Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The Refectory is the monastic term for dining room. Here, our refectory is shown as prepared for a special celebration.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Prickly Pear Cactus

The Prickly Pear Cactus is from the Opuntia family and also known as Nopales or Paddle Cactus. We have a few of these on our property. They are especially beautiful this time of year when they are blooming. In the picture, the orange colored blooms are the buds that will morph to a leaf and the dark red fruit in the right corner is the prickly pear.

The plant itself can be made into a Mexican delicacy. The pad is prepared by removing the spines and sauteed in a chili sauce. My grandmother used to make this all the time because she had this plant growing in her garden.

The prickly pear fruit can also be eaten. In my former life, as a restaurateur, I served these in that popular mexican beverage that goes in a blender!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A child's perspective

We are blessed with many friends and benefactors at the monastery. Many share our lives in different ways, so, some get to know us pretty well. I received this birthday card from a young friend who shared her perspective of me. I find it interesting because it doesn't portray me in what I believe are my greater contributions to the life of the monastery. It's a good reminder that our simple and more humble duties are often of greater service to others.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vesting for Mass

The framed maxim above the mirror reads:

Priest of God, say this Mass as if it were your first Mass;
as if it were your last Mass;
as if it were your only Mass.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Now that the celebration is over, it's back to work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Masses of Thanksgiving

Although the first Mass of a newly ordained Priest is the ordination Mass itself, it is custom for the newly ordained to have a "First Mass of Thanksgiving". Our two new priests celebrated their Masses of Thanksgiving the day after their ordination. Although this Mass is primarily thanksgiving to God, the new priest also remembers all those who assisted and encouraged him on his journey toward the priesthood, especially his family, friends and benefactors.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Priestly Ordination

Two of our Brothers were ordained to the Sacred of Order of Priests today. Part of the Rite or Ordination includes the anointing of hands.

Anointing with oil stems from the Old Testament and indicates that someone or something is being set apart for a sacred task or duty. The anointing of the hands signifies that the hands of the newly ordained priest are being prepared for the sacred duties and vessels which will be part of the priestly ministry, for example, offering the bread and the wine, anointing the sick and blessing people. The bishop says as he anoints the hands: "The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

Looking west from the monastery hill top around 8:45 p.m.
This is a raw picture; colors were as the camera captured them.
For more Skywatch from around the world, go to www.skyley.blogspot.com

Year for Priests

I have been reflecting on the Priesthood a lot during these last few days; one of my religious brothers celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination last Tuesday, today is my 4th anniversary of ordination, Saturday two of our brethren are being ordained, and tomorrow begins the "Year for Priests" as designated by our holy father, Pope Benedict XVI. The year for priests is designed to call priests to greater holiness and to encourage people to pray for priests and to pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The May Procession and Crowning of an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Catholic tradition that originated in the 18th century.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Candle lighting

One of the Brothers preparing the altar for Benediction.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The last full day of our pilgrimage took us to Ars, a small town just northwest of Lyon. This town would have gone virtually unnoticed had it not been for the saintly parish priest who lived there in the 18th century. St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney (1786-1859) was regarded a saint in his own time. He was known for converting sinners by his powerful preaching and his example of personal holiness. He was also known to read souls in the confessional where he spent long hours each day. Throughout France it was said, "there is a holy man in Ars, go and see him".

As we approach the conclusion to the Year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI has declared the Year for Priests, which will begin on June 19, 2009 (Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).With the announcement of the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict has declared St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney the universal patron for priests (this is the 150th anniversary of death of the "Cure de Ars", as St. Jean Vianney was known). The Year for Priests is a call to foster the priest's yearning for spiritual perfection, upon which the effectiveness of their ministry principally depends. Pope Benedict offers St. Jean Vianney as a model for such a priestly life.

The incorrupt body of the Cure de Ars, St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney in the Basilica at Ars.

The Holy Door at the the Basilica of St. Jean Vianney proclaiming the 150th Anniversary of his death.

The dome of the Basilica.

The heart of St. Jean Vianney.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Paray le Monial

After Rome, Paray le Monial, in the Bourgogne region of France, is one of my most favorite places on earth. This quiet and quaint little town was the home to my two favorite non-Carmelite saints. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation Nun, who had several visions of Jesus Christ. Jesus told her that His heart was filled with love for her and that she was to spread the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Her major support was St. Claude la Colombierre (1641-1682), a Jesuit priest, who was her spiritual director.

In the Chapel of the Apparitions at the Visitation Convent, St. Margaret Mary's incorrupt body may be venerated.

Right around the corner from the Shrine of St. Margaret Mary is the Jesuit Church where the relics of St. Claude la Colombierre rest in a glass reliquary.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

La Salette

Life is busier than it should be. When I joined the monastery I thought that my life would be nice and silent with lots of time to pray. However, I quickly discovered that we are as busy, maybe even busier, as many of our lay brothers and sisters. And so it should be - our vow of poverty keeps us working for our needs. So, I have not posted in a while. My duties have kept me busy traveling. and many of our monasteries and retreat houses don't have wireless internet access which makes it hard to post. In any case, I am home now and hope to get back to regular blogging. That is, if God permits it. There is a saying around that states, "man proposes and God disposes". So, may God's will be done!

When I last posted, I was just crossing the French Alps in to France. Our first night in France took us to the mountaintop village of LaSalette, near Grenoble. This is the sight of the 1846 apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to two young shepherds, Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud. Mary's message, as in her other apparitions, was to call sinners to her Son. This apparition has been officially approved by the Church. This means that Catholics are permitted to believe that it happened, but as with all private revelations are not required to believe.

The Church built in honor of Mary, adjacent to the site of the apparition.

The site of the apparitions, memorialized by figures of Mary and the children.

Celebrating Mass in the Church.