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La chanson des anges/The Song of the Angels
by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Oil on canvas, 1881
84 x 60 inches (213.4 x 152.4 cm)
Private Collection

In May, we honor our Blessed Mother of our Lord.

Thanks to Sacred Heart Media Productions, here’s a canonical tribute to Mary:

Hat tip to Faith and Family

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In honor of today’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, here’s a look at the new movie The Mighty Macs. This is the story of how the Immaculata Mighty Macs took the championship at the first national woman’s college basketball tournament ever.

Immaculata went on to win three consecutive national basketball tournaments from 1972 to 1974.

The Mighty Macs web site <http://www.themightymacs.com> describes the movie’s synopsis:

Set in 1972, “The Mighty Macs” tells the story of a 23-year-old tomboy who takes a shot at being the head basketball coach at Immaculata College – an all-girls Catholic school with 400 students. With help from the nuns, she finds the courage and faith to lead her team along the improbable journey of winning the first national championship in women’s basketball.

The film won high marks at the John Paul II International Film Festival in Miami Florida in fall 2009. This festival is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Miami.

In 2009, ESPN did a history feature on the team and the school:

In August 2002, Immaculata College became Immaculata University. In 2005 they went co-ed. Find them on the web here:
http://www.immaculata.edu

The religious order running Immaculata was, and still is the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
http://www.ihmimmaculata.org.

This looks like a fun film!

Hat tip to Thomas Peters for the pointer!

The Immaculata Mighty Macs were crowned national champions at three consecutive AIAW basketball tournaments, from 1972 to 1974, a pivotal time in the history of women’s collegiate sports.[4] The story of the Mighty Macs basketball team is currently being adapted into a movie, The Mighty Macs, which is due out in theaters in 2009.[5] The Mighty Macs, during the early 1970s, were featured on a SportsCenter special on March 23, 2008.

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Thanks to Thomas Peters at American Papist, here is a great video of a Mass held last year at a church in Rome. But this is not just any church, and not just any occasion. This is a Solemn High Mass celebrated in the Pantheon of Rome to celebrate the 1400th anniversary of its consecration as a Catholic Church in 609AD. Wikipedia reports that “In 609 the Byzantine emperor Phocas gave the building to Pope Boniface IV, who converted it into a Christian church and consecrated it to Santa Maria ad Martyres, now known as Santa Maria dei Martiri.”

609 AD is 908 years before Martin Luther nailed up his 95 Theses, 924 years before Henry VIII broke with the Church because of Anne Boleyn, and 1221 years before Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Architectural Notes:

The Roman Pantheon is the largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the world. The Pantheon’s dome is the largest surviving dome from antiquity; it was also the largest dome in the world until Brunelleschi built the dome of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral (Duomo) of Florence in 1436.

The Interior of The Pantheon, Rome by Giovanni Pannini

Agrippa, the son-in-law of the Roman Emperor Augustus, built the first Pantheon in 27 B.C. The words “M. AGRIPPA L. F. COS. TERTIUM FECIT” which is translated, “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, in his third consulate, made it.”, are carved in stone above the entrance. The original Pantheon burned in the great Roman fire of 80 AD, and was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian. In 110 AD it was struck by lightning, burned down, and was rebuilt by order of the Emperor Hadrian. About 100 years later, it was refurbished for the first time.

Pantheon, Front Elevation by Desgodetz Pantheon Cross-section

Floor plan of the Pantheon. Image in the public domain.

Floor plan of the Pantheon. Image in the public domain.

Pantheon cross_section #2

The floor plan (above) is a rotunda fronted by a pillared portico. The  pillars are hewn from Egyptian granite.  Because the height of the rotunda from the floor to the top of its dome matches its diameter, the internal geometry of the rotunda makes a perfect sphere. The builders used the heaviest concrete at the base,  and lighter concrete made with pumice at the top. The concrete was packed into form, giving the inside of the dome the look it has today. The Roman concrete recipe called for much less water than modern mixes. This difference is one reason scholars suggest for the longevity of the building.

Over the years, the Pantheon has directly or indirectly inspired many notable buildings: the US Capitol in Washington D.C.; Holy Trinity Church in Karlskrona Sweden; The Assumption Church in Puławy, Poland; Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia; and the Great Dome of Killian Court at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  As a church for over 1400 year, the Pantheon/Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs has inspired many more.

Sources and Resources:

1. Great Buildings – The Pantheon
http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Pantheon.html

2. Wikipedia – The Pantheon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon,_Rome

3. Monolithic – The Pantheon:
http://www.monolithic.com/stories/the-pantheon-rome-126-ad

4. RomanConcrete – The Pantheon (has a great photos section):
http://www.romanconcrete.com/docs/chapt01/chapt01.htm

UPDATE: See more of the Architecture 101 topics here:

Basilica di

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“It’s fun! It’s free! It’s easy for your mom, hey!”

And it’s not a surprise that there’s a Dominican involved!

Hat tip to Patrick Madrid

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“A Franciscan, a Dominican, and a Jesuit go on a fishing cruise. . . “

As told by Father Jim Martin, S.J.:

A tip of the ol’ biretta to the dotMagis blog

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Dominic-receives-Rosary

From The Martyrology of the Sacred Order of Friars Preachers:

The Fourth Day of August

At Bologna, our most holy Father St. Dominic, confessor and founder of the Order of Friars Preachers. He was most illustrious, being distinguished by nobility of birth, sanctity and learning. Until death he preserved without stain his virginity and by the singular grace of his merits he raised three persons from the dead. By his preaching he curbed heresies and established many persons in a religious and godly manner of life. On August 6, his soul soared to heaven, there to receive a reward commensurate with his extraordinary works. His feast, however, is celebrated on this day, by an ordinance of Pope Paul IV.

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Father Kevin, O.P. attended the Papal Mass in Israel today. In reading his description on the Shrewd Fish blog, I was struck by the broad international flavor of the event described by Father Kevin:

  1. An American
  2. Dominican studying sacred scripture in
  3. Hebrew,
  4. Latin and
  5. Greek, at a
  6. French school in
  7. Jerusalem Israel, travels to see
  8. German Pope Benedict XVI from
  9. Rome Italy celebrate the Holy Mass with a homily in
  10. English. Before the Mass, the
  11. Arab
  12. Catholic
  13. Scouts of Jerusalem
  14. Bagpipe and Drum Band, dressed like
  15. Zouaves,  marched and played to welcome the Holy Father.

That’s what I call Universal!

The Arab Catholic Scouts of Jerusalem number about 3,000 members, and are sponsored by the Latin Parish of Jerusalem. They have a great band. Their 2009 Scout Sunday was impressive. Here’s video from their 2007 Palm Sunday celebration:

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