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Fr. Erik posts on the many horrific items he has found in his church have amused me greatly because I have found many similar items in the churches where I have served, but today I found a real treasure amidst the items destined for the dumpster.

The choir loft at my church has two closets which are filled with everything from 70’s hymnals to old door frames. This morning I was clearing out some of the 70’s hymnals when I found a thick black book covered with a homemade covering of black fabric. I opened it and found page after page of Gregorian chant. Real Gregorian chant, Latin, complete with 4 line staff and square notes!

I flipped to the front of the book and read the title: Antiphonarium Romanum. I have never seen one of these before, but its fascinating. Now I have to find a way to use it. I wish I knew how to read real Gregorian Chant. Time to learn, huh?

Update: Brian helped me with the first part of reading chant: identifying the key. From there I took my newfound knowledge and found a few good pages online. The first is very simple and explains the different neumes and groupings of neumes. The second is more technical and in depth.
It’s official, I’m hooked. I still can’t get used to the idea that notes placed one over the other to mean to sing the bottom one first and the upper one second, but I am getting it.

Thanks to the lovely people at Doubleday I am being tempted away from my studies by two books. Reviews will be forthcoming as soon as I am able to find time to read these books. I will be heading to the western part of the U.S. next week for vacation, so I will have plenty of time to read then. 🙂

The first review will be of a book I blogged about previously: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s book “The Last Secret of Fatima” which will be released on May 6th. A preview copy has been sitting on my bookshelf for several weeks and words can’t explain how tempting is has been to abandon my textbooks and read this instead.

The second is a book I had never heard of until I recieved the copy in the mail. I originally had hoped to blog on it for St. Patrick’s Day, since it is a book of Irish blessings. “To Bless the Space Between us” was written by John O’Donohue, a priest who left his ministry for secular life. While I am neither a great fan of poetry or of priests who leave their ministry, after flipping casually through this book, I have found a few interesting poems.

Sometimes I marvel at the things the media thinks is newsworthy. Often they are simply random facts, other times interesting bits of trivia, or odd stories. Other times I marvel at the media’s ability to get things wrong, especially religious stories, and their ability to take religious stories out of context and blow them out of proportion.

This is one such story: My comments in red.

Vatican City, 28 March (AKI) – Pope Benedict XVI is a big fan of buffalo mozzarella cheese, and eats it often reported Italian daily Il Messaggero on Friday. (This is trivia, not news)

Pope Benedict XVI reportedly likes simple dishes and often receives buffalo mozzarella cheese as a gift from bishops from the Campania region in southern Italy where the best buffalo mozzarella is produced. (More trivia. I am sure many people from the Campania region give cheese as gifts to people from other areas.)

The cheese is given to Benedict’s policemen, who later ‘discreetly’ take the cheese to his apartment, Il Messaggero reported. (Uh-oh! Smuggling cheese. Why do I have a mental image of a cop smuggling cheese into the papal apartment under a black trenchcoat.)

Recently there have been fears the highly popular mozzarella cheese may have been contaminated by dioxins and other chemicals from illegally dumped toxic waste. (Great, so now we find out that the pope may be the victim of cheese poisoning. All kidding aside, there have been issues with this.)

Japan and South Korea have in recent days halted imports of buffalo mozzarella, and there are fears other countries could suspend imports. (Again, this is true)

In the supermarket located inside Vatican City, the dairy section is full of mozzarella cheese products from the southern region of Campania. (Even more shocking than the Vatican not banning the cheese is the fact that their supermarket sells cheese)

Reportedly, the cheese is prized among priests and nuns who visit the supermarket everyday to restock convents, institutes and monasteries. (Shocking! Priests and nuns prize cheese. What do they do with it?)

The cheese, prized for its subtle flavour, costs twice as much as mozzarella made with cows’ milk. It is eaten on top of pizza and also alongside prosciutto or with sliced tomatoes and basil. (Oh, they EAT it! By the way, I learned about the wonders of buffalo mozzarella in Rome. It makes regular mozzarella, well, I don’t want to think about regular mozzarella.)

Reportedly, and mozzarella cheese is often found in his plate, said Il Messaggero. (As it is found on on the plates of most residents of Italy.)

My conclusion: It’s a slow news day when the media runs a story about how the Pope likes cheese.

Tommorow’s headline: Vatican reports that Pope Benedict sleeps in a bed. Sorry, that is a article we will never see because everyone knows that priests and nuns are cyborgs created by the Vatican in an underground crypt under Castel Gandolfo. As the Ironic Catholic says, we Catholics “shed our green scaly skin at night and curl in a fetal position while we lull ourselves to sleep humming Gregorian chant”. Sometimes I really wonder if people think that.

This is completely off-topic, but I can’t help myself. Plus, it fits into my next post.

I found this advice on an AOL page.

Closet Crisis: Not having enough hangers has created piles of clothing on the floor.Storage Solution: Stock up on good, solid hangers that will keep your clothing in line. Hate hanging clothes? Perhaps you can make it fun with these NFL Wooden Hanger, which are available in the sporting team of your choice.

Slaps head! No way! The solution to not having enough hangers is to buy more. I guess that means that the solution to not having any more food in the refrigerator is to buy more too. Wow, that will really make life easier. All this time I thought I either had to wait for the angels to bring me the things I need or just live without it. I guess that means there are stores too. That brings me to my next thought, where did all these clothes come from?

As for hanging clothes: there is no way hangers with football logos is going to make hanging clothes fun. If it does, then you are either 5 or you’re crazy.

The Fishers of Men video is now available online through Catholic Online.

Click here to watch it.

As we celebrate of Resurrection of Our Lord,
I wish you God’s best blessings.
Know that you are always in my prayers
and please remember me in yours.
Happy Easter!
He is Risen, Alleluia!

I don’t have a picture of the vestments which will be worn by the clergy at the Papal Masses in New York, but I know where they are coming from.

They are being made by Stadelmaier, a company which is known for their…ummmm…unique designs. Expect more of the same. Also, the owner of the company which is providing all the liturgical supplies has announced that the Holy Father will be wearing his own vestments.

I have too much work to do right now to write my Spy Wednesday post, so it will remain trapped in my head.

I will let Clerical Whispers do the talking for me since his post is very similar to the one I intended to post.

Also, check out my post from last year which features Pope Benedict’s thoughts on the Triduum.

From VIS

The Holy See Press Office today published the programme of Benedict XVI’s forthcoming apostolic trip to the United States of America, including his visit to the headquarters of the United Nations, due to take place from 15 to 21 April.

The Pope will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at midday on Tuesday 15 April and land at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington at 4 p.m. local time, where he will be greeted by U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife.

The welcome ceremony will be held at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 16 April, after which the Pope will make a courtesy visit to the U.S. president at the White House. That afternoon he will preside at the celebration of Vespers and hold a meeting with U.S. bishops at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. on Thursday 17 April in the Nationals Stadium in Washington. At 5 p.m. on the same day he will participate in a meeting with representatives from Catholic universities at the Catholic University of America, also in Washington, then meet with representatives of other religions in the city’s Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre.

On the morning of Friday 18 April, the Holy Father will travel from Washington to New York where, at 10.45 a.m., he is scheduled to address the General Assembly of the United Nations. That evening he is due to participate in an ecumenical meeting at the church of St. Joseph in New York.

At 9.15 a.m. on Saturday, 19 April, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass with priests and religious in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He will then lunch with bishops of the archdiocese of New York and, at 4.30 p.m., preside at a meeting with young people and seminarians at the seminary of St. Joseph.

On Sunday 20 April, Benedict XVI is to visit “Ground zero” where he will pray for the victims of the attacks of 11 September 2001. At 2.30 p.m. he will celebrate Mass at New York’s Yankee Stadium.

The departure ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. on the same day, at New York’s John Fitzgerald Kennedy international airport. The papal plane is due to land at the Roman airport of Ciampino at 10.45 a.m. local time on Monday 21 April.

There is only one official place to get Papal Visit souvenirs online. The shop is not set up yet, but you can give your name and e-mail address to get notified when the store opens.

The address is http://www.papalvisit2008.com/

Happy Shopping!

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