2010 in review

Thanks for reading!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 18 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts. There were 11 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was August 2nd with 79 views. The most popular post that day was Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were mail.yahoo.com, franciscanfocus.com, backpew.blogspot.com, mail.live.com, and rhinoweb.org.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for angela merici, giotto, order of penitents, protect us from all anxiety, and st. angela merici.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula August 2008
2 comments

2

Mount La Verna Leaf & The Stigmata of St. Francis September 2008

3

Extraction of Franciscan Saints & St. Angela Merici January 2009
3 comments

4

Funerals, Black Vestments, & Cemetery Musings November 2008

5

Order of Penitents – Short History March 2009

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Hands that Serve

On Saturday, June 27, 2009, I had the privilege to attend the ordination of eight men to the priesthood.  On Sunday, June 28, 2009, I had the joy of attending a friend’s first mass – his Mass of Thanksgiving.   It is such a blessing to have the ordination coincide with the Year for Priests.  There is sure to be extraordinary amounts of prayers going up this year.  Especially remember the newly ordained.

Read the Georgia Bulletin article – Eight New Priests Ordained for North Georgia

Part of the Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood is the anointing of hands with holy chrism.   Later, when receiving a blessing from my newly ordained friend, the fragrance of the holy chrism still lingered like the incense of prayer.  I recalled my Confirmation and chrism that was rubbed on my forehead — the aroma that something mystical took place.  The night of my reception into the church — I didn’t wash it off and slept with the fragrance into the next day.  Witnessing my first Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood — the sights, sounds, and smells — reaffirm that God is in this place.  In the same way that God looked down on his baptized Son, said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” God most surely looked down on the men that day and is very well pleased.

On my morning commute, I pray the rosary with the Daughters of St. Paul.  At the conclusion of each set of mysteries, the sisters sing a song.  During the weeks leading up to the ordination, I looked forward to Thursdays — the recitation of the Luminous Mysteries — the ministry of Jesus.  The fifth luminous mystery is the institution of the Eucharist.  Following this, the sisters sing “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris.  It is really for this that I looked forward to Thursdays — as I have prayed for this ordination — this song is a celebration of praise.  I cannot sing this song without thinking of the hands of the priest.  Enjoy and remember to pray for our new priests and for more vocations.

My Papa and the Year For Priests

My Papa & His Mother - St. Anthony's Hospital - Terra Haute IN - ca 1930

My Papa & His Mother - St. Anthony's Hospital - Terre Haute IN - ca 1930

My papa was born June 19, 1910.  Several years ago, I dabbled in genealogy research.   I bought the Family Tree Maker that came with records on lots of CDs.  I would pick up the project and put it down in spurts of interest.  In the Summer of 1998, I began attending Inquiry sessions to learn more about the Catholic Church.  My mom knew of my interest and it reminded her of some things about her father — my papa.  I don’t know if I’d heard the story before but it seemed I had not.  She said that her daddy and granny had moved to Terre Haute, Indiana after the accidental death of his father.  Dates confirm his death April 30, 1929.  All mom recalled is that they worked in a hospital and boarded at a convent.  Perhaps he had studied the church Catechism.  That Summer, I did my best to research for more information — even emailing a convent to find leads.  I became fascinated with the stories of women religious communities and was often sidetracked in my research.

Mom gave me a few items that were papas — an ebony crucifix that is about the size that would be worn on habit rosary — a medal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I wear to this day — two prayer pamphlets 1) “A Daily Visit to The Blessed Sacrament” IMPRIMATUR, William Turner, Bishop of Buffalo, and 2) “A Remembrance of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart” — and then there is papa’s journal.  Papa liked to write and he wrote two poems of Catholic influence dated 1929 and 1930. I have these old photos taken in front of a statue of St. Therese of Lisieux.  In faded pencil are written “Mother St. Anthony’s Hospital Terre Haute” on the back of one photo.  The other photo is written April 1930 on the back.

I was very prayerful as I discerned entering the Catachumenate — to formalize my intentions.  One night I had a dream.  I was sitting on a church pew — the front row — a deceased uncle was sitting on my left and I was looking down at the floor — a prayerful posture.  I was gazing down at shoes as I realized someone was standing in front of me.   I raised my eyes up to look into the smiling face and laughing eyes of my papa.  I felt assurance.   I put aside my genealogy ventures for quite some time.

The research spurt came more recently as Ancestry[dot]com brought research to a web based environment.  I played around with free access information.  I found census records for the various places my papa lived with his parents and sister.  In March 2007, I found the gem I’d been looking for — the 1930 Census taken of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana.  I scanned the names and there was my papa listed as a “painter” and my great-grandmother listed as a Widow and servant.  Papa was 19 and learned the painters trade while there–it was his lifelong profession.  My jaw dropped in amazement at the long list of Sisters names — the nuns — close to thirty names.  Many had German parents as I learned they were founded originally in Germany.  With this information, I learned that the hospital was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis — Franciscan nuns.  St. Anthony’s Hospital was a teaching hospital for nurses.  This order of Sisters founded several hospitals.  Even tonight as I write this, I’ve discovered an online book from the Vigo County library that tells of the hospital.

As these discoveries unfold, it is interesting that I find myself Catholic and a Franciscan.  I have no idea what sent my great-grandmother and my papa to Terre Haute — to those jobs at the Catholic hospital.  I don’t know how far my grandfather got with his study of the Catechism.  The hospital is no longer named St. Anthony’s and is Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

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Not only is it my papa’s birthday, it is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It is also the opening of the Year for Priests.

Another Atlanta Eucharistic Congress closes…

“As Grain Once Scattered…..” — the theme of this year’s Eucharistic Congress.   This year I helped process with my Secular Franciscan fraternity banner…

Immaculate Conception Fraternity of Secular Franciscans - Jonesboro, GA

Immaculate Conception Fraternity of Secular Franciscans - Jonesboro, GA

World Day of Prayer for Vocations and the Elijah Cup

A few weeks ago, I looked ahead at our Elijah Cup schedule and saw that the May 3rd 9:00 Mass was still open.  Perfect.  Nothing better than bringing the Elijah Cup home on the Sunday designated as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  In the many years my parish has participated in the Elijah Cup, this is only the second time I have signed up to bring it home.  I’ve never needed to have it in order to remember to pray for vocations.   We are asked to place it in a place of honor in our home. 

Elijah Cup in my home

Elijah Cup in my home

I did this upon returning home; however, when the tornado warning siren went off in my county, I snatched it and the prayer book up and raced to my basement.  While taking cover, with the cup clutched close to me, I browsed through the pages of the prayer journal that accompanies the cup.  I actually found my prayer dated – 2/11/01 – where I wrote, “I ask the Lord to guide and bless those of our youth who may be discerning a religious call in their life.”  It is indicative of my ministry at the time — Life Teen Core Team member.  It was very short while many of the entries are longer.  I was not yet fully professed with the Secular Franciscans.  Here and there I find entries with men named who have been ordained to the permanent diaconate or the son of a parishioner who was in the seminary — now fully ordained to the priesthood.  In the last year, I expanded my church family via the Internet and methods of new media.  I met Fr. Roderick Vonhogen,a priest in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, who has to bicycle between Masses at various parishes — there are not enough priests.  In the last year, I witnessed a friend’s ordination to the Transitional Diaconate.  My daily vocation prayer has become a familiar routine.  I do pray in general for a increase in vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate, and to religious life.  I also pray specifically for my friend, for the Franciscan family — most especially for the OFM Conventual Friars of the St. Anthony of Padua Province and for an increase in vocations to their way of life.  I pray specifically for Fr. Roderick and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood in The Netherlands.  Fr. Roderick reminds me of the severe shortage of priests in many parts of the world.  He shares so well and so honestly in many of his Daily Breakfast podcasts the challenges he faces.   Here is one of Fr. Roderick’s episodes with a lengthy opening segment on vocations that I highly recommend. Daily Breakfast 612 – Vocations  Click on arrow to play the MP3 file.

More information on the Elijah Cup from Serra Atlanta

For Extra Credit:   Fr. Roderick played some voice feedback I sent him in March about the Elijah Cup.  I was responding to his episode on Vocations from the above link.  Daily Breakfast 632 – Alien Potatoes  click the arrow button to play the MP3 file.  My feedback is near the beginning but the entire programs are usually around 27 minutes.  You will enjoy the entire episode.  Sometimes I’m in the chat room when he is live broadcasting the recording of his programs.  I was in the chat room during this episode.