Orthodox feast of Leo the Great

posted by Kaihsu Tai on February 19th, 2016

Thursday was the feast day of Leo I the Great, Pontifex Maximus, according to the Eastern Orthodox calendar. So let’s remember how he dealt with Attila. Then the next day, this quote was reported:

If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened.

Sanders it is then.

Ash Wednesday

posted by Mike on February 18th, 2015

“The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference.” —Pope Francis


Lent: A time of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and projects.

Project #1: What are you giving up for Lent this year?

This year I’m keeping it simple: no coffee.

Project #2: What extra meditations are you adding to your life this season?

I’m keeping it simpler than other years, but still a bit complicated. Inspired by Rod Dreher, and with the support of my Dante book club, I’ll be reading the Purgatorio (Divine Comedy, Part II).

Assuming all of the above goes according to plan, it should be a successful Lent. For those looking for more resources, Susan Stabile always posts great stuff. I am going to fight the temptation to browse these resources when I should be reading Dante. I will especially avoid spending too much time thinking about Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent.

Beginning the journey through Purgatory: Gustav Doré’s “Dante Kneeling Before Cato”

posted by Mike in Lent, Orthodoxy | on February 18th, 2015 | Permanent Link to “Ash Wednesday” | No Comments »

Mozarabic liturgy

posted by Kaihsu Tai on August 24th, 2012

Liturgia Mozárabe, Iglesia Catedral del Redentor, Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (Comunión Anglicana), Madrid Thanks to the travel expert Rick Steves, I knew about the Mozarabic Rite when I visited the Toledo Cathedral near Madrid in 2003. There, the Mozarabic liturgy has been kept in use. Sadly, I was not there at the right time to observe the Mass.

In 2009, while walking around in the Lower East Side of New York, I spotted the Saint Isidoro and Saint Leandro Church, which seemed to belong to the Orthodox Synod of Milan. The church was closed when I visited, so again I was not able to experience the liturgy first hand. Indeed, the identity of the church required some further research on the web to ascertain.

Finally, last Easter (2011), I had another chance to visit Madrid, this time as an Anglican. So, I went to our church there, the Cathedral of the Redeemer. The Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (in both the Anglican Communion and the Porvoo Communion) received the Mozarabic liturgy both through its own land and through the reimport via the Book of Common Prayer: Archbishop Cranmer referred to the Mozarabic liturgy while compiling the book.

So this ancient and rare liturgy is kept alive by three major traditions of the faith. I am glad to have discovered this over the last decade.

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Houses of Worship, Itinerant Communicant, Orthodoxy | on August 24th, 2012 | Permanent Link to “Mozarabic liturgy” | Comments Off on Mozarabic liturgy

Discussion Series: Catholic Social Teaching

posted by Mike on July 22nd, 2012

7-9pm, five consecutive Wednesdays starting September 12, 2012. At SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker, 52 Mason St, Worcester, Massachusetts.

This fall, the Worcester Catholic Worker community is offering a series of weekly round-table discussions on the rich and evolving tradition of Catholic social teaching. Catholic Worker academics Michael Boover and Marc Tumeinski will give an introductory presentation.

Schedule of Presentations

  • Sept. 12: General introduction to the social teachings, their origin and themes
  • Sept. 19: Dignity and the Common Good
  • Sept. 26: Family Life, Property ownership
  • October 3: (The Feast of the Transitus) Sr. Rena Mae Gagnon of the Little Franciscans of Mary will present on St. Francis as an example of a preferential option for the poor.
  • October 10: Colonialism/Economic Development/Disarmament

For more than 120 years, Catholic popes, bishops, and Church Councils have issued documents on the social and political challenges of our time, including economic justice, nuclear disarmament, and the right relationships between individuals, communities, and their governments. But these critiques, seldom preached from the pulpit, are unknown to many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

For example, did you know that in 1967 a papal encyclical warned about the problems of multi-nationals, free trade, and the growing divide between rich and poor? Or that way back in 1891 a pope advocated a living wage for workers?

We will look at the major themes and principles of Catholic social teaching and their expression in social movements and the lives of the saints. There will be ample time for discussion following each presentation, and of course refreshments. All are invited.

So if you are feeling discouraged by election rhetoric and the silence of many church leaders on social justice, then join us in the upstairs kitchen of 52 Mason Street as we consider life-giving concepts like the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the dignity of the human person.

For updates, call 508-753-3588.

Holy Week church-hopping and other items

posted by Mike on April 23rd, 2011

The day before Holy Week began, I attended a wedding at St. Columba’s United Reformed Church in Oxford, UK. St. Columba’s is down an alley near some of the Oxford colleges. It’s a normal sort of church inside, with a vestibule and facade that make it look like an office building.

Most churches stand out. St. Columba’s is hidden. Attending church there was like going to a house mass—nobody walking past suspects you’re going to a sacred gathering.

(Best wishes to the bride and groom—your lovely wedding is an auspicious start to your lives together.)
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Installing lectors and eucharistic ministers, St. Peter’s Parish

posted by Mike on February 8th, 2011

This past Sunday, I was “installed” as a lector at St. Peter’s Parish. The ceremony consisted of a simple blessing with holy water at mass.

(Pictured: The newly-blessed lectors and eucharistic ministers of St. Peter’s.)

I lectored all through high school without an official blessing, so I’ve been poking around online to learn more about the significance of this ceremony.

Apparently there was a pre-Vatican II “minor order” for lectors, but this is not that. According to The Duties and Ministries in the Mass, I think my role is “a layperson who happens to be reading”:

101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture. They should be truly suited to perform this function and should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture.

At the same time the lectors were installed, eucharistic ministers were commissioned, which seems to be a more formal blessing from “Book of Blessings, chapter 63.”

Merry Christmas!

posted by Mike on January 7th, 2011

Enough of this pre-Christmas and post-Christmas blogging; today is Orthodox Christmas.

Last night I stopped by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Nairobi a few hours before Christmas mass, which I considered attending but was warned off from by a couple non-Amharic-speakers.


Here’s a photo of the inside I took at the urging of a member of the congregation. The painting of the three bearded men depicts the Trinity. I was told that the TV screen, though not working at present, is intended to give people a view of what’s happening in the inner sanctuary when the curtain is closed.

I love watching people showing up for Ethiopian mass, the women in white packed into cars, emerging like circus clowns turning into butterflies.
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Retreat on Christian nonviolence, Oct 29-31

posted by Mike on September 23rd, 2010

Father Charlie McCarthy is giving a retreat on Christian nonviolence at Anna Maria College in Paxton next month. I’ve been on this retreat before, and recommend it.

As a preview, you can listen to recordings of his retreat Behold the Lamb and his series Questions & Answers on Gospel Nonviolence.
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Oel ngati kameie: I see you (Na’vi in Avatar)

posted by Kaihsu Tai on February 19th, 2010

Finally got my acts together to see Avatar (3D) yesterday evening, two months after release. My Green friends Drs Richard Lawson, Derek Wall, and Rupert Read (and those over at Two Doctors blog in Scotland) all liked it, along with many of us studying the Accra Confession at the Saint Columba’s Manse Discussion Group.

L’Osservatore Romano did not like Avatar, some suspected due to alleged pantheism. But the philosophy therein was not really pantheism, but can be more accurately described as panentheism (as my friend Dr George Zachariah of the Mar Thoma Church taught): finding God in everything; finding the image of the divine in everyone. I would have to struggle if I had to deny this as Christian.

[…] Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries […]

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The scene was indicative, where the scientist Dr Grace Augustine presented her results about the synaptic nature of the biosphere on the planet Pandora, and the businessman Parker Selfridge dismissed her thus: ‘what have you been smoking!’ Science is only accepted when it conveniently serves the imperial–rationalist exploitation: at all other times it is dismissed. As Dr Lawson pointed out (and echoed by the Reverend Dick Wolff), this has been going on in the climate-change debate: ‘If you are a committed free market fundamentalist, you will never accept the climate change facts, as they are incompatible with your ideology.’

I will be going to the Conference of the Green Party of England and Wales this Saturday; expecting Green hugs.

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Creative Resistance, Green Party, Heresy, Orthodoxy, The Papacy | on February 19th, 2010 | Permanent Link to “Oel ngati kameie: I see you (Na’vi in Avatar)” | Comments Off on Oel ngati kameie: I see you (Na’vi in Avatar)

Father Bernie Gilgun’s homily, January 2, 2009

posted by Mike on January 2nd, 2009

Homily from mass at the Mustard Seed, Worcester. Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.

Download the mp3 or see other formats.