It has been ages since last this blog has been updated. All I will say is that 2010 was a challenging year, however, I hope to write more in 2011. Part of that, will be to make some updates to this blog, but I also want to branch out a bit and allow myself a little more freedom in the type of posts. In particular, I want to focus on some of my own creative writing.
With that in mind, I’ve created a new space for this endeavour. It is not a replacement for this blog, but a complementary one. Here I can continue to discuss Catholic Art, and there I can perchance create some new, if quite small, contributions to that art.
Please take the time to peruse: informal letters.
What the iPad was truly meant for:
Thanks to musicasacra.com for their online PDFs of the Liber Usualis and the Parish Book of Chant (as well as many other Chant and polyphony resources).
Tradition and ritual can help us to create new roots in a new place. One of the great joys of being Catholic is the ability to walk into a parish in almost any place in the world, and even if the liturgy is not quite what one would like, it matters not, for there is the Body and Blood of Christ.
Every Easter, it is a Polish tradition to bless the food for the first meal of Easter on Holy Saturday. While growing up in the Chicago area, the largest speaking Polish population outside of Warsaw, it was not difficult to find a number of times and churches that would offer this special blessing.
Out here on the west coast, things are a bit more complicated. My wife and I have found the one Polish Deli in San Francisco (Seakor’s), and last weekend we went there to buy all the necessities: kielbasa, pierogi, chrzan (horseradish), and rye bread.
On Good Friday, we prepared additional foods like kolachy and made our own horseradish for the first time. My mother gave us this recipe, which is very simple, but includes the warning: “Please Note: When grinding horseradish the aroma is very strong and takes your breath away so you might have to run in another room for awhile.” I couldn’t help but thinking during these preparations about the women preparing Jesus’ body for the tomb.
And today, we trotted off early this morning to St. Dominic’s for a Tenebrae service, with our basket in hand. We had not gone two blocks, when a car pulled over by us. The young woman in the car jumped out, hurried to us and said “This is going to sound crazy, but are you taking that basket to be blessed? What parish are you going to?”
She went on to explain that she was from back East and this was the first time she had spent Easter in San Francisco. Her parents were in town and her father kept asking where they were going to go to bless their food, but she couldn’t find any parishes that were doing it.
We told her we were headed to St. Dominic’s. They didn’t have a special celebration for the blessing of baskets, but we had asked a priest the week before if we could bring a basket and have it blessed. The kind Dominican had suggested we come to the Tenebrae service on Holy Saturday, and that many priests would be around and it would be no problem.
She was thankful and excited that she had found a church, and St. Dominic’s actually happened to be her parish. We didn’t see her or her family at the service, but I hope that they came and were able to get their food blessed.
We did, and are now awaiting the dawn of our Redemption to take part in the Easter banquet. We are far from family, friends, and fellow Poles, but God touches us in these small things, and helps us to grow these new roots in a faraway place.
San Francisco – It is a city of fog and a city of food, and a strange place for a midwesterner to find himself.
My wife and I made the move about four months ago, and while the city has much to offer, we still feel somewhat out of joint here.
One gem we have found, however, is a parish called St. Dominic’s. It is, of course, run by Dominicans, and where there are Dominicans, beautiful music can usually be found. This is true of the parish, which has an 11:30 am Solemn Mass, with Gregorian propers and sacred polyphony. The church is gothic in design and includes flying buttresses added in the 80s for ‘seismic retrofitting.’ I laud the architect who decided to keep such retrofitting in the spirit of the building.
The parish seems to have a diverse set of liturgies. There is a 5:30 pm mass that is labeled as “contemporary.” My wife and I have not had the courage to attend said liturgy. They also have a Taize style candlelight mass at 9:00 pm. In having spent some time around the Catholic blogosphere, I’m amazed that the contemporary and solemn mass communities can coexist in the same parish!
And while it has been an adjustment to be in a new city, my wife and I have found much hope from this place, and much comfort from Christ’s presence there. On our first weekend at St. Dominic’s, the mass setting was Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi Munera, which just happened to be the mass setting we chose for our nuptial mass. In a new place, in a strange city, we felt God’s comforting embrace.
My wife and I have been relocated to San Francisco and we’ve just recently arrived to this city of fog. Needless to say, this has been at least one reason this blog has not seen an update in quite some time.
I’m hoping to start up again here; and in general, am trying to make a commitment to myself to write more. I’m also trying to convince my wife that I need a Macbook to help me in this endeavour. I’ll let you know how both of these goals progress…