Thursday, August 22, 2013

Residue of faith of ages past

Ended up at the warehouse of King Richards, Atlanta based church restoration and design consultants, who also have a warehouse of all kinds of artwork from churches across the U.S. and Europe. Amazing stuff -- statues, candles, entire altars and high-altars, reredos, stations ... you name it. My seminarian buddy and I wandered around in slack-jawed - the residue, so it seemed, of the faith of ages past. At least they're trying to save some precious artifacts, and sell it to churches for sacred use.

I was delighted to learn that King Richards was involved in the restoration and renovation of Sacred Heart in Peoria, a stunningly beautiful church, which I visited back in May. Here's a photo ...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Omnia instaurare in Christo

Thanks to a generous friend in seminary, I acquired a first class relic of Pope St. Pius X. It complements the chalice I received at Ordination very well (a late 19th century French antique from the time of Bl. Pius IX, that had been presented by Pope St. Pius to the Cardinal Archbishop of Lyon)

Unfortunately, thanks to a less than adequate night's sleep and consequent haste this morning, I forgot to take this relic with me to Daily Mass so that the faithful could venerate it. Next year! I did use my chalice for Mass though ...

Pius X is the co-patron of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The more I learn about him, the more I love this humble and simple shepherd, as well as his zeal for reform. Omnia instaurare in Christo ... ! 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

He converted him by his joy

Among my dad's extensive LP collection (remember those?) was this album by the "Singing Nun" (Soeure Sourire -- Sister Smile in French), which including the hit 1960s single "Dominique."

It is a catchy tune, with a frolicsome air. As a kid (in the 1980s!) I listened to it often. It was really through listening to various records that I learned to savor the texture and feel of the words of different languages (Beethoven's 9th, with Schiller's, "Ode to Joy" was another favorite).
Dominique, nique nique s'en allait tout simplement
Routier pauvre et chantant
En tous chemins, en tous lieux
Il ne parle que du bon Dieu
Il ne parle que du bon Dieu 
Dominic, Nic, Nic
He goes along very simply
Travelling in poverty and singing.
On every road, in every place,
He just talks about the good Lord,
He just talks about the good Lord.
The line that I remember so clearly is the one where St. Dominic encounters a heretic on the road who casts him into thorns. But he converts him, by his joy. I know the French words by heart ...
Certain jour un heretique
Par des ronces le conduit Mais notre pere Dominique
Par sa joie le convertit.
The album was recorded by Sr. Luc-Gabrielle, born Jeanne Deckers, a Belgian Dominican sister. Her life took a difficult and tragic turn after the album was recorded. In the tumultuous years after the Council, and amid conflicts with her order because of her musical fame, she left the convent in 1966, and grew increasingly disillusioned with Catholic doctrine (eventually composing an encomium to the Pill). She moved in with a close female friend. Her musical career never really took off again. They committed suicide together in 1985, amid financial difficulties.

The song "Dominique" is a tribute to the founder of the Order of Preachers, St. Dominic Guzmann, whose feast the Church marks today, August 8. May he intercede for the soul of this wayward daughter. May his joy, which is the joy of the Holy Spirit, grow and deepen within our own hearts.