Tag Archives: holidays

Newman Club Holy Week Activities

I’m sorry for not posting this sooner.

This year for Holy Week Carnegie-Mellon is hosting what amounts to the full Monastic liturgical schedule of the Divine Office. The Office is the public prayer of the Church, consisting mostly of psalms and biblical readings. The Vespers said on Sundays at the Oratory and Compline said daily at CMU are parts of the Office, but for Holy Week we will be breaking out the full liturgy. We will also be turning CMU’s chapel into something that actually looks like a Church. There will be candles, chanting, and yes Eddie, incense. These offices will be done as “Reader Services” (as we aren’t forcing the priests to put in more work than they already do during Holy Week). This means that we need people who can sing (still come if you can’t). If you have the slightest idea how singing goes (even better if you’re familiar with Gregorian or Byzantine chant) let our Pitt VP, Steven Kesslar, know so that he can send you the texts/music so that we can sound a little better. If you don’t know how to sing a brief tutorial is all you need (most of the parts only have two notes). We need three leaders for each office and some powerful people in the choir (that’s everyone else, liturgically speaking). So volunteer! Steven’s e-mail address is anthrakeus@gmail.com.

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Since When is the Easter Bunny Christian?

I can sort of understand the hubbub that surrounded Christmas trees on municipal property, but this is ridiculous.

"Tyrone Terrill, the human rights director at St. Paul City Hall in Minnesota, has evicted a toy rabbit, colored eggs and a sign with the words ‘Happy Easter’ from the premises. The display, which was in the lobby of the municipal building, was expelled on the grounds that the Easter Bunny might offend non-Christians."

I have a news flash for you Mr. Terill.  The Easter Bunny is pagan in origin.

Remember That You Are Dust, And To Dust You Shall Return

“Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

On the first day of Lent we heard these words (adapted from Genesis 3:19) spoken as a priest dipped his thumb in ash and made the sign of the cross on our foreheads. They served as an outward sign of an inner penance and a symbol of mortality. We wore those ashes for the remainder of the day, or at least until they rubbed off. Wherever we went and whatever we did, we were witnesses to the faith. Those who saw us know that we have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and hope to share in His resurrection.

More people attend Ash Wednesday mass than Christmas or even Easter, the holiest day of the year. That alone is impressive, but more impressive is the fact that it’s not even a Holy Day of Obligation. We are obliged to attend Sunday mass and a handful of special occasions, but that rarely guarantees universal or even majority attendance. A recent survey found that only a third of those who identify themselves as Catholic attends mass weekly. Yet a great many of the remaining two-thirds will take time out of their work day to attend a morning or midday Ash Wednesday mass to receive ashes.

Why do people make such special efforts? Would we still attend if we didn’t have something to show for it? Are we publicly displaying our piety, real or pretended, seeking the admiration of men?

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Nineteen Years Ago Today…

On February 14, 1987, my roommate Bob and I headed off to dinner together at Liberty University’s food service hall, like we did just about every evening. The food this evening was far better than usual, the tables were decorated, and the lights were dim, for this night for some was a celebration of St. Valentines’ Day, the food service company did its best to make the evening pleasant for those unable or not disposed to celebrate in a more expensive manner. For juniors Bob and me, it was merely dinner… a much yummier dinner than usual, mind you, but still merely dinner.


A spunky sophomore named Robin Hall, with whom I had recently made only the slightest acquantaince happened to work part-time there at the food service hall. Perhaps she and her coworkers were just a bit tipsy with the spirit of impertinent commentary on all the gussied-up couples parading though the lines on this romantic evening, or perhaps for some reason lost to the sands of time this young woman thought to ask me and Bob where our dates were. I retorted, "What’s it to ya?" or something to that effect. Robin was I think taken a bit aback by this rejoinder, but I don’t recall what specific words immediately followed.


Bob and I discussed the matter merrily over dinner. During a trip back up for seconds (recall the food was much yummier than usual), I asked Robin if she would like to go get a cup of coffee with me after her shift was over. She said she would, tho’ I don’t think she drank any coffee. And thus, nineteen years ago this day, we had our first date. On that same night, upon dropping her off at her dorm minutes before curfew, as I walked around to open the door for her, she stole the keys out of the ignition while my ’71 Chevy Impala was running. Less than two years later, we were married. In 1991, she gave birth to our first child. In June of this year, if all goes well, she will give birth to our sixth.


That evening was an improbable beginning to a even less probable lifelong convergence of two previously independent lives. And I thank God for improbabilities.


Happy Valentines’ Day, Sweetie!

Merry Christmas

My wife and I wish a blessed Christmas to everyone, and especially to regular readers
of this blog. Don’t forget there are still ten days left in the Christmas season.
In the midst of the so-called War on Christmas, it’s easy to forget that receiving
gifts and being merry are nice, but giving love and being thankful are far superior.