Month: March 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

sacred triduum

Holy week. It began last Sunday, Palm Sunday. When Jesus rode through the streets, praised as the Lord and Master. Heady times. While Christmas is a beloved holiday for Catholic Christians, the Roman Catholic liturgical year begins with Advent. But, it is in Holy week we begin to understand what Catholicism really means. Advent prepares us for the Christmas event, the coming of Christ on earth. But, Lent. Lent prepares us for what it means to have faith, to believe in a life after death. It is best explained in my favorite prayer. The Anima Christi, a prayer from the 14th Century, attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola. Fitting, right? Today, with a Jesuit Pope.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me, Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from the side of Christ, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me. Awesome words, prayerful words. Words of hope and trust, faith! But it is in the second part that I find comfort. Oh good Jesus, hear me, within thy wounds hide me, suffer me not to be separated from thee. From the wicked enemy defend me, in the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to Thee, that I may praise Thee with Thy saints, forever and ever. Amen.    

Starting with Holy Thursday, we begin the journey. On Good Friday we mourn a sacrifice so great that it saves the world. When I was growing up it was Holy Saturday, where we understood what was to come, Resurrection, but it had not yet occurred. That happened gloriously, on Easter Sunday. Now we celebrate the Easter Vigil mass. We start with a new fire, bless and prepare the Paschal Candle that burns brightly throughout the Easter Season. We rejoice in Christ redeemed, for us.

Sacred indeed!


Search and re-search. Or is it research? I’m working on a non-fiction project. It’s taken me years to get to it. No, literally years. Not because I was so busy, but because I had no idea how to write it, what was important, why I wanted it to be out there, other than the fact that it has stayed with me for years. I was first interested in the subject in 1961, so yes, really, years, a bunch of them.

I’ve diddled around the edges. Been interested and then forgot. When the subject came up I read. But I did not seek out information. I didn’t search or re-search or research. But then, out at SCBWI LA a couple of years back, I attended a bunch of the sessions on non-fiction. It was enlightening and exciting and I felt really really dumb. I couldn’t figure out what I knew that would be interesting in non-fiction.

I have a BA in History. I love history. When I was in fifth grade I told my parents that was what I would study in college. My problem was that history was fascinating, but the tests weren’t and so the grades didn’t really match up to the appeal of the subject. When I graduated from Pepperdine with a MBA, my Dad questioned me, I was so good at the business side, why didn’t I get my undergrad in business. Well, I thought college was supposed to be a time of exploring, thinking, learning what ever came my way. History gave me that. I could study anything, literature, science, math, business, and it was all legit. Everything has a history, right?

But the bottom line was I had veered from that path far into Fortune 500 companies. Seriously? What kid would want to know about those? So when pressed about writing a non-fiction, I was baffled. I thought I knew nothing. Both  Melissa Stewart and Alexis O’Neill told me to figure it out. And they were right. And, all the time it was right on the wall in front of my desk.

And the searching, which is just the looking for stuff, has to come before the re-searching, which is looking more closely at the stuff,  and researching, which is an orderly looking at the stuff that’s important. First I read about the part that had made me fascinated so many years ago. Then I read the really really dry academic part. Then I re-searched.

And, I’m finding that all those skills, talents and joy that I found in the fifth grade, that made me curious but not academic, are coming back. It’s really all in the search!



When Bayley was in elementary school we would talk about time and Bayley time. She seemed to operate on her own internal clock which had no regard for any input outside of her. My mom was pretty much the same way, maybe even worse and always made me wonder if there is a time gene in that whole genome study. If there was, I got the Z side to the A that was my mom or vice versa.

Lucyle would be late for Mass, late for parties, late for class, and, she was the teacher! Sunday morning Dad would be ready, dressed and in the living room, back when Mass was only on Sunday. He would patiently wait, and when we would walk in late, Dad was okay with that, seemed okay with that. He loved Mom and he was excellent in loving her.

Me? It drove me nutzy! And I saw the impact it made on others who were waiting for her, besides Dad that is. And I know it shaped my own timesense, how I look at time, what I do with time and how I value time for myself and for others.

My biggest struggle as an adult was, is, living in the present. Because I lived with Mom’s singular timesense, and for years was ruled by it, I look at time as a commodity and something to value for others.  I have no clue if Mom cared or even realized how her own sense of time, or lack thereof, went down with those in her social circle. I know at school, Mother Amadea, the school principal, never worried about Mom’s class. Those kids wouldn’t be caught dead doing something wrong, ’cause Mrs. Hannick’s soft voice and deadly stare was terrifying. Well, maybe not so much to me, but to others, well, yeah!

Every once in a while I wondered if Mom was embarrassed by her lack of timeliness. She’d give that little giggle and she’d be this very charismatic person and people would forgive her. I also disliked that. If you were on time, there was no need to be in someone else’s forgiveness. But, it didn’t seem to bother mom.

Last Monday, because we rarely set an alarm now that Tom’s retired, we had to be out of the house by a certain time, get the dogs to the groomers for their monthly bath and then to the CPA who is doing our taxes. I’m dashing around, trying to get something to eat, getting the car set up to transport the puppies and Tom is brushing his teeth, shaving, showering, dressing and getting the dogs’ food ready. I’ve done all that, well not the shaving, and sorted the laundry, made the beds, gotten the newspapers and he’s just putting down the dogs’ food. Sigh.

Bayley got a double whammy on that time gene, the A, or Z, from both a grandparent and her father.


March 19. The feast of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, father, well, of sorts, of Jesus. In my family we always said this was Dad’s feast day, for St. Joseph the Worker. Not that there wasn’t a Saint James, but there are a bunch of them and who knew which James Dad was named for. So Mom called it. March 19.

Raised in California we always knew this was the day the swallows returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano. A beautiful mission, the oldest in building in California still in use, since 1782, we never went on St. Joseph’s Day. It was full of tourists and gawkers. We went on an off day, not even a Sunday, to Mass in the coolness of the mission. All the missions were cold. You went in the middle of summer, you brought a jacket. The deep and wide walls created a stillness and a chill, and you welcomed it when it was ninety-five degrees outside.

It’s very fitting that Pope Francis chooses March 19 for his installation as St. Joseph was declared  the patron saint and protector of the Universal Church by Pius IX. It’s also the day the swallows come to San Juan Capistrano. Swallows, a favorite bird of St. Francis of Assisi. It is considered the ‘miracle’ as they return each year at the same time, to nest, to spend the summer growing as a flock and then to leave on the October 23.

March 19. A feast day.


habaem papum

In my lifetime there have been seven popes. I was born during the papacy of Pius XII. And remember clearly the election of John XXIII [and how his taking the name XXIII affirmed the antipapal status of the anti-pope of the Western Schism].  Probably the first time I heard Viva Il Papa! There was the immense impact of Vatican II and how it changed our lives but not our faith.

I remember the controversy over Pius XII, the second world war, the Vatican neutrality, Jews and Hitler. It’s a bit vague but still. After John, Paul VI. Tom and I have a certificate from Rome, still in it’s cylinder with the Vatican City stamps, a blessing on our marriage by Paul VI. And then the quick Papacy of John Paul I. It was, then it wasn’t. And, John Paul II. JP2 we called him, almost from the beginning. He was the first Pope who was more than Italian, who was out there, in the public eye. A catholic rock star! And he was good for the church people but maybe, in a historical sense, not so good for the church management. It’s hard to be a rockstar and a CEO. And, God Love him, Benedict XVI. No doubt in my mind a good and holy man, who had the moral courage to take a step that had not been trod in centuries…the wisdom to understand the church needed different guidance, and the light of the holy spirit to be able to accept what many would question.

Habaem Papum. Viva Il Papa!

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