Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Alaska Project

Here's a little update on the project for the parish in Alaska that has been keeping me "too busy" for the past week or so.

First, here are a couple of "before" shots of the altar that is in the process of being transformed. I don't have any "after" shots yet.

I ordered the materials I needed, and the linen was the first to arrive. I had forgotten how labor-intensive linen can be. You wash it; you dry it; that's not so bad, because the machines do it. But then comes the ironing. You spritz it with a spray bottle of water, and you press. And you press some more. You press again. Some of the cloths are lo-o-o-n-g; the one that is the very top layer on the altar stretches from the floor on one side to the floor on the other, and in this case, that made a total of 138 inches, or almost 12 feet.

Then the fabric for the antependia and tabernacle veils arrived. There's such something exciting about rolls of uncut fabric!

Then the assembly began. The green was the first to be completed; here it is in a couple of stages:

Next, the matching tabernacle veil:

Here's the violet one in progress:

No project is without its moment of panic, right? This fabric is lightweight polyester, and is very susceptible to melting at the touch of a steaming iron. And yet, it needs to be pressed now and then! Well, my iron surprised me with an extreme blast which resulted in some damage:

Actually, it didn't look as bad as the picture shows; the lighting was not good and the colors are not true. Those holes were very small, and I put a piece of the fabric behind them and stitched over the raised threads of the heart shape. When I finished, it was barely noticeable (I circled the damaged spot in red on this photo):

Here's the finished product:

Then I went through the same process for the violet (without the burning/melting episode, though, thanks be to God! I have revised my ironing technique, and now place a piece of cotton/poly fabric over the liturgical fabric before pressing/steaming.)

I finished the white tabernacle veil last night, and will have the whole project completed soon! As soon as the parish gets things set up, I'm hoping they will send me some "after" photos, which of course I will share here!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Too Busy

I have suddenly become way too busy. 

One part of that "busy-ness" is very gratifying to me, though: I am working on a set of altar paraments for a parish in Alaska. This involves constructing a cover for the altar onto which the various antependia can be mounted; sewing the antependia and matching tabernacle veils; and providing linen cloths for the altar and credence table as well. 

In addition, it's a kind of a "rush job", as the parish would really like to have everything by the end of the month. The problem with that was that I had to order the materials, and some of them arrive more quickly than others.

It's a big job, but I really enjoy this work!

However, the crunch is on, and I am devoting most of my spare moments to the project. I will not be posting here for several days, at least, I think. 

But in the meantime, here are some more pretty pictures of our rugged Eastern Oregon winter:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Empty Nest...Again

Our daughter turned 21, and has moved out of the house for the second time. The two aren't really related, but in my mind, the one makes the other all the more appropriate.

I don't really feel that "empty nest" feeling, though. I feel relief, mostly! There comes a time when a young adult really needs to live on her own, I think. I don't want to be as aware of every detail of her life as I am when she lives at home. She's an adult. She knows right from wrong. If she's living her life in a way that is not exactly the way I would arrange it for her, well, that's probably a good thing! I can't live her life for her, and she doesn't want me interfering!

She moved back home after the first flight from the nest primarily because of finances. It's difficult to find full-time work in this town, and even though she had a good-paying job, it was hard for her to make ends meet. We are all hoping this time will work out a little better. She still isn't really in a full-time job, but she generally can pick up enough hours to create a decent income.

So, here we are, giving it a second shot. I think everyone is satisfied with the arrangement. 

There have been quite a few trips to town and back in the last few days. Here are some pretty Eastern Oregon winter photos.

A moon photo that almost works!

It's been very foggy the past several days.

When the clouds lift a bit, spectacular views are revealed.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Most Holy Name of Jesus

This is the hymn for Vespers for the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. I have always loved the melody of this hymn, and I was paying particular attention to the lyrics this time. The translation below is not exactly the same as in the book I was using, but it will do.

(Sorry about the formatting glitch in the last stanza; I don't have the patience to fix it right now!)

Jesu dulcis memoria,
Dans vera cordis gaudia:
Sed super mel, et omnia,
Ejus dulcis praesentia.

Nil canitur suavius,
Nil auditur jucundius,
Nil cogitatur dulcius,
Quam Jesus Dei Filius.

Jesu spes poenitentibus,
Quam pius es petentibus!
Quam bonus te quaerentibus!
Sed quid invenientibus?

Nec lingua valet dicere,
Nec littera exprimere:
Expertus potest credere,
Quid sit Jesum diligere.

Sis, Jesu, nostrum gaudium,
Qui es futurus praemium:      
Sit nostra in te gloria,          
Per cuncta semper saecula.                                                                
*** *** *** *** ***                                 

Jesu, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest Name,
O Saviour of mankind!

O Hope of every contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but his loved ones know.

Jesu, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
Jesu, be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.                                                              

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Priest's Hands

In his book, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church, author Peter Kwasniewski discusses the priesthood in a number of different contexts. Consider this paragraph (with my emphases):

Preparing for Mass
…The priest’s hands are specially consecrated with holy oil – why? So that he may rightly and fittingly handle the Blessed Sacrament; that he may handle God Incarnate. His hands are sanctified in view of touching and administering the holy gifts. A layman’s hands are not consecrated in this way. We receive the Blessed Sacrament from the hands of the priest, like a baby bird being fed in the nest by its parent. From this symbolic vantage, it is utterly inappropriate that the priest put the host into our hands, so that we may then administer communion to ourselves, symbolizing that we owe our nourishment to our own action, as dutiful democratic Pelagians would have it… [T]he priest is a man set apart by Holy Orders, and his hands, too, like the rest of his powers of body and soul, are dedicated to sacred service. Communion in the hand, therefore, helps create and support that noxious atmosphere of egalitarianism, horizontalism, and activism that has stifled the Church’s spiritual life in the past half-century. (p. 101-2)

I don’t remember exactly when I switched from receiving Holy Communion in the hand to receiving on the tongue, but I think I made that switch before I had actually experience the EF Mass. It was a result of what I experienced in the way a very reverent priest celebrated novus ordo Mass (ad orientem and in Latin) before Summorum Pontificum took effect. I had become aware of the basic concept of the priest’s consecrated hands. Before that, I had been a “Eucharistic minister”, but I abandoned that “ministry”. And long before that, I had ceased taking Holy Communion to the homebound, because it just didn’t seem right for me, a layperson, to be handing the Blessed Sacrament that way.

In The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Sister Emmerich’s veneration of a priest’s hands is mentioned in a number of places. Sometimes she sought just to touch her confessor’s hand, knowing the power of its consecration. She knew how special that consecration is. Here’s an excerpt I read the other day:

…And of the priest’s consecrated fingers [Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich] says that were his body fallen to dust and his soul in Hell, yet will the consecration still be recognized in the bones of the fingers; they will burn with an altogether peculiar fire, so ineffaceable is the mark.

While Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s pronouncements are not dogma, this certainly gives one pause, does it not? The priest’s hands are specially consecrated; that is something we forget with the endless processions of “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist” from amongst the laity.  Ponder that next time you are at Mass and see lay people administering the Host at Holy Communion! Think of that when you see people receiving Holy Communion in their unconsecrated hands – the very Body of Christ, casually given and received by the hands of the laity!!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.