All-Star Week & Keeping One’s Distance

Pope Benedict praying in Prague on Saturday

Pope Benedict praying in Prague on Saturday

Just in case you missed it last fall: This week is All-Star Week at daily Mass! (Click the link for all the details.)

…The Holy Father went to the Czech Republic this past weekend.

He wanted to visit the relics of St. Wenceslaus, of course, and pray to the Infant of Prague.

(We have a Novena to the Infant at our parish every Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., by the way!)

But His Holiness’ main reason for heading east this past weekend was to be as far away from Detroit as possible. He was basically on the other side of the earth. He was 4,355 miles away from Ford Field when the darkness descended.

zorn

Holy Name is Tops

Here is the pastor’s homily for September 27, 2009 at…

Holy_Name_Church_and_RectoryHOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH

920 Eleventh Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

Confessions: 2:30-3:30 Saturdays
Masses: Sunday 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.

(202) 397-2525

Whoever is not against us is for us. –Mark 9:40

Let us consider what a blessing it is for us to have a parish consecrated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

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Titans of the Underground, Naked Emporers

Astor PlaceIn 1956 a five-alarm fire consumed the Wanamaker’s Department Store in New York City.

Firefighters doused the burning building with their hoses for days.

They sprayed so much water that it flooded the subway station below.

The earth underneath one of the railroad beds collapsed, and a train sank five feet into the hole. Thank God, not a soul on the train was injured.

It was July 14, 11:50 p.m.

At 12:02 a.m. on July 20, the subway began operating through the Astor Place station again. Everything had been completely repaired in five days and twelve minutes.

It was a miracle of decisiveness, engineering efficiency, and wholesome pride.

John Catoe and Jim Graham

John Catoe and Jim Graham

I thought of this when the following happened yesterday:

The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority Board, chaired by D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, voted 4 to 1 to renew the contract of Metro chief John Catoe.

At that very moment, FBI agents were in the office of Councilman Graham’s chief of staff Ted Loza, collecting evidence for a bribery case against him.

The day before, Graham had said that Metro has been subject to demonic attack this year.

“We’re having the heavens open, and all manner of demons have been unleashed.”

He really did say this. Councilman Graham said it when he was asked by a reporter whether or not Catoe should have to take any of the blame for the fact that Metro has become a tragic laughingstock.

devilPerhaps the venerable Councilman was just being poetic when he chalked the problems up to demons from heaven.

Hopefully the man is aware that God and the good angels are in heaven, and the demons are in the other place.

Hopefully he knows that demons tend to focus on enticing people to commit sins, like taking bribes or attempting to “marry” someone of the same sex.

On the other hand, fatal subway crashes, endless delays, surprise station closures, and other signs of managerial incompetence are usually atributable to human error.

…For the record, my disapproval of John Catoe’s regime began two years ago, when he instituted the following public-address message in the stations:

We have a lot of escalators in our system. You’ll notice that most people stand on the right side. And while you’re riding, hold the handrail for your safety. Enjoy your trip, and thank you for riding Metro.

This is not an effective message. It is an effete message.

But Catoe did not want to insist that anyone stand to the right. He didn’t want to give an order. He thought doing so would only encourage Type-A personalities to rush through stations in a furious hurry on the left.

Call me a Type-A personality if you want–call me something worse–but I do not think “stand to the right” is a suggestion. It is like the eleventh Commandment. It is escalator Rule Number One.

To review:

1956 in New York: The I.R.T. has a subway station which has been flooded by the Fire Department, and there is a train sunk into the roadbed. Everything is fully repaired and operational five days later.

2009 in Washington: John Catoe does not want to encourage rushing. It is the deadliest, most bogged-down year in the history of Metro. The WMATA Board renews his contract and gives him a standing ovation.

metro car

More Gallery Visitation

cafeteria ladyThe Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has housed a collection of Arms and Armor for a hundred years.

In the 1920’s, art snobs complained that suits of armor do not belong in world-class museums filled with paintings by such geniuses as Pablo Picasso.

Au contraire: Many suits of armor are exquisite works of art.

One may discover this fact for oneself by visiting The Art of Power, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It is just about the coolest museum exhibit ever.

…Back to El Greco: His most famous painting is “Burial of Count Orgaz,” which is in a church in Toledo, Spain.

One of the benefactors of the church was such a good and pious man that, when he died, Saints Stephen and Augustine came down from heaven to lay the dead man in his casket.

burial of count orgaz
(click once or twice on the picture to see it even larger)

The painting is so grand, it opens heaven up to our contemplation.

But for many of us the most excellent thing about the painting is…the vestments worn by the saintly clerics.

If you zoom in on St. Stephen’s dalmatic, you can see–right beside the little boy, who is supposedly painted to resemble El Greco’s son–a tiny little El Greco painting of the first Christian martyrdom, as embroidery on the vestment. (St. Stephen is the first martyr.)

St. Matthew

In honor of St. Matthew’s feast day, we present El Greco’s portrait of him:

el greco st matthew

This painting is in the El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain.

As you can see, El Greco’s figures are elongated.

The museum guide in the Prado in Madrid told us that all the people in El Greco’s paintings are 13% taller than they should be.

By the by…El Greco was indeed a Greek. He was from Crete. (He was a Cretan, though hardly a cretin.)

The Spaniards could not pronounce his name, so they called him “The Greek.” (No relation to Jimmy the Greek.)

jimmy the greekJean Poyet was a late-medieval illuminator who produced the beautiful image of the Mass you see below. He also drew a magnificent St. Matthew.

The picture of St. Matthew is in the “Book of Hours of Henry VIII,” which is in the Morgan Library in New York. Alas, I cannot find the image of St. Matthew anywhere on the ol’ internet, so here’s Poyet’s picture of the Holy Mass instead.

Happy feast day to all Matthews!

jean poyet

…With bad luck like this (see below), you are going to lose to the N.Y. Giants, even if you are the Dallas Cowboys in the home-opener in your billion-dollar new stadium:

…These old Bests are retired:

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Discovering El Greco

View of Toledo by El Greco

View of Toledo by El Greco

In January, 1929, Louisine Havemeyer gave her late husband’s art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Havemeyer had made a fortune as the president of the American Sugar Refining Company, also known as Domino Sugar.

Henry and Louisine Havemeyer

Henry and Louisine Havemeyer

The Havemeyers had travelled extensively in Europe to acquire paintings by artists that the other American collectors did not know about.

One of the countries they visited was Spain, and one of the artists they “discovered” was El Greco.

Their interest in El Greco’s paintings transformed him from an obscure sixteenth-century painter to one of the giants of the art world.

When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to visit Spain. We toured the Museo del Prado, and I laid eyes on the paintings of El Greco for the first time.

El Greco

El Greco

To say that they are ethereal is an understatement. To say that they are sublime is to say too little. To say that they are spiritual is true–but it sounds lame. El Greco is simply the greatest, in a class by himself.

There are some El Grecos in Washington, at the National Gallery of Art.

Any opportunity to see a painting by El Greco should be immediately seized.

…Speaking of greatness:

Fourth and two? Here is how you stuff that situation:

Making Some Noise in this Democracy

suisham

Yes, we won.

But I rest my case about #17. (Zero t.d.’s)…

Long-term readers will remember that, one year ago, Archbishop Wuerl insisted that we priests make certain points in our Sunday homily. He did it because prominent Catholic politicians had misrepresented the teaching of the Church.

wuerlHis Grace had to insist again today that we priests within the city limits make certain points.

Faithful readers also may recall that P&BD recently published a Q&A about “same-sex marriage.”

It appears that the D.C. City Council will soon act on this matter.

Here is your humble servant’s homily for today…

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.” (Mark 9:37)

The Lord Jesus taught us that we must become like little children. We must depend on Him for everything, like a little child depends on his mother and father.

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Ray, Jason, and St. Simon

campbell

ray romanoI.
Not sure how to watch the “Golf Channel.” But if I could, I would definitely tune in for Raymond’s golf lessons

II.
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Let’s stop taking around things. Let’s stop living in a fantasy world.

The problem has a name.

He is tall. He is handsome.

But he is not a good NFL quarterback. He never has been, and he never will be.

The problem IS: Number 17, Jason Campbell…

III.
In honor of Friday, the day our Lord carried the cross, we present a beautiful meditation submitted by an anonymous reader:

Simon says… Blood, Sweat, and Incense

A great gift was given to St Simon of Cyrene; a gift he didn’t want at first. He didn’t want to become involved in Our Dear Lord’s Passion. He probably would have preferred to be an anonymous face in the crowd. He was merely a strong man in the right place, at the right time. Simon was pressed into service; forced to assist our Dear Lord in His struggle. But, through this forced burden, Simon became a great saint.

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The Church of the Apostles

If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, then you want to be in the Church Christ founded, the Church of the Apostles.

hell tormentsThe question is: How can I be sure that I am in the Church of the Apostles?

The man who answered this question with the greatest skill died 388 years ago today.

The short answer: Be with the Pope.

If you are with the Pope, you can be sure you are in the Church founded by Christ.

Regrettably, very few of St. Robert Bellarmine’s many writings have been translated into English.

Hopefully, all of the saint’s answers to Luther, et al., will be available on the internet in English soon.

Just in Case…

…you were starting to worry that everyone in the world is rude and arrogant:

I.

It is worthwhile listening to the whole speech. You will weep when he talks to his family.

My favorite line: “Have you ever got on your knees and prayed really hard for something?”

II.
delpo and fed

I had two dreams this week.

One was to win the U.S. Open and the other one is to be like Roger.

One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you. You fought until the final point; you are a great champion.

–Juan Martin del Potro

Being classy never goes out of style.