Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dear Ones,

How marvelous to be Catholic and to know that the wonders of Christmas do not end in a single day—the Octave of Christmas is this wonderful 8 days that encompass such beautiful days as St Stephen the Martyr, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and the Feast of the Holy Family—and culminating on the First with our Feast of the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy and the Circumcision of our Lord.

And then of course extends to the 12 Days of Christmas which will culminate on January 6th for The Epiphany of our Lord. And then of course the Christmas season lasts for 40 Days—how wonderful to be Catholic. You should really get into the tradition like I do, I do not mail my Christmas cards till after the 25th and keep on writing them through the whole 40 day Christmas Season. giggles

Please do not miss this wonderful opportunity:
Two Plenary Indulgences are available as follows:
1. Reciting the Te Deum (privately) on December 31.
2. Reciting Veni Creator Spiritus on January 1st.

If you want to share my New Years Eve Celebration plans you can join me at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of the Discalsed Carmelite Sisters on Flowers Street in Oak Cliff for Midnight Mass--you need to get there by 11:30 to be ready to do the Te Deum before Mass and then end Mass on the morning of the First with the Veni Creator Spiritus--you get your Holy Day of Obligation and the two Plenary Indulgences all in one fell swoop--what a deal--after some prayers of thanksgiving and Adoration, you are off to a good sleep and wake to your Black Eyed Peas for New Years Day Brunch. And of course we will all be keeping up our decorations and creche sets till January 6th--my Wise Men are still Traveling from Afar across the Living Room and Dining Room till that happy day--and I am still listening to my 25+ Christmas CD collection as I sip hot tea or Scotch as the mood requires in front of the the fireplace--ah the fireplace chats.

Those who claim that indulgences are no longer a part of the Church's teachings today are misinformed Indulgences are the enactment of the authority given to Peter and to the Church, which Christ established to extend the mercy of God to the Christian faithful. Temporal punishment due for sins is a Doctrine of the Church as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1471 thru 1479., and Code of Canon Law, c. 994.

Te Deum, also sometimes called the Ambrosian Hymn because if its association with St. Ambrose, is a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving. First attributed to Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, or Hilary, it is now accredited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (4th century). It is used at the conclusion of the Office of the Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours on Sundays outside Lent, daily during the Octaves of Christmas and Easter, and on Solemnities and Feast Days. The petitions at the end were added at a later time and are optional. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it in thanksgiving and a plenary indulgence is granted if the hymn is recited publicly on the last day of the year.

TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.

O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.

Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;

To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:

all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.

Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,

The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,

the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.

the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,

Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:

the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;

Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.

and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.

O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.

Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.

Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.

Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.

Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.

We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.

We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.

V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.

R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.

R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

Veni Creator Spiritus is a hymn normally sung in Gregorian Chant and is considered the "most famous of hymns." It was written by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th Century . The hymn is often sung at occasions such as the entrance of Cardinals to the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope, as well as the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, the dedication of churches, the celebration of synods or councils, the coronation of kings and other solemn events. It means "come Holy Spirit Creator" and commemorates the feast of Pentecost. The hymn was probably first assigned toVespers. Its use at Terce commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost at the third hour of the day. Below is the original Latin and its English translation:


Veni, Creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita
Imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
Qui Paraclitus diceris,
Donum Dei Altissimi,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
Tu septiformis munere,
dextrae Dei tu digitus;
tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque duces protinus,
ductore sic te praevio,
vitemus omne noxium.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium,
te utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Sit laus Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito:
nobisque mittat Filius
charisma Sancti Spiritus.

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our senses from above,and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

God bless you and yours and the very merriest of Christmas to you and all of yours. I look forward to many more stirring chats by the fire in 2009.

Eve of the Feast of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God, and our Mother

If you're confused about the Church's publications of several books on indulgences over the past 200 years, allow me to give a brief teaching:

The new 'Manual of Indulgences' or Enchiridion Indulgentiarum is a hardcover English edition of the 1999 Enchiridion Indulgentiarum published by the Holy See. It replaced the the 'Enchiridion of Indulgences' published by Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City in l968 and authorized by Pope Paul VI after Vatican II in the Apostolic Constitution on the 'Revision of Indulgences.' However, the Vatican's new l999 Enchiridon Indulgentiarum lists only 33 indulgences, instead of earlier 74, that one may gain. Before the Enchiridion of 1968, there was 'The Raccolta' or original manual of indulgences. 'The Raccolta' was translated into English in l950 from the official l807 edition 'Enchiridion Indulgentarum' issued by the Sacred Penitentiary Apostolic, with the latest revision being done in l898 by the Sacred Congregation of the Indulgences. 'The Raccolta' contains prayers and pious exercises to which indulgences have been attached by the popes; also the decrees granting these indulgences and the conditions necessary for gaining them.

I have both of these indulgence books in my home Catholic library. All of the indulgences in each book have been approved by the Popes of the Church, so they are all still valid and licit to use. I take the Raccolta with me to my Holy Hour. You can get a reprint easily on the Internet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have my TIVO filled with Christmas movies and they have already brought more than a few tears as I experience the emotions they hold---I called a dear friend, one I always considered "tough as nails" only to find her sobbing over the Christmas Shoes movie. Too sweet, too wonderful--to let our hearts flow with the many emotions our Dear Saviour has Given unto us as children of men, who HE has now made children of the Heavenly Father. I go from the traditional to Johnny Quest, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the Yogie Bear Christmas....hehehe

This is a sweet email forward--if you have already read it, know that to me it reminds me of you and yours....

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, 'I love you and I wish you enough'. The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom'.

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'

'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this forever good-bye?'

'I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back
will be for my funeral,' she said. 'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?

She began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to
say it to everyone'. She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough', we want the other person to have a life filled with just enough
good things to sustain them'. Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no
matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive
and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of
joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final

She then began to cry and walked away. They say it takes a minute to find a special person,
an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them but then an entire life to forget them.

* Only if you wish send this to the people you will never forget and remember to send it back to the person who sent it to you. If you don't send it to anyone it may mean that you are in such a hurry that you have forgotten your friends.

To all my friends and loved ones , I WISH YOU ENOUGH.....

This time of year is special in so many ways. I love the 12 hours of darkness, I love coming home to a blazing fire, and a warm pot of tea, with a crystal decanter and glass ready for the bedtime Scotch--just to take the chill off for the night of course. I love the books I keep ready and nestled in every room as I wander as I wander from room to room reading parts of five books at a time. I love working my way through my 25+ CD's filled with Sounds of the Seasons--this year i have added:
A Charlie Brown Christmas (remastered)--favs hearing over and over Christmas is Here, Greensleves, Fur Elise,
Angel Voices-Libera--Silent Night
A Christmas Celebration-Celtic Women--Panis Angelicus
Christmas Memories-Ella Fitzgerald
And of course till I can listen no more--Noel-Josh Groban--Panis Angelicus, Ave Maria, What Child is This?

I am home the next four days and there is a near by mug waiting for you to have a bit of my pot of tea and some shortbread from my ole Irish-Scotch Granny Walker. If you are quick enough a spot of Old Bushmill's Irish Cream, Nucello, or velvety smooth Tequila liquor--but, be fair warned, I can not predict how long they will hold out against the raging North winds of Coppell.

I can assure you that there are plenty of Drunken Raisins and Glogg. You can always bring a fav bottle of your own to share with us---giggles. Or cookies, or fudge, or...we are a household of fend for your self boys---have mercy on us.

I am off to my favorite Costco to close it down at this once a year we close at 5:00PM the only sad sound of the season--and then I am picking up Miss Norma and we are off to a fine steak dinner just the two of us and then to see It is a Wonderful Life in the Theaters at the Angelica at Legacy at 7:30--then I will get her to home in time to make Midnight Mass with all the wonderful sounds, smells, and the Arrival of our lovely Child Jesus in the Manager, in our hearts, in our homes, and in our bellies.

The boys and I sleep in on Christmas Day and then when they are fully roused, I serve them my truly wondrous and made from Scratch---Vanilla pancakes and real Maple Syrup, great bacon and eggs and eggnog and fresh Orange Juice....Andrew will read us the Traditional Gospel Christmas story and we will exchange our gifts and more our stories and laughter before the fire...

Here are a few of my sweet family memories to share with you. I will keep writing my Christmas cards throughout the Christmas Octave, the Twelve Days, and up to the end of the Catholic 40 Days of Christmas---how wonderful that the Church gives us so much times of celebration in our wondrous Church Calendar.

Please, KNOW that you are in my heart so deeply and so fully. YOU as an expression of HIS LOVE the FACE of LOVE have turned my mourning into dancing and turned my sack cloth into JOY. I did not think this was possible, but it is--HE IS.

I would love to hear from you during this wondrous time of peace and Goodwill to men, and on Earth tidings of Glad JOY.

Your friend,

Daniel, Andrew, and Lewis
Christmas Eve 2008 Coppell, Texas

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Traditional Christmas Pudding
First Sunday of Advent---Stir-Up Sunday also has an earthier meaning: it is the time to stir up the signature Christmas dessert, the pudding (which takes weeks to mature before reaching its peak). The process of making a traditional Christmas pudding has come to abound in allegory and harmless superstition. It should be stirred from East to West, it is said, to commemorate the journey of the Magi; it should have thirteen ingredients in honor of Christ and His Apostles; and every member of the family and guest should stir the pudding while secretly making a wish. Finally, the stirring represents the arousal of our hearts for the Lord’s coming, while the richness of the pudding represents the good things that He brings with Him from Heaven. There is even a little poem to accompany the task:
Stir up, we beseech thee,
The pudding in the pot;
And when we get home
We’ll eat the lot.

Christmas pudding may also include any number of good luck tokens, such as a coin for prosperity, a thimble for luck (or spinsterhood!), and a ring for marriage, with each of these blessings going to the person who finds the relevant object in their share (just make certain to tell everyone to look for it so that no one will choke on their new destiny). The pudding is usually presented to the family at the end of Christmas dinner with great fanfare, such as dousing it with warm brandy and setting it ablaze, where it is then consumed with zest.
1½ lbs. raisins (regular)
1¾ lbs. currants
1 lb. sultanas (golden Raisins)
2 lbs. sugar
2 lbs. bread crumbs
1 oz. cinnamon
6 oz. finely cut citron
grated rind of 2 lemons
1 oz. ground nutmeg
½ oz. ground bitter almonds
2 lbs. finely chopped suet (go to a good Butcher and get some good and fresh Suet please)
16 eggs
¼ pt. brandy, 2 tablespoons dark rum, and 2.5 oz of Stout

1 cup brandy (for the flambé)

Day 1 Chop the raisins but do not grind them. Wash and dry the currants. To the fruits add all the dry ingredients and the suet together, and moisten with the well-beaten eggs and the brandy. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out. This is where it is traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish. The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Day 2 Pack the mixture into the lightly greased pudding mold, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string. It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours. Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.
When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier maneuvering. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.

To re-heat, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2 hours. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.

To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top. Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don't pour it over until you reach the table. When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company! When both flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum or brandy butter.

Brandy Butter
6 tablespoons of brandy
6 oz of unsalted butter at room temperature
6 oz of dark brown sugar, softened
Use mixer and add the brandy slowly. When the right taste and consistency put in tight container and it will last two weeks in the fridge. Always serve cold.

Warm Rum Sauce
Place 2½ oz of the butter in a saucepan with 2½ oz flour, pour in the milk, then, using a whisk, beat everything vigorously together over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to simmering point and has thickened, turn the heat to its lowest setting, stir in the sugar and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. Add the rum, the remaining ½ oz butter and 1 tablespoon cream. Pour the hot sauce into a serving picture, cover the surface with plastic wrap and keep warm until served.
3 (or more) tablespoons dark rum
3 oz butter
2½ oz plain flour
1 pint whole milk
2 oz superfine sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream

This is great fun for the whole family. Let me know if you try it, and how it works out!

Daniel Vinzant
Coppell--old family recipe
Feast of St. Nicholas