They’ve done it again! Easter at Ephesus

The Benedictines of Mary have come out with another beautiful album: “Easter at Ephesus.”

Benedictines of Mary return with their contemplative, strikingly beautiful and spiritually uplifting new recording, Easter at Ephesus, to be released March 3, 2015 on De Montfort Music/Decca. The 27-track album features a seasonal array of glorious chants and exhilarating hymns for Eastertide with the unearthly and highly acclaimed voices of the nuns that have inspired audiences throughout the world. Easter at Ephesus marks their fourth major release, following their chart-topping albums Advent at EphesusAngels and Saints at Ephesus and Lent at Ephesus, which crowned Billboard’s Top Traditional Classical Albums for 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The Benedictines of Mary were also named Billboard’s Top Traditional Classical Album Artist of 2014, for the third year in a row. De Montfort Music, AimHigher Recordings and the Benedictines of Mary also accounted for three of the Top 5 Traditional Classical Album Imprints of last year, further evidence of their resonance with consumers across America and a welcome antidote to today’s more gimmick oriented pop stars.

The Sisters have received accolades from CBS Sunday Morning, AP, EWTN, NPR, Rome Reports, Wall Street Journal, CatholicTV, Vatican Radio, Good Morning America, USA Today, Salt & Light and beyond.

Highlights from Easter At Ephesus include well known hymns with signature new arrangements of: “The Clouds of Night,” “Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today,” “This is the Day,” as well as exquisite artistic gems: “Alle Psallite Cum Luya” and “Oculus Non Vidit.” The Sisters once again provide selections serving to bring hearts closer to the season as they accompany the listener from Easter through Pentecost with angelic renditions of “Ascendit Deus” with text from Offertory of Ascension Thursday, as well as tracks such as Ravanello’s “Pascha Nostrum” from the Communion Verse for Easter Sunday Mass. The Sisters also included Palestrina selections as well as their own original compositions such as the hauntingly beautiful “Queen of Priests.”
Easter at Ephesus was produced by 11 time Grammy Award-winning producer Christopher Alder.
The album features a 12-page booklet with original artwork and all the lyrics in English (Latin songs are translated in English, as well). The booklet also will be available digitally with the album on iTunes. For pre-order and additional information:

There is a great video.

No more VapoRub for me

vicks_adAny time I have a cold / the flu, I have always loved the “warming and comforting” of Vicks VapoRub. The smell, and the heat that penetrates the aches and pains of your limbs is just so soothing. After reading the label, that is no longer the case for me. Check out the active inactive ingredients. Not all bad. Actually some really nice oils, but!

Inactive Ingredients: cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil

I use turpentine oil to clean my paint brushes. It is also used in some floor cleaners. But on my body! The U.S. National Library of Medicine website reads: “Turpentine oil is a substance distilled from material that comes from pine trees. Turpentine oil poisoning occurs when someone swallows turpentine oil or breathes in the fumes.” Among the effects are: Blood in urine, kidney failure, loss of vision, severe pain in the throat, severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue. Just go read the whole list here. It’s not pleasant. Maybe the small amount used is not going to cause these effects, but what about repeated use for days and years.

I have always know that it contained petroleum, as do many other products. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you either. All you have to do is a little search on Google for the dangers of petroleum jelly and you get over 59,600 results. Huffpo has an interesting article on how Petroleum Jelly May Not Be As Harmless As You Think. As with every search there is good and bad, but the point is this, we are putting this stuff on our bodies, and our bodies are soaking it all.

I did a little search on natural alternatives to Vicks VapoRub. A whole slew of results came up for this also. But the interesting thing is that among all of the ingredients, you only find what is natural and healthy.

  • ½ cup olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil
  • 2 level tablespoons of beeswax pastilles
  • 20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil
  • 20 drops Peppermint Oil
  • 10 drops Rosemary Oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon or clove oil (optional)

If not for anything else, we should all be looking at what goes into and onto our bodies. There isn’t such a high rate of cancer in this country for nothing. God provides everything we need in creation. Maybe the natural way is the way to go. The more I read, the more I’m attracted to what God has supplied.

Create your own wall poster

I moved some things around in my room and use a desk to create a wall for my podcast studio. The back of the desk is kind of ugly and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. Before Christmas, I had a few book shelves to hide the back, but moved them and like the new setup. I remembered a great article in a past issue of Maclife and decided to give it a shot. You can see my results below. I did a search through my Aperture library and decided to go with a great picture that I took at the Ermo delle Carceri in Assisi this past October. If you have a wall or space that you want to decorate or hide, you can do what I did.

The first step is to find a picture that you like. You can even pull a high res pic off the internet. Once you find your favorite picture, go to the Rasterbator website. Click the icon that reads “Print Yourself,” or, if you want a really high quality poster, let them print it. You can either pull an image from the web or upload from your computer. Once you upload an image, it will allow you to choose the size and finally download a pdf file to your computer. My picture took 25 pages, but I decided to trash the bottom five so it wouldn’t have a small section at the bottom. The colors are not exact, but I’m sure if I used photo paper it would have come out much better, but I’m really happy with what I’ve got. See my process below. And have some fun making your own wall poster.


I chose a picture from Aperture. The second row and second from the left.

This is the back of my desk. You can see why I wanted to cover it up.

This is the back of my desk. You can see why I wanted to cover it up.

I just rolled Scotch tape and put it on the four corners.

I just rolled Scotch tape and put it on the four corners.

I measure and made little marks so it would be centered and level. Almost two rows finished.

I measure and made little marks so it would be centered and level. Almost two rows finished.



Here's the finished project. Not bad for a quick fix.

Here’s the finished project. Not bad for a quick fix.


If you want to attract people to Mass, get rid of Latin!

Almost every Catholic parish you enter in the US, it would be a slight miracle to hear the least bit of Latin. During Lent and Advent, you might hear a Sanctus or Agnus Dei, but that is a far as it goes. Any pastor will tell you that Latin will chase people away. If you want people to come to Mass, you have to give them what they want. Young people want music that sounds like their music. Guitars, drums, keyboards and a good base will create the atmosphere that everyone wants. Besides, if you have Latin, people don’t understand it and they will go elsewhere. The kids and young people want their culture.

We all know this has been a big success. Our churches are much fuller than they ever where. This is not the case at all. Contemporary “Christian” music doesn’t hold a candle to what our young people listen to. It is a poor imitation of the “real” thing.

Besides, who says that our young people hate Latin? It’s only the older people who for the past 50  years have been told that Latin is outdated, impractical, and not with the times who reject it. Priests, and Liturgists have told the Catholic faithful that our young people can’t relate to Latin chant and sacred song. But I want to tell you, they are dead wrong. Every Sunday, the voices that I hear belt out the Latin Mass parts the loudest are those who are the closest to me, my altar boys. Below is a clip of Tommy singing a solo. He only had a small sheet of paper with words written on it and no music notation. Tommy also serves most of my funerals. He sings the Requiem, In Paradisum, all the Mass parts, and many of the Sacred humans and chants from memory. Tommy is 10 years old and has been doing this for years. Everyone that sees and hears him sing is moved and inspired. Meet Tommy.

I say if you want to attract young people to Mass, challenge them and give them something that will help them enter into the sacred and not what they have in the world.