And so it begins...the Triduum

    The commisioning of priests and institution of the Eucharist...two great gifts

    The commisioning of priests and institution of the Eucharist...two great gifts

    The beauty of Holy Thursday never escapes me  Last night as even more beautiful because of the lessons taught to me by so many God seeking people over the last year. Lessons from people who past over 1800 years ago, and lessons from those living amongst us now filled my mind, heart and warmed my soul as we heard the liturgy of the word and celebrated the liturgy of the Eucharist

   Father Tri, of St Brigid Catholic Church, reminded us the story of each life is what makes the church breathe the world. The story each life brings to the church helps pass on its's lessons and beauty from generation to generation  These stories allow the priesthood of the family to connect with the priesthood of the Church.  To make this occur we all must listen, observe and react to the wisdom of God as it works its way into our lives throug everyone around us. 

   The Holy Eurcharist is the foretaste of heaven, the perfect mana, needed to nourish our souls with the grace to navigate e challenges of a fallen world.  When taken in concert with reconciliation it enables us to stay on the path to heaven.  It keeps Christ within our very blood...commingling a bit of heaven with our life here on we go about our day.  So when we say take Christ with you wherever you go, if we partake of this holy nurishment we can do exactly that.  No other God before or since offered such a gift to mortals.  In fact no other God offered to make lowly man part of himself, and join in perfect communion in heaven, for all eternity if we choose to do so.

   Pray for our priests that they may lead all souls to heaven.  Pray for our priesthood in the family, that each man will be willing to lead their family to the best of their ability to the altar of God.  Pray each mother makes their home a place where the stories of old, new and the future will enable The word of God to reach fertile ears and move those souls to Christ.  Pray for the religious, that by their concerted life they make offerings the rest of us cannot for the salvation of the world.

   So let us begin our Triduum journey, and honor the sacrifices made to bring us all the way to heaven.




Kalen helping bring the gifts forward with our Decon in formation Randy Ortiz

Kalen helping bring the gifts forward with our Decon in formation Randy Ortiz


A Family Day To Grow in Faith

A day to contemplate our domestic churches

A day to contemplate our domestic churches

    Today we're taking a family day out to grow in faith at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.  It is also the shrine Mother Angelia led the development of for the Sisters of Poor Saint Claire.  We are blessed to have three priests from our diocease lead the retreat for the Regina Caeli Academy community.

     The domestic church is a central link between God and Man for salvation.  Throughout the entire Old Testament God builds his plan though families.  When Adam and Eve fall, God proclaims there will always be enmity between the offspring of Eve and the devil.  It prefigures the birth of Christ through a new Eve, we now know as Mary.  The creation and nurturing of the covenant relationship between Abraham, Moses, and David reaches its fullfillment in Christ the son of Joseph of Nazareth.

    Joseph was an heir of the of the covenant, and a decendent of King David.  He lived the law handed down for thousands of years.  When Joseph adopted Jesus, he did so under Jewish law.  In Jewish law there was no step-father status,  You were a father, or just another man to a child.  Jesus became entitled to everything Joseph had through adoption, to include his birthright as an heir of the King.  It also bound Jesus, our savior, to the same covenant relationship that each of his earthly forefathers lived under.  Joseph taught Jesus the ways of Jewish life to make aliving and as spiritual as head of family.

    Mary, was the daughter of a temple priest.  Ancient legends also say she also played her part in the temple sewing the sanctuary veil.  As a child, Mary possibly worked on maintaining the physical  barrier between God and the people of Isreal.  As a young woman, Mary broke the barrier by nurturing the Son of God from conception to death.  Through Mary, Jesus Christ inherited the bloodline of a priest of Isreal.  

    In Jesus final moments of life on the cross he also used his role as head of family to make this circle of family ties complete.  As the family high priest he offered himself as the sacrifice for our salvation.  As the head of household, put his earthly affairs in order by ensuring his mother was cared for.  Christ turned to the disciple he loved, and told him Mary was his mother.  Jesus then told Mary the disciple was her son.  Jesus adopted the disciple, and as such Mary was the disciple's mother too.  In this act, Jesus passes the new covenant he set forth and the Queen Mother on to his church family for all eternity.  

    Through the language of family, Christ completes the circle the covenant relationship.  From the family cornerstone our parishes, diocese and universal chruch obtain their form.  It will be a day well spent to contemplate means to strengthen and nurture this critical institution ordained by God himself through natural law at the dawn of the world.  I hope you can find time in your day to do the same!


Minor miracle of Divine Mercy

Stained glass window above the altar of St Pope St John XIII in Miramar, Florida

Stained glass window above the altar of St Pope St John XIII in Miramar, Florida

    As I continue to grow in my faith I strive for constant learning of new devotions and receiving apologetics.  Just before Easter, Catholic Digest arrived at the House. I read it on Palm Sunday.  During my readings I saw a few in depth articles about the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena.  I found myself impressed, and desired to say the novena starting on Holy Thursday.  I was doing other missions over the Tridium and started instead of culminating my novena sunday I finished my novena yesterday.

    Yesterday I left on a trip.  I was not enthused about this trip, too much to do both at home and the office.  As is my custom, I took my camera to see what I could capture for his glory.  As my stomach growled, and light started to wane I quickly searched the map for the keyword Catholic.  Right down the street was St. John XIII Catholic Church.  I set off to visit.  I asked the office if I could take some pictures of the church, and they said yes but to please not bother people in the Adoration Chapel...of course I agreed.  I am sure the lady thought I was crazy, but most people do!

     The photo above was what I first saw when I entered the church.  It is a stained glass version of the Divine Mercy image commissioned by St. Faustina.  I went into the Adoration Chapel to complete my novena for the day.  Around the chapel I found great comfort.  I saw images and traditions from Mexico, Poland, Italy, and Western Europe.  I was at home away from home in the arms of my Catholic faith.

     I know many may not think much of my little reported miracle.  I recently read a set of comments by people about how they could never give themselves over to belief in God.  They said the science just was not there.   I will pray for them to receive the grace of Divine Mercy, so they too can see the little gifts of God's love all around them .  The hug of a child, the kindness of a passer by, the sacrifice needed to preserve true freedom in this world all are things I want and will capture here on this blog. I hope through these little miracles I see and record using the science of light others may come to accept the Grace of God and live in his glory.


The hour is almost here!

The hour is almost here! 

The hour is almost here! 

Are you ready?  Easter is. Day on the calendar, but the challenge to your faith in the one true God could come at any time.  Are you ready to carry your cross? 

I can only hope and pray I will not fail my Lord when my time comes.  That cross looks heavy to me!



Missing my Kiddos

What does a Daddy miss on a trip?

How about the youngest playing in sand by the lake?


Or the lovely, thoughtful girl writing up her dreams in her special spot?


Or the good son who always tries to please and grow into a responsible young man way to fast?


Or how about the funny boy who always provides us wisdom in words as sharp as diamonds?



And of course the Momma who builds a warm home where love can grow.  (If I posted her photo without permission she'd kick my butt)

Funny how some time away always makes you long for home...and you forget about potty training, the work of cooking for six, someone's sniffles, and the lost this or that...

Well time to head off to work...I bet my feelings are the same as those shared by every good Dad on the way to work...


P.S.  Three taken with the new X-E1 and various lenses...and one taken by a six year old Pentax K200D..yep it still takes good pictures if treated nicely! 




Rose of the Americas

St Rose of Lima, St Margret and St Catherine St. Rose of 31 years of life did everything she could to honor the Lord.

The stories we hear of her life, describe her as a child and woman so beautiful that people would just stop, stare and lose all sense of time.  She hated this adoration, and instead wanted people to honor God.  When told to marry she disobeyed her parents for the first time and said no...she'd already given her heart to Jesus.  She faced many trials created by the devil in her short life, including one described by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, that of losing the ability to feel God's presence.  Instead she often felt alone, and this caused her great sadness.  In the midst of all of this, she cheerfully offered up her suffering as another offering to God.

I am in awe of people such as her.  I'm in awe of my lovely Rose as well, as she kneels to say her prayers in the hallway without prompting at this very moment.  She does not want to disturb her baby sister, who is partying in her crib a few feet away.

St. Rose...and saints in training like my Rose...make me realize how much harder I have to work to be a good servant of Christ example in the lives of those around me.

I hope on this Sunday, you too can think about examples you can following for spreading God's love around the world to make it just that much better.  I know will!


P.S.  Mr X-E1 with the 35 F1.4 mounted up.

Two years of Joy!

I'm two! How fast can two years go?  For child number four, my precious Kellie Marie it is like a stroke of lightening across the sky.  Here are just a few highlights....

Thank you God for every minute I have with each of these incredible people you graced my family with, and charged me to care for.  I can only pray I am doing right by them, and get to do it for a lot longer before you call me home.




Halloween 2012

Kellie Marie's first birthday party!

15 Months!


Reading Assignment

Christmas Present and helping Mom

Happy New Years!

A child's eye silent night

From a Child's Eye A great photographer I met once, and listened to often, Scott Bourne once said to explore the world creatively you need to see the world from the mind of a five year old.  Well I've been doing that with my now six year old. Today I reviewed photos he took over the last four months on my old Canon P&S.  My wife mentioned several times he imitates me when he shoots...he was actually doing quite well!  He does video much better than I do!  Well in his photos I did see the sense of wonder I often miss as I get older.

So tonight I set the tripod up and looked at the tree from the level of my two year old.  I just fell into the wonderful world of bliss.  I saw the lights, the shiny ornaments, the dark spots, the smiles on faces, the tassels and beads.  It was fun.  It was like my first memories of Christmas growing up...and when I made up the HDR images I just had to capture the feeling of the moment of when I can remember looking at my family Christmas tree a the age of four or five at Fort Devens, Massachusetts in 1974 or 75.

Then I thought about the most important part of the evening...the arrival of Jesus.  A hundred thoughts started running through my mind.  I can see so much of the story rushing together, and my mind is just too slow to understand or explain it right now.  I turned my lens on the family nativity scene, and turned of the lights.  I felt a peace come over me as I worked the light and tried a few different angles.  I began to reflect, that on a night like tonight I don't think Jesus wants us to think too deeply.  He wants us to look at his arrival like a child who can feel something special in the air, and now that in the darkness of the night a child was born who gives peace to our souls if we but choose to listen for the sound of his voice.


P.S. Fujifilm X-E1.  These are HDR processed in HDR Efex Pro 2..the second one got a touch up in Perfect Suite 8.

Away in a manger from a child's eye...

Just the way it clicks

Coming to the water! Coming to the water?  Can you imagine how John felt when Jesus asked him to baptise him?  Here was the man sent to lead us to heaven asking one of us fallen ones to lead him by example!

The good people of Victoria, Kansas have this lovely statue giving us a look into that moment of service.  What I enjoy the most about these statues is the ability to walk around, below and above a scene.  When I remember or read the story of John the Baptist and then view this statue, I feel that I am starting to live the moment.  I find it easier to put myself in the scene, watching the interplay of these two great men...the great prophet and the one he was to announce at the River Jordan.

As with all things spiritual and artistic, the moment it clicks comes not from reading the story but rather from the moment it touches your personal soul.  Maybe your mind can grasp it from the words, maybe a picture might make it stick...or just maybe this three dimensional image puts these two men into our lives with the same power those people at the river bank received.  As fellow Christians we must all help each generation find the path that will connect them to Christ.  There is no right or wrong way...there is just the way it clicks.


P.S.  I forgot the Holy Spirit dropped down and added an audio dimension to the story the statue does not..but hey we can add that today when join the chorus to sing our praises to God on high!

Treasures in plain sight

St Fidelis Catholic Church from the highway As we drove across Kansas both east and west I saw beautiful churches rising from the plains.  I found myself intrigued, and driving home my daughter gave me a chance to see one of them.  When given a choice of Eisenhower's Presidential Library or the "Cathedral of the Plains" she said try this...and we made it a pilgrimage.

This is all you would see from the interstate...

St. Fidelis Catholic Church is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.  It nickname, Cathedral of the Plains came from William Jennings Bryant after a campaign stop here in 1912.  What is really is though is a testimony of the faith and dedication of Volga German immigrants to build a faith inspired community on the harsh landscape of the high plains from the 1880's to the turn of the century.  What makes it even more remarkable, is that the current parish continues to care for and restore the church to keep up to the standards of their ancestors.

So come on in, and see the testimony of faith built by farmers at the great personal cost because they believed their house of worship needed to be a grand home that tells their story of faith through form, function, and art.  In all ways it is a pleasure in plain sight.

Welcome to St. Fidelis!

Welcome to St. Fidelis!

At the foot of the altar

At the foot of the altar... Stunning artwork and symbols even at the foot of the altar in Grand aspect of churches I truly enjoy are those which teach the faith through art...

I'll have a treat in a few days when I show you the Cathedral of the Plains.  The parishioners there really made art and faith sing...

Since this was a circle the square frame seemed to be the best choice for the selection.