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This Day… Campfire Catechesis

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Let Catholics rejoice, let the citizens of Heaven be glad, this day.

Let the priest with beautiful songs and with chants busy himself, this day.

This is the praiseworthy day, noble with divine light, this day.

When James to the palace of the Heavens ascended, this day.

Conquering Herod’s sword, he received the reward of life, this day.

Therefore without end let us bless the Lord, this day.

To the great Father in Heaven let us offer thankful praises, this day.

The above prayer is from the Codex Calixtinus, a twelfth century guide for pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago – The Way of St. James. The Codex includes songs, prayers, maps, descriptions of  works of art along the Camino, references to St. James in Sacred Scripture as well as sermons based upon the Scriptural texts. The feast day of St. James is next week, Tuesday, 25 July. Happy Feast Day to our St. James Alumni. Go, you mighty Bulldogs! 

Note the sense of urgency in the prayer. Each line closes rhythmically with the same phrase. Each line offers a challenge, an opportunity, a deadline. This day sounds so much more engaging than simply saying today.  The Latin adverb, hodie, means today but, as a combination of a demonstrative adjective and a noun, hodie literally means this day. Rejoice, this day; chant, this day; share light, this day; offer praise, this day; bless, this day. 

It is the same sense of urgency that Jesus asks of us when he taught us the Lord’s Prayer – “give us this day our daily bread!” This phrase has a sense of surprise, a sense of anticipation, a sense of frequency. It is more than a daily arrival of something special, like the mail, or those ubiquitous Amazon deliveries. It is the arrival of something magnificent when that grace is needed most this day.

It is “this day”- Tuesday, 25 July, that was chosen as the first of our monthly gatherings around the fire to meet, share, talk, listen, and simply to be present to each other. The first such gathering will be at Notre Dame de Lourdes beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

Come with your favorite outdoor chair, your favorite beverage, come with questions, come with comments. Let’s discuss faith, our religion, the Sacred Scriptures, the catechism. Let’s discuss the joys of summer, the beauty of the season, vacation memories – or plans. What roads have you journeyed – the high, the low, the long and winding? Who was with you? Whom did you need to be with you? Who is your “go to” Saint? What is your favorite prayer? What is your favorite hymn? What aspect of liturgy speaks to your heart? When has God surprised you? How did you react? When have you surprised God? How did God react? What do you need to hear from God “this day”? What do you need to do to hear God’s reply? 

These discussions – “Campfire Catechesis” – will rotate between our campuses. The August gathering will be at Our Lady of Peace. They will most likely, but not always, be conducted on Tuesday evenings which will coincide with a revision in the weekday Mass schedule. 

I will be at Archbishop Carroll on Tuesdays beginning on September 5. Therefore, the Tuesday morning Mass will be transferred to 7:00 p.m., at Our Lady of Peace. Tuesday Morning Prayer, at 8:10, will be followed by the Liturgy of the Word at 8:30. Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will follow. The day will conclude with Benediction at 6:30 p.m. followed by Mass at 7:00.

Let’s do all that we can to make this day and each day “the praiseworthy day, noble with Divine Light.” Blessings!

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