Litany of Loreto Bingo

When I found the Litany of Loreto or Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Latin I was amazed.  It rhymes!  Granted the English sometimes rhymes, but the Latin beats it hands down.

Having grown up with the aspiration of someday being to recite the litany by heart, I hoped to inculcate this in my children.  So far it has not been popular.  Which is fair enough.  The version we listen to in the car is in Latin at the end of the Rosary in Latin (available here).

Somehow I got the idea of Latin as a buried treasure, a secret language, a tantalising mystery.  To my kids, Latin is a chore, a part of the furniture, a freaky thing that just about everyone else doesn’t care about.  Maybe that’s exaggerating a bit, I hope so.

So, Bingo, a silly game.  Take the invocations from the Litany of Our Lady.  Make flashcards using Quizlet.  Make Bingo Cards.  Play Bingo with your students!

And you know what my six year old said when he saw it: “Is this a trap?”

Here’s the word list for the Bingo Card Generator:

Sancta Maria, Sancta Dei Genetrix, Sancta Virgo virginum, Mater Christi, Mater Ecclesiae, Mater Divinae gratiae, Mater purissima, Mater castissima, Mater inviolata, Mater intemerata, Mater amabilis, Mater admirabilis, Mater boni Consilii, Mater Creatoris, Mater Salvatoris, Virgo prudentissima, Virgo veneranda, Virgo praedicanda, Virgo potens, Virgo clemens, Virgo fidelis, Speculum iustitiae, Sedes sapientiae, Causa nostrae laetitiae, Vas spirituale, Vas honorabile, Vas insigne devotionis, Rosa mystica, Turris Davidica, Turris eburnea, Domus aurea, Foederis arca, Ianua caeli, Stella matutina, Salus infirmorum, Refugium peccatorum, Consolatrix afflictorum, Auxilium Christianorum, Regina Angelorum, Regina Patriarcharum, Regina Prophetarum, Regina Apostolorum, Regina Martyrum, Regina Confessorum, Regina Virginum, Regina Sanctorum omnium, Regina sine labe originali concepta, Regina in caelum assumpta, Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii, Regina familiae, Regina pacis

Which makes me wonder, what is the point of the whole exercise.  Sure it gets them reading the Latin text.  You could make it trickier and read out one language and have them mark off the other language on their cards, but tricky and fun are two elements to weigh carefully.  You don’t want to make learning a game – not one where students are dependent on the teacher to come up with new gimmicks on a regular basis.  I guess the occasional game is good.  If you’re teaching at a co-op then games can help get unwilling participants in.

So, in fine, I offer this suggestion with no guarantee of merchantability, applicability, educationality, frivolity or edificationality.  I do not recommend the use of Bingo cards during family prayer time.  But I do endorse teaching children the meaning of the prayers they say – whatever language you use.


Kids Mass Sheets

Kids Mass Sheets

I’ve put together a simple page for each Sunday with a black and white picture to colour and some words to trace – Latin and English.  The theme is taken from the Gospel of the day, according to the 1962 books (or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite).

Before each Sunday you can prepare a youngster with these posts.  Read through the Gospel in English.  Have a look at the pictures – I try include an colour picture each week as well as the colouring page.  There’s a short phrase in Latin and English.  See if you can match up the corresponding words.

Kids Mass Sheets

Officium Divinum on an ebook reader

BooksIf you want an easy way to put the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours on an ebook reader see Universalis. You can read it online. They even have standalone software for Windows and Mac. You can try it for free for a month before you buy a registration code.

The program takes all the hassle of figuring out what to read for the day – it’s all sorted out by computer. The program spits out an ebook to take you through the week with the hours plus the Office of Readings.

All normal people happy with Novus Ordo liturgical things and proprietary operating systems can stop reading there.

The rest of the post describes the sort of complications that make it worth posting about.

For starters, Universalis doesn’t run properly under Linux. Wine doesn’t quite handle the graphical user interface, though it does generate an ebook. Also it uses the modern Liturgy of the Hours, which is great. It spreads out the psalms over a 4 week cycle – which is why you need a computer to keep track of which week it is! My soft spot for the traditional Latin Mass and the Douay Rheims Bible casts a rosy glow over the older Divine Office which gets all the psalms in just one week. Also my Free Open Source Software side baulks at the thought of paying for software – Universalis uses contemporary translations which require royalty payments.

Enter Divinum Officium. A free, open source program written in Perl which generates html versions of the hours according to whichever version of the pre Vatican II office you choose. From Pre-Tridentine Monastic to 1960, in Latin, English and/or Magyar.

The next step was getting the web pages onto my ebook reader. Next piece of the puzzle is Calibre – an open source ebook manager program which converts books between different formats.

My ebook reader only reads epub. It also reads pdfs, but is not so easy to navigate. Epub is basically a zipped up webpage. Html is supposed to be one of the easiest formats to make into an epub ebook.

Unfortunately Calibre had a hard time with Divinum Officium’s output. The webpages are formatted with tables and Kobo doesn’t handle tables very well. It won’t break them over a page so only the first page of each chapter is visible. It needed some tidying up.

UPDATE: Divinum Officium has been updated and now can produce html that Calibre can digest into good epubs that look great on my Kobo Reader – even with two columns!

With “Learning Perl” in one hand and a piece of paper in the other I managed to make up a script to strip the table tags. At the risk of losing all credibility as a programmer here’s my first perl program. I call it NOTA BENE: This code is now quite unnecessary with the new updated Divinum Officium, but I leave it here so the article makes sense.

## Here goes nothing!
## Made obsolete by the June 2011 update to Divinum Officium

$aday = "8-31";

opendir(ADAY,"$aday/") || die "can't open $aday";

while ($name = readdir(ADAY)){
print "$name\n";
$newname = $name;
if ($name eq '.'){
print "found a dot";
} elsif ($name eq '..') {
print "found two!;"
} else {

open(IN,"$aday/$name") || die "can't open $aday/$name";
open(OUT,">out/$name") || die "can't open out/$name for writing";
while ($line = ){
$line =~ s/<\/?(TR|TD|TABLE)[^>]*>//;
$line =~ s/<TD[^>]*>//;
$line =~ s/<BODY[^>]*>/<body>/;
print OUT $line;


open(IN,"Master-$aday.html") || die "can't open Master-$aday.html";
open(OUT,">Hours-$aday.html") || die "can't open Hours-$aday.html to write";
while ($line = ){
$line =~ s/<\/?(TR|TD|TABLE)[^>]*>//;
$line =~ s/<\/?(TR|TD|TABLE)[^>]*>//;
$line =~ s/<\/?(TR|TD|TABLE)[^>]*>//;
$line =~ s/$aday/out/;
$line =~ s/Master-out/Hours-$aday/;
print OUT $line;
print "That's Hours-$aday.html done!\n";

Divinum Officium can generate lots of days at a time. Then for each day I edit and change the $aday. The output is still rather rough with lots of deprecated FONT tags so I use Tidy from the World Wide Web consortium with this config file:

// Tidy configuration for converting to xml
output-xhtml: yes
add-xml-decl: no
doctype: strict
indent: auto
wrap: 76
clean: yes
bare: yes

Then call up Calibre to add the file Hours-8-31.html as a book. Then convert the book to epub. Then send the book to the Kobo.

UPDATE: Now I just cd into the Hofficium/officiumprog/ directory and type “perl” then note the tips for “Nook and Kindle” that appear in the lower part of the window. I generate the files and then open up Calibre to add the “books” and convert to epub and send to the Kobo as per usual. No scripting required.

Or buy Windows and an Universalis registration code – but where’s the fun in that?

Laszlo Kiss, the creator of, died unexpectedly but peacefully at his home on July 11, 2011. He was a few days short of his 73rd birthday.

Requiescat in pace.

Lent Looms

arce Domine, parce populo tuo… spare Thy people, Lord, we pray.

In the 1962 missal we are already in purple mode in preparation for the penitential season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is on the 17th of February this year. Now is a good time to plan your attack on spiritual flabbiness and work on developing virtues. With all good plans it can be handy to have a calendar, so here is my lent calendar from 2007/08. Two calendars are described, one to make yourself from coloured paper and another to print and paste together quickly. These are just suggestions, everyone is different, get thinking now and make this Lent effective.

Also Holy Heroes are gearing up for their annual Lenten Adventure. Registrations are open and free to receive daily activities, videos and worksheets for Lent.

Lent is also a great time to start learning gregorian chant. The lenten antiphons are simple and you have the magnificent Easter melodies to look forward to. I’ll have some new printables up at Swell the Mighty Flood and looking out for suitable mp3s. A good chance to try out our new second hand microphone.

And have I mentioned Audio Sancto before? Recordings of fantastic homilies with lots on the spiritual life. Great material to chew over.

Notta nutha novena

Not to bag novenas, but it started yesterday (25th January) so I kinda want to start at the novena end of the story and work my way back to the story behind it. Just in case anyone is reading who might be on the look out for a good novena. This one is pretty short and sweet and the story behind it is Amazing!

So here is the link to the novena to Our Lady of good success. The link to the story is at the end.

And for those who are still haven’t clicked the link, some more encouragement to do so: story of miracles, prophesies for the 19th and 20th centuries from the 1600s, hope for the future, resurrection, exorcism, a statue finished by angels, and a little history of Ecuador.