Call Me Catholic

Good Friday, Allegri, and A White Easter

Today is Good Friday.

Now I know that I ought to be focused on the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and I am, but I am also a mother.  Therefore, I must plan ahead for my family accordingly.  And this entails preparing any necessary music that my family will want to sing and listen to for the appropriate liturgical seasons.

So today, our family will listen to Allegri’s Miserere Mei, Deus.  (Click HERE for it on YouTube.)

This piece has an interesting history, by the way.  It’s title comes from Psalm 51 and means, “Have mercy on me, O God.”  It was composed in the seventeenth century and was reserved exclusively for use in the Sistine Chapel during Lent.  In other words, nobody else was allowed to use it anywhere.  Well, the story goes that 14-year-old, smarty-pants Mozart was visiting the Vatican during Lent and heard this song performed.  He simply went home, copied it out from memory, and that was that.

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Michelangelo’s Last Judgement.  This beautiful fresco can be found in the Sistine Chapel, where Allegri’s Miserere Mei, Deus used to only ever be sung.

And now for Easter.

I know that you are all familiar with Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”  But maybe you’re not familiar with the Easter version?  My children began singing this a few days ago, so I thought I’d send it along, so that you might have a new song to sing Easter Sunday.  This song is especially appropriate for those of you living in colder climates, like mine, where it snows forever and ever.  Amen.

White Easter by Kim Heilman & Kids

I’m dreaming of a white Easter,
just like the ones in North Dakota.
Where the Easter Bunny skis and children listen
to hear Alleluias at the Mass.

I’m dreaming of a white Easter
with every Easter basket I fill.
“May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Easters be white!”

Homeschooling

A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool: Part 3

In Part 2 I left off with Mid-Morning Prayer.  This is actually the second time during the morning when we all gather together, and so some might call it “Morning Time,” which would make for two Morning Times for our family.  Well, whatever you want to call it.  Here it is.

10am Mid-Morning Prayer

At around 10am, when the children are done with their school, which I mentioned in Part 2, and I’ve checked and graded it, I call them all to the living room for prayer.  We begin with a hymn, I ask for intentions, which are often very sweet, we pray a short prayer like the Memorare, and then we close with a hymn.  That’s it.

For example, during the Christmas season we sang Good King Wenceslaus, because it’s their favorite and also O Tannenbaum, because we’re German, and it’s fun to sing in a foreign language.  (Well, maybe we’re a bit pagan too?  A whole song glorifying a tree?  That’s not a hymn.)

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Child #5 drew this picture of our family singing.  I guess we’re missing a few people?  And who’s that angel supposed to be?  Her?  Ha!

Today we sang Good King Wenceslaus for both the opening and the closing because the boys love all those verses about kings and pages and fierce blizzards.  They’re obsessed.

Before I let them all run off to their next task, however, we do a review of everyone’s Latin vocabulary.  Sometimes we play Latin Around the World, but most days, I call out the English, and they shout back the Latin.  And yes, it’s shouting because they all want to be heard.  Sometimes this gets to be very loud and chaotic.

10:15am More School

At this point, the Eldest takes the two youngest children and disappears.  Glory be to God in the Highest.

Then I commence Song School Latin from Classical Academic Press with Child #2, #3, and #4.  They all ardently insist that this is their favorite school to do.

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The Eldest.  Her Latin is on the right.  The next 3 children all use Song School Latin on the left.  These are all from Classical Academic Press, which is the best place ever for curriculum.

When Latin is done, Child #4 disappears, and I help Child #2 and #3 with the remainder of their school for the day, which is usually Math and Grammar.

Then it is my favorite part of the morning:

10:45 am Outdoor Recess Time!

While the children are frolicking around outside, I fold the first load of laundry and put the second load in the dryer.  Then I start heating up leftovers for lunch.

And that’s enough for today.  Stay tuned for Part 4.

 

Call Me Catholic

Christmas Trees

Well, this year we decided to do something we’ve never, ever done before – wait until the last possible minute to buy and put up a Christmas tree, which was Saturday, December 23rd, as we didn’t want to shop on Sunday, Christmas Eve.

Now normally we drive to the local tree nursery and pick out a big, beautiful 7-8 foot Frasier Fir the first or second weekend of Advent.  Twice we even bought a potted tree, which we planted in our yard in the Spring.  Of course potted trees are a bit more expensive, like $200 compared to the $100 for a cut tree, but then you have the benefit of a lifelong tree in the yard.

Anyway, it is then our tradition to let the tree sit until Christmas Eve, when we all decorate it together before Midnight Mass.  This year, however, we wanted to enter more fully into the season of Advent and not be bothered with a tree, until necessary.  The result?

I have never been so excited to get a Christmas tree!  It was so hard to see all those beautifully decorated trees in the windows of everyone’s houses!  Let’s face it – Christmas trees are so festive and cheering.  Who wouldn’t want one up all year round?  (Well, maybe the dead pine needles would deter some…)  And the children were positively giddy when we drove to Menards to buy one.  (The local nursery was not open.)

The selection, however, was as one might expect.  There were about 15 absolutely dead trees.  So, we picked out the least looking dead one and drove home, still very happy with our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  After all, this tree just needed a little love – like Linus’s blanket wrapped around its base or some sparkling lights and shiny ornaments.  And it turned out all right, as you can see by the picture.

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Our $2.13 Christmas Tree

But there was another reward for waiting.  We only spent $2.13!  Unbelievable.

And there is even one more, unlooked for advantage to purchasing a really dead tree.  You see, we need not concern ourselves with watering it.  I mean, we do have it sitting in water, but it hasn’t soaked up any yet.

Now, let’s just hope this tree makes it until Epiphany without completely falling apart.  (Oh that we lived near a Christmas Tree Farm, so that we could get a fresh one, which might last until the Feast of the Presentation on February 2.)

But will we do this again next year?  Yes.  The wait was worth it, even if only for the sheer excitement of the thing.

And while we’re talking about Christmas trees, everyone knows that the best song to listen to while decorating your tree is Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.  Well, unless you’re German, then maybe you’d prefer Nat King Cole’s O Tannenbaum?

Merry Christmas!