Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This week at the Hogar

This is the last week of a two week school vacation and many of the girls went home to be with family. So there was only a handful at the Hogar when I arrived with my sister-in-law, Melanie.

The girls were still eating breakfast when we arrived. The first picture is of Avelia cleaning up her spot at the table.

Here is Graciela practicing her multiplications while Avelia is playing with clay.

Avelia showing me her lovely rings she made.

Melanie working with Maria on multiplication.

This last photo is of Tía Sue and Mariela. Mariela grew up at the Hogar and is now working there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Los Simpsons (La Película)

After the Big Day, we (the Lovely Mona, Sister Melanie, y los Tripies: Ryan, David, y Colleen; y Yo) came home and ate lunch. Then we went to Cinépolis and saw The Simpsons Movie. IT WAS GREAT!!!! I know that many folks who visit many of the same blogs as I do have been pushing that Ratatouille movie, which I'll see when it comes out on DVD. BUT THIS WAS GREAT!! I'll be singing "Spider Pig, Spider Pig. Does whatever a Spider Pig does. Can he walk on the ceiling? No he can't; he's a pig" for the rest of the week (Pity my relatives!!). The Church stuff alone is worth the price of admission, although any of you of the Pentecostal Persuasion may be offended (yeah, I really worry about THAT!!). BELIEVE ME, IT's WORTH IT!! Padre says, "Check it out!!" unless you're a wanker Person Suffering From A Humour Deficit (the Lovely Mona says I can't use that other word).

The Bishop's Visit

Today was the Big Day! The Bishop visited Parroquia San Cristóbal and we all lived through the experience. Actually, other than the organ going on the fritz yesterday, too late in the day to be repaired, things went very well. Two were baptized and twenty-three were confirmed. My sister, Melanie Castillo, served as organist this morning. Both choirs sang, and the church was packed; around 250 people. We had a festive Coffee Hour with fruit salad, Sarah Williams' famous Empanadas de Bacalao and her fabulous chocolate cake, and sandwiches and cookies. Plus coffee (Panamanian, of course, the best coffee in the world) or chicha. Here are some photos of the festivities.

On the Patio Before the Service

The Procession

It's a long procession!

The Rt. Rev. Julio E. Murray, Bishop of the Diocese of Panamá, IARCA

Los Bautismos

Candidatos de Confirmación

More Candidates for Confirmation


Fortalece, oh Señor, a tu siervo N., con tu Espíritu Santo; dale poder para servirte; y susténtale todos los días de su vida. Amén.

Welcome the Newly Confirmed!

The Senior Choir singing "Bless This Church" (an altered version of "Bless This House" by our Director of Music and Liturgy, Mr. Percival Thomas)

El Coro de Jovenes with the Lovely Mona directing, Mr. Ricardo Staples on drums, Ms. Melanie Castillo on keyboard, and Padre on guitar, singing "Abre los Cielos" (Open the Heavens)

First Communion

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Busy Saturday

Tomorrow is the Big Day!! Our Patronal Festival and the Bishop's visit! Two little ones will be baptized, and twenty-three youths will be confirmed. Today was the last Confirmation Class and rehearsal for confirmation. The place was buzzing from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm when the Coro de Jovenes finished their rehearsal. The Altar Guild was there preparing and decorating and ironing and I blessed some new altar cloths and the veils the young girls will wear for confirmation tomorrow. Here are some photos of today's activities:

El Último Confirmation Class

Padre Cáceres and his students

Lining up to practice the procession

It's a long line! Profesora Priscilla McQueen supervises the order of procession

Practicing where to sit and how to get out of the pew in an Orderly Fashion

Jonathan, Angie, Stefani, y Peter after Choir Practice

Tomorrow we'll have lots of photos of the festivities, posted especially for Sislyn Thomas, Patsy Pusey, and the Scotlands, who are in the U.S. right now and check out the Dance Party to see what's going on at home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging

Our Summer-time replacement feature, POLICY AND TACTICS ARE THE LIFE OF THE DANCE PARTY; LEADING COMRADES AT ALL LEVELS MUST GIVE THEM FULL ATTENTION AND MUST NEVER ON ANY ACCOUNT BE NEGLIGENT! has ended its very successful run. All Dance Party loyalists loved it, especially kj, who has been named Dance Party Queen for a Week! Hooray for kj!!

And now, we return to your favourite Friday feature: Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging starring: Squeaky Gorilla as Red Mr. Peanut Bank and ¡El Toro! as Gallito Mescalito. And introducing: T. Enis Ball as itself. This evening the text appears beneath the photo.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Er, Well, here I am, patiently waiting for my hilarious side kick, Gallito Mescalito, darling of the Episcopal Blogosphere. Oh, what crazy adventures await us tonight?

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh, hello, Gallito Mescalito, or should I say, ¡Hola, amigo mío! How are you doing today?
Gallito Mescalito Moo, er, cough, ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank I´m doing fine, my good man. What is our plan for this evening?
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡Shrieeek!! ¿Shriek? ¡Shriek! snerk
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Hahaha! Very funny my friend! I´m sure he will show up soon.

Gallito Mescalito ¡¡Shrieeek!!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Why yes! It's our new friend, T.Enis Ball! How are you, new friend?
T.Enis Ball bouncy-bounce bouncy-bounce
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRRRIIIIIEEEEEEKK!! cough cough cough oh, crap! oh, Moo!
Red Mr. Peanut BankNow, now, ¡El Toro!, I mean, Gallito Mescalito. No call for that kind of language!
T.Enis Ball bouncy-bounce bouncy-bounce

Padre Mickey, off camera, 'cept for his hand NO NO NO NO NOOOOO! STOP!! THIS IS NOT WORKING OUT AT ALL!!
Squeaky Gorilla Pardon me?
¡El Toro! Please, sir. We're doing the best we can!
Padre Mickey, off camera, 'cept for his hand No no no no no. This is terrible! This must end. I'm giving in to the Dance Party Players' demands. THE STRIKE IS OVER!! YOU GUYS WIN!!!!! T.Enis Ball my bouncy-bounce butt! PUHLEEZE!!

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Time to go, boys!
Squeaky Gorilla Don't worry, we're outta here!
¡El Toro! Believe me, Bank; we aren't exactly thrilled with this gig!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRRRIIIIIEEEEEEKK!!
¡El Toro! Oh yeah?!Bite me, ya stinky bird!!


Friday Random Ten

1. Ants Invasion Adam And The Ants
2. Rocks Off Rolling Stones
3. It's Not Peculiar Hüsker Dü
4. Alleluia Posui Adiutorim (Perotin) The Hillard Ensemble
5. Favourite Hour Elvis Costello and the Attractions
6. Sextown U.S.A. Sparks
7. Wounded Horse XTC
8. Never Drive You Away Original Cast Recording - The Gospel At Colonus
9. It Ain't Easy David Bowie
10. Neighborhood Threat Iggy Pop

I apologise for #1; I had forgotten that I had Kings of the Wild Frontier on the iTunes here at the church. But the rules are that you have to list all ten songs that pop up on the shuffle. Only one churchy thang this week; well, 'cept for #8, which is in A Gospel Style.

Super-Cool Video Alert!

Go, right now, to Pseudopiskie’s place, where the source of all your problems will be explained to you.
Yesterday the Lovely Mona and I spent over two hours at Migración. Then, when I installed a flash-heater shower head in the Guest Bathroom, I learned that the electricity for that dang ting don' work no more. THEN Tía  Melanie's flight was late by almost an hour.
But now I know why all this terrible stuff is going on, and it's not MY fault!!!

Check it out!!

Geez, it seems that Episcopalooza has this ting too. I'm not sure who had it first.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blogging Slowdown

Blogging will slow down a bit for the next few weeks. My sister, Melanie, and the Trippies: Colleen, Ryan, and David, are arriving tomorrow. I'ma gonna be doing fambly tings, but Friday Features will still happen, if the strike is settled.
Jest warnin' ya.

Lying Liars

Q= How can you tell a member of the Bush Administration is lying?
A= His or her lips are moving.

Feast of St. Christopher, Martyr

According to the official calendar, today is the feast of St. James the Apostle, brother of John and member of the Inner Circle of the Twelve. However, I am the Rector of Parroquia San Cristóbal, the Parish of St. Christopher, and today is also the feast of St. Christopher, martyr. When I first came to San Cristóbal, I figured that we were named after a non-existent saint. In the Roman tradition, St. Christopher was very tall, very strong Roman man, originally named Offero, who became a Christian and vowed to serve Jesus. He sought out a holy hermit, who told him that he could best serve Jesus by helping people cross the river, which as very swift and dangerous. Offero started carrying people across the river on his back. One day a small child came to be carried across the river. While crossing the river, Offero noticed that this passenger was heavier than anyone he had ever carried, which didn't make any sense since he was a little child. The child revealed that he was actually Jesus, the Christ, and his heaviness was due to carrying the sins of the world. Jesus then baptized Offero and named him Christopher. It's an easy story to discount.

I started wondering if there were any Greek sources regarding Saint Christopher, and I did some research. I learned that a Saint Christopher actually did exist, that he was a soldier who was martyred around the year 308 in Antioch. I even found three “Acts of St. Christopher” and read them. I no longer believe that my parish is named after a non-existent saint, we are a parish named after a fourth-century African martyr.

St. Christopher was a member of the north African tribe of the Marmaritae.
He was captured by Roman forces during the emperor Diocletian's campaign against the Marmaritae in late 301/early 302 and was transported for service in a Roman garrison in or near Antioch in Syria. He was baptized by the refugee bishop Peter of Alexandria and was martyred on 9 July 308.
Bishop Peter arranged for the transport of his remains back to Marmarica in 311. The name “Christopher” means Bearer of Christ and was probably the name he took on at baptism. According to the various Acts of St. Christopher, his original name was Reprebus which is probably a corruption of the name Reprobus, which means “wicked” in Latin. So at baptism, a man called wicked became a man who bears Christ. But ‘Christopher’ may have been an honorific title, and some scholars believe that Christopher’s actual name may have been lost and that he is really identifiable with the Egyptian martyr known as St. Menas. Christopher was martyred for refusing to sacrifice to the emperor. His memory was preserved in Antioch, but his relics were transported to his homeland and that is where is original cult was located. There are icons of St. Christopher and they are not like the image on the Roman Catholic medals. The images of St. Christopher I've posted here are of a man with the head of a dog! The Greeks used to refer to those lands outside of their civilization as being inhabited by cannibals and dog-headed people, and since Christopher was from North Africa, most probably the nation we call Libya today, some must have said he came from the land of dog-headed cannibals. The authors of the Acts of St. Christopher took this reference literally, and one account carries this description:
There was a certain man who, since he was a foreigner from the land of man-eaters, had a terrible appearance, a dog's head as it were. Another account describes Christopher’s encounter a woman on the street: And while he prayed, a woman came out of the city in order to go and worship the idols, and trembled at the sight of the saint. Her face dropped as she saw the the body of a man, but the head of a dog, and she ran to the city and cried out... In this account, the king calls Christopher “Dog-headed and evil troublemaker.”

According to the Acts of St. Christopher, he was taken as a soldier from his home in North Africa and ended up in the Syrian city of Antioch. A persecution was under way, and the soldier Reprebus had recently converted and become Christopher. He was protecting some Christians who were being arrested. He covered his dog-head with the sleeves of his cloak and while being beaten by the arresting officer, said, “I am possessed by Christ, I have been overcome by the Savior, and I am not able to do anything to you. However, if you exasperate my heart, you will not remain in my presence, nor will your corrupt king." The soldier ran off and told the king what had happened: "There is a certain man of terrible appearance, one who towers over most men, who appeared in sight of all the people when the edict was being published by the governor. In fact, who could explain the appearance of this apparition, except perhaps that the God of the Christians heard their prayers and sent him to help them? Unless you hurry and kill him he will turn all from the sacrifices of the gods." The king said to him, "You have a demon, and he appeared to you this way. What did you see? Speak." He replied, "I tell my lord what I saw. His head was terrifying, like that of a dog. His hair was very long, and gleamed like gold. His eyes were like the morning star, and his teeth like the tusks of a boar. Words are not sufficient to tell of his greatness. Moreover, he said the most disgraceful things against you and the gods. So when I heard such talk, I began to beat him. But he said to me, 'I am possessed by Christ, but if I were not, I would kill you and your king.' And I therefore report these things to you my lord king, that you might know that what I say about this man is true." The king said, "Is he one of our men? Why does he say such things?" The other replied, "I do not know, my lord." Then the king gave orders to his soldiers, saying, "Go and get him. If he does not agree to come with you, rip him to pieces, only bring his head to me that I might see what he was like, if it was him or another."

In the meantime, Christopher managed to convert most of the soldiers, who refused to arrest him, but he was eventually taken before the king. He refused to sacrifice to the King’s idols. The king had a great idea in which Christopher would be locked in a room with two prostitutes who would “convert him to their lusts” but instead Christopher converted them to the Lord and they went to suffer their martyrdom after insulting the king and his idols.

The story of their martyrdom is right up there with Perpetua and Felicity in the terrible tortures they endured in Christ’s name. The king was quite angry that his plan didn’t work, so he had a bronze bench placed in the town square and had Christopher nailed to the bench. Then he ordered that plenty of wood be brought, and that a great deal of olive nuts,18 measures of olive oil, and a lot of pitch be poured over the wood, that was how they fueled the fire. The wind blew the flames so that some houses caught fire, Christopher stood up in the midst of the flames and said, “I saw myself standing in the midst of a city, and saw a beautiful man whose face shone like a thousand suns. Then another man with a terrible appearance attacked him. They fought, but the man of light was victorious.” Then ten thousand people watching this said, “There is one God, he in whom saint Christopher believes. He has certainly not labored in vain. He knows the one to whom he fled. And we believe, hoping that we can save ourselves through you, Lord God." And ten thousand people believed at the same time, and cried out, saying, "Almighty God, we believe in you. Take pity on us, Our Savior, and make us your worthy servants, Christ, and do not give us wealth for your booty; but give to your servants, Lord, the bath of immortality and the garment of incorruption, because yours is the glory forever and ever, amen." The next morning Christopher and the ten thousand stood out where the fires had been and chanted psalms, attracting the king’s troops once again. Three priests appeared and baptized the newly converted, while Christopher was arrested. His hair was pulled, he was crushed with huge stones and then dragged about by his arms throughout the streets. Christopher still refused to recant, so the king commanded that he be beheaded and cremated. Christopher was taken to the site where he would be executed. Suddenly there was an earthquake, and Christopher saw the heavens open and the Lord appear. A throne was brought out and the Lord sat on the throne. Christopher said, "How, in word or thought, will I praise you, Lord, that you have deigned to reveal your glory to me your humble servant?" The Lord said to him, "You are more blessed than many, and will be called my most beloved servant, and blessed will those souls be who have merited possession of your relics. I shall heed no longer the sins of those who have approached me through your intercession. I swear by my glory to you that they shall attain paradise." Christopher replied, "If I have found favor in your sight, Lord my God, grant me the confidence to speak to you." The Lord responded, "Say what you will." The saint replied, saying, "Lord, grant my corpse this second favor, that all who possess a part of my relics will merit such grace that no evil spirit nor bodily sickness will cower them, and drive from them every evil desire. Lord my God, whether it be a city, larger area, or small locality where lies some of my relics, let not hail-shower, crop-disease or vine-sterility prevail there; but wherever my relics travel, if those regions have been harmed, grant them the grace of my presence as it were, Lord my God, so that all the inhabitants of those regions may richly receive the produce of their cultivation, and filled with your grace wholeheartedly glorify your holy name. Act thus, Lord my God." As you can see, he was really thinking ahead! And the Lord replied, "It will be as you request. I will not cause you sadness. And so you have come, ascend to your brothers. For they all wonder at you, and my army of angels desires to see you." And when he had said this, he departed, and went to the place which had been prepared and said to the executioner, "Come, son, do what has been commanded. But I adjure you, by the God who watches over earth's orb, not to judge me." And upon saying these things, he crossed himself, and bending his knees he stretched out his neck; and in this manner his head was cut off. He perfected his martyrdom on a Sunday, at the 7th hour.

Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” and while I have trouble believing that ten thousand people were converted even before he was martyred, the fact that the martyrdom of Christopher was remembered tells me that his witness was important to the Christians of Antioch. His relics were returned to his homeland, and a church was named after him in Bythinia in 452.

I always find the stories of the martyrs to be inspiring, and their steadfast faith is a model for all of us. Even though the Acts of St. Christopher are full of stories just as strange as the Roman story of Christopher, we can put away the image of a giant carrying the Christ child, but instead of replacing that image with the "dog-headed" saint, we can replace it with the story of a martyr from North Africa who stood up against his persecutors and prayed that he could still do good for humanity even after his death. This St. Christopher is one who can be a model for us.

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Christopher boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Presidential Surgery

I hear the Preznit had surgery over the weekend.


First update is The Vine. If you remember, the Lovely Mona planted a vine, and the Lord smiled upon it, and it grew in height and wisdom. Here is the latest photo. The Vine is spreading across the fence, and it still has many beautiful flowers. It is doing much better than la veranera, which is bushy yet sin flores and not pictured here 'cuz it gots no flowers.

STRIKE UPDATE: Padre Mickey is threatening to hire scabs in order to keep the popular Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging feature going without swallowing his pride and giving in to the Dance Party Players' demands.

The Oppressive Bastid

He realizes that the replacement feature, POLICY AND TACTICS ARE THE LIFE OF THE DANCE PARTY; LEADING COMRADES AT ALL LEVELS MUST GIVE THEM FULL ATTENTION AND MUST NEVER ON ANY ACCOUNT BE NEGLIGENT! has not been as well received as expected, except by those who have successfully completed their program at re-education camp, not to mention the problems inherent in a Maoist-inspired program being used as a strike-busting tactic. The scabs the oppressive bastid is threatening to hire are Mr. Skeeky Gorilla and ¡El Toro!, pictured below.

Here Endeth the Updates.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blogroll Addition

I'm adding FRANIAM to the blogroll. She has a fun blog, and is a friend of my old friend Matty Boy, which is in her favour, too. The friend of my friend is our friend. The enemy of my enemy is probably a real creep! But I digress... She presently has 6.3 readers, so I promised to add her to the blogroll and increase her readership by another six readers. Padre says "check it out!"

Hoy En Parroquia Episcopal San Cristóbal

El coro de los jovenes canten con mucha alegria. Why? Because the band was cookin' today!
And they love Jesus, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Obligatory Baby-Covered-With-Cake-On-First-Birthday Photo

The Chocolate-covered Miss Evelyn Sarah Mobley, One Year Old.

Tara and Chris made a great, three-part video of the cake demolition. Just the kinda thing los abuelos love to watch. I noticed that the Family OCD kicked-in at the end when she realized her fingers were covered in chocolate and became just a little upset. These traditions are important!

Friday, July 20, 2007

DVD Feature: Behind The Scenes At Padre Mickey's Dance Party's Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank And Gallito Mescalito Blogging.

I really don't think about Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank And Gallito Mescalito Blogging until I get home on Friday (I know, you can tell!). I usually wander about for a half-hour or so, and then I set-up a photo session and make up a story after looking at the photos. Sometimes the Lovely Mona has some ideas, but usually she serves as Lighting Director. I have to wander about the house and find Certain Members of the Cast. Señorita Chompita Wiggletail gets quite nervous once she sees me working with Mr. Chompy's Chewed-up Kitty Toy and Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House. She stands by and watches what I'm doing, and, if I'm not vigilant, will grab the toys of the set! She has been tearing Bunrab's remaining insides out, and so now the toy is hollow inside (cue the Buzzcocks). Here are some Behind The Scene photos.

Chompy keeping an eye on things.

The Lovely Mona holding the light.

The Lovely Mona lighting up the set by smiling.

Chompy working on Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House.

Padre placing cast members.

Chompy continues to work on Bunrab, the Filthiest Toy in the House.

I See You!

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