Quotidian (8)

11 July 2018 | The Memorial of St. Barnabas the Apostle

Saint Barnabas was born in Cyprus. He was one of the early converts in Jerusalem and vouched for St Paul when he appeared before the elders there. He accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey and later went to Cyprus with his cousin John Mark (Mark the evangelist) to preach the gospel there. He was probably martyred at Salamis in Cyprus, sometime before the year 61.

The second antiphon from Lauds: Majórem caritátem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat quis pro amícis suis. Or Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Tomorrow, in my Benedictine Breviary (1922), continues the Octave of the Most Sacred Heart, though the feast’s Octave was suppressed in 1955.

This morning I took my older daughters to an STMA colleague’s house in Wake Forest for the first day of Spanish Camp, where the girls will spend half the day learning and having fun. MM attended last year and Va is very excited to attend with her big sister this year.

One of the advantages of Spanish Camp week is attending daily Mass (8:30 am) at beautiful St. Catherine of Siena parish (see below). The Mass was said by Rev. Chesco Garcia, the former parochial vicar for Hispanic ministry at Sacred Heart Cathedral. His microphone cut out sometime before the sacring, which was fine with me; in this, it took on a low-mass feel, and I’ve always been a proponent of microphone-less masses.

See Kevin White’s short article, “Drop the Mic” from First Things in 2012.

The Editorial Board, “The Catholic School Difference” (The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2018) [link]

The authors found statistically meaningful evidence that students in Catholic schools exhibited less disruptive behavior than their counterparts in other schools. “According to their teachers, Catholic school children argued, fought, got angry, acted impulsively, and disturbed ongoing activities less frequently,” the authors write. Specifically, students in Catholic schools “were more likely to control their temper, respect others’ property, accept their fellow students’ ideas, and handle peer pressure.” In other words, they exhibited more self-discipline.

K. E. Colombini, “Atheists and Their Beliefs” (First Things, 7 June 2018) [link]

But a second interesting correspondence goes unremarked. The popular revival of astrology and other pseudo-sciences comes at a time when schools are throwing resources into variants of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curricula, which have largely supplanted the humanities disciplines (art, literature, and history). We are neglecting the humanities, which offer a true understanding of the human heart, in order to develop better touchscreens and smartphone apps, so that our youth can get better horoscopes and learn new yoga poses. This state of affairs confirms Chesterton’s original quote, and shows how much work needs to be done. There is a real cure for the anxiety afflicting today’s youth, but it’s hard work and the answer is not really found in the digital cloud, but well beyond.

St. Catherine, OP
St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, NC
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Quotidian (1)

28 May 2018 | Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
In the traditional Roman Calendar, we remember St. Augustine of Canterbury.
It is Memorial Day in the United States of America.

On Saturday, St. Thomas More Academy, the small Catholic prep school where I teach, held its sixteenth commencement exercises for the graduating Class of 2018. It was a memorable event, complete with a visit and apostolic blessing from His Excellency Luis Rafael Zarama,  our newly installed Bishop of Raleigh, and a commencement address by Dr. Paul J. Griffiths, who was my advisor at Duke Divinity and the Warren Chair of Catholic Theology. Other guests including Monsignor Jeffrey Ingham, pastor of St. Joseph’s and our unofficial chaplain at STMA, and Father Phil Tighe, former pastor at St. Catherine’s in Wake Forest and current Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Raleigh. Lastly, seated right behind the bishop were two STMA alumni seminarians.

STMA students had attended His Excellency’s August Installation Mass, the March Chrism Mass, and in April a priest’s funeral at which Bishop Zamara was its principal celebrant, but this was our first event in which he was able to offer us his words and blessing. The Bishop’s remarks were generous and encouraging: directed to the students, he urged them to stay close to Jesus and the Sacraments and to allow the Savior to serve ‘as the control tower as these graduates take off into the airspace’ of their adult lives; he also urged parents to stay in touch with their children as they head off to school, notably to call, not to text.

I had not connected with Paul much since leaving Duke, but it was good to see him and to hear his words to our graduates. He spoke about work: sweat-work, beauty-work, and leisure, and how in a good life these three are braided together in service to the Lord and His Church. He’s recently written a work on Christian anthropology, entitled Christian Flesh, something that has been in the works for a few years and due out in September. He will retire from Duke this summer without seeking another academic post. He says he will continue writing. His recent piece for the May 2018 First Things is “A Letter To An Aspiring Intellectual.”

This morning my wife was under the weather, so the girls — all three of them — and I went to Mass  at Sacred Heart, which has been downgraded to a church but is not (yet) a parish, though the Passionists, Fr. Justin and Fr. Justin, have continued to offer daily masses Monday through Saturday for many of the downtown faithful.

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MM and Va visit the grotto at Sacred Heart.