Spy Wednesday Tenebrae with the Suspcious Cheese Lords

Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington, DC is a Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. The Church itself neo-Byzantine design by Roman architect Aristide Leonari in 1899.  The church looks akin to  St. Sophia (Hagia  Sophia) in Constantinople (Istanbul).

The interior of the church resembles a five fold Crusader Cross of Jerusalem. The large bronze baldachin is is supported by columns which depicts the twelve Apostles. The interior is decorated with the Ave Maria and scenes from the life of Mary.

The Friary is the home of Franciscan Commissariat in the nation’s capital, and they continue their 800 year tradition of supporting the Holy Land. Part of the charism of the Commissariat seems to be a special celebration of Passiontide.

The Tenebrae service which is celebrated on Spy Wednesday is is resplendent in faith and history, as is incorporates a cappella medieval pieces sung by the Suspicious Cheese Lords (Suscipe Domine Queso).

While they are a consummate choir, the Suspicious Cheese Lords need to practice their polyphonic songs in situ at the Franciscan Monastery.

The Suspicious Cheese Lords in rehearsal for the Tenebrae Service.

Even though the Suspicious Cheese Lords ordinarily sing early music works, one year they chose to perform Arvo Part’s De Profundis (1980).

Lighting the Candelabra for the Tenebrae Service.

Extinguishing the candles during the Tenebrae Service.

 The closing of the Tenebrae service is marked by a retreat of the single candle into the crypt.  As the vault to the catacombs is slammed, it sets off an unnerving Strepitus, meant to symbolize the earth convulsing at the death of the the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.

Joseph, the dreamer by Clyde Robert BullaIn past posts, I have written on Peter Rabbit and the Fall of Man, Benjamin Bunny and the narrow gate, and the Epiphany in My Side of the Mountain. I am making this into a series called Finding God in children’s literature. Before posting more on fiction, I want to examine how to find Jesus in the Old Testament. Let’s look at typology with the story of Joseph in Genesis.

Typology finds the things, people, or events in the Bible that prefigure more significant things, people, or events in salvation history. Most types are in the Old Testament. Most anti-types (what the types prefigure) are in the New Testament. Fisheaters.com has a fuller explanation of typology.

Learn more about Joseph and Jesus.

Can you become a saint by sheer willpower?

File:Thomas Aquinas in Stained Glass.jpgFr. Thomas Dubay used to tell this anecdote: The sister of St. Thomas Aquinas once asked him, “How can I become a saint?”

St. Thomas answered, “Will it.”

This story came back to me recently. Trying to accept with peace whatever happens during my day has taught me something: I don’t always want to do God’s will. When I ruin the dinner I’m making my family, for example, and according to my Lenten resolution I must say, “Jesus, I trust in you,” I sometimes say first, “Jesus, I don’t want to trust in you. I don’t want to let go of my anger and frustration.” Or, “Jesus, I trust in you–sort of.”

The words “I trust in you” are a prayer. They aren’t magic. They remind me to trust in God and ask for His help. But they can’t make me trust when I don’t want to. I must open my heart to grace. I must will it.

Continue reading.

Meet Pope Francis (for kids and their parents)

Parents: I have written a short biography of Pope Francis for children. Scroll down to find definitions of vocabulary words, links, downloads, and other teaching ideas. 

“Habemus Papam!” the protodeacon announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter’s Square on March 13, 2013. “We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, Who takes for himself the name of Francis.”

The people cheered when they heard the new pope would be Pope Francis. But they also asked themselves, Who is Cardinal Bergoglio? Where is he from? What kind of pope will he be?
Continue reading.

Prayer for the Petrine Ministry

Lord Jesus, through the one sacrifice of the New Covenant, you have truly become the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. But unto us you have given shepherds to teach, guide, sanctify and lead.
You had chosen Simon-Peter as your Vicar and Governor of the apostles, therefore, may his successors grow in love and submission to you, O Lord, and may they continue to guide your Church in steadfast faith over any stormy waters which lie ahead.
– Amen.

~ Rachel M. Gohlman is a convert to the Catholic faith from Evangelical Protestantism. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Bradley University, Peoria and is the author of the “Misadventures of Cardinal Fratelli” book series.

Checking Out Pope Francis

After paying respects to the Salvation of the Roman People icon at the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore  (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Snows), Pope Francis’ ecclesiastical entourage took an unexpected detour.  
The newly elected Argentine pope asked his driver to circle back to the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI,  so that Pope Francis could collect his luggage.  After he collected his things, the prelate went to the front desk of the Vatican run boarding house to thank the staff.  Then Pope Francis insisted upon paying his bill. 

Most people might have understood had the Pope had.left the Church pick up the 85 Euro a night tab for a complete pension,  he insisted on trying to pay his way to set a good  example of  what priests and bishops should do.  It is unclear how much Pope Francis actually paid. Moreover, it is humorous but dubious that he claimed that he checked in under a different name. 
This pied-de-terre episode certainly solidifies Pope Francis’ reputation for frugality and fraternity with common folks.  But it may symbolize some of the new Pontiff’s ambitions to challenge the comfortable situations of the Curia and dispel the anti-clerical slight that the Church lives high on the hog on their parishioners’ tithes. 
The early trip to Santa Maria Maggiore may also herald another important aspect of Pope Francis’s papacy.  New Popes are expected to visit all five of Rome’s patriarchal basilicas early in their reign.  Moreover, many recent pontiffs, especially Pope Blessed John Paul II, have major Marian devotions.     
It is telling, however,  the on the morning of his first full day in the chair of St. Peter that Pope Francis visits  Salus Populi Romani and also brings flowers.  This icon is of particular significance to Romans. For example, when Rome was going to fall from Axis control in World War II, Adolph Hitler vowed to bomb the Eternal City to smithereens.  Pope Pius XII arranged a procession of the Byzantine Salus Populi Romani through the streets and miraculously a fog enveloped the city, so the angry Nazi bombs only fell on a Roman cemetery.  This humble act continues Pope Francis identification with his new Roman Diocese.  

10 Ways to keep your kids Catholic

Watching TV

Watching the events of the last few weeks unfold, I have been struck anew by how many former Catholics there are in the news media. None of them have a clue about what it means to be Catholic. That, coupled with this post at 8 Kids and a Business, got me thinking about how to keep our kids Catholic. I decided to create a list.

Please note: my children are still preteens, so I cannot say, “It worked for us.” But I have done some research on the matter, and observed other Catholic families. I’ve often wondered how my husband and his siblings all remained good Catholics, while some of my siblings did not. I almost left the Church myself in my 20s. I also know that a parent can do everything right, and his children can still choose to leave the Church. We have freewill. This list is not meant for pointing fingers or accusing other parents of failing. It’s meant to help those who are raising their kids now and want to do the best they can.

View the list.

Guess Who?! Cardinals Edition FREE printable available!

Check out
Guess Who?! Cardinals Edition!
to convert to Catholic your family game of Guess Who?!
and familiarize yourself with the faces of the Cardinals
…one of them just might be our next Pope!

We do not pretend to know 
exactly who will be most seriously 
considered for the papacy…
That’s up to the Holy Spirit-GUIDED 
Conclave of Cardinals!

but YOU can quickly get familiar with the faces, names and flags of these Cardinals!  

Make sure that you subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families or “like” our Arma Dei facebook page
to receive any revisions as soon as they are available!*

The kit will likely be revised or expanded 
as the Conclave gets underway!


I am a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter and I think it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centred crafts!

Letter to Catholic Bloggers from Aquinas and More

on behalf of Ian Rutherford of Aquinas and More


I write to you tonight with an announcement to make. As you all know,
after 10 years, Aquinas and More announced it would be closing at the end
of February. This was not an easy decision for us.

To our wonder, the outpouring of support for Aquinas and More from our
customers and the Catholic community at large has been overwhelming.  We
graciously, graciously thank you.

has left us in a bit of a quandary. We could not realistically continue in our
present state of affairs, but the void in Catholic shopping and Catholic
service left by the closing of Aquinas and More is also real.  We’ve
always felt that Aquinas and More was truly a mission.  Are we being
called to continue? Are we not? I know what I want, but I also know that — more
importantly — I want God’s Will.

this regard, Aquinas and More has decided to launch an “all-or-nothing”
crowdfunding campaign over the next two weeks (Tuesday March 5- March 19) to
return to its mission of serving others with their authentic Catholic online shopping

Our Goal:

goal is to raise $250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory,
overhaul the website and retain excellent Catholic customer service and
results. It’s a big number, we know. But we also know that we have more than
30,000 Facebook fans, and we’ve served more than 200,000 customers. We have
been richly blessed. So we have joy and hope, gaudium et spes.


We are calling our campaign the “Aquinas Angels”. You can
visit the site at: http://www.gofundme.com/aquinasangels. We
have different levels of support, and will be “giving back” for your
generosity. The important thing to remember, however, is that if we don’t reach
our goal, your Angel donation will not be processed. Simple as that,
all-or-nothing. We will not be benefiting from any of it until and unless our
goal is reached. And if we don’t reach it, Aquinas and More will likely shut
down. It’s in His hands.


fellow Catholics and bloggers, I ask you first to pray for our campaign. We
will be praying the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer daily for this endeavor.
Secondly, I ask you to please help us spread the word about our Aquinas and
More Angel Campaign. This is a “We” Campaign. We can’t succeed without your
help! You have your audiences, your friends, your families, your parishes. If
you would like the work of Aquinas and More to continue, please share our
story, our site, and your experiences out there with your networks. I thank

Talking Points: 

If you want to help, but aren’t sure what to say or emphasize, you can
always talk about some or all of the following:

Aquinas and More is not just a Catholic store – it’s a way of life. We are
unabashedly and authentically Catholic in our policies, products, & projects

The only place where you’ll find a “Good Faith Guarantee” policy– making sure our products are
guaranteed to be in conformity with official Church teaching. As a Catholic
store, our mission is to clearly present the Faith for our customers

Aquinas and More does not buy
products from China, guaranteeing money isn’t spend supporting forced abortions
and the persecution of Christians in China


Military Chaplaincy Program”:
providing for the spiritual needs of our soldiers defending our lives and
liberties with a soldier registry and free shipping
“Church Supply” Catholic products for parishes, priests and seminarians
Tiber River”: Catholic book reviews from fellow Catholics
Behind the Counter” Radio Show: Catholic product advice from the experts
Catholic Literacy: Articles
on Saints, being Catholic, Church history, and more


the community
: For example, Aquinas and More donated a portion
of their sales to wildfire relief efforts in Colorado last summer;

their family
:  Paula and I (Ian) Rutherford, have
had 10 children in 13 years – need I say more? 

Why Donate?

to the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means helping to build and restore an
authentic Catholic culture. No where else can you find such a ministry and
mission – a living and serving, Catholic approach to shopping.

Aquinas and More is the “New Evangelization” in a nutshell. As part of the Year
of Faith, we are called to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message, and
go forth and proclaim the Gospel. That is the essence of Aquinas and More.

the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign means supporting:

the New Evangelization;

makers of Catholic products and other Catholic businesses;

our parishes and religious;

Catholic families;

Catholic writers

When is
the Aquinas and More Angel Campaign?

March 5 – Tuesday, March 19 . Our site is not live yet (it will be on Tuesday),
but you can check it out as we get ready to launch at: http://www.gofundme.com/aquinasangels.

How can you help spread the word?:

A blog post(s), tweets, sharing on your Facebook page, letting your Catholic network know, talking
it up to family and friends, etc. We really need a strong online presence
especially in the first 48 hours (Tuesday/Wednesday) to raise awareness and

Goal Recap:

$250,000 in two weeks in order to replenish inventory, overhaul the website and
retain excellent Catholic customer service and results. If Aquinas and More
doesn’t reach its goal, your angel donation won’t be processed, and we will not
be reopening.

Friends, thank you so very kindly for taking the time to read my rather long
email and outpouring. I thank you all for your support throughout the years.
Whatever happens, I am grateful for your friendship.


Saint Michael the Archangel,
us in battle.

our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –

the Divine Power of God –

into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.



Big Clicks Awards: Catholic Boy Richard, Winter Past, Speramus and The Breadbox Letters

Welcome to the
2013 Catholic Blogger Link-Up Blitz.
Announcing the Big Clicks Catholic Bloggers
for February 2013!
In the category of…

Readings and Reflections,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:
Catholic Boy Richard for the post
10 Ways NOT to pray the Rosary

Liturgical Calendar Crafts and Homeschooling,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is:
Winter Past for the post
Gathering the Daily Manna

Catechism and Apologetics,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
Speramus (We Hope!) for the post
Our Lady of Lourdes Strengthen Us

Catholic Family Journal and Random Ramblings,
the Big Clicks Catholic Blogger is
The Breadbox Letters for the post
It Worked

Looking for MORE inspiring posts for Lent? Check out the Keep LOVE in LENT link-up…with all 54 Lenten reflections!
Here’s the shortcut:

Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to
Experience a More Meaningful Lent

Catholic All Year: My Biggest Lent Fails and How I
Learned Mortification…

Four Little Ones: Keeping Love in

Gaels Crafty Treasures Keeping Love in

Bear Wrongs Patiently: Lent for the

Rosary Mom: Keeping Love in

LoveLetters 7.10: Teacups
{Keeping the Love in Lent}

Little Saints in the Making:
Keep Love in Lent

Blessed with Full Hands: Keeping
love in Lent- Praise Him

Normal Chaos: Our Own
Personalized Lenten Journey

These Little Blessings: Gifting
Love this Lent

The Cajun Catholic: The our
Father; a lenten reflection

Truly Rich Mom: Keeping Love in
Lent… Even When It Is Difficult


SaIsa Pang Sulyap – Fullness Of
His Love

LiturgicalTime: Keeping Love in
Lent – Finding Balance

Grace Loves Iggy: love in

Sacred Oysters: Empty (Keeping

Tercets:Make Heart Rosary
Decades to Pray for Others

The Diary of a Sower: Our Lenten
Prayer Tree

A Living Garden — Giving for
Others with Love: Keeping LOVE in LENT

Homegrown Catholics: Motivated
by my childrens’ activities {Lent}

MyBroken Fiat: Keeping Love in
Lent… Barely

Journey to Wisdom: Keeping Love
in Lent: Bands of Love

Softening My Heart: An
Anniversary Lesson duringLent

Coffee Moments With
Sam: Alot about Love…

Spread the word!! Let your friends know about these popular posts on the Catholic Bloggers Network
and help promote Catholic Bloggers!

The new Monthly Round-Up for MARCH will be up and running on March 1st! Make sure that you add your posts and visit often!!
You can also always revisit our Archives!


Our FIRST EVER Catholic Bloggers FOLLOW FRENZY was a great success with 48 Catholic Bloggers participating, visiting 23 other blogs and leaving meaningful comments; discovering and following new Catholic blogs and sharing stories.

…You could also sign up to our Catholic Bloggers Mailing List to receive the INFREQUENT Catholic Bloggers Network News Flash for current events, link-ups and features at Catholic Bloggers Network.

Don’t forget to link up to our Monthly Round-Up for MARCH and keep clicking to discover other great Catholic posts and awesome Catholic blogs!

Tell your subscribers about the Catholic Bloggers Network and help us increase traffic and promote all these awesome blogs! We have 459 awesome Catholic blogs linked up so far!

Check out our Catholic Bloggers Spotlight! and get to know our Catholic Bloggers!

Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centered crafts!