Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Dinner

Playa del Rey, California
Michael and I had a quiet Christmas dinner with just the two of us. I decided to decorate the whole corner of the table. In the center is a little green tinsel Christmas tree, adorned simply with a red ribbon and two star ornaments: love and joy. A statue of the Holy Family, a beautiful present we received from one of the teachers at Christ the King School, sits in front of the tree. And all of the cards we received circle the tree, so in a way we had Christmas dinner with all of our family and friends. In the foreground is a plate with oplatek, or wafer. It's Polish Catholic tradition to offer the oplatek to one's family, along with good wishes for the following year, during Wigilia, or Christmas Eve, dinner. Although I can't share the oplatek with all of you, I wish you all a new year full of love, laughter, happiness, peace and prosperity, and may this be the year all of your dreams come true!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hollywood, California
It's dusk. We make our way to the pews inside the dark church. At Christ the King, Easter Vigil celebration begins at sunset on Holy Saturday. Father Antonio starts the service by blessing a fire in the vestibule.

The priest then lights the Paschal candle.

Symbolizing the light of Christ, the flame of the Paschal candle is used to light other candles which in turn light each of the parishioner's candles.

The priests and altar servers walk toward the altar lit only by candlelight.

A single light comes on where a cross draped in white cloth stands.

The mass continues with readings and singing.

The lights come on and new members are baptized into the church. At this time catechumens also receive the sacraments of first Communion and / or Confirmation. All of the parishioners renew their baptismal vows. Father Antonio walks through the church sprinkling everyone with the baptismal water. My hair is soaked. I don't think you get extra blessings if you get more water - if that was the case, I'd be pretty lucky right now.

Hope you have a Happy Easter, Passover, Spring - or whatever you celebrate this time of year!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Catholic Wedding Ceremony

Bloomingdale, Illinois
Here's some more photos from Santy and Ernesto's wedding. Their ceremony was at St. Isidore Chapel in Bloomingdale.

St. Isidore's, like some other churches, requests that no flash is used during the ceremony. All of these photos were shot using available light only.

Some Catholic ceremonies include the lighting of the unity candle, which signifies the joining of two families.

Everyone is invited to recite the Lord's Prayer.

Father Felipe consecrates the bread and wine for Communion.

Santy and Ernesto included some traditional Mexican wedding customs like the lazo. A lazo, usually a white ribbon or rosary, is wrapped around the couple to show that they are bound together for life.

The sign of peace is part of every Roman Catholic mass and is expressed by a handshake, hug or kiss and the words "Peace be with you."

The priest and Eucharistic minister offer bread and wine.

The Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary consists of an offering of flowers to the mother of Jesus followed by prayer.

Father Felipe pronounces Ernesto and Santy as husband and wife.

The happy couple floats down the aisle!

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