When Dad Is a Fan

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

by Bernadette Bonanno


I can always tell when my husband is on the phone with his dad. He stops whatever he is doing, walks outside and starts smiling in anticipation of his dad’s latest joke. My father-in-law just survived his third heart attack but continues to enjoy life and see the humor in it all. What a blessing to have a father who, after riding the waves of life with his children, emerges with a smile. Fathers do that. They bring levity to the weight of daily living.


A Strong Foundation


It’s widely held that children formulate the image of their heavenly father based on their relationship with their earthly fathers. So, in 1989 when our oldest was about six and Bart Simpson made his TV series debut, I banned the show from our house. Recently, our oldest son asked, “Mom, why didn’t you want us to watch Bart Simpson?”


Homer, Bart’s dad, was always messing up and treated as an incompetent buffoon. I answered my son, “You have a wonderful dad. You and your three brothers are probably going to be fathers someday, so how would planting those seeds benefit four impressionable minds?”


Fathers are unique in their parenting styles but similar in the fact that they are like foundations of homes; they hold up, hold together and keep the family safe from whatever life throws at them. Interestingly, like a foundation, the powerful role they play is sometimes hidden from view.


 

Did You Know? Displaying Flags in Catholic Churches

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

Surprisingly to many, there are no regulations of any kind governing the display of flags in Roman Catholic churches. Neither the Code of Canon Law nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment on this practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display the American flag in a Catholic church is left up to the judgment of the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the discretion of the pastor.

The origin of the display of the American flag in many parishes in the United States appears have its origins in the offering of prayers for those who served during the Second World War (1941-1945). At that time, many bishops and pastors provided a book of remembrance near the American flag, requesting prayers for loved ones—especially those serving their country in the armed forces—as a way of keeping before the attention of the faithful the needs of military families. This practice has since been confirmed in many places during the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi conflicts.

The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has in the past encouraged pastors not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself, in order to reserve that space for the altar, the ambo, the presidential chair, and the tabernacle. Instead, the suggestion has been made that the American flag be placed outside the sanctuary, or in the vestibule of the church together with a book of prayer requests. It remains, however, for the diocesan bishop to determine regulations in this matter.


Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission.

Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

The Madonna in Art

Written by Fr. Larry Rice on .

by Rev. Larry Rice, CSP


One of the most common themes in Western art is that of the Madonna and Child—a serene painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the child Jesus in her arms. But this image, so familiar that it has appeared on US Postal Service Christmas stamps nearly every year since 1966, was not always a staple of Christian art.


For most of the first three centuries of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin was usually depicted as part of a group of apostles, or as part of a Nativity scene; she was almost never alone or a central figure.  But in the fifth century, the Council of Ephesus addressed the Nestorian heresy, which claimed that, when Christ died on the Cross, it was only his human nature that experienced suffering and death. By extension, the Nestorians claimed that Mary was the mother only of Christ’s human nature and not
the Mother of God. The Council of Ephesus reinforced the Church’s long-held belief that Mary was the Mother of God and worthy of the Greek title “Theotokos.” Shortly thereafter, the Empress Eudocia sent a painting of the Madonna and Child home from the Holy Land and had it placed in the Church of Constantinople. This is the first historical mention of the Madonna and Child as an artistic subject. That painting was taken to Venice in 1202, to the Cathedral of St. Mark.


In subsequent centuries, the Madonna and Child has become one of the most popular themes in Western art. This popularity reflects the Church’s veneration of Mary for her role in our salvation and also for her place as an exemplar of the virtues of purity, humility, and faithful acceptance of God’s grace.


madonna image




Fr. Rice is the vocations director for the Paulist Fathers.
Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Reprinted with permission.

Why Do We Celebrate Easter for 50 Days?

Written by Fr. Larry Rice on .



Most people think of Easter as a single day. It’s never had the commercial appeal of Christmas, and because it always falls on Sunday, most people don’t get an additional day off from work. But for Catholics, Easter isn’t just a day, it’s a whole season. The Easter season stretches all the way to the feast of Pentecost. Lent, which sometimes feels like it’s stretching on forever, is actually forty days long. Easter, on the other hand, is all of fifty days long. About these fifty days theologian Nathan Mitchell writes:


‘The great fifty days of Pentecost are not an unwelcome, unrealistic obligation to “party on,” even if we don’t feel like it, but an invitation to explore more deeply “the weather of the heart,” to awaken our memory of God’s presence and power in our lives, to look more closely at all the rich and varied textures of creation.’


One way the church pursues this goal of seeing God present in the world is through the reading of the Acts of the Apostles. At Masses all through the Easter season, our usual practice of reading from the Old Testament is replaced be reading from the Acts of the Apostles. These readings tell the story of the church’s earliest days, and the beginnings of our faith’s spreading throughout the ancient world. These stories of heroism, controversies, persecutions and miracles all testify to the continued presence of the Risen Christ in the world, through the lives of his disciples, and the actions of the Holy Spirit.


All of this should be an encouragement and a sign of hope for us today. Despite war, violence, personal struggles, and an under-performing economy, God has not abandoned us, nor left us to our own devices. The risen savior is still with us. These 50 days of Easter ask us to reflect on his presence, and—even in the face of danger or fear—to live with joy.




by Rev. Lawrence Rice, CSP.  Originally published on ForYourMarriage.org. Copyright 2015 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Used with permission.

Did You Know...About Sacred Chrism?

Written by Fr. Larry Rice on .

Chrism is blessed at the end of Lent by the diocesan bishop, at a special liturgy called the Chrism Mass.

The Catholic Church uses lots of physical materials in the administration of its sacraments: water,
wine, bread, and oils are typical examples. We have three kinds of sacramental oils: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and sacred Chrism. This last is a kind of multi-purpose oil used for many kinds of sacraments and blessings.

Like all our sacred oils, Chrism is made from olive oil, although other vegetable oils can be used if olive oil is unavailable. And like the other two, Chrism is blessed at the end of Lent by the diocesan bishop, at a special liturgy called the Chrism Mass. Unlike other sacramental oils, Chrism is scented, usually with essential oil of balsam, giving it a woody, pine-like fragrance.

Sacred Chrism is used primarily for baptisms and ordinations. At Baptism, after the Baptism in water, the one being initiated into the Church is anointed with Chrism, along with a prayer that recollects Christ being anointed priest, prophet, and king. During a priesthood ordination, the hands of the ordinand (the candidate for ordination) are anointed with Chrism, while the bishop prays,

“The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”

While this is happening, the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus is usually sung.

In addition to these sacramental uses, sacred Chrism is also used to consecrate a new altar and to bless church bells at their installation.

For centuries, this fragrant blessed oil has been a symbol of God’s overflowing grace and generosity. It’s a multi-sensory reminder of the goodness of creation and of people and objects that are set apart from that creation to serve a sacred purpose.


Father Rice is Vocations Director for the Paulist Fathers. 

Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. Used with permission.

Contact Us.

  • Write us.

    941 Starboard Ct.
    Oshkosh, WI 54901
  • Call us.

    (920) 509-0204
  • Email us.

    info@burningheartsdisciples.org
  • Follow us.

    round-white-facebook-icon-25716 round-white-twitter-icon-25856 round-white-pinterest-icon-25908
  • Burning Hearts Disciples is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) and an Approved Lay Catholic Organization of the Diocese of Green Bay.