Václav

posted by Kaihsu Tai on January 2nd, 2019

A recent sermon on the carol Good King Wenceslas reminded me of this text of mine six years ago:

Quando dou comida aos pobres, chamam-me de santo. Quando pergunto por que eles são pobres, chamam-me de comunista.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

Hélder Câmara

In the carol, King Wenceslas did everything right to be called a saint. The “poor” was “gathering winter fuel” on St Stephen’s. Who would collect the fuel otherwise? When else? – What other time? What’s wrong with collecting fuel? Even if it were wrong, the king’s response was not – “Let’s reorganize the system for energy in the neighbourhood around my palace” but to call his page. All right – a feast might be had by all on St Stephen’s if the entourage made it to yonder the poor’s.

But on the festival of St John the Evangelist, on the Day of the Holy Innocents, the King remains king, the page page, the poor still poor. Only that the King now sleeps sounder on the 27th of December and will not look out. He may then commission the carol writer later in the afternoon for his hagiography. The unnamed “poor man” does not stop collecting winter fuel – even come January.

(New Year’s Day 2013)

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Christmas, Hagiography, Heresy | on January 2nd, 2019 | Permanent Link to “Václav” | No Comments »

The First Day of Christmas

posted by Mike on December 26th, 2014

Many writers have noted that, in terms of national and international news, 2014 was a bad one. (It was a tough year for me, too.) Advent didn’t give us a break. I’d like to think we’re due for a couple good months.

The best way to shorten winter is to prolong Christmas; and the only way to enjoy the sun of April is to be an April Fool.
GK Chesterton

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Merry Christmas!

posted by Mike on December 26th, 2011

Hope all the P&C readers out there had a good Christmas.

I’m sure there’s a technical term for how the viewer separates the artwork from the background. I love taking creche photos in part because the background is so often completely inappropriate, and occasionally accidentally appropriate. Here, NO TRESPASSING and BEWARE OF THE DOG are a “No room at the inn” for our time.

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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.

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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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Merry post-Christmas!

posted by Mike on December 29th, 2010

As predicted, we welcomed Christmas on the road, but within a few hours were in the arms of family, and had a very lovely Christmas day.

We celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family at St. Austin’s Parish in Nairobi, Kenya, where the church was packed, the music lovely, and the homily namechecked Facebook.

No photographs of the church, I’m sorry to say, but continuing my long-running “quirky creche” series, here are a couple of nativity scenes that caught my eye this week.

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The household nativity scene above is pretty standard, except for the Godzilla-sized sheep lurking behind it. “You should see the shepherds….””

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This one is at the Mwangaza Jesuit Centre. There are several pieces of fantastic religious sculpture there, but our subject today is nativity scenes, so here it is. I like that the shepherd is playing some sort of bagpipes, and also that the background decor is made of gift wrapping paper and Christmas lights. Nice touches, which I’ll keep in mind next time I help make a creche.

Merry pre-Christmas

posted by Mike on December 22nd, 2010

We had a little pre-Christmas celebration today, lighting all the Advent candles, exchanging gifts, and listening to holiday music.

We’re travelling over the next few days. If all is well will celebrate with family, but what with this week being what it is, there’s a good chance we’ll end up spending the 25th in an airport somewhere, and we thought we might as well have a little Christmas celebration at home just in case.

If we have to spend Christmas stranded, we’ll be part of a long tradition, including many TV specials and the birth of Christ itself.

I don’t know what my internet access will be this week, either, so here’s my #1 nativity scene of 2010, from the Christmas pageant at Pleasant Street Baptist Church.

A Christmas tree, a tabletop nativity scene, kids on a couch, a living nativity scene, a huge cross, the Snow Ghost, and a hymn on a huge screen among the angels. There’s enough theology here, even at low resolution, for a novel, with a couple icons left over.

posted by Mike in Christmas | on December 22nd, 2010 | Permanent Link to “Merry pre-Christmas” | 4 Comments »

508 #139: Christmas Spectacular! 2010

posted by Mike on December 17th, 2010

508 is a show about Worcester. This week: Christmas.

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Audio: mp3 link, other formats, feed

Video: Downloads and other formats

Contact info.
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Merry Christmas!

posted by Mike on December 25th, 2009

Not long before he retired, Fr. Ed Bell began his Christmas homily by asking if anyone remembered any of his past Christmas homilies. After an embarrassed silence, he laughed and said he didn’t remember any of them, either. That’s OK–Christmas isn’t about homilies. (Or blog posts.)

From today’s homily by a different priest at the same parish:

I don’t care if Wal-Mart doesn’t have a nativity scene. I don’t care if K-Mart doesn’t have a nativity scene. I care if these pews are filled.

My Christmas wish is that your heart and home are filled today.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

posted by Mike in Christmas, Podcasts | on December 25th, 2009 | Permanent Link to “Merry Christmas!” | No Comments »

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.

Christmas Eve bus wreck

posted by Mike on December 25th, 2008

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Greyhound bus crash. Icy roads. I was released from the hospital with a tetanus shot and a bandage. The front of the bus caved in, trapping the driver. He seemed in very bad shape. I was three seats behind him. The people in the seats in front of me seemed pretty hurt, but were able to walk around afterwards.

Say a prayer for everyone travelling this week, that they will stay safe.

Still haven’t made it to my family after spending 24 hours on what should have been a 10-hour trip. With luck, I’ll be there for Christmas lunch.

The Christmas Miracle, for me, is that this delay meant I connected with a friend at the Philly bus station, and we spent the long ride across PA together.

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Weary travelers. I think this is the Plainfield Rest Area on the PA Turnpike.

posted by Mike in Christmas | on December 25th, 2008 | Permanent Link to “Christmas Eve bus wreck” | 5 Comments »