Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ok, so I'm "pine nuts".... but there's a reason....

I was wondering what the connection is with pine trees and the Catholic Church/Tradition etc. I knew that they're "evergreen" and that would probably mean "everlasting"...and therefore, perhaps the pinecone in so many images would be the "fruit" of the evergreen tree, maybe as a symbol of our Holy Mother Church, and even Mary. This came to the fore when I went with friends Thursday night to a prayer/praise Holy Hour at the Intercessors of the Lamb. When I walked into the large room, the whole wall was lined with pine trees, (artificial of course) and it was a comforting sight. Then I saw the tabernacle, and the LOVELY statue of our Lady, as seen in Medjugorje. I was instantly at peace, but must confess I'd been somewhat dubious, having heard "pro and con" about this place and the Intercessors over the years, from many a source. I was then reminded of one of the dreams of St. Don Bosco, who was going to purchase property that had been offered to him for one of his oratories, but would not even consider doing so, if it was not surrounded by a 'grove of pine trees' as was shown in the dream/vision. I've also heard of pine trees at many shrines, Marian Shrines around the world. There's also significance at Garabandal I believe? Someone let me know of that, please. And the House of Mary Shrine near Yankton, S.D. where I visited twice last Fall is surrounded by pines...evergreens and there are many small groves of pines or cedars (a form of evergreen) around statues of Mary in many grottos near churches/monasteries. If any of you have more information, please do comment. I would appreciate it very much if anyone would care to oPINE. : )

I found this at Catholic Answers forums taken from a comment:

Originally Posted by Pope Noah I

Why is it that the pinecone seems to pop up all over the place in papal regalia? They're on the Papal penitential formale, simplex mitres, on the nodus of the Scorzelli staff, and there's a giant statue of a pine cone in the Vatican gardens, apparently. So, what's its significance?

Next to the Vatican Museums is a large courtyard called the Courtyard of the Pine because of the enormous bronze pine cone situated in it. It isn't a statue. Apparently it dates from around the 1st century BC and was likely to have been used as a fountain in the baths of Agrippa which stood just behind the Pantheon. It was moved in the early Middle Ages and placed in front of the original Basilica of St. Peter built by the Emperor Constantine where it was used as a fountain. The bronze pine cone is one of only a handful of spolia preserved from the original St. Peter's. The "penitential" formale worn recently by Pope Benedict [some dispute that is is really penitential since he has worn the same one on feasts such as Corpus Christi] apparently was a gift to Pope Leo XIII whose coat of arms featured a large pine tree.As to why the pine cone appears on other papal regalia, I don't know. However, in antiquity the pine cone was a religious symbol of rebirth so perhaps it is considered the same in the Catholic Church.

Here's a link to a good picture of the bronze pine cone in the Courtyard. Pinecone


Anonymous said...

Hi Susie -

My pastor told us one Christmas that the evergreen tree is chosen
as the "Christmas tree" because it
symbolizes Christ. Christ's love is everlasting like the green tone of an evergreen. It will never fade. It is broad and wide, reaching to Heaven. And I understand this is why some '50's families used to put their kids around the Christmas tree while they prayed the rosary. I would think that the pinecones simply are a symbol for the evergreen tree. And the pope is the vicar of Christ, so it makes sense to me that he would have pine cones on his garments.

Our Monsignor also explained that holly trees and bushes symbolize Christ's crown of thorns. Hence, there are a lot of big holly trees at my local Franciscan shrine.

The growing American tradition of putting electric candles in each house window evidently was used by the Irish, to show folks where Mass was being celebrated in an otherwise Protestant Britain. The Irish may have used just one candle, though. Again, the source is my pastor.

Thanks again for sharing so much with us! Maryella

Joyful Catholics said...

Thank you Maryella! I knew you'd come through for me with valuable insight. Thank you Pastor, also! PAX

Joyful Catholics said...

I thought it important that it be known, (or as a reminder) that the Intercessors of the Lamb did have their problems and were suppressed by our faithful, holy and wonderful shepherd, archbishop Lucas in his letter dated, Oct. 9 2010:

Dear Friends,

As you know from the events of the past several weeks the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb have been suppressed as a public association of the faithful in the Catholic Church. As former lay companions of the Intercessors I know that most of you are aware of the circumstances which led to this suppression. They have been documented in public statements that I have made and have also received attention in the news media. The attached letter from the former Intercessors gives an overview of these circumstances and I invite you to read that letter which I have approved. For those who seek more detailed information I invite you to go to

The purpose of my letter is not to revisit the circumstances which led to the suppression but to look toward the future. In this spirit I ask for your continued prayerful support for the 53 former members of the Intercessors who have decided to spend time in community discernment over the next 12 months. During this time they will pray and study and seek advice and counsel relating to developing a deeper and more profound appreciation of the charism of intercessory prayer. They will also pray and discern how such a charism could be of service to the local Church of Omaha as well as to the Universal Church in the context of community life sanctioned by the Church in distinct communities of women and men.

Many of you have had questions over the past few days on the use of books written by Nadine Brown and on the use of other media that contain her teachings. Prior to the suppression of the Intercessors I appointed a trustee to govern the community and help them work on a variety of issues and concerns that had been raised as the result of an official visitation I conducted of the community. One of the tasks I gave to the trustee was to review these teachings for theological accuracy and conformity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As a result of the suppression this review has not taken place. It is therefore not possible to state that the teachings of Nadine Brown are free of doctrinal error.

As we move forward I am asking that former companions and all Catholics refrain from using any materials and websites associated with Nadine Brown and all other material provided by the former Intercessor community. I also ask that you cease “group discernments”. However, if you decide to continue to meet with your prayer group, I encourage you to offer prayers of intercession for the needs of priests, for the former Intercessors in community discernment, and for our Holy Father’s intentions. I also encourage you to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church with special attention given to Part IV: Christian Prayer. If you continue to meet in your prayer groups I ask that you do so under the guidance of your Bishop or local pastor.

With best wishes and prayers I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend George J. LucasArchbishop of Omaha