a column of benevolent gossip
Those flowers of the fairest —May altar by Joe McGowan at ouririshheritage.org, "Home of the Irish Community Network."
It’s still May. When was the last time you saw a home May altar? (Definition: a small shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother.) Dayton University’s website says one of the first mentions of decorated home altars to Mary was in France in 1842. And St. Louis de Montfort, “counted the decoration of Marian altars a chief exercise of Marian devotion.” To anyone unfamiliar with the custom, the arts and crafts website CatholicIcing.com lists May altar essentials: a Mary statue, lots of blue, lots of flowers, Mary holy cards, candles and rosaries. And it’s not really an “altar.” I know someone who decorates a kitchen windowsill as a May altar.
As a youngster, friends and I considered a bona fide home May altar needed an empty shoe box, and blue and white crepe paper streamers. Ideally we’d decorate the entire shoe box with foil, wallpaper or oil cloth (remember that?), get a bunch of lilies of the valley, and then a Mary statue to stand inside the box. However simple or elegant, set up in any room, it becomes a place for Marian devotion and prayer. Catholicmothersonline. com suggest the May or Mary altar can remind a family every day of a threeletter word Mary was clothed in: “Y-E-S!”
Does anyone have a special remembrance of a May altar you helped set up, decorate or a May crowning in your Catholic school classroom years ago? Share it with Church Clips, address below or email.
Passing on ‘The Flame’ —
Deacon David Brencic of St. Barbara Parish (Brookfield) is stepping down after nine outstanding years as editor of “The Flame,” the 12-page newsletter for the Chicago Diaconate, published six times a year. “Deacon Dave,” who works on the staff of the Daily Herald, helped originate the newsletter, which covers topics like the good work and ministries of deacons and their wives, events geared to their vocation, obits, transfers and reflections on Deacon Dave’s own experiences. It also features, “Views from the Vicar,” who is Father Michael Ahlstrom, vicar for the diaconate community. The Flame’s new editor is Deacon Bob Puhala, director of the Institute for Diaconal Studies. In a former life Puhala worked as a feature writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. . . . Didja know? In 1969, Bishop Fulton Sheen ordained the first permanent deacon in the United States, a former Anglican priest who was married and the father of four children. (Unfortunately, Deacon Michael Cole left the church a short time later and returned to ministry as an Episcopal priest in Canada.)
New evangelization —
St. Viator Parish (W. Addison) may have been built in 1888, but it is state-of-the-art in 2013. Friends and family in other states can now watch certain parish events live with online streaming through www.stviatorparish.org. A recent youth Mass was broadcast live, as was their confirmation ceremony April 12.
Parish potpourri —
Boy Scouts James Haney and Neil Slowinski achieved the rank of Eagle Scout recently. Only 4 percent of all Boy Scouts make it. Their troop is at St. Linus Parish (Oak Lawn). . . . St. Procopius/Holy Trinity Croatian Parish (S. Allport) begins its parish “street Masses” in the community June 24 at 6:30 p.m., for five weeks. . . . Men’s Club members of St. Thomas Becket Parish (Mount Prospect) made their annual visit to the Veteran’s Center at Great Lakes Rehab Center April 29. They spent time playing cards, enjoying snacks, laughing and talking with vets receiving health and support services. It was a way of saying “We care, and thanks for your service to our country.”
‘The other person another me’ —
More than 1,700 DePaul University students, faculty and staff joined 100 community partners across the arch May 4 to help in a number of Vincentian Service Day projects citywide. For the 13th year, volunteers planted flowers and veggies, then cleared weeds and trash in neighborhoods. They cleaned classrooms and kitchens, washed windows, or helped with youth basketball tournaments. Vincentian Service Day gives volunteers a chance to live the Golden Rule by addressing others’ needs.
Bonam Fortunam* —
Want a brush-up course on Latin, Hebrew or Greek? Even beginners are welcome at St. John Cantius’ former convent, 1025 W. Fry, on Sunday mornings, June 10-Aug. 28. Cost is $50/class and $45 for a textbook, if needed. Call Mr. Phelps at (312) 236-5454, Ext. 2042 for more information. *Good luck.
We get letters:
This time by “Air Post” from Mallow, County Cork, Ireland. A Mrs. Morrissey is looking for surviving relatives of Father Cornelius Ryan, pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Mercy Church (N. Troy), who died in 1987. Father Ryan, ordained in 1937, was the son of John Ryan, a Chicago police lieutenant. His mother was Winifred Seymour Ryan, and both parents were born in Tipperary. Mrs. Morrissey says Father was a first cousin to her dad. Contact Church Clips if you have information about any next of kin and we’ll pass it along.
Send your benevolent gossip to Church Clips, Catholic New World, P.O. Box 1979, Chicago, IL 60690-1979; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.