Books, beavertails and back to normality!

Probably checking out the news
about our new bishops in Ireland!
Someone recently commented that I don’t blog much about what I am actually studying. I suppose it is because I wonder if many people are actually interested in the weird and wonderful world that is Canon Law. On Monday, we return to our somewhat normal academic schedule. The Latin books and notes came off the bookshelf and were flicked through considering we are back to amo, amas, amat after the weekend!  However, over the past two weeks I have been indulging in one of my favourite things: Liturgical Law. Squeezing a three year licentiate into two years means that some of our courses can be slightly intense and since the beginning of January we have had specialized modules, that is, one subject, every day, morning and afternoon! It has been somewhat of a marathon but we covered such a variety of topics and documents over these days, all of them very interesting.
The first course was entitled ‘Liturgical Law outside the Code’ and the second ‘Special Problems in Canon Law: Liturgy and Sacraments’. Basically it was an extended treatment of selected issues related to the sanctifying function of the Church and liturgical law outside of the Code of Canon Law. We also dealt with the use and approval of vernacular languages in the publication of liturgical books, liturgical adaptation and inculturation of the liturgy. We spent significant time discussing the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as well as looking at the regulation of popular piety and the liturgy. We also looked at selected Praenotanda of liturgical books and post-Code legislation on the Liturgy, giving special consideration to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

These might sound like things which don’t regard the people in the pews but they do!  For example, during the course, I posed a question on Facebook regarding the use of technology during the celebration of the Eucharist which seemed to generate interest and dialogue ( a post will eventually follow as a response).Can a priest use an ipad to celebrate Mass? Can adaptations be made to the liturgy? Should extraordinary ministers of communion come forward for distribution of communion even if there are sufficient priests, albeit visiting priests? Can female altar servers be used during the Extraordinary Form of Mass? These and a hundred more questions were presented and answered during the duration of the course. Our professor, Chad Glendinning, truly manifested his competence in anything liturgical and sacramental with regard to the law as well as his stamina in his precise preparation each day for classes and reading materials! It was a gift to have him as a lecturer.

For those who are not aware, St. Raymond of Penyafort is the patron of canon lawyers. His feastday actually falls on 7th of January but for many reasons we were unable to gather and mark this day as a faculty. However, on Wednesday, gathered to celebrate the Eucharist and then proceeded across the corridor for a time of fraternal agape. It was a good opportunity for us to get to know some of our distance students better and continue to strengthen the bonds of communion among us which make us classmates, friends and pilgrims.

'Walking on water'

To finish off the week, a group of us from Deschatalets headed down to the Canal yesterday evening. Earlier that morning, the  Skateway was officially opened for skating, much to the delight of many people who awaited the freezing conditions which would permit its opening. The Skateway is 7.8 kilometres long and is one of the official sites for Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, which will be held from February 1st to 18th, 2013. I can’t wait for that...it should be beautiful! 
Some of my friends had iceskates so they headed off as the rest of us walked/slid/scooched around on the ice (I only learned what scooching was this week!). It was the nearest to 'walking on water' that I will be doing!

Killaloe surprise!

We finally took refuge in one of the canal side lodges to defrost a little and then went to get ‘Beavertails’. These indeed were a treat. Beavertails is actually the company name but the namesake product is a line of fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail. I was happy to see a familiar name when I saw the ‘Killaloe Surprise’but later learned that it was named after Killaloe, Ontario where the chain originated in 1978 and not after an Irish diocese! Anyway, it was very good and I look forward to sampling more (including the Nutella one!). Compared to Irish weather, it is COLD! I just thank God I had the experience in Poland previously where it often went down to -30 Celsius so I was mentally prepared for the cold! I am becoming an expert in dressing in layers and trying not to pass out with the transitions of hot to cold. So far, so good!

So my friends, with the first Vespers, we begin another week, the second of Ordinary Time! In reality, there is nothing ‘ordinary’ about ‘ordinary’ time because when we allow the Lord to walk with us, everything becomes ‘extraordinary’. Our eyes are open to the wonder of the moment. Quoting Rolheiser: “Life is what happens to you while you’re planning your life. Don’t let the busyness, pressures, and heartaches of life steal the present moment from you. Only it is real. Drink it in, with all it carries. It’s the only place you will experience love and joy. If not now–when? If not with these people–with whom? If now here–where?” Staying in line with tomorrow’s Gospel, here is one of the 10 life commandments which I posted earlier: “Be shockingly ‘Catholic’ — earthy and wine-drinking. Bask in the goodness of life. We have divine permission to be happy. God invented wine. Jesus scandalised people with his capacity to enjoy life. He drank wine and let his heart be warmed by friends. Don’t confuse John the Baptist with Jesus. John was the ascetic, not Jesus."
Have a great weekend!

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