28 April 2009

Budget Cuts 101

Here's a visual to help us understand the much-touted budget cuts the president wants to make.

Hey kid...

...don't forget to wash your hands!

An honorable lady...

God bless Mary Ann Glendon. A faithful Catholic, Harvard law professor, and recent ambassador to the Holy See, was to have received the Laetare Medal, which is the highest honor given by Notre Dame University. She has declined the award. Let's face it: where's the honor in receiving something from a dishonorable institution? Read the story here.

26 April 2009

Don't panic!

I'm immensely grateful to have a terrific group of administrators who assist in operating the Academy. They had to get in gear quickly today to calm many concerned parents as the media continues its hype over swine flu. There's no doubt it's a threat, and we're very close to the Mexican border where many cases have been reported. There's no need for panic, but there's a great need for common sense. The following e-mail was sent today to our school families:

Dear fellow academy parents:
The academy's administrative team is following news reports and Centers for Disease Control advisories, and is assessing the implications for our school of the well-publicized swine flu outbreak. We are grateful to the parents who have contacted us to express concern and to provide advice. Based on the information available to us at 2:30 pm on Sunday, here is how we will proceed:

1. Families are urged to read and follow the CDC recommendations.

2. Sick students are urged to stay home, and the school will heighten its vigilance in calling parents to pick up any children who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

3. Parents who wish to do so may send their children to school with personal bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

4. Teachers will remind students to wash hands frequently throughout the day.

5. Paper towels will be restocked in school restrooms at more frequent intervals, and paper waste will be removed from school restrooms at more frequent intervals.

6. Parents should instruct their children not to share food or personal objects.

7. Parents should instruct their children to avoid kissing and to avoid hand contact with their own or with others' eyes, noses or mouths.

We will keep our families advised by email of any updates in our school's response.

Ralph Johnston
Academy Administrator

A little bit of pretty...

This morning was a bit rainy when I headed to the church to get ready for the day. It was dark when I arrived. Even though the rain stopped, the sun didn't show itself until much later. But in the gray light of the morning I noticed the magnolia outside the Lady Chapel door had begun to bloom. A pretty sight...

19 April 2009

Honored by the Catholic Education Foundation...

I want to mention an excellent organization: the Catholic Education Foundation. Its purpose is to support Catholic education on the high school level, providing student scholarships and programs assisting with the formation of teachers. Many of our finest educators are associated with the Foundation, and it includes several bishops on its advisory board.

This past Friday evening I was honored by being inducted into the Foundation's "Hall of Fame," which recognizes those who are considered to be outstanding individuals in the field of Catholic education. Don't ask me how I ended up in the company of such luminaries as Fr. Joseph Fessio, Mother Assumpta Long, Dr. Ralph McInerny, Fr. James V. Schall S.J., and others of that same stature.

I'll take this opportunity to commend the Catholic Education Foundation as an organization worthy of financial support. If God so moves you, click here to make a donation, and tell 'em I urged you to do it.

16 April 2009

"What does it profit...?"

This makes me feel sick right down to the pit of my stomach. Not so much because the presidential staff made the request (I've come to expect it from them), but because a supposedly-Catholic university complied with the request.

Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request
(CNSNews.com) - Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”--symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there. As of Wednesday afternoon, the “IHS” monogram that had previously adorned the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was still covered up--when the pediment where it had appeared was photographed by CNSNews.com. (Read the whole article)

"For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." - St. Luke 9:25, 26

14 April 2009

Altar of Repose...

Here are some pictures of the Altar of Repose in the Sacred Heart Chapel, where the Faithful kept watch with the Lord throughout the night from Maundy Thursday until the Solemn Liturgy on Good Friday.

Relics of the Apostles were near the Altar of Repose:

13 April 2009

Something unexpected...

Here's a little lesson for a Monday morning. The next time I'm tempted to jump to a conclusion about someone before giving them a fair chance, I'll have another look at this.

12 April 2009

This is the day the Lord hath made...

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God; now and for ever. Amen.

11 April 2009

"This is the night..."

This is the night which shines with the glory of Christ’s resurrection – the night in which we recall and reaffirm our own participation in His resurrection, which is ours through the power of baptism. And this is the night when we consider what baptism means for daily life. Baptism is a one-time event, but it isn’t something that’s done once and then simply remembered with a certificate, like graduations and anniversaries. It’s something done once, but with eternal effects – and so in that sense, baptism isn’t just a one time thing “over and done with.” It’s a daily thing in its effects: baptism is a daily garment, something we wear each and every day. In baptism God has marked us with His seal of ownership; He has branded us as sheep of His pasture, and taken away the stain of original sin by washing us with Christ. The Christian life is a daily baptism; and baptism is the daily life of a Christian. It’s a daily dying and rising. Just as we go to sleep each night and get up in the morning, so we daily die to sin and rise up to live in Christ through our baptism.

St. Paul writes, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3). He writes this as though everyone would know this and agree wholeheartedly with it. We were buried with Christ by baptism into His death, and so we are united with the death of Jesus.

In the death of Jesus on the cross, God has given the world a death in which a sinner has a choice: we can either die now in the death of Jesus and live forever in His life, or we can live now apart from the death of Jesus, and die forever in our own death. There is no third option. Jesus died for sin and rose from the dead. Scripture teaches us that "the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." (Romans 6:10). Baptism joins us to the death of Jesus. It nails us to His cross; it buries us in His tomb. God has put our sin out of His sight. He has buried it in the death of His Son. He has hidden it in His wounds. He has sealed it up in His grave.

In baptism is our hope. "If we have been united with Jesus in a death like his, we shall also be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Romans 6:5). We know how our story ends. We know how the last chapter comes out for those who are joined to Christ. Christ has died. And we have died with Him. Christ has risen. And we will rise with Him. That means whatever may come our way in this life - whether poverty, disease, pain or persecutions - our present sufferings cannot compare with the glory that will be revealed in us. Whatever burden the cross of Christ may bring to us now, it doesn’t compare with what will be ours in the resurrection.

But baptism sets us in a struggle. Because of our baptism, we have become the enemy of the devil, the world, and our own sinful natures. The devil rants and roars against baptism, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep us away from living in its power. The world hated Christ and crucified Him, and so the world tries to crucify everyone who is joined with Christ.

But by confessing our sins, we bury them in baptism. We drown our sins in the flood that flowed from Jesus' side. This is what St. Paul means when he says, "Reckon yourselves dead to sin." (Romans 6:11). We are to confess our sins. We are to disown them by nailing them to Christ’s cross and by burying them in Christ’s grave. In confession, baptism is being put to work for us, unleashing the power of Jesus' death and resurrection in our lives. We can’t conquer sin by ourselves; Christ conquers sin for us, and He does it through the daily action of baptism.

So baptism means life - new life in the life of Jesus Christ. We no longer live, but we died and were buried, and so Christ now lives within us. His life is our life. Our life is the resurrected life of Jesus. He is at work in us and through us. We are "alive to God in Christ Jesus" and it's only in Christ Jesus that we are alive to God. Apart from Him, we would be dead - but because we are joined to Him by baptism, so we live.

O God, who didst make this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in thy Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship thee in sincerity and truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

10 April 2009

Sabbatum Sanctum...

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of thy dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping,
where he hung, the dying Lord:
for her soul, of joy bereaved,
bowed with anguish, deeply grieved,
felt the sharp and piercing sword.

O how sad and sore distressed
now was she, that Mother blessed
of the sole-begotten One.
Deep the woe of her affliction,
when she saw the crucifixion
of her ever-glorious Son.

Who, on Christ's dear mother gazing,
pierced by anguish so amazing,
born of woman, would not weep?
Who, on Christ's dear Mother thinking,
such a cup of sorrow drinking,
would not share her sorrows deep?

For his people's sins chastised,
she beheld her Son despised,
scourged, and crowned with thorns entwined;
saw him then from judgment taken,
and in death by all forsaken,
till his spirit he resigned.

O good Jesus, let me borrow
something of thy Mother's sorrow,
Fount of love, Redeemer kind;
that my heart fresh ardor gaining,
and a purer love attaining,
may with thee acceptance find.

09 April 2009

Maundy Thursday...

Each year on the morning of Maundy Thursday the students at the Academy gather for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It gives me an opportunity to explain to them why we do not celebrate any other Mass today, other than the evening Mass of the Lord's Last Supper.

Each year we read the account of the Passover in Exodus, and I remind them that the Church, celebrating the Mass this evening, is the New Israel offering up Christ as the Passover Lamb, and so we participate in the New Passover.

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast!

God our Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament hath left unto us a memorial of his passion: Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of his redemption; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

08 April 2009

Spy Wednesday...

O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

07 April 2009

Tuesday in Holy Week...

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

06 April 2009

Monday in Holy Week...

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

04 April 2009

Collect for the Sunday of the Passion

Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture studies...

For those of you who are interested in studying the Scriptures, there are some new Bible studies posted as podcasts on this page.

Included are Romans, Philemon, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, Titus, St. Mark's Gospel, and Hebrews. We're now studying the Acts of the Apostles, and when we have finished, the podcasts will be posted.

03 April 2009

Junior Class ceremony...

Here's a picture of the members of our Upper School Junior Class after the Mass at which they received their class rings. The ring now becomes part of their uniform, and it is cast in silver with the shield and pelican as its main feature. On the side of the ring is the Jerusalem cross, one of the symbols of the academy.

The Mass was celebrated in Latin (Ordinary Form), and there was a reception afterwards in the courtyard for the students and their families.