Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Roscommon's Holiest Mountain"

The annual Sliabh Bán Pilgrimage in Co Roscommon takes place today.
 Sliabh Bán hill lies between Strokestown and Ballyleague, and the pilgrimage follows the route taken by monks who lived in Cloontuskert Abbey founded by St Brendan and St Faithleach in 520 AD.
So says the Shannonside News page.  And it points out that it will probably be the last one.  The powers-that-be have decided to install a herd of wind turbines that will effectively block it off.

What's being lost:

Sliabh Bán and its southern ridge Fairymount are both an intrinsic part of the Cruachan complex of archaeological sites near Tulsk, identified as the site the traditional capital of Connacht, and are named in the epic Táin Bó Cúalnge.
The mountain has at least seven ring forts on its slopes, two near the summit. Most of these are now visible only on the old maps, as Coillte planted spruce trees on and around them in the period before this became illegal.
Further testimony that the mountain was a place of religious significance in prehistoric and mythic times was uncovered by the local people who erected the cross on the summit in the Marian year of 1950; they discovered ancient bones when they were digging the foundations.
Sliabh Bán is threaded by an ancient walkway which connects Cloontuskert Abbey on its east, and Lisonuffy Abbey to its west. It was used by monks passing between the two establishments. In 2003 the path was cleared and made passable again in accordance with the 1840 map of the area, with the help of a FAS Community work scheme.
Coillte supported the FAS scheme that cleared the monastic track. However they have recently destroyed a section of it once again by widening an access road.
There is a 17th century Mass Rock on Sliabh Bán, and in 2002/3 a route to it was cleared by a FAS scheme in association with the local community. A photo and directions to it are available in the ‘Walking Through Time’ pamphlet. It is sited very near to a proposed turbine and it it doubtful whether it would survive the construction process: its peace and sanctity certainly would not.
Read the rest here.

The main page is here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Found While Looking for Something Else

ADDENDUM:  This post would have made a lot more sense yesterday -- what with allusions to nostalgia and all -- had I remembered to mention that the video cited is from 1931.  I.e.,  the "New Lord Abbot" hasn't been new in 83 years.  So, once again, bearing the date 1931 in mind, herewith:

"The New Lord Abbot receives the Abbatial Blessing at Mount Melleray" says the title of this silent video:

We don't actually get to see an abbatial blessing. What it is, is about two minutes worth of procession into the monastic chapel by assorted clerics and religious: lots of lace-on-cottas, old religious habits (I noted after a couple of run-throughs Franciscans, Dominicans, one each Redemptorist, Passionist, and Discalced Carmelite, and perhaps a couple of Augustinians).   There are a few clerics wearing what look like papal mozettas  --  I suspect they're canons of the local diocese.  A pair of cappae magnae bring up the rear.

It's a delight to see in the beginning and in the end kind of sad and nostalgic, remembering the stark-white polyester nightgowns that make up clerical processions in the 21st century.  (They seem to be called "cassockalbs", God help us.)


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mass of Easter Day

 photo 0e222e2b-0b17-407a-9ad4-5e61fe64f1d9_zps36178787.jpg
Easter at Bl John Henry Newman Catholic Church of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

Yes,  yes, of course there was a congregation. It's just that no one sat in the front row.

And it was a beautiful Easter Mass.  It seems to me our little chapel should be filled (even the front row) and all of Orange County clamouring to get in.  But they weren't.  Hmm.  Another of the increasing number of things in life I don't understand.

But as for me:

 "I was glad when they said unto me: We will go into the house of the Lord."


One Ha'penny . . .

. . . two ha'penny, hot cross buns.

In the dear, dead days of my youth we used to buy them - or occasionally make them -- on Good Friday and eat them on Easter Sunday.  Officially.  One,  of course,  might turn up as part of the "single normal sized meal" allowed on Good Friday.  Or one might comprise the breakfast on Holy Saturday.  But officially they were a treat for Easter Sunday no matter what others might do.

Chambers' wonderfully eclectic and occasionally accurate Book of Days has something to say about hot cross buns:

A superstition regarding bread baked on Good Friday appears to have existed from an early period. Bread so baked was kept by a family all through the ensuing year, under a belief that a few gratings of it in water would prove a specific for any ailment, but particularly for diarrhea. We see a memorial of this ancient superstition in the use of what are called hot cross-buns, which may now be said to be the most prominent popular observance connected with the day. 
In London, and all over England (not, however, in Scotland), the morning of Good Friday is ushered in with a universal cry of Hot Cross-Buns! A parcel of them appears on every break-fast table. It is a rather small bun, more than usually spiced, and having its brown sugary surface marked with a cross. Thousands of poor children and old frail people take up for this day the business of disseminating these quasi-religious cakes, only intermitting the duty during church hours; and if the eagerness with which young and old eat them could be held as expressive of an appropriate sentiment within their hearts, the English might be deemed a pious people. The ear of every person who has ever dwelt in England is familiar with the cry of the street bun-vendors: 
One a penny, buns,
Two a penny, buns,
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross-buns! 
Whether it be from failing appetite, the chilling effects of age, or any other fault in ourselves, we cannot say; but it strikes us that neither in the bakers' shops, nor from the baskets of the street-vendors, can one now get hot cross-buns comparable to those of past times. They want the spice, the crispness, the everything they once had. Older people than we speak also with mournful affection of the two noted bun-houses of Chelsea. Nay, they were Royal bun-houses, if their signs could be believed, the popular legend always insinuating that the King himself had stopped there, bought, and eaten of the buns. Early in the present century, families of the middle classes walked a considerable way to taste the delicacies of the Chelsea bun-houses, on the seats beneath the shed which screened the pavement in front. An insane rivalry, of course, existed between the two houses, one pretending to be The Chelsea Bun-house, and the other the Real Old Original Chelsea Bun-house. Heaven knows where the truth lay, but one thing was certain and assured to the innocent public, that the buns of both were so very good that it was utterly impossible to give an exclusive verdict in favour of either.
Things may have gotten even worse since Chambers' day (which according to the imprint was 1867, if you were wondering.)  Look at that picture again.  That's not where the cross goes.  Hmpf.  Although to tell the truth, mine tasted pretty good.

I may have another.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday II

Good Friday is also the start of the Divine Mercy Novena.  Leaving Sr Faustina's diary in the middle of the kitchen table makes a pretty good reminder should you be the sort who forgets to begin novenas. Or continue novenas.  At least it's worked so far.  One down, eight to go.

(There's a website on the Divine Mercy devotion here.  A link to the novena text is about 15 or so lines down the table of contents on that page.)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

The Rome of a thousand years ago and more as related by the Blessed Cardinal Schuster in his Liber Sacramentorum:

Christ had said, Non capit prophetam perire extra Hierusalem; for this reason the station is held today in the basilica known as Sancta Hierusalem, to which the Pope formerly went barefoot, walking in procession from the Lateran. He swung, as he went, a censer filled with precious perfumes before the wood of the true cross, carried by a deacon, whilst the choir sang Psalm csviii: Beati immaculati in via.
Originally, as a sign of deep mourning, this day was aliturgical, as were usually all the Fridays and Saturdays of the year in Rome. Thus, when towards the sixth century the rigour of the ancient rule was somewhat relaxed and the Friday stations of Lent were instituted, the Popes still continued for many centuries the ancient Roman usage, which excluded even the Mass of the Presanctified on this day. Therefore the present rite does not go back beyond the Middle Ages, and represents the order used in the titular churches in Rome, in which the Pope was never present.
The Adoration of the True Cross on Good Friday was taken, as we have already said, from the Liturgy of Jerusalem, where it was already in use towards the end of the fourth century. Indeed, for a long time, in the West also, this adoration formed almost the most important and characteristic part of the ceremony, the central point, as it were, of the whole Liturgy of the Parasceve. Ecce lignum crucis: this is the beginning of the parousia of the divine judge, and at the sight of the triumphal banner of redemption, whilst the Church prostrates herself low in adoration, the powers of hell flee away terror-stricken into the abyss.
In Rome in the Middle Ages the papal reliquary containing the true cross was sprinkled with perfumes, indicating thereby the sweetness of the grace which flows from the sacred wood, and the inner unction and spiritual balm which the Lord pours into the hearts of those who carry the cross for love of him. 
According to the Ordines Romani of the eighth century, today's ceremony took place partly in the Sessorian Basilica and partly in the Lateran. Towards two o'clock in the afternoon the Pope and palatine clergy moved in procession barefoot from the Lateran to the stational basilica, where the Adoration of the Cross took place, followed by the reading of the Passion according to St John, and the Great Litany for the various ecclesiastical orders and for the necessities of the Church. The procession then returned to the Lateran. Singing as they walked the psalm Beati immaculati in via. On this day of sadness neither the Pope nor the deacons received Holy Communion, but the people were free to do so either at the Lateran, where one of the suburbicarian bishops celebrated, or at any of the titular churches in the city.
Towards the ninth century the rite was somewhat altered. The Adoration of the Cross was deferred until after the Litany, which was followed by the Pater Nostertogether with the Communion of those who were present. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament did not take place at that point, the ceremony ending with the Pope's blessing – “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” – to which the assembly replied: “Et cum spiritu tuo”. Everyone then recited privately the Vesper psalms, after which all went off to break their fast.

And if you were wondering, no, I have no idea why the font size changes in the above quote.  It's not that way in the original and it's not that way on the work page.  Blogspot just decided to do it.  Mysterious are the ways of Blogspot, its wonders to perform.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Advice on a Sunday Afternoon

From Professor Wilson, late of the University of South Carolina:

Those who are still addicted to the useless and indeed pernicious vice of following U.S. politics—let me urge you to go into recovery now. The habit of abstinence must be well-established soon  or you will be tempted by the hoopla of the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes. The primaries are only two years away and the uproar will start long before that. Without a determined recovery you will have to endure an endless carnival  of water temperature testing, trial balloon floating, absurd and short-lived ambitions and enthusiasms, and arrant speculation. It will all be pointless and ephemeral and have absolutely no relevance to any genuine process for selecting the next “Leader of the Free World” and Great Decider.

There is no hope  that any statesmanship or even real leadership can emerge from the carnival. The American political system, and alas probably also the American people,  left behind any such possibility long ago. What we will see is a contest of superficial celebrity backed by special-interest pandering that can have no meaning for any serious lover of his country. In case you haven’t noticed, the U.S. is now a glorified banana republic culturally and politically, if not quite yet economically and militarily.

There is more here but you have just read what you need to take away with  you.


Some Piping for the Weekend

Some outstanding uilleann piping this week.  Here Tommy Martin plays a knockout rendition of what The Fox Chase.  Listen for the dogs, the fox, and the hunting horn.  The couple of tunes whose names I knew were The Foxhunt and An Maidrín Rúa. There are more.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Mozilla, etc.

The very best commentary on the Mozilla/Eich kerfuffle can be found here:  The Eich Affair: Why Conservatives are Wrong

That's the first post.  There are two more (so far) following here and here.   They're longish, but well-worth your time.

In summary:  conservatives continue to play by the liberal rules and with liberal principles assumed.  Catholics should do better.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A Brief History of April Fool's Day

The "Brief History" itself is here.

You probably know a good deal of it already.  But I did want to post something about the day in order to segue into a warning about Damian Thompson's blogpost on the day.  Really.  Don't go there.  It could cause a seizure.  Particularly if you don't know the meaning of Aprilis Stulte Dies.  Or if, like I did, you sort of breeze by it without paying any attention to the meaning but just sort of getting distracted by the odd grammar.

I'm only calming down now.