Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adventures in Great Liturgy...

Continuing on a recent theme (See the post: The Mother of all Thuribles), how would you like to show up at your local parish this coming Sunday morning and see this going on:

I don't know about you, but I would be VERY excited. Apparently, this is what is referred to as a "faro" in the Ambrosian Rite (celebrated in Milan). It is constructed of cotton, hoisted in the sanctuary, and set ablaze on the feast days of martyrs. I don't know for sure, but the fire department in Milan must be a very nervous lot...

It just goes to show: when it comes to the liturgy, you're really not doing it right if there's not at least a reasonably good chance you'll burn the place down.

A Saintly Smack-Down...

St. Nicholas' feast day passed by once again without me posting about one of the greatest stories ever told (in my estimation) about the goodly saint. Remembered almost exclusively nowadays as the archetype for "Santa Claus" and a kindly grandpa-like figure who brought poor children gifts, he was perhaps the first saint to ever put the smackdown on heretics (literally). Nicholas was a bishop present at the Council of Nicea when the heretic Arius, who denied the full divinity of Christ, was called before the council to defend his position. Nicholas, who apparently had had enough, proceeded to punch Arius in the face. Here, here! The event has even been recorded in some early artwork portraying the council:

(Nicholas, fist raised, while Arius cowers on the floor)

Here's another one, a detail of the pugilistic moment:

So just remember: He knows when you've been naughty, he knows when you've been nice... And he's not afraid to come and rearrange your face.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Italian Religious Processions...

My God, the Italians know how to put a religious procession together. Several years ago I found myself in Florence on the feast of the Epiphany, where my buddy Joe and I ended up in the middle of a procession, complete with a canon (which the Italians fired on every street corner), people dressed in Medieval garb, marching bands, a complete Nativity scene, you name it. As further evidence that the Italians do it right, check out this video of the feast of San Clemente in Rome:

Check out a procession that Joe caught on the last trip to Rome. This was near the Piazza Navona:

Video of the Epiphany procession in Florence from January, 2005:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Mass...

A collection of favorite images of the Mass/Eucharist:

During American Civil War:

During World War I in Belgium:

St. John, Silver Spring

St. John Church, Silver Spring, before the 8:00 AM Extraordinary Form Mass this morning...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Last Friday of the Semester at the Gunpowder...

The papers are done and studying for the final exams has begun. This week has been the calm before the storm as I come to the end of another semester. Yesterday afforded the opportunity to get away to the Gunpowder River for a little Friday fishing. The weather was pretty cold (about 40 for a high), but the fish were still looking up and taking flies off the surface. My last trip to the Gunpowder a few weeks ago I got skunked: not a fish was caught. I did, however, notice a hatch of some tiny little tan-colored insects coming off. I didn't have a fly in my box that came close to imitating it. In the effort to imitate this tiny fly, I spent about an hour at the fly tying vise and came up with this, tied on a tiny size 22 hook:

I tied up about four or five and threw them in my fly box. It proved effective yesterday. The same hatch was coming off sporadically throughout the day (in spite of the cold weather) and I caught three fish on this handy little pattern. I'll be tying more of these...

Here's a few pics and a video of what was a cold, but beautiful day on the river:

(notice the new fly successfully hooked in the top of its mouth:)