach us the spirituality of dying and pastoral care. The one on the left is Tara who ran activities for the residents, we had the opportunity to work with her on many occasions including some intense games of Bingo.

Tomorrow Cyril, Richard, Christopher and I will be preforming Christmas Carols at Sts. Peter and Paul Church near the Renaissance Center for the clients of the warming center. Ideally this will be an interactive performance and we'll just be leading the singing. I'm skeptical how interactive it will be though.

Saturday is the great Loyola House Christmas Party, there is much cooking to be done.

AMDG

12 December 2006

Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. This feast is of particular importance to Mexico and those of Mexican descent.

Our Lady of Guadalupe represents a bridge between Europeans bringing Christianity and the native peoples of Mexico. She is a reminder that the message of Christ is for every nation but must be preached with great sensitivity to the customs and history of each place, recognizing that God is already somehow present in each culture and people.

In other news, my Mom and Aunt Reda visited this past weekend. We explored some parts of the greater Detroit Metro Area I had yet to visit. A good time was had by all or at least by me.

06 December 2006

Feast of St. Nicholas

Happy feast of St. Nicholas. In many countries and Jesuit novitiates, good little boys and girls leave their shoes by the door and during the night St. Nick comes and fills them with candy. Apparently St. Nick loves happy children and hates happy teeth.

St. Nicholas was the fourth century bishop of Myra in modern day Turkey. He died on this date in 345 or 352. Little else is known about St. Nick though there are many legends. He became wildly popular during the Medieval periods in both the Greek and Latin Churches.

This icon of St. Nicholas probably captures the real man better than Santa. The icon itself is housed at the Hermitage Museum, at the Winter Palace, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

St. Nicholas, Pray for Us.

AMDG

03 December 2006

Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The house chapel has been decorated in Advent purple, thanks in large part to the efforts of Br. John who cut and sewed our new banners. In keeping with the liturgical season my blog has also entered Advent mode.

This weekend Loyola House hosted six candidates for the Society. I was very impressed with them. It was great hosting the candidates, and I hope to see them all at entrance day in August.


Vox clara ecce intonat,
obscura quaeque increpat:
procul fugentur somnia;
ab aethere Christus promicat.

-Sixth Century Advent Hymn

A Thrilling voice by Jordan rings,
rebuking guilt and darksome things:
vain dreams of sin and visions fly;
Christ in His might shines forth on high.

01 December 2006

World Aids Day

Today is the Feast of St. Edmund Campion SJ, one of my favorite saints. Evelyn Waugh wrote an excellent biography of him entitled Edmund Campion which I recommend to all.

Today is also World AIDS Day. The Chicago province of the Society of Jesus is assisting with a high school for Aids Orphans in Kenya: St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School. Check out the website.