The Sycamore Tree is a new Christian book and gift shop located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Sycamore Tree is a wonderful family-run business founded by Richard and Maria Nootbaar, who are friends from my parish at Church of the Incarnation. They have started a store that stocks ecumenical Christian books and gifts, Crane & Co. Stationery, and are providing a homeschooling consignment shop.
Richard and Maria saw the need to open a store in Central Virginia that offered a wide variety of Christian books and gifts. The store offers both new and used books, and they can order any book on the market through their network suppliers. Richard & Maria come from teaching backgrounds, and Maria is also a homeschooling mother, and they both saw the need for homeschooling supplies and resources. If you are involved or thinking about homeschooling, they are a super resource for books, supplies, and know the supportive network of families and collaborative activities available in the area.
Fr. Gregory Kandt offering blessing to The Sycamore Tree
The Sycamore Tree is the exclusive distributor in the area for Crane & Co. stationery. Crane offers the finest stationery, wedding and business invitations on the market, and they are known for providing the paper for our American currency.
Please support the Sycamore Tree, and all Christian bookstores–they deserve our business and prayers. You can keep up with news from the store at their Facebook page with link below.
Today is the second anniversary of this blog. Thanks to all the readers and contributors that have helped this blog grow in popularity. Last year we marked 14,441 unique readers of our blog, and that has now grown to 44,415 unique readers of Call To Holiness–Wahoo!
It has been a blessing to write about the many events, people, and places involving the Catholic Faith. I really appreciate the feedback from the readers, and am always open to your thoughts and ideas to make this blog better.
Since today is the Feast of St. Damien of Molokai, I want to repost the link from my visit to Hawaii 2 years ago and seeing his relics in Honolulu: Call To Holiness with Hawaii’s Saints
There is a now a new documentary about Fr. Damien that has been winning at film festivals:
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles are about to release their second album entitled Angels and Saints at Ephesus. The sisters have put their beautiful harmonies to record songs inspired by their favorite saints and angels. Their first album, Advent at Ephesus, was a great success topping the classical charts. The sisters use their talents in music and making vestments and altar linens to support their ministry. I encourage you to watch the great promo video about the sisters and their work on this project and the work and prayers of their priory.
I had the pleasure to interview Monica Fitzgibbons of De Montfort Music who worked in production with the sisters on their musical projects:
1) Have the sisters seen an increase in numbers joining their order since the release of Advent at Ephesus?
Good question! I have never asked them this question. But I would imagine in God’s time it may be too soon to tell. I do know that their community has steadily been growing in the past year (they just had 2 novices make their First Profession!!) So there is this sense of steady growth.
2) Have they raised the money needed for priory? Is there a fundraising goal? Other needs of the sisters?
Through their music, they have been able to begin to raise the money for their debt. Because they have the wonderful problem of being a growing community there is still debt, plus there is then the need to complete their monastery building project, which has been the long range goal for this music- on the practical order, in addition of course to uplifting souls with their music! In short, progress has been made and always the Sisters are so grateful for the generosity of people who have supported them through purchasing the music.
3) Do the sisters plan to make more music? Plans going forward for sisters–are they planning more business for vestment production, or for music production or both?
The Sisters are always singing! So when we go in to record them it is not like a typical classical choral recording. With the Sisters, we can describe the releasing of their music as a documenting of what is already transpiring. For example, with this new CD Angels and Saints at Ephesus, these are more or less Hymns, Chants, Polyphony etc. that the Sisters themselves will sing to during Vespers or at some point during the day to honor the feast day of that saint, or to honor the angels. So when the time seems right and the Sisters have the inclination towards a certain theme, then Mother Cecilia will let us know and our job is to handle all of the logistics to enlist the highest level of recording technology and producers in order to match the quality of their singing. In short: I would not be surprised if the Sisters are already thinking of their next at Ephesus release!
4) What were the reasons for saints chosen for this CD?
In sort of continuing on with the answer to #3, these were some of their favorite hymns that they were singing. Te Joseph Celebrant is a brilliant song and they will sing that at Vespers on the feast of St. Joseph or of St. Joseph the Worker. With regards to “A Rose Unpetalled” which is in honor of St. Therese. For this track, the Sisters took the lyrics from prose written by St. Therese herself, and then the Sisters set it to music that they composed. This track has been a long-time favorite of their community, and St. Therese has been the one whom they petitioned to help them alleviate their debt. She has been a wonderful intercessor as have all of the saints. I am certain we could do and “Angels and Saints at Ephesus 2″ with all of the love and honor flowing from The Benedictines of Mary for the Saints!
5) Are the Benedictine Sisters under a bishop in America, or do they follow Benedictine order from leadership in Rome?
They are a diocesan community under Bishop Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Thanks to Monica for answering my questions, and I encourage you to purchase this great music and support the sisters in helping to build their beautiful community. Check link below for Amazon for purchase–available May 7th.
The full track list for the album:
1. Dear Angel Ever At My Side
2. Ave Regina Cælorum
3. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
4. Christe Sanctorum
5. Duo Seraphim
6. Virgin Wholly Marvellous
7. Est Secretum
8. Lorica of St. Patrick
9. O Deus Ego Amo Te
10. Emicat Meridies
11. O God of Loveliness
12. Læta Quies
13. A Rose Unpetalled
14. Jesu Dulcis Memoria
15.Te Joseph Celebrent
16. Jesu Corona Virginum
17. Veritas Mea
Chrism Mass at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Richmond, Virginia)
The Diocese of Richmond celebrated their annual Chrism Mass this past Monday evening at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful Mass that includes blessing of the holy oils used for every church, and the clergy make a reaffirmation of their priestly vows.
Blessing of Oils
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo said at this week’s Chrism Mass: “Christians are called to reject the mythical concepts of “success” and “living the good life,” Christians embrace an outlook on life that is nothing short of counter-cultural.”
Oil of the Sick “Oleum Infirmorum”
Oil of Catechumens “Oleum Catechumenorum” used in Baptism along with water, in the consecration of churches, in the blessing of Altars, in the ordination of priests.
Sacred Chrism “Sanctum Chrisma” which is olive oil mixed with a small amount of balm or balsam. Used in the post-baptismal anointing for infants, in Confirmation, for Holy Orders, the consecration of churches, altars, and even bells. In Holy Orders, the bishop is anointing on the head and priest are anointed on the hands.
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, bishop of Richomond Diocese
50th Anniversary Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas with Bishop Francis DiLorenzo
The Dominicans celebrated their 50th Anniversary with Bishop DiLorenzo coming for a special Mass and Blessing for a new Priory on March 24th. The Dominicans came to Charlottesville on the Feast of St. Lawrence August 10, 1963 and established St. Thomas Aquinas Church, which serves Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and The University of Virginia.
This priory is the first built in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and offers a religious community for eight priests. The priory was built to last using the skills of local artisans including cabinet makers, stain glass artists, masons, and carpenters.
New St. Thomas Aquinas Priory
Daniel White is a young stained glass artist and parishioner with Cain Architectural Glass who co-designed the stained glass windows with pastor, Fr. Luke Clark ,O.P. that adorn the Priory Chapel. The beautiful stained glass was made locally, and incorporated many symbols of the Dominicans.
The East Window highlights the Holy Spirit and is surrounded with the symbols of The Hand of God, St. Joseph, The Dominican Shield, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Lawrence, St. Dominic, The Blessed Virgin Mary, and Jesus, the Lamb of God.
The West Window highlights the Sacred Heart of Jesus, surrounded by The Eucharist, Flagrum, Spear, Baptism, Reconciliation, Crown of Thorns, Three Nails, and Grapes & Vine.
The priory also offers the St. Vincent Ferrer Columbarium, a first for Catholics in Central Virginia. The word “columbarium” comes from the Latin and translates as a compartmentalized house for doves; the gentle birds mentioned in Holy Scripture and recognized as a symbol of peace. There are over 50 memorial spaces which are available to Catholics for $4,500
St. Vincent Ferrer Columbarium
The Dominicans, the Order of Preachers, is an order with a strong charism of preaching, and education. The Dominican website explains the essence of the order: Dominicans preach the Word of God in every possible way including liturgical preaching, parish missions, retreat preaching, occasional lectures, addresses at religious conferences, street preaching, teaching, writing (especially books), through art (especially film, television, theatre, and radio), and by exploiting the advantages offered by the Internet and other advances of the digital age, without ever sacrificing the indispensable role of personal presence by which communication becomes true communion. Dominican Blessed Humbert of Romans sums up all of this in his famous 13th century Treatise on Preaching: “How necessary is the office of preaching without which the human heart would not rise to the hope of heaven.”
Fr. Jospeph Scordo, O.P., has served as a Dominican in the Military Chaplaincy:
The Dominicans also offer a great free App called iDoms Portal. The App offers incredible resources including Dominican articles, videos, and audio from many of their great preachers and theologians.
iDoms Portal App
The Dominicans are still in the process of fundraising, and if you can help I encourage you to look at their websites at the links below.
Verbum has released a free Conclave App for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices. The App offers 5 features that will help you keep updated with information about the Conclave as if you were in Rome personally:
1. Live and recorded video from Vatican press briefings
I want to thank Pope Benedict XVI for his wonderful papacy, and his honorable and humble service to the church. Pope Benedict spent a short time in the Chair of St. Peter (2005 – 2013), but will have a lasting impact on the future of the Roman Catholic Church. I think he will be remembered as a one of the greatest theologians through his writings, and for his continued work to see the reforms of Vatican II come to fruition. It was wonderful to see Pope Benedict embrace Catholic New Media (podcasts, apps, blogs, Twitter) and promote its use to live a Gospel Life. I pray that the next Pope will be as forward thinking as Pope Benedict, and will continue to work toward the fulfillment of Vatican II.
Final Angelus to 200,000 faithful in St. Peter’s Square
Highlights of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate (2005 – 2013):
Travelled on 24 trips to six continents outside Italy in his eight years as pope. Pope John Paul II made 104 trips over a 27-year span.
Cannonized 44 saints
Declared two Doctors of the Chuch: Hildegard of Bingen & John of Avila
Efforts with eccumenism in meetings with many Christian faiths and begins a Ordinariate for the Anglicans.
Meetings with many other faiths including Judaism, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism. Pope Bendict brought together one of the largest gatherings of faiths together in Assisi, Italy for the 25th Anniversary of World Day of Peace.
Updated the English Language Mass to a more accurate translation from original texts.
Approved use of Tridentine Mass (Latin High Mass)
Approved new YouCat [Youth Catechism] that was released at World Youth Day in Spain (2010)
Strong advocate against sex abuse scandles in church and helping to begin healing process in Roman Catholic Church and communities.
Strong advocate to begin reforms in Roman Curia.
Jan 2012, BXVI founds Science and Faith Foundation to search for a “coherent vision of society, culture and the human being”
First Pope to use social media and opening Twitter account @Pontifex on Dec. 12, 2012 (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of New Evangelization)
Historic move to resign papacy on February 28, 2013–very humble and wise decision made by Pope Benedict that was widely admired throughout the world.
Pope Benedict has much to be proud of in all the work he accomplished in such a short time. We will be benefitting from his wealth of work and knowledge for many years to come. I recently heard Cardinal Dolan saying that we are still unpacking all the spiritual wisdom from Pope John Paul II, and we still have much to learn from Pope Benedict and his many writings as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
A nun was recently saying that she believes that Pope Benedict has much still to contribute, and he may actually have more impact on the world when he turns his life to prayer. We will probably never know our impacts to the world with prayer until we go to heaven, but bet that the nun is correct in her thoughts about his great influence with prayer.
Pope Benedict Praying
Father Barron recorded a great video in speaking about the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI:
I pray for Pope Bendict’s continued health, and pray that the Holy Spirit helps guide the Conclave of Cardinals in their decision on the next Bishop of Rome for the Chair of St. Peter. Your comments and prayers for Pope Benedict and the Conclave are very welcome!
The Best Moments of Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI (Rome Reports):
I was very priveledged to see the premier of a wonderful documentary called The Blood and The Rose at The Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. This event was a benefit for Catholic Charities of the Washington Archdiocese and originally cost $75 a ticket–beyond my means to pay. But God’s grace intervened with a Facebook message from Fr. Leo Patalinghug who was a speaker at the event: Fr. Leo posted “I just got word that thanks to a generous donor, you can now buy tickets for tomorrow’s event in DC for The Blood & The Rose for $15.31 at the door! There are two reasons that price is significant: first, because 1531 is the year that the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe took place, and second, now you have no excuse to miss out on what’s going to be a powerful and great Spiritual event! So if you’re in DC, I hope to see you tomorrow at the Warner Theatre!” Wow! what a blessing, and was very excited to attend with my parents.
MC: Raymond Arroyo
The documentary is a must see movie that tells the story of Saint Juan Diego and the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The film maker, Tim Watkins, dedicated himself to this project for seven years in telling this important message of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the history and science behind The Tilma. It is amazing to see how science can not explain the existence of the image nor how The Tilma has lasted so long other than a miracle.
Director Tim Watkins
The movie website says about the movie: “On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to Juan Diego, an ordinary man of extraordinary faith. Juan Diego humbly embraced the call to serve as a Messenger Eagle. Today this apparition is known as “the Virgin of Guadalupe.” The beautiful miracle of that day is chronicled in this story that begins with Mary’s faith filled yes. This eternal struggle of good versus evil is the battle for our souls.”
Fr. Leo Patalinghug
Fr. Leo Patalinghug is an expert himself in Marian Theology, as he studied this subject at the Pontifical College in Rome. I love the message he brought that we all have a belly-button and this is the reminder of our own mothers feeding us, as well as the spiritual food from Mother Mary. Fr. Leo points to the fact that Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas & The New Evangelization, and very important message to follow the example of Mary. Fr. Leo has also written a new book, Spicing Up Married Life, for his own ministry–Grace Before Meals. I was very happy to meet Fr. Leo after the show where he signed his new book for my parents–celebrating their upcoming 50th Wedding Anniversary (ironically Fr. Leo dedicated his book to his parent’s 50th too!)
Fr. Leo with Dave & Ellie Clem
Please take a look at the preview of the documentary on the movie website below, and it should be coming out on DVD very soon. It is 90 minutes of time that will deepen your faith in Christ through Our Lady of Guadalupe. Review: Two Thumbs Up!
I was honored to attend my first March for Life on January 25th, 2013. This year marked the 40th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, and the 40th March for Life on Washington, D.C. started by Nellie Gray. It is very sad to report that 55 million babies have been aborted since abortion was made legal in 1974. It was interesting that the Supreme Court had a huge drapery over it for repairs (with image of the facade imprinted)–it seemed as though the justices were hiding behind a curtain?
Despite there being over 500,000 people from every corner of America, it was dissappointing that main-stream media gave it so little coverage. I overheard one of the Capitol Police officers saying this was the biggest march he has witnessed. There was limited coverage by USA Today, The Washington Post, and NPR, and a very short piece by NBC News. The best coverage of the March was with EWTN, where I saw Teresa Tomeo interviewing marchers. When I marched up Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court, I expected to see more media, and very dissappointed to see only the hyper reporter from The Vortex (BAD Catholic media!).
Before the March for Life began, a fellow blogger–Billy Newton, organized a fun get together at the National Gallery of Art of Catholic Media producers and fans of SQPN (Star Quest Production Network). It was a real honor to meet many great people involved with Catholic New Media including Dr. Paul Camarata (SaintCast), Patrick Denny (Verbum Domini), Channing Dale (This Catholic Life), and others. Patrick brought his H2 recorder and we recorded a short podcast with Billy acting as the moderator. The podcast for Catholic Weekend featured this recording with link below. We were all very pleased to hear the exciting news from Channing that she was excepted into the Carmelite Order–she will make a fantastic sister–God Bless her, and I have a good feeling that she has found her vocation.
SCIENCE IS ON OUR SIDE!
There is still a long battle ahead for the Right To Life movement in America. Recent polls show that 70% of Americans currently support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. I have hope! As science is on our side in showing the that life begins when sperm and egg unite:
Study of DNA now shows a COMPLETE human code is in place at the time of conception.
Fetuses now being saved as early as 20-weeks of life in the womb.
Myth that abortion is safe–more health risks now known by science.
Reports from people who survived attempted abortions and are now very grateful to be alive.
Science shows that fetuses feel pain.
I urge you to listen to a great podcast from The Catholic Laboratory, which helps explain many of the science findings behind abortion and its effects on body and mind of parents and children. I think that science will help support our case to end legal abortions.
What if we had 55 million more Americans now?
Who would have been a great scientist–were discoveries lost?
Who would be a great politician–would we have a different Congress that works?
Who would have helped with works of mercy–did we kill a saint?
With 55 million more taxpayers–would our US budget look better?
I guess we will not know the answers to these questions until we meet our maker. I pray for an end to this most cruel crime against humanity. It was very moving to see so many people marching in Washington representing men, women, children, and clergy from all over America (even the US Virgin Islands marched). May Our Lady of Guadalupe (Patroness of Americas) please help bring and end to abortion and a respect for all life from conception to natural death.
Your comments are welcome!
Here is one of the best homilies for pro-life from last year’s Mass for Life at Verizon Center from Monsignor Charles Pope:
The Daughters of St. Paul are a growing order of nuns, who through the guidance of their founder, Blessed James Alberione, are producing wonderful new and old media for the New Evangelization. The Daughters of St. Paul are involved with the production of books, music, apps, websites, and movies. Many of the sisters are very active on the internet, and I am most appreciative of following Sister Anne Flanagan (Nun Blog) and Sister Helena Burns (Hell Burns Blog) with their many messages of inspiration on Twitter.
The following video illustrates the work of the Daughters of St. Paul and features Sister Anne Flanagan:
BLESSED FR. JAMES ALBERIONE MOVIE
I was unaware of the story of Father James Alberione until Sister Anne came to the Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City two years ago to introduce a fundraising effort to make a movie about his life. Fr. Alberione should be as well known as Bishop Fulton Sheen for his tremendous work with many forms media to spread the Gospel message. I invite you to watch this preview of the documentary currently under production with Spirit Juice Studios.
I received good news from Sister Helena Burns that they have completed a two-year fundraising effort for the production of the movie. However, they are still fundraising for $50,000, that is needed for DVD production and an entertainment lawyer. If you can help, please contact the Daughters of St. Paul through the movie website.
Speaking of movies, I am always happy to hear the great movie reviews from Sister Rose Pacatte on American Catholic Radio, and she also has a blog with Patheos called Sister Rose at The Movies. She gives some of the best reviews I have heard from any reviewer including advice to parents about appropriate content.
LIGHT A CANDLE APP
In my last blog entry, I wrote about all the great new Apps from 2012, but missed one that the sisters just released in December called Light a Candle: Miracles Do Happen. This is a very inspirational App that offers many prayers in the sister’s Virtual Chapel. The wonderful feature of this App is that it offers the user the ability to send personal prayers to the sisters. There is a FREE version of the App called God Loves You, but it is well worth paying $1.99 for the full-version App that offers more prayers in the categories of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Angels, and St. Paul (plus money benefits the Daughters of St. Paul). (Droid App is only 99 cents)
The Daughters of St. Paul are also producing many beautiful music CDs. I recently purchased the CD Stella Maris: Chant, Ever Ancient, Ever New, and have been mesmerized by the music. The album is very well engineered and has wonderful instrumentation and polyphonic harmonies. You can sample some of their music on their website–link to this album. The sisters also offer concerts and recently toured American parishes with a Christmas performance.
I encourage you to help support this fantastic order and all the Pauline family. If you have a Pauline bookstore in your town, please help support it, and if not please check their on-line store.