Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It is the day that Catholics proceed to the altar (usually during Mass) to have ashes (in the form of a cross) placed on their foreheads while the following words are being said: "Remember, that you are dust and to dust you shall return" or "Repent, and believe the Gospel". The practice of placing ashes on the face is an ancient practice of public penitents. The ashes themselves come from the burning of the palm fronds of last Palm Sunday and are mixed with water to form a sort of paste that adhere to the forehead.

On Ash Wednesday, Catholics are to abstain from meat and to fast. Fasting means that we may eat one full meal and two smaller meals not to combine, in size, to one full meal. Elderly persons and those with medical needs may be exempt from the fast, but not the abstention from meat.

All this is part of our spiritual preparation for Easter, which I will explain in a later post.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pope Benedict encourages priests to blog!

The words that surround the main dome of St. Peter's Basilica relay the words that Christ said to Simon Peter when he gave him the "keys to the kingdom". "And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

We Catholics believe that the Pope is the successor to St. Peter - the Vicar of Christ on earth. Although he does not always speak "Ex Cathedra" ("from the chair" which would mean that his teaching is infallible), we do take what he says very seriously.

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI issued a proclamation challenging priests "to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis."

This is not a new area for the Holy Father. Just last year he joined the you tube generation and began a you tube channel: He also used text messaging to reach hundreds of thousand of youth at Youth World Day 2008 in Sydney.

Although my time has been extremely limited these days, and I have missed many days of posting on Monastery Daily Photo, I am deeply encouraged by the Holy Father's support of my blogging. I hope, in the very near future, to be able to return to regular posting. Thanks for sticking with me.

Viva Papa Benedicto!