Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Meaning Of The Name Of The Blessed Virgin Mary Of Guadalupe

Cuix amo nican nica nimonantzin?
No estoy aqui, que soy tu Madre?
Am I not here, who am your Mother?

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is approaching, when we celebrate the visit and apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in México.

Before the arrival of the True Faith in what is now México, the native people worshipped a multitude of gods. One could make the argument that Satanism is what was being practiced, what with gods who demanded blood sacrifice. Some people may lament that there were codices lost and burned by Franciscan missionaries. Insight into Aztec life might have been useful to historians. However, let us look at some of what has been preserved: bloody scenes of battle, and parents allowing Aztec priests to tears the hearts out of their children. When Hernán Cortés saw this, he was outraged, and saw it as his duty to smash the idols that he saw. Cortés helped to put an end to that, finally, in 1519.

For over a decade, the Franciscans tried their best to convert the Aztecs, but there were very few who came to the Catholic Faith. Paganism was deeply rooted in the Mexican people. One of the few was an Indian by the name of Cuahtlatoátzin (Singing Eagle), and his wife, María Lucía. His wife died in 1529.

Juan Diego would frequently walk from his house in the village of Tolpetlac, to the Franciscan Church at Tlaltelolco. On the Feast of the (Immaculate) Conception of Mary, December 9th (as it was kept in those days by the Franciscans in their calendar) St. Juan Diego was walking to hear Mass. Over the next four days, while walking to church, St. Juan Diego had visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In another post, the entire story, called the Nican Mopohua, will be posted.

Where the visions of the Blessed Virgin happened was on a hill called Tepeyac. This hill, before the arrival of the True Faith, was dedicated to a goddess called Tonantzín. If one looks at the image of Guadalupe, it conveys a great amount of information, almost like an eastern icon. One actually could start with the name. What does Guadalupe mean? Bishop Zumárraga, the Bishop of México, did not speak much Náhuatl, but did have an interpreter, Fr. Juan Gonzales. When Juan Diego and his uncle Bernardino (who also experienced a vision of the Virgin), were asked what the name of the Virgin was, they were astounded to hear the name of Guadalupe, the name of a shrine in the Bishop’s native land of Spain. It is not a name that has any connection with México or the Náhuatl language. Dr. Mariano Rojas of the National Museum of Anthropology of México in 1895 says that the name probably used was “Te Coatlaxopeuh.”

te = stone
coa = serpent
tla = the
xopeuh = crush, stamp out

Her name means that she is the one who will crush the Serpent. She in other words, was identifying herself with the Immaculate Conception, with her name and the date on which she first appeared. Bishop Zumárraga wrote to Cortés on December 24th, 1531, inviting him to the procession taking the image from Tepeyac to the Cathedral of México. In that letter, Bishop Zumárraga refers to the image of Guadalupe as the Immaculate Conception; so he saw that there was a link between the image, the Immaculate Conception, and Genesis 3:15. In her name, we can see that she says she will crush the serpent, and the cruelest serpent to the Aztecs was Quezacóatl, behind whom was Satan. 20.000 people annually were sacrificed to Quezacóatl. In Genesis 3:15, we see that God says that he will put indemnity between he and the woman, and that she will crush his head. In Apocalypse 20:2, the Serpent is specifically identified as Satan.

Our Lady of Guadalupe did have her victory over Satan, as after her visit to México, the greatest mass conversions in history took place, with over 7 million coming to the True Faith in a little over 10 years.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Mona Lisa


The Mona Lisa, or La Giaconda, is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was begun around the year 1503, and was finished by Leonardo Da Vinci in France shortly before his death on May 2nd, 1519. It has stayed in France, mostly, for these past 490 years. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. It was exhibited in Italy for a while after an Italian Patriot stole it, as he felt it should stay in Italy.

In a book by Jean-Pierre Mohen, Mona Lisa: inside the Painting, one can read that all through its history, the Mona Lisa has received exceptional and restrained care. An international commission in 1952 deemed that the care it has received has helped to conserve one of the most famous paintings in the world. This commission recommended that it be restored to remove some layers of varnish, and for some special treatment. It has also been treated with carbon tetrachloride, and later with an ethylene oxide treatment to preserve the painting from an insect infestation. In 1985, the painting was again treated with carbon tetrachloride as a measure to prevent further insect damage. To help with any warping, a crosspiece was installed in 1977.

In 2005, it was moved to a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bullet-proof glass in the Salle des États in the Louvre.
Despite all of this work, and experts from around the world, the Mona Lisa will need further work in the next 15 years to fix cracking in the varnish that had been applied in the past century. Without this fixing of the varnish and further preservation, the Mona Lisa could face irreparable damage in the next few decades.


In December of 1531, 12 years after the Mona Lisa was finished, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in present day Mexico City. She left her image to us, and she is known under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is contemporaneous with the Mona Lisa.
The image of Guadalupe is on a Tilma, an outer garment that was worn by Aztec males, like a cloak, with a long front to it like an apron, and used as a carry all. At the time, and as is the case with the Tilma of St. Juan Diego, it is made of the ayate fibers of the Maguey plant. The normal life span of such a garment is around 20 years. As of 2009, it has been 479 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe appeared in 1531.
For roughly the first 160 years, the Tilma of St. Juan Diego hung in damp air and before the emissions of numerous candles in the Chapel of Tepeyac. There was no glass to cover the image. No soot appears to have ever damaged the Tilma. Dr. Phillip Callahan of the University of Florida studied the image in 1979. He records that a single votive candle can put out in its life over 600 microwatts of ultraviolet light. If you multiply this over hundreds of thousands of candles over centuries, and it is an intolerable environment for a painting. That much ultraviolet light should destroy any painting. It is not a painting though, at least by human hands. Numerous people also touched the image.
In 1791, roughly when the French Revolution happened and the Mona Lisa was moved to the Louvre, the Gold and Silver Frame around the Image of Guadalupe was being cleaned. The image was miraculously preserved when Nitric Acid used to clean the Gold and Silver spilled onto the image. The only trace of this disaster is what appears to be a watermark.
The image is 479 years old, yet the image cannot be reproduced. The colours are as vibrant today as 79 years ago, as vibrant as they were 479 years ago. The fibers of the Tilma are as pliable now as a new Tilma, despite its age.

On Monday the 14th of November 1921, in the midst of Government Anti-Catholic activity, Mass was being said in the Basilica of Guadalupe. at 10:30 AM a bomb, placed by a Mexican government agent, Luciano Perez, went off right below the Image of Guadalupe. The bomb had been hidden in a wreath of flowers, and heavily damaged a nearby Altar, and much of the surrounding masonry.

A Bronze and Iron Cross right underneath the Image was bent over by the explosion, so powerful was the blast, as can be seen above. The image of Guadalupe was untouched, with even the thin glass that was in front of the image undamaged. Miraculously, none of the faithful who were present at the Mass were injured either. As a side note, After having ascertained that everyone was alright, Father Juan Bautista Rangel Avila had a Server summon the police, and then continued to say Holy Mass.
This is just a brief, very brief history of the Mona Lisa, and the Image of Guadalupe. They are both roughly the same age. One is one of the most famous paintings in the world, having received the attention of the world's Art experts, and roughly 20 million dollars worth of restoration.
The other, we Catholics hold to be the image of Our Blessed Lady, is an image that is on Ayate fibers from the Maguey plant. The Tilma should have disintegrated about 460 years ago, had been exposed to the Salt Marshes of Mexico City, had countless people touch it, was exposed for 160 years without protection, had acid spilled on it, and survived a Terrorist Bomb.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Feast of St. John the Baptist, 2013

June 24th is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

Normally, we as Catholics celebrate the dies natalis, or birthday in Heaven of a Saint, Meaning the day of their death.  There are two notable exceptions in the Calendar of the Catholic Church.  One is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord, and St. John the Baptist.  June 24th is the day we commemorate his birth.  The day we observe his beheading and martyrdom is the 29th of August. If we add in various other days in the Eastern Catholic Calendar, St. John the Baptist has 6 days dedicated to him, one of the few Saints to have multiple Feast days.

Why so many days for St. John the Baptist? What is so special?

From these here on out, the days are beginning to grow shorter. This feast day is in a sense, a midsummer's Christmas Eve. This day holds so much promise, the birth of a babe to barren parents. The true prodigy is still yet to come, a babe born of a Virgin, indeed the Saviour of the world on Christmas Day.

From the very beginning, God and Holy Mother Church bring about with thoughtful care many such parallels between the two Solemnities of the birth of St. John and the birth of the Lord. Just as the Angel announced to barren parents that they would conceive, the Angel also announces to Mary that she would bear a child.  St. John, just like in many statues in our Churches, is always pointing to the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, "Behold, this is he! The one whose sandalstraps, I am not worthy to loosen!"

Ut Queant Laxis is the first line of a hymn in honor of St. John the Baptist. The Roman Breviary divides it into three parts and assigns the first, "Ut queant laxis" to Vespers. The second, "Antra deserti teneris sub annis", to Matins, the early morning prayer. The third, "O nimis felix, meritique celsi", to Lauds. Authorship of the hymn is generally credited to Paulus Diaconus, a Benedictine monk who lived in Lombardy during the 8th Century. A popular story amongst the Benedictines is that Paul the Deacon was to chant the Exsultet for Easter, but had a hoarse voice. Being as the Father of the Baptist lost his voice for disbelief with the birth of his son, Paul the Deacon prayed to St. John the Baptist that his voice be restored enough to chant for the Easter Vigil.

The hymn is written in Sapphic stanzas, meaning a type of poetry written over four lines. This first line is famous in the history of music for the reason that the notes of the melody correspond with the first six notes of the diatonic scale of C. This fact led to the syllabic naming of the notes as Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, as may be shown by capitalizing the initial syllables of the lines:

UT queant laxis
REsonare fibris
MIra gestorum
FAmuli tuorum,
SOLve polluti
LAbii reatum, Sancte Ioannes.

The UT has been replaced by DO as that has an open sound that is easier. So even is you have not heard much of this hymn to the Baptist, you know something of it, as we now have Do Re Mi from it.

Here is a Slide Show of images of Mission San Juan Bautista in California set to Ut Queant Laxis as chanted by the Schola Sanctae Sunnivae & Hartkeriana.



Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Sancte Iohannes!

Nuntius celso veniens Olympo
te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
nomen et vitae seriem gerendae
ordine promit.

Ille promissi dubius superni
perdidit promptae modulos loquelae;
sed reformasti genitus peremptae
organa vocis.

Ventris abstruso positus cubili
senseras regem thalamo manentem,
hinc parens nati meritis uterque
abdita pandit.

Laudibus cives celebrant superni
te, Deus simplex pariterque trine,
supplices ac nos veniam precamur:
parce redemptis! Amen.

So that these your servants can,
with all their voice, to sing your wonderful feats,
clean the blemish of our spotted lips.
O Saint John!

An angel came from the heavens
to announce your father
the greatness of your birth,
dictating your name and destination.

He (Zacarias) doubted of these divine promises
and was deprived of the use of the speech;
but when you were born it recovered
the voice that had lost.

Still locked in your mother's breast,
you felt the King's presence housed in the vestal womb.
And prophet, before being born,
you revealed this mystery to your parents.

Now as the Angels celebrate thy praises,
Godhead essential, Trinity co-equal ;
Spare thy redeemed ones, as they bow before thee,
Pardon imploring. Amen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Visit to Fifi, The World's Only Flying B-29


Edwin Duty was a mechanic in Salinas, CA in the 1940’s.  He was newly married with the outset of World War II.  With a skill set that was highly sought after, he was drafted into military service even though his age at the time would have normally excluded him. 

Through many trials, including basic training in Florida, he was eventually assigned to the Army Air Force, where he worked on the Boeing B-29, the Super fortress as a mechanic.  He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Army Air Force, serving in the 10th Maintenance Battalion.  The 769th Bombing Squadron, 462nd Group was stationed in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, British India.  They flew over “The Hump,” the Himalayas, to China. 

I have heard a few stories about Edwin Duty and the time he spent in India and China.  Although he never spoke much about his time there, there are little bits and pieces that can be placed together about this mechanic who serviced one particular B-29.

There is now only one flying, operational B-29 left in the world, and she is called “Fifi.”  After World War II, she eventually made her way to the China Lakes Range in California, where she was used as a bombing target.  In 2010, she was fitted with engines form another type of airplane, and now she goes on two month tours of the country.

On the Vigil of the Feast of St. Joseph, our family was blessed with the opportunity to see Fifi fly and land at Camarillo Airport, about an hour north of Los Ángeles.  After Holy Mass for Passion Sunday, we got ready, and made our way down to Camarillo, about a four drive.  Camarillo is the Southern California base for the Commemorative Air Force, a group that has as its mission to preserve antique aircraft.  Fifi surely is an antique, as she will turn 68 years old this year.  She rolled off the assembly line on the 31st of July, 1945.

It was a nice pleasant drive on over to Camarillo, home to the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Ángeles, and nearby in Simi Valley is the Ronald Reagan Library. 

From about Camarillo on, it seems like it is all strip malls and auto dealers until you reach San Clemente two hours later.  We had a room with a balcony, and it had a nice view  of the very busy Highway 101.  Traffic just seemed to be going on all day and night. 

Monday came, and we got ready for Fifi.  The CAF website said that Fifi would be getting in around Noon, and that it would be ready for viewing around 1400hr.  We had a quick lunch at Costco, and then made our way on over to Camarillo Airport.  We got a spot on a side street by the runway and waited for Fifi.

And waited.

And waited. 

And waited. 

We called the CAF at the airport, and they informed us that Fifi was indeed running late, about 2 and a half hours late.  It was like waiting for a regular flight.  We had a laptop, so we watched Rifftrax shorts to pass the time.  People who knew Fifi would be coming were milling about, some with rather nice lenses on their cameras.

Just about everyone in our family has sharp eyesight.  At around 1438hrs. they could spot this HUGE plane with several smaller planes surrounding it. 

It was Fifi!

Then we could hear the roar of the engines.   Gradually, we could see that Fifi has an escort of various fighter planes like British Spitfires, and American P-51 Mustangs. 








It was a magnificent sight!  It overflew us going west, and then circled off in the distance.  About 20 minutes later, the escorts started to land, and then it was Fifi’s turn. 



Here is a video we shot of Fifi landing.  For some reason or another, it does not want to embed within this post, so here is the link to it at youTube:



After waiting for two and a half hours, it was time to freshen up a bit, and then head on over to the airport.  There was a bit of a line to see Fifi, but it moved along at a nice clip.

Here are some pictures of Fifi when we took our tour.  As I am not familiar with the intricacies of this or any type of plane, I will just post some pictures here.  I would probably make errors in identifying the various parts anyways.





































It was a good experience to witness a part of American military history, especially to see this plane fly.

I never got to meet Edwin Duty, which is my loss.  I would like to think that we would have gotten along well, and I would have loved hearing some of his stories from China and India.  I believe that he would have enjoyed seeing the four great-grandchildren his granddaughter had.

Thank you for your service to our country, Mr. Duty.  Thank you as well for the beautiful granddaughter you gave me as a wife, for I love her very much.  We will meet in the next life.

Requiem  aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.




 Edwin “Ed” Duty
(Back row, furthest right)
1908-1982

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Beatem Nativitatem!



Your birth, O Christ our God, has shed upon the world the light of knowledge; for through it, those who worshipped the stars have learned from a star to worship you, the Sun of Justice, and to know you, the Dawn from on high. Glory to you, O Lord!

From the womb, before the morning star, I have begotten you. The Lord has sworn and he will not repent: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One; and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable . The Angels sing his glory with the shepherds; the wisemen journey with the star. The eternal God is born for us an an infant child.

Beatem Nativitatem!
¡Feliz Navidad!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Mona Lisa and the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2012


The Mona Lisa, or La Giaconda, is probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was begun around the year 1503, and was finished by Leonardo Da Vinci in France shortly before his death on May 2nd, 1519. It has stayed in France, mostly, for these past 490 years. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. It was exhibited in Italy for a while after an Italian Patriot stole it, as he felt it should stay in Italy.

In a book by Jean-Pierre Mohen, Mona Lisa: inside the Painting, one can read that all through its history, the Mona Lisa has received exceptional and restrained care. An international commission in 1952 deemed that the care it has received has helped to conserve one of the most famous paintings in the world. This commission recommended that it be restored to remove some layers of varnish, and for some special treatment. It has also been treated with carbon tetrachloride, and later with an ethylene oxide treatment to preserve the painting from an insect infestation. In 1985, the painting was again treated with carbon tetrachloride as a measure to prevent further insect damage. To help with any warping, a crosspiece was installed in 1977.

In 2005, it was moved to a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bullet-proof glass in the Salle des États in the Louvre.
Despite all of this work, and experts from around the world, the Mona Lisa will need further work in the next 15 years to fix cracking in the varnish that had been applied in the past century. Without this fixing of the varnish and further preservation, the Mona Lisa could face irreparable damage in the next few decades.


In December of 1531, 12 years after the Mona Lisa was finished, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in present day Mexico City. She left her image to us, and she is known under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is contemporaneous with the Mona Lisa.
The image of Guadalupe is on a Tilma, an outer garment that was worn by Aztec males, like a cloak, with a long front to it like an apron, and used as a carry all. At the time, and as is the case with the Tilma of St. Juan Diego, it is made of the ayate fibers of the Maguey plant. The normal life span of such a garment is around 20 years. As of 2009, it has been 479 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe appeared in 1531.
For roughly the first 160 years, the Tilma of St. Juan Diego hung in damp air and before the emissions of numerous candles in the Chapel of Tepeyac. There was no glass to cover the image. No soot appears to have ever damaged the Tilma. Dr. Phillip Callahan of the University of Florida studied the image in 1979. He records that a single votive candle can put out in its life over 600 microwatts of ultraviolet light. If you multiply this over hundreds of thousands of candles over centuries, and it is an intolerable environment for a painting. That much ultraviolet light should destroy any painting. It is not a painting though, at least by human hands. Numerous people also touched the image.
In 1791, roughly when the French Revolution happened and the Mona Lisa was moved to the Louvre, the Gold and Silver Frame around the Image of Guadalupe was being cleaned. The image was miraculously preserved when Nitric Acid used to clean the Gold and Silver spilled onto the image. The only trace of this disaster is what appears to be a watermark.
The image is 479 years old, yet the image cannot be reproduced. The colours are as vibrant today as 79 years ago, as vibrant as they were 479 years ago. The fibers of the Tilma are as pliable now as a new Tilma, despite its age.

On Monday the 14th of November 1921, in the midst of Government Anti-Catholic activity, Mass was being said in the Basilica of Guadalupe. at 10:30 AM a bomb, placed by a Mexican government agent, Luciano Perez, went off right below the Image of Guadalupe. The bomb had been hidden in a wreath of flowers, and heavily damaged a nearby Altar, and much of the surrounding masonry.

A Bronze and Iron Cross right underneath the Image was bent over by the explosion, so powerful was the blast, as can be seen above. The image of Guadalupe was untouched, with even the thin glass that was in front of the image undamaged. Miraculously, none of the faithful who were present at the Mass were injured either. As a side note, After having ascertained that everyone was alright, Father Juan Bautista Rangel Avila had a Server summon the police, and then continued to say Holy Mass.
This is just a brief, very brief history of the Mona Lisa, and the Image of Guadalupe. They are both roughly the same age. One is one of the most famous paintings in the world, having received the attention of the world's Art experts, and roughly 20 million dollars worth of restoration.
The other, we Catholics hold to be the image of Our Blessed Lady, is an image that is on Ayate fibers from the Maguey plant. The Tilma should have disintegrated about 460 years ago, had been exposed to the Salt Marshes of Mexico City, had countless people touch it, was exposed for 160 years without protection, had acid spilled on it, and survived a Terrorist Bomb.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Feast of Christ the King, 2012

Sunday the 28th of October is the Feast of Christ the King, D. N. Jesu Christi Regis. It was instituted as a double of the First Class with the encyclical Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI. If you have not read it, it is worth taking the time to do so (Read it here).

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King on the Last Sunday in October, the Sunday that immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.  Up until 1969, this remained so until it was moved to the Last Sunday of the Year, the Sunday before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent. Although the eschatological importance of the Kingship of Christ is somewhat made clearer by this change, it was in fact obscured in some peoples minds. The Kingship of Christ does not begin at the end of the world, as signified by putting it at the end of the year. The Kingship of Christ began even before he ascended into Heaven, for the Lord said that, "All power is given to me in Heaven and in Earth. (Mt 28:18)"Our obligation to submit to our King and his Laws and Commandments does not begin when he returns, but actually began when Jesus ascended into Heaven.

Changing the date for the Feast of Christ the King breaks the relationship of the King and his subjects; in this case between Christ and his Saints. Changing the Feast to the Last Sunday leads some to believe that Christ is not King now, and that we do not need to recognize him as such, not in the interior forum, nor in the public square.  Changing the Feast to the Last Sunday has lead some to declare that Jesus will eventually be our King at the end of time. In other words, changing the date of the Feast defeats the very purpose of the Feast of Christ the King, to pray for the conversion of the world to the One True Church, and that the world conforms to the Laws and Commandments given to us by Jesus Christ the King.


We can relate this Feast of Christ the King to history and to our current situation. Right at the point in history when Pope Pius XI wrote Quas Primas, the Church in México underwent a tremendous persecution that had been brewing for a very long time. Many of the Faithful were martyred, including St. Cristóbal Magallanes and his Companions, and famously, Blessed Miguel Pro Juárez. The state (Cesar) tried to supplant Christ the King, and make it so that Catholics in México would not have the freedom to worship Our True King and his Church.

So it is in our time that society would not have us vote as if Christ the King does not rule now in our hearts. We should always act knowing that Christ is King now, not at the end of time with his second Advent.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7th: The Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto.  The story of this day is a fascinating one, one that I could not do justice to.

How similar the circumstances appear; The West was facing an onslaught by Islam, but due to various situations and mistrust, the realms that are most threatened cannot come to a common unity to defeat their enemy.

Constantinople had been captured in 1453.  From there, there was a slow march by the Turks towards the heart of Europe. There were various landings by the Turkish Navy in Spain, Italy, Greece, and France. Albania was captured, as well as much African territory from Europe. However, Malta had withstood a siege by the Turks (600 Knights of St. john vs. 30.000 Turks) six years earlier, so the Turks could be defeated.

The Turks were on the march.  The Turks had captured parts of Greece, particularly ports such as Naupactos, known in Italian as Lepanto. the Holy League was formed, made up of Spain, the Papal States, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, and the Knights of Malta. All of these states contributed various vessels, plus various mercenary forces, so that the entire armada consisted of roughly 205 galleys, and 6 converted Galleasses, merchant ships converted to carry heavy artillery.  All the states saw the Turks as a menace to trade and the security of Europe, and a threat to the Holy Faith itself. The Holy League mustered 13.000 Sailors, along with 28.000 troops. The Turks had an advantage with nearly 300 ships, 13.000 sailors and 35.000 soldiers, led by the commander Ali Pasha.

Don Juan of Austria was the illegitimate son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the half brother of Phillip II, the King of Spain. He had proved himself as an able leader, and was persuaded by Pope St. Pius V to lead the Holy League into battle. St. Pius V had tried for many months to alert Europe of the coming danger, but many realms were embroiled with the Reformation. Don Juan saw the danger, and even though very young (24!), persuaded others to join him in his doom.

Before the Holy League went into battle, in early October, Don Juan did the unlikely action of having his entire armada fast for three days and to pray for victory.

Ali Pasha was so confident of victory, he sailed at the forefront on his ship the Sultana with his harem.

Many books have been written about this battle. In short, Don Juan sailed right into the heart of the Turkish armada. The Venetians sailed right into the Turkish right wing, and crushed it. the Holy League was then able to come around that right side, and encircle the Turks. The battle took 5 hours. between 12.000 to 15.000 Christian slaves and rowers on the Turkish Galleys were delivered unto freedom. The Turks left with about 70 ships.

The Holy Father that day was praying the Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Whether the Holy Father had a vision, it is still unclear, but around the time Don Juan had gained victory around 4 in the afternoon, Pope St. Pius ordered that Masses of Thanksgiving be offered, and that the Confraternity of the Rosary proceed immediately to Roman Churches to pray.

Some historians report that just before Don Juan left to lead the Holy League, King Phillip of Spain presented him with a small painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This apparition had just happened less than 40 years before in the Spanish territory of Mexico. This painting was placed in the chapel of the admiral vessel of Giovanni Andrea Doria, the Admiral from Genoa. The painting can still be seen above the High Altar in the church of Santo Stefano d'Aveto, in the chapel of Madonna di Guadalupe near Genoa, Italy (Tried looking for a picture, but no success: Will keep looking, as this might be one of the oldest images of Guadalupe in Europe).

Pope St. Pius later that year declared that every October 7th, a commemoration of the Rosary would be a part of the Mass at the Vatican, and would be know as Our Lady of Victory. Two years later, Pope Gregory XIII established the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary and extended it to all Churches throughout the world that had Altars dedicated to the Rosary. In 1671, it was extended to all of Spain. After another vitory over the Muslims in Hungary in 1716, Pope Clement extended the Feast of the Rosary to the Universal Church.

Today, many forget why we have this Feast in our Calendar. Those who would bring terror to our country do not forget, so we should not forget the Rosary nor Our Lady on her day. It was through her intercession that victory was given to the Holy League that day. May we continue to seek her intercession.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Eddie! 2012

Or, why we should rename this blog:

The Kramer Birthday blog!

Now on to the next birthday cake in a series of eighteen.  I think.

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Can you believe that we first met you almost five years ago?   You have gotten so big in that time! You're like nearly six feet tall, now. Who gave you permission to grow so big?

Well, sorry we cannot be with you on your birthday, so here is a cake that looks like a submarine, because we know how to like to play with submarines.  Also, it's not on fire.

We out here in California wish you a happy birthday, and hope you get plenty of cake, nice presents to unwrap, and a good time with your family.

May God grant you many years to love and serve him, and may your patrons, St Joseph and St. Placid and Companions intercede for you. You are a good father, and even though humility prevents and protects you from saying so, you are a good role model of a Catholic husband, father, and friend.

I say "Happy," you say "birthday!"

"HAPPY!"

"BIRTHDAY!"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Cecilia!: Once Upo A Unicorn

Happy Birthday, Cecilia!

A very Happy Birthday to our favorite Goddaughter, whose birthday is today already!

We know that a very special friend arrived for your birthday, and we thought you would like to know a little bit about her story.  

The Story of Rainbow Unicorn!

ONCE UPON A UNICORN:
A Birthday Story For Cecilia

Hi!  I am your new pet Unicorn!

For a long time, I lived in this toy store with lots of other pillow pets.  We were all waiting for someone to take us home.




Pick me!  Pick me!

Hurray!  Today someone picked me!  They took me to their house.  I wondered who I was for?

They had some kids there, I wondered if I was for one of them?




"I'm cute!  Is it for me?"


"It feels comfy!"


 "Rainbow Unicorn and I are drawing a Chibi!"

The kids really liked me, but it turns out I wasn’t for any of them.  I found out I was going to be a birthday present!  How exciting!  I get to surprise a little girl who is hoping for unicorn just like me! 




But the little girl I would be surprising lived far away.  Too far away to drive in a car.  I was going to have to travel by box.


I wasn’t sure if I would like being in the box at first.  It seemed kind of cramped in there.

But it was actually quite cozy.



Before they packed me up, I had some fun with the family.  I went to the California Rodeo, and i went to In-N-Out Burger.  Then I did the evening weather and had to see for myself where I was going.  Then I went to Big Sur, but it was foggy, and finally to a San José Earthquakes game.  I think Uncle Juan is kind of silly, don’t you?

Now I’m on my way. 

I can’t wait until you open my box so I can meet you.  Also, I could use some air.

We wish we could be there for your birthday, but enjoy these digital Rainbow Unicorn Cookies.  They are delicious!



Uncle Juan, Aunt Heather, and the kids, Ramón, Mónica, Nicholas and Lizzie all want me to wish you a happy birthday and to let you know that they love you very much!

And every time you hug me, you’ll be getting some of their love.

Happy Birthday, Cecilia!  May God bless you on your second anniversary of when you came into this world.  You make it special by your presence, and you are a joy and gift to your mommy and daddy.  




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"He must increase, and I must decrease": The Feast of St. John the Baptist

June 24th is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

Normally, we as Catholics celebrate the dies natalis, or birthday in Heaven of a Saint, Meaning the day of their death.  There are two notable exceptions in the Calendar of the Catholic Church.  One is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord, and St. John the Baptist.  June 24th is the day we commemorate his birth.  The day we observe his beheading and martyrdom is the 29th of August. If we add in various other days in the Eastern Catholic Calendar, St. John the Baptist has 6 days dedicated to him, one of the few Saints to have multiple Feast days.

Why so many days for St. John the Baptist? What is so special?

From these here on out, the days are beginning to grow shorter. This feast day is in a sense, a midsummer's Christmas Eve. This day holds so much promise, the birth of a babe to barren parents. The true prodigy is still yet to come, a babe born of a Virgin, indeed the Saviour of the world on Christmas Day.

From the very beginning, God and Holy Mother Church bring about with thoughtful care many such parallels between the two Solemnities of the birth of St. John and the birth of the Lord. Just as the Angel announced to barren parents that they would conceive, the Angel also announces to Mary that she would bear a child.  St. John, just like in many statues in our Churches, is always pointing to the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, "Behold, this is he! The one whose sandalstraps, I am not worthy to loosen!"

Ut Queant Laxis is the first line of a hymn in honor of St. John the Baptist. The Roman Breviary divides it into three parts and assigns the first, "Ut queant laxis" to Vespers. The second, "Antra deserti teneris sub annis", to Matins, the early morning prayer. The third, "O nimis felix, meritique celsi", to Lauds. Authorship of the hymn is generally credited to Paulus Diaconus, a Benedictine monk who lived in Lombardy during the 8th Century. A popular story amongst the Benedictines is that Paul the Deacon was to chant the Exsultet for Easter, but had a hoarse voice. Being as the Father of the Baptist lost his voice for disbelief with the birth of his son, Paul the Deacon prayed to St. John the Baptist that his voice be restored enough to chant for the Easter Vigil.

The hymn is written in Sapphic stanzas, meaning a type of poetry written over four lines. This first line is famous in the history of music for the reason that the notes of the melody correspond with the first six notes of the diatonic scale of C. This fact led to the syllabic naming of the notes as Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, as may be shown by capitalizing the initial syllables of the lines:

UT queant laxis
REsonare fibris
MIra gestorum
FAmuli tuorum,
SOLve polluti
LAbii reatum, Sancte Ioannes.

The UT has been replaced by DO as that has an open sound that is easier. So even is you have not heard much of this hymn to the Baptist, you know something of it, as we now have Do Re Mi from it.

Here is a Slide Show of images of Mission San Juan Bautista in California set to Ut Queant Laxis as chanted by the Schola Sanctae Sunnivae & Hartkeriana.



Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Sancte Iohannes!

Nuntius celso veniens Olympo
te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
nomen et vitae seriem gerendae
ordine promit.

Ille promissi dubius superni
perdidit promptae modulos loquelae;
sed reformasti genitus peremptae
organa vocis.

Ventris abstruso positus cubili
senseras regem thalamo manentem,
hinc parens nati meritis uterque
abdita pandit.

Laudibus cives celebrant superni
te, Deus simplex pariterque trine,
supplices ac nos veniam precamur:
parce redemptis! Amen.

So that these your servants can,
with all their voice, to sing your wonderful feats,
clean the blemish of our spotted lips.
O Saint John!

An angel came from the heavens
to announce your father
the greatness of your birth,
dictating your name and destination.

He (Zacarias) doubted of these divine promises
and was deprived of the use of the speech;
but when you were born it recovered
the voice that had lost.

Still locked in your mother's breast,
you felt the King's presence housed in the vestal womb.
And prophet, before being born,
you revealed this mystery to your parents.

Now as the Angels celebrate thy praises,
Godhead essential, Trinity co-equal ;
Spare thy redeemed ones, as they bow before thee,
Pardon imploring. Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Fr. Anthony and Teresa, 2012!



Today we bring out our official Mendoza Blog virtual birthday cake for our favorite Byzantine Catholic priest and our favorite mother of our favorite God-daughter.  Here is a Half Dome Cake.  Half Dome for our favourite camping family, and for a Priest who shows us the beauty of the Lord everytime we are at Divine Liturgy.
Thank you Father Anthony, for your Priesthood, for the Sacraments you bring us, and for being an alter Christus to us. When you celebrate Divine Liturgy, it is with great solemnity. When you show your humor, it makes us all laugh. You are a great example of what a Priest should be. You make us desire Jesus, and to aspire to holiness. Happy Birthday, Father!

Thank you Teresa, for being a great friend, even with such a great distance between us. You are a good mother to your children, in imitation of our Blessed Mother, and a good example of a Christian. Thanks for choosing us to be God-parents to one of your children. May God bless you, and may the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe watch over you.

May God bless you both, and have a blessed birthday!