Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Feast Day!!

As many of you surely know, today (Sunday, October 1st) is the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Or more commonly known as St. Therese of Liseux. She was a Discalced Carmelite nun (YAY Carmelites!) in the 19th century. She is one of the three female Doctors of the Church along with St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), another Discalced Carmelite, and St. Catherine of Sienna.

In addition, she is one of the patrons of the ITI along with St. Thomas Aquinas.

She had a wonderful spirituality of doing small things for God with great love. In fact, she beleived that her place in the Body of Christ was as a heart of love.

Here you can read the Apostolic Letter from Pope John Paul II declaring her a Doctor of the Church.

Have a wonderful day!! St. Therese, ora pro nobis!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Eli and Debbie!!

Today (Saturday) is Eli's birthday and tomorrow is Debbie's. Eli is 4, and Debbie is 29. ;-) We had a wonderful day. Amazing how hard it is to even find birthday candles! Here are a couple of pics of the birthday boy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The ITI Convocation...

The first week of classes the ITI had an convocation. It began with a Byzantine Rite Liturgy in the Kartause Maria Thron. I didn't take any pictures myself; however, I was able to procure some. Please enjoy these magnificent pictures!

These are not in order. There are pictures of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Great Entrance, reading the Gospel, and the Introductory rites. It was a fantastic liturgy.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Communion Prayer of the Byzantine Rite...

I just got back form the attending the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy. is so amazing! I love it! Hopefully, I will be able to post some pictures of a Divine Liturgy that occurred as the inaugural Mass for the ITI school year. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a beautiful prayer that is said just prior to Communion. I would invite you to use it since the Byzantine Rite is a Catholic Liturgical Rite, we Latins can participate in their Liturgy. You can memorize it or take it with you to Mass as a prayer of preparation before Communion, or you could say it at home as a preparation for Mass.

O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the World to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God, for I will not reveal the mysteries to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but, like the thief, I confess to You:
Remember me, O Lord, when you shall come into Your kingdom.
Remember me , O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.
May the partaking of Your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.
O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body, and Your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen
O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Being a disciple of the Lord is awfully difficult. Even though this place is beautiful and has so much for us, we still miss home. We miss all of the wonderful friends and family that we are so very far from. We miss our beloved Idaho and the West. There is something about a Westerner that is unique in the world. I miss fishing, camping, BBQs, and beef. Yep, beef. There is very little beef here.

I miss the ease of close friendships. I miss the freedom a car gives.

I miss the smell of woodsmoke on a cool Fall camping trip. I miss the sound of a Western trout stream running by my tent.

I guess I miss...heaven. We all have a longing for home that is deeper than any place or time. We typically keep it buried very deep. It is times like tonight that I most acutely feel the longing for my true Home where there are no goodbyes, no tears, no separation. I can't wait to be united to the Lord and the rest of my loved ones in perfect unity forever and ever and ever and ever.......

I am missing home and Home tonight. I am wise enough to know that if I were in Idaho I probably would be too busy to call, or camp, or stop and listen. This longing for this idealized Home where all is peace, security, love, and warmth is lying heavy on my heart tonight. As is the desire to be in a place quite close to that in my estimation - our home in Idaho.

I thought that we might just be in Europe for an extended amount of time beyond school. If we are, I sure hope we get to come back to the US for a long stay. I need to put my feet back in American soil, especially the West.

So my prayer tonight is one for perseverance and courage. I ask the Lord to never let me forget and to someday return...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mariazell continued...

(You can click on any of the pictures to see a larger image)
I am amazed at the grace that was poured out as a result of the pilgrimage. There have been many wonderful changes within my heart. I wish that all of you could do the same. I wanted to post some pictures of the trip. Sorry that this will make the blog load very slow for you dial-up types. This is a good indication that you need dsl! ;-)

Here is a picture of Felicity and Cody at a restaurant that was literlly stuck on the side of the mountain. I have no idea how they got anything in or out of there. Had the best smellin' crepe soup in the world. Felcity got a bowl. We were four hours into the pilgrimage at this point.

This shot is looking back to the right of the last. It shows the bridge that we had to cross to get to the restaurant.

This looks back down the trail we just came up to get to the restaurant. You can see that this was flat out hiking. We spent four hours along this beautiful creek.

Pilgrims on their way...

The beautiful Austrian countryside

The tired pilgrims after about 7 hours of walking...

Anyway, it was a marvelous trip. One that I will never forget...but just being here is a pilgrimage in many ways (and in many ways it is just trying to live). I was thinking that I have not attended a regular Mass (Novus Ordo) in English in more than a week! Last Sunday was the Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English with Tom and Cookie Sorge. Monday was Novus Ordo in Latin with all the smells and bells. Tuesday was Novus Ordo in German. Wednesday was Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English. Today (Thursday) was Novus Ordo in Latin with all the smells and bells.

I am hoping to get you some pictures of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy that opened the school year. It was held in the Kartause Maria Thron...It was amazing!

OK, enough for now!

Please Pray for Debbie and Felicity....

I hope to find time this weekend to continue on Mariazell. However, I have a request. Please pray for Debbie and Felicity as they go on a fantastic pilgrimage to Poland this weekend. They had just enough seats left for them to go. They will see:
  1. The Black Madonna of Czestochowa - Mass in front of the Icon.
  2. To Wadowice - the birthplace of Pope John Paul II
  3. A tour of Krakow
  4. A tour of the Divine Mercy Place at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary
    1. Mass at the Basilica of Divine Mercy
  5. Auschwitz and Birkenau
    1. Visit the death bunker of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr
As you can see, this is a very full itinerary. Please pray for their safe travels and deep conversion!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It will take several posts about the pilgrimage to do it justice. Also, I am swamped with reading in the middle of the week; thus, it will take me a few more days to put it all together with pictures. (We couldn't take pictures inside the church, however.)

It was an amazing day. It started out with a complete downpour to the extent we almost cancelled. Everyone decided to go anyway. Interestingly, when we got to the start point the rain had decreased to a mist. There were about 30 of us including Cody and Felicity. I thought the 'hike' would follow roads. Boy, was I ever wrong!! It was truly a hike through the mountains as we followed a river for the first four hours of the pilgrimage along trails that were cut right on the side of a mountain. Many times we were walking on wood planking that was laid upon steel beams driven into the rock on the side of the mountain so we were walking over water.

It was a very fast pace with little messing around. I tried to separate myself from the crowd so I could pray as I walked. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner." I ended up carrying water, umbrellas, and lunch for the kids and I in a backpack. Also, I had put extra clothes (for Mass if I was too wet), my Bible, homework, and snacks into the pack. It must have weighed 30 lbs. It was far too heavy, but I found the weight consoling for two reasons. One, it represented my sin that I was taking to lay at the feet of Christ and Our Lady of Mariazell. In addition, it represented, to me, all of the wonderful benefactors back in Idaho. (Not that I considered any of you as my sin ;-)) I consciously carried each and every one of you to Mariazell to lay at our Lady's feet on her birthday. You were with me every step of the way.

Yes, we made the pilgrimage on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mother. It was a wonderful occasion as we saw our destination and could rest in the Eucharistic presence of our Lord. The church was absolutely gorgeous. Words, or pictures, can't do justice to the beauty of the basilica. The picture I posted below was of the main altar. There are two where mass is said. We celebrated Mass at the altar where the statue of Our Lady of Mariazell is enshrined. It was a full Second Vatican Mass where all the common prayers of the Mass were done in Latin and the readings were in German. We even received Communion at an altar rail! Some of the students formed an impromptu choir and sang Latin hymns acapella through the Mass. It was mystical to say the least. This view looks towards the altar where we celebrated mass (it is bit tough to see). The ceiling is amazing with hundreds of saints painted onto it.

Here is view of the outside of the basilica and the rest of the town.

Here is the wikipedia entry for Mariazell with a few more pictures. I still have some of my own to add and some more thoughts. Aristotle comes very early in the morning so I must sign off for now...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mysterium Salutis

One of the classes that I am taking this semester (and will take for a year), is the Mystery of Salvation. It is focused on reading the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church over the year. If that isn't cool enough, the professor was the assistant to Cardinal Shoenborn and was one of the writers of the Catechism. In addition, she was a writer for the new Compendium of the Catholic Church! How amazing to sit with one who helped write the truth for all to read. Who worked directly over the long term with the now Pope Benedict. Just amazing...

What is really neat is that Deb is getting to sit in on the class with me. It will be really neat to discuss these things with her once again.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Last weekend, I was very busy working for the ITI moving beds, furniture, all kinds of stuff. I get a call on Saturday to see if I want to help this guy move. We'd be paid cash. I wasn't too excited about it, but they were desperate for the help so I went over.

I met a wonderful couple. He is the main fundraiser for ITI and is Dutch. His wife is Mexican. They have a four year old boy who speaks Dutch, Spanish, German, and English!! It was amazing! Anyway, they were moving to Vienna. We loaded up, hit the A1 (main highway) and were on our way.

They moved into a 13th century castle that was built by the Liechtenstein's (sp?) as a horse riding getaway. It was amazing! They was a chapel in the castle that they were in the midst of refurbishing in hopes of making it a chapel once again. I have never seen anything like it before.

When we were done, the gentlemen took us out to dinner to an Italian pizzeria. The beer wasn't bad for a lager (although I desperately miss my IPAs, Porters, and Stouts - got to get to England 8^>). The pizza was a little more interesting. My acquaintance ordered a so-called "Mexican Pizza". It was nuthin' of the sort, honey. THEY PUT TUNAFISH ON THIS PIZZA!! I can't remember what else was on it BECAUSE THEY PUT TUNAFISH ON THE PIZZA. (Or thunfisch for you Germophiles). I, of course, did NOT have the "Mexican Pizza", yes those are scare quotes - 'cause it scared the hell out o' me. Mine was edible.

We then were able to take a quick tour of Vienna at night on the way back to Gaming. It was magnificent, especially when I am in the car with a Slovakian, a Romanian, listening to Austrian radio sing crappy American hits in English! Way too much cultural diversity for a guy like me who thinks cultural diversity is two guys from Ada and Canyon Counties in the same bar!

In other news, I received my final class list.
  1. Natural Philosophy I: Principles of Nature - mainly focusing on Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas
  2. Natural Philosophy II: Motion and Order - focused on Aristotle, Bacon, and Descartes
  3. Introduction to Logic - Aristotle and others (don't know yet)
  4. Mysterium Salutis I - Class on the first 1/2 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  5. Church History I - No idea yet
  6. Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.
A combined 24 credits. I think I might be a busy boy. I love it though. The bulletin board on Friday was filled with announcements from the Professors assigning reading, before classes begin, so we can hit the ground running. As I told one of them, "I am way to old to be messing around. Let's get it on!!"

We started homeschool this week. Wow. double-wow. triple-wow. It is going to take us all a while to get all of this figured out. Four kids at four different levels needing help all at the same time makes for a comedic melodrama. I am not particularly fond of God's sense of humor. :)

Hopefully, we can get the camera going again and get some pictures up. We are going on our pilgrimage to Mariazell (Check it out at next weekend. 20 Km walk (~12 miles) through the mountains. It will be a wonderful time of penance, purgation, and pilgrimage.
The above is a picture of the main altar. The website is in German, but the pictures aren't! Enjoy!!

Friday, September 01, 2006


The internet has come to my house!! The internet has come to my house!! Now, we can finally get back on track as far as the blog is concerned.

Classes start on Tuesday. So now time becomes a factor. I'll write later about classes, 13th Century castles, tuna on a "Mexican" pizza, and much, much more!!