Category Archives: Culture

Adé Béthune

Adé Bethune.jpeg

Among the many things we can recall today, one of them for me is Adé Béthune who died on this date in 2002. As I mentioned in a Communio blog post a few years ago, Adé was an Oblate of Saint Benedict of Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth, RI) and a liturgical artist, thinker and musician.
I find it sobering to pray for those who gone marked with the sign of faith, not only because it is a noble and holy Catholic tradition, but the practice affords me the opportunity to truly remember the person. Adé Béthune allows me this possibility today because of her Benedictine and liturgical connections but most of all she was a grand person.

A past post on Adé can be read here and her obit is posted here.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Benedictine Saints and Blesseds watch over Adé Béthune.

Charles Colson, RIP at 80

Charles Colson.jpgThe famed Watergate figure who turned his soul over to Christ has died at the age of 80. He met the Lord at 3:12 pm earlier today.

The Boston paper has a story which you can contrast with the Evangel blog piece hosted by First Things on Colson; I am sure there will be many other comprehensive pieces on Mr Colson in the days ahead.
His own organization posted this tribute to Chuck. It will be remembered that “Chuck’s life is a testimony to God’s power to forgive, redeem, and transform.”
May Charles Colson rest in the peace of the Lord.

Portsmouth Institute announces the 2012 conference: “Modern Science, Ancient Faith”

The Portsmouth Institute is set to begin its third year of work from June 22-24, 2012, with the theme of “Modern Science, Ancient Faith.” 

The Institute is located at Portsmouth Abbey and School (Portsmouth, RI).
Check the website for more information.

Ken Hackett receives Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal

Ken Hackett.jpgUniversity of Notre Dame announced today that Ken Hackett, the longtime and recently retired president of the Catholic Relief Services, will receive 2012’s Laetare Medal. Catholic Relief Services is the Catholic Church in the USA’s humanitarian agency. The medal will be awarded on May 20th, the 167th commencement exercise.

ND’s president Holy Cross Father John Jenkins said that “Ken Hackett has responded to a Gospel imperative with his entire career. His direction of the Catholic Church’s outreach to the hungry, thirsty naked, sick and unsheltered of the world has blended administrative acumen with genuine compassion in a unique and exemplary way.”
Mr Hackett was born in West Roxbury, MA (a suburb of Boston), graduated from Boston College, worked with Peace Corps in Africa, and joined CRS in 1972. He was elected president of the same in 1993. Hackett has received numerous awards in previous years.

laetare medal.jpg

The Laetare Medal awarded by the University of Notre Dame on Laetare Sunday has its origins in 1883. Notre Dame’s understanding of the award honors a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” At the time it was given, the Laetare Medal was modeled on the 11th century tradition of a Golden Rose given by the Supreme Pontiffs to shrines of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a tradition maintained by Pope Benedict) and to Catholic Queens. Not too many notable Catholic queens today.
Laetare Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent. Rejoice Sunday –Laetare means “to rejoice”, the first word of the Introit (the Entrance Antiphon) of the Mass. The priest wears the joyful color of rose to symbolize the joyfulness of entering into this new phase of Lent, taking a respite from the Lenten observances, and picking up new strength to continue to the end of Lent. The Laetare Medal bears the inscription “Magna est veritas et prevalebit” (Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail.)
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Pelican Inspiration.jpeg

PELICANUS is the word for a certain breed of bird

    Who truly is a crane;

    Egypt is his domain.

    There are two kinds there-of;

    Near to the Nile they live;

    One of them dwells in the flood, the fishes are his food;

    The other lives in the isles on lizards, crocodiles,

    Serpents and stinking creatures, and beasts of evil nature.

In Greek his title was Onocrotalos, which is longum rostrum,

    Said in the Latin tongue instead,

    Or long break in our own.

Of this bird it is known that when he comes to his young,

    They being grown and strong,

    And does them kindly things,

    And covers them with his wings.

The little birds begin fiercely to peck at him;

    They tear at him and try to blind their father’s eye.

    He falls upon them then and stays them with great pain,

    Then goes away for a spell, leaving them where they fell.

On the third day he returns, and thereupon he mourns,

    Feeling so strong a woe to see the small birds so

    That he strikes his breast with his beak until the blood shall leak.

And when the coursing blood spatters his lifeless brood,

    Such virtue does it have

    That once again they live.

Know that this pelican signifies Mary’s Son:

    The little birds are men restored to life again by that dear blood

    Shed for us by our God.

Now learn one morning more, revealed by holy lore:

    Know why the small birds try to peck thie father’s eye,

    Who turns on them in wrath and puts them all to death.

Men who deny the light would blind God’s blazing sight,

    But on such people all His punishment will fall.

    This is the meaning I find:

    Now bear it well in mind.

              — from an Anglo-Norman Bestiary of 1120 by Philippe de Thaun;

                this version from “Things of this World” by Richard Wilbur

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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