Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Candlemas 2020

Candlemas is easily one of my favorite holidays of the Church year.  This year was delightful.  I am afraid I only have pictures of some of the candles and not all the pageantry.  This year, the Feast of the Presentation was also a Sunday and was the Sunday that we celebrate the consecrated religious of our Dioceses.  The Bishop blessed the candles and led a candlelit procession with all the religious men and women being honored this year.  It was wonderful

For our part, I have gotten into the habit of only making the candles we need at a time, and getting them blessed, as needed.  For Candlemas, I made sure to make our Advent candles and our Easter candle for this year.  

We even got out the fancy self-fitting mold maker to fix the ends so they fit our advent wreath a little better.

Infant of Prague

We have talked about our devotion to the Infant of Prague before, but we have a bit of an update.  Over the last few months, Hannah's mother has made a few new cloaks and we crowned him Christmas Eve.  He also received a white gold Ex Voto heart after our youngest son's baptism.

The velvet and trim were from Hobby Lobby and the lining is silk from Dharma Trading Posts.  

Such a royal purple, It is a shame we don't have better lighting overhead, the purple is sooo dark.

I must admit, I rarely miss an opportunity to celebrate a Martyr's feast day.  They deserve the celebration, and I get to use my favorite cloak for the Infant.

We were amazed at how big the crown was.  We bought it from the shop at Our Lady of Victories in Prague, where the Infant is enshrined, so we knew it was the right one for the size statue we have.

Ultimately, it turned out very well, and we were glad to be able to give the Infant a fitting crown.

For more information, novenas and prayers see our earlier post: https://www.bluejeansandmantillas.com/2019/07/the-more-you-honor-me-more-i-will-bless.html

Saturday, January 11, 2020

End of the Christmas Season

We will be trading out all the white for ordinary green soon.  I have enjoyed the festive white and golds in the Chapel.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Merry Christmas!!!

I'm, Late!  But, not for a lack of caring.  I wish the best for all your families and many, many blessings during this Christmas Season.  We have had a busy and wonderful couple of months, with the birth of our fourth child, baptism of the same, Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. and plenty of times of celebration in between.  I always forget to look back at all the joys the days bring.  So, while I may find the words at some point, here is the end of our year in pictures.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Replating and Repair

One of our great treasures from our wedding is a small pewter chalice that was given to us by the Deacon who prepared us for marriage.  It has seen several home Masses and used by some of the priests who have been close to our family.  It is nothing special, except to us.  It is not even full size.  Along the way, we also acquired a sterling silver paten that was gold plated.  Over the years, the paten wore thin, and we were facing replating or replacement.

We looked at several places to replate/refinish and repair our liturgical vessels and decided on Alviti Creations (www.alviti.com).  We could not be happier with the finished products.  We had the Paten finished silver with a bright gold lining, and had the Chalice gold lined.  The person who recommended the company said that he had dealt with several people who had purchased old used chalices and had them refinished and then gave them to their priest sons, etc.  Doing this they can gift a 1k dollar chalice without spending that kind of money.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Top 10-ish Home Chapel Gifts Guide

'Tis the season, as they say.  While you are thinking about the gifts you are getting and giving this Advent/Christmas Season, I would encourage you all to buy something for your family's pray corner/little oratory/chapel.  While the resource page above has plenty of sources for items and accouterments, below is a curated best-of list for 2019... a top 10, of sorts... 10 ish.


 1. If you don't already have a Sick Call Cross, get this one Black Wood St. Benedict Cross.  It is high quality, and every home needs one... period.  Fr. Jerabek has an excellent blog post on them here: Sick Call Crucifix

2. A space for prayer.  If you are struggling to find a place to gather in your home or wondering where to start, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book: The Little Oratory

Call to Prayer and Sacramentals

1. If there is one book you read as a family this advent, read "Searching for and Maintaining Peace" by Jacques Philippe

2. I carry two pieces of rope with me, a Rosary and a Chotki.  In my mind, if one lung is getting sluggish, I can breathe with the other one.  If you don't have one or the other, I recommend a ladder Rosary from Benedict's Beads (seen below) and a Chotki from Christ the Bridegroom Monastery.

3. Get some oil blessed.  Blessed Oil for home use is different than what is used in the Sacraments of the Church.  The exorcism prayer over it is quite lovely, and it has many uses.  Blessed Oil can be used to bless yourself or your children, it can be used in cooking, and it can be burned in oil vigil lamps.  We burn ours in vigil lamps, so I have this recommendation, you want to buy real olive oil and not a blend because we want to give the best to our Lord, but you don't want Extra Virgin Olive Oil, because it has more particulates and will clog your wicks.  We have had good luck with Filippo Berio olive oil, but I hear Cosco Olive Oil works great.

4. The Liturgy of the Hours.  Get it, say the black, do the red.

Smells and Bells

1. I'm an advocate for Incense use in the home... If you want to start out, this advent season, I recommend 3 purchases.  Get this censer.  It is inexpensive, it holds heat well, it breathes well, and it has a wooden handle.  Get this incense.  It has a nice lemony scent on the front and a musky finish, best of all it is hypoallergenic.  Finally, get this charcoal.  Three Kings is the brand used in a lot of churches, and the 33mm size is much better for home use.

2.  You NEED bells.  If You buy them from Catholic Liturgicals, they are reasonably priced to the point that you don't mind if your 3-year-old gets a little vigorous ringing the bells for night prayers.  While you are there, get yourself a clackus... you deserve it.

3. We make our own beeswax candles for our specific needs, but if that is not your cup of tea, the place I would recommend would be Saints Mary and Martha Orthodox Monastery.  There are others, to be sure, but I have either found inconsistent products elsewhere, or I just haven't tried some companies.

For the Connoisseur

1.  The Hand Cross (Blessing Cross) used by eastern priests and bishops is equally appropriate in the home to bless your children.  While the icon style ones (above) are pretty, go with an Ethiopian Hand Cross.  They are beautiful, full of meaning, and handmade.  The price is pretty easy too.

2. Icons are always a good choice.  As we are celebrating the incarnation of Jesus, an icon of the Nativity would be very appropriate.  I would like to recommend, this year, that instead of going with the classic Rublev nativity that would take a lot of explaining to Latin friends, that you go with this beautiful icon that keeps with eastern sentiments but doesn't shove St. Joseph away.

3. Everybody loves the hanging vigil lamps, but if you are just starting out, start easy.  Go with a Heavy glass Votive Lamp that you can sit on a shelf or table.  They are inexpensive, easy to manage, and very pretty.  As a plus, they are readily available from a US-based vendor so you don't have to wait 3 months for a shipment from Greece or Russia.  Get the floating wick and use blessed olive oil.