Patricia Kasten

Annual Christmas contest for children explores the shepherds of Bethlehem

GREEN BAY — Have you ever wondered how the shepherds reacted when an angel showed up over their nighttime fields? What did they say? What did they do after the angels left? The shepherds of Bethlehem are the subject of the 2021 essay and art challenge for The Compass’ 34th annual “Just for Kids” Christmas contest. Children in grades K-8, from schools, faith formation classes and individual homes submitted 49 essays and 205 art drawings. …

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Downspout inspirations

How do you come up with these ideas? People often ask that about my Foundations of Faith column, that I have written for The Compass since 1997. While some topics may be explored more than once, the columns are never recycled. There is always new information. Just this year, I have explored the lance of St. Longinus (one of the relics of Christ’s Passion), tattoos and the River Jordan. Then I came up gargoyles. How? …

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When did the sprinkling start?

We’ve all seen them — especially during the Easter season — but we may not know what to call them. They are the holy water sprinkler and its bucket/bowl. The official bucket that holds holy water for sprinkling at Mass is called an aspersorium (or sometimes a “situla”). It comes from a Latin verb, aspergere, which means “to wash or sprinkle.” The same verb gives us the word for the holy water sprinkler itself: aspergill …

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When three days become one

Welcome to the longest Welcome to the longest day. No, that’s not a reference to Monday. We have begun the triduum — triduum is a Latin word, formed from the Latin prefix tri– (meaning “three”) and the Latin word dies (“day”). The triduum is the days between Holy Thursday (at sunset) to Easter Sunday (also at sunset). As the Vatican noted in 1969, when the post-Vatican II changes in the Mass were being introduced, “Christ …

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Why our Easter date differs from the Orthodox one

Question Why don’t Eastern Orthodox churches always celebrate Easter on the same day that we do in the Catholic Church? And what about Easter Week celebrations? Are they different as well?” Answer In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and for some Byzantine Catholics, the date for Easter (called Pascha in Orthodox traditions) often differs from the Western date. This is because the Orthodox East uses a 19-year cycle in calculating the date, whereas the West uses an …

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Jesus lies in Mary’s arms again

As we enter the solemn days of Holy Week, our thoughts turn to Christ’s Passion. They also turn to Mary, standing at the cross (Jn 19:25). Depictions of Mary at the cross have been frequent devotional artwork. Perhaps none is more famous than the Pietà of Michelangelo, now in a chapel at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This 5-foot, 9-inch statue was carved from a single piece of Carrera marble. It shows Mary holding the …

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Now what do I do with the old palms?

Question I have some old palms and was trying to figure out how to dispose of them since I missed bringing them to church to burn for ashes for Ash Wednesday. Now I have new ones. I read that I should burn or bury old palms. — Pulaski Answer Now that we are full swing into Lent and actually approaching the end, moving into Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, we might be …

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Free Easter meals return to community, with some changes

ALLOUEZ — Easter is about new life and renewed hope. Even though we are still dealing with COVID-19 and need to socially distance and mask to protect ourselves and others, there are signs of hope. These include the return of some free Easter meals in the area. Last year, the various churches and service groups that had normally offered holiday meals had to cancel them after the pandemic was declared on March 11. This year, …

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With spring comes the passion flower

Flowers  symbolize Easter — from the pure white lily to the purple and yellow crocus and fragrant hyacinth. But another flower comes to us before Easter and symbolizes Passion Week. The passion flower is a native of Latin America. Growing on a woody, fast-growing vine, it is adorned with large flowers — originally purple, but now hybridized into many shades. It also produces the oval, edible passion fruit. In the last two centuries, associating flowers …

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The soldier who held the lance

What happened to the lance that pierced Jesus’ side as his dead body hung on the cross? We have all heard the Gospel stories of the Passion and how “one soldier thrust his lance into his side” (Jn. 19:34). No more is said about this soldier in the Gospels, though, over the centuries, some have equated him with the centurion who stood at the cross in Mark’s Gospel, and proclaimed, “Truly this man was the …

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