Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato, MN

My wife and I were in Mankato this past weekend (on Father's day) and we attended Mass as Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.  This parish is run by a religious order called Institute of the Incarnate Word.

Mass was wonderful.  The priest used quite a bit of chant, which seems like a little thing, but it really helps me enter more deeply into the Mass.  Father prayed Eucharistic prayer #1.  This is my favorite prayer.  Especially this part:
Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.
 This parish did something interesting during communion they brought our a kneeler  and placed it in the front.  People had the option of kneeling and receiving the body of Christ on the tongue.  I have never seen this odne before.  It might have something to do witht he fact that this Parish has a regularly scheduled Extraordinary Form Mass.

After Mass we stayed to look at the many beautiful statues .  Guess who we found?

St. Aloysius Gonzaga
It was a great start to my Father's Day!

Monday, June 04, 2018

The Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Project

A little while ago my wife, who works as a campus minister, at the college here in town received a donation of a very beat up statue of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.  My wife and I have decided to take up the challenge of restoring this statue.  Let me share with you the challenge we are facing:

Meet St. Alyosius:  I suspect that this statue was purchased as a blank and that someone painted him by hand.  I am unable to find any images of him in this color, furthermore, these colors are not the usual color for this type of Catholic dress.

The top of his head is full of paint chips.  Notice that his tonsure is painted correctly.

His hands have been mangled.  In most of his artwork he is depicted adoring a crucifix.  It is clear that someone cut the crucifix from his hands in this statue.  

There is a sick call crucifix hanging on a wall nearby where I took this photo.  I slipped that into his hands so that I could get an idea what it would have looked like.

I was told that this statue was an outdoor statue.  Looking at the back of this statue I think I have a good idea how it was mounted:

In searching images of St. Alyosius I have manage to find statues that are close to this one to give me an idea of what I want it to look like.  This is the best one that I have found:

So you see what I mean about a challenge.  I also have zero experience in this kind of thing.  My wife if very good at painting ceramics so that should help a lot.  The first step, however, will be to find a place where we can start working on him.  I am toying with the idea of using one of the spare rooms in our house to work with him on, or maybe our garage.

I have a bit more research to do, but I plan on keeping a running update of our progress here.


It has been a while...

It has been 4 years since I last wrote on my blog.  I started this blog after joining the Catholic church.  I was full of excitement and eager to learn about being Catholic.  Over time that initial excitement faded and about the time of Pope Benedict's resignation I lost my desire to write about my journey.  I have several draft posts where I planned to share my thoughts and feelings about the 2 Popes, but they remain unfinished and will probably stay that way.

I am not going to lie, Pope Benedict's resignation and Pope Francis' election left me in a disillusioned state.  I am happy to report that, unlike past times, I did not run away from my faith when things that I did not like happened..  I continued to go to Mass, receive the Sacraments, and to pray.  These things, in my opinion, are key to getting through the rough spots in life.

We have some changes coming to our parish that I think are going to be very good.  Like all change there will be tough moments, however, the potential good that may come is enough to restore a bit of that initial excitement that I once had.  I also have a new project that I will be starting soon having to do with  Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.  It will be a huge challenge for me, but I am going to give it my best shot.   More on that in another post...


Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Apollonia

Feast Day: February 9th
Patron saint of Dentists and those suffering tooth pain or dental disease.

Saint Apollonia was an Christian virgin of, advanced age, living in Alexandria, Egypt.  She was killed by pagans during a local persecution around the year 249.  The details of her demise were documented in Eusebius's Historia Ecclesiae (Church History).  He records a letter that was sent from Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch.  Dionysius laments the treatment of several of his people.  Of Apollonia he says:

"At that time Apollonia, parthénos presbytis (mostly likely meaning a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death."

As far as historical documents go, this is all that is really known about Apollonia, however, after she was proclaimed a saint, her story evolved.  She went from a woman of advanced years to a young maiden.  Instead of having her teath knocked out, they were pulled out one at a time. Here is the legend that grew from her martyrdom:

There lived in Alexandria during the first half of the third century a very opulent magistrate, of unknown name. He had married a wife whom he loved devotedly, and who loved him fondly in return. The only blot on the happiness of this pair was the fact that they had no children. They addressed earnest and unceasing prayers to Juno, Ceres, Jupiter, all the gods, to grant unto them a son or daughter to inherit their vast wealth, but all without avail. Three pious pilgrims arrived in Alexandria, and went from house to house asking alms in the name of the Redeemer and the Blessed Virgin, his mother, for they were tired and hungry. The magistrate’s wife, seated at her window one day saw them, and heard their petition at a house across the way. Her interest was aroused by their strange words, and she called to them saying: “What sort of begging is that of yours, and who are the gods in whose name you ask?” Wherefore the pilgrims told her of Christ, His life and teaching. And she asked them if the Virgin Mar}’ would hear her if she prayed that a child might be given her, and the pilgrims replied that the Virgin would be gracious to her without any doubt. Then the wife of the magistrate fell on her knees and prayed long and fervently to the Holy Virgin, and her request was granted and a daughter was born to her, to whom she gave the name of Apollonia.

The child grew into a maiden as lovely and graceful as a flower, and as good and pure as she was beautiful. The family of a Roman magistrate quite naturally conformed to the established religion of the state, but the mother never ceased to talk to her daughter about the wonderful circumstances of her birth, and about Christ and the Holy Virgin to whom she had addressed her prayers. Apollonia drank in all the details, and as she got older there sprang up in her heart a strong desire to be baptized and become a Christian. And Heaven did not leave her helpless. An angel came to her one day and led her out of Alexandria into the desert to the cell of Leonine, a disciple of Saint Anthony. Apollonia told him her story and her wish to be a Christian, and Leonine baptized her forthwith. Hardly had he done so than another angel swooped down from Heaven, and throwing a garment of shining white about Apollonia cried: “This is Apollonia, the servant of Jesus; Go, now, to Alexandria and preach the faith of Christ.

Apollonia returned home filled with ecstasy and zeal. She went among the people and preached to them with wonderful eloquence, making many converts. Before long complaints concerning her and her doings began to pour in on her father. Why did he, a Roman magistrate, allow his daughter to break so flagrantly the laws of the Empire?

He, much disturbed, called Apollonia to him to explain her conduct. She defended herself with dignity and fervor, and still kept on with her preaching and conversions, until her father, beside himself with anger, gave her up to the Roman governor to be dealt with as a criminal. The governor ordered her to be taken into the temple of one of the pagan gods, Serapis, most likely, and bade her fall on her knees before the statue of the deity and adore it. Apollonia flatly refused to comply. She advanced haughtily to the statue, made the sign of the cross, and commanded the demon inside to depart. There was an awful rumble, a crash, a shriek, and from the broken image the demon fled, crying: “The holy virgin, Apollonia, drives me forth.”

This proceeding served to send the governor into a fit of violent wrath. At his bidding the girl was bound to a column, and one by one her beautiful teeth were all pulled out with a pair of pincers. Then a big fire was kindled, and, as Apollonia persisted in her faith, she was flung headlong into the blaze, and there gave up her soul to God, being borne to Heaven by His angels."


In paintings and statues, Saint Apollonia is pictured as a young woman.  In her hand, there is usually a pair of pincers holding a tooth.  She may also be holding a palm frond as a symbol of her martyrdom.

"Illustrious virgin martyr, Apollonia,
Pray to the Lord for us
Lest for our offenses and sins we be punished By diseases of the teeth."


“Eternally omnipotent God, for whose honor blessed Apollonia, virgin and martyr, steadfastly suffered the horrible crushing-out of her teeth, grant Thou as we desire, that we may be made happy in commemoration of her, thru whose most pious intercession we were freed from toothache and all imminent evils. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prayers that need to be revived

In my opinion Catholics everywhere need to start saying these prayers again. Often!

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bonfire of the Vanities: My Experimental 'Spirit of Vatican II' Liturgy

I wish this experiment would be tried here in New Ulm. I really think that we need to be able to experience this type of Mass more. We need it. Our souls need it.

Bonfire of the Vanities: My Experimental 'Spirit of Vatican II' Liturgy

Saturday, July 30, 2011

St Joseph's cathedral

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD has been reopened after a long renovation. From the picture below it looks wonderful. My family and I usually attend Mass there when we stay in Sioux Falls. I can't wait to see it in person.

St Peter Chrysologus

Saturday of week 17 of the year

or Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor

St Peter Chrysologus (380 - 450)

He was born and died in Imola in northern Italy. He was made bishop of Ravenna, the new capital of the Roman Empire, and was responsible for many of the building works there. The name ?Chrysologus? means ?golden speech?, and was given to Peter because he was such a gifted preacher; unfortunately, most of his writings have perished, and only a collection of short sermons remains.

--From RC Calendar iPad app

Friday, July 29, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ".

His mission intention is: "That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith".

US Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi dies

Prayers for the Archbishop and his family.

US Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi dies

2011-07-28 Vatican Radio

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., died Wednesday evening in Baltimore. 73 years old, he had suffered complications following lung surgery two weeks ago.

His family had travelled to the US to be with him and have asked bishops priests and lay faithful for their prayers.

Archbishop Sambi was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2005 as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He began his duties in Washington, D.C. in February of 2006. Previously he was Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia and Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

His funeral will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on Saturday August 6th –feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.