catholic

Photos of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish

I was recently invited to take some pictures of the campus and interior of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Shrewsbury, MO (nestled in a neighborhood just outside of the City of St. Louis), and I just finished processing and uploading them to Flickr; see my St. Michael the Archangel photos.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish sanctuary

There are so many of these little Catholic churches in St. Louis and around the country, with so much hidden beauty. I always try to find a neat little parish near where I stay in any city I visit; usually these parishes showcase more artwork than even the diocesan cathedrals—though that's not the case in St. Louis!

Photos from Memorial Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia

Yesterday I was invited by a friend to photograph the Memorial Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Justice Scalia was a Catholic first and Supreme Court Justice second... may we all live our lives in a way where our faith, family, and morals lead our work and interaction (and not vice-versa)!

I've uploaded all the photos to Flickr: Memorial Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia, and here are a couple of my favorites below (it's hard not to have some majestic images when shooting at the Cathedral!):

Deacon incensing the Book of Gospels with light in background at Memorial Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia

Pater Nobis (Our Father)

Note: When migrating my blog over from Lifeisaprayer.com, I dug up a number of unpublished posts that I had completely forgotten about; this was one such post that I had written just prior to the birth of our first child (who is now three, and reminds us of the fact at least twice per hour—me: "How did you know how to do [some incredible new skill]?" - him: "Becawse I'm thWEEEE!"). I originally wrote this post in November of 2012, but am finally publishing it in 2016!

In the past few months, I've had much occasion to think over the words of the Our Father. Specifically, I've been thinking a lot about the relationship of a father and his children, and the love of a father.

In the Our Father, we hear of some of the traits of fatherly love:

Rorate Mass at St. James the Greater in St. Louis

The Rorate Mass is a traditional Mass held during Advent, usually early in the morning (pre-dawn) or late in the evening, where the entire church is lit only by candlelight. Mass begins with the singing of the Rorate Cæli (translated "Drop down dew, ye heavens"), and as it is a votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary, white vestments are worn instead of the typical Advent violet.

In St. Louis, we had a Rorate Mass at St. James the Greater parish in Dogtown, which is a western part of the City of St. Louis (and about a 10 minute drive from my house).

Like Tenebræ, It's one of the liturgical events that's better experienced in person than viewed through the lens of a camera, but I did as much as I could with the dim candlelight available and my f/2.8 lenses (most shots were handheld):

Rorate Mass at St. James the Greater parish in Dogtown, St. Louis, MO

Review: Logos' Verbum Bible Software

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: A great, albeit pricey, resource for expanding anyone's knowledge of sacred scripture. The basic package is an excellent option for most any Catholic.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to try out Logos' Verbum, the de facto Bible study software. I tried out Verbum 5 for the Mac, and will share my thoughts on the platform below.

Logos Logo

Initial setup

First, a major caveat: though I go on a bit about my initial impressions being less-than-stellar, please read through to the end of this review—the software itself, once installed and configured, more than makes up for its initial warts.

Evangelii Gaudium - Joy of the Gospel

Pope Francis released his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), today.

I'm having a quick read through it, but as with all other Papal writings, I'm pretty sure it requires a deeper reading sometime when I have a quiet period of time to reflect on it.

There's already some chatter about certain statements the Pope makes in this Exhortation, and many others can summarize and scrutinize much better than I.

In other news, I found out about this release pretty soon after it was published, since I've been beta-testing the Catholic News Live mobile app for iOS 7... it will be released shortly! (More to come...).

Pope Francis is not the anti-Benedict

It seems the media has taken every opportunity to spin Pope Francis' words as being veiled criticisms of his predecessor's own words, especially when it comes to liturgical and theological topics. While it's great seeing the media show meager support at times, rather than destructive criticism for a Pope at every turn, it's misguided and not really that helpful.

All the press is saying is that what makes Catholicism Catholic (liturgy, ritual, priesthood, catechesis, etc.) is irrelevant, and we should worry more about the poor and such instead—and they're taking many translated quotes from Pope Francis out of context to support their theories. This horse has been beaten to death by many well-intentioned cafeteria Catholics throughout my lifetime, and I'm quite sick of it.

James over at the Forum has written about this a few times, and his most recent post, "Criticism" of Benedict in Rio? is spot-on:

Ever since Francis was elected, the media has been relentlessly billing him as the anti-Benedict. [...]

Steubenville 2013 - Chosen

This weekend, I'm down in Springfield, MO, photographing the Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America youth conference (which is on its second weekend—more than 6,000 teens participate in this event!).

Steubenville 2013 - Chosen Logo

I'll be posting my pictures in near-real-time to Flickr (on stlyouth's photostream — here's a link to all the pictures from the weekend), and I'll hopefully have time to do a writeup on the gear I'm using—two Nikon bodies (including a rented D7100!), two Eye-Fi cards, and a 4G hotspot.

Here are two of my favorite shots from the tonight (Eucharistic Adoration is always a highlight):

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