Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dynamism of Freemasons...danger!

Many a tourist in Rome merrily takes a photo of this sight. It is called the Altare della Patria ("Altar of the Fatherland"). It was constructed as an "in your face" to the Holy See and completed in a.D. 1911. Who financed it? Who built it?

Freemasons have always been a danger to the Church here in Europe as well as in the entire world now. This is because their mantra is: ditch the religion of the majority (=Catholicism). Freemasons in Italy often attend Holy Mass and even receive Holy Communion as they are allowed to as long as they don't believe.

Most earnestly the Holy See has been at war with these enemies of God and His Holy Church for decades. Laudable, yea, pious, She stands against them! The threat is not folklore, but true and powerful. Valued by our ancestors from the ages of Faith, the torch has been passed to our generation - let the fury of the banner of Christ be unfurled urbi et orbi!

Study and know the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas!

Before I took this photo I asked for a signum fidei...and ecco il sole! If you want Thomism in French, then study in Freiburg. But, if you want Thomism in Italian or English, then study in Rome! The Angelicum has great Thomistic specialization! Metaphysics is fun and gloriously Catholic! For your perusal:

Just kindly know that he was a legend...!

Ciao tutti and meet the REX of Liturgy, Enrico Cardinal Dante (a.k.a. the last of the Romans!). You might not know his name, but you'd know his face if you saw some of the old photos from der "good old days" in the theatre of encounter - Vatican liturgies of old!

This warrior was the prima donna of liturgy as THE "Master of Ceremonies" for the Papal Household for decades under Popes Pius XII ("Roman"), John XXIII ("Bubbles") and Paul VI ("'That' Man"). Pius and Dante, both sons of Rome, surely both had the impulse to bark at each other in Roman dialect!

Cardinal Dante saw that it was television which was practically ending the era of piety in Italy while the era of hedonism was returning. He lamented the disorientation of those Catholics that sought to "squash" every Catholic element out of the/our Roman Rite. Invincible, unmatched and smiling he rests even in death. Pray for us, you holy and successful liturgist of old!

Imbued with grace...wellspring of glory!

In Rome, as everywhere, we see the immense initiatives for human welfare that the Church, in Her benevolent reach, gives to the world. The Church reaches for the whole programme of life: spiritual and temporal. Unfailing is the Church in Her endeavours to save souls (from hell!) while being attuned to the human element as grace builds on nature.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wow, only in Rome...!

It's great to see Rome plastered with this poster! What a warrior - his commanding pose is like that of the emperors of old! It sure was legendary to be here the moment he was elected last year! It was like hearing the news of the birth of an heir of the Caesar or the accession of a Caesar to the throne! Viva il Papa!

Advertise your liturgical events as they do in Rome!

I always see D.O.M - what does it mean anyways?

Many young pilgrims arrive in Rome not having learned how to read Latin or even Roman numerals. What makes reading the Latin inscriptions more difficult are the abbreviations that are sometimes used!

Pilgrims sometimes ask: "So, what does D.O.M. mean?" Deo Optimo Maximo (To God, the best, the greatest).

Study in Rome...but how does one rent a flat?

Here I am trying to be a statue while looking like an idiot! Young American students live in this Rome palazzo (palace) in the one Rome neighborhood that all young Americans want to live in - Trastevere! How does one rent here?

If your vocation is to study in Rome as a layman at the Angelicum, then don't worry about renting a flat as it's easy!

The Angelicum has a student office that can help in this regard. The Italian Dominican sister who is the director of this office speaks perfect English. She's on holiday during the summer. However, show up at the office in September and take a look at her sheet of available flats to rent in Rome. They don't expect you to speak Italian yet when you arrive!

Ufficio Studenti
Sr. Ginevra M. Rossi, O.P.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 to cross a street in Rome?

Anyone who has ever been to Rome knows that it's a trick to cross a street! Before I first came to Rome in a.D. 1998, I asked my pastor, Monsignor R.J. Schuler, for advice. He smiled: "Just say a prayer for me at the tomb of Saint Peter while you're there and just don't get killed while crossing the street!"

Here's a tourist joke: Why are there so many churches on every corner in Rome? Well, before you cross the street you have to pray in one for saftey and then after you cross the street you have to pray in one for thanksgiving!

Been blessed by a new Rome?

My favourite! The faithful line the altar rail for the first blessing of a priest of God! Having studied in Rome, this new American priest, then having been ordained stateside by his local ordinary, returned for a first Mass in Rome for his classmates, friends and faculty!

After I received the blessing, I then reverenced (kissed) his palms for the niiiice indulgence (even though the chrism was gone by this point!). Then, from a sterling tray, I received his ordination card as souvenir of the occasion (it was a small holy card with a pen and ink drawing of Christ with the new priest's name and ordination date on it).

From some, we sometimes hear pessimism and paranoia about a lack of vocations. Having grown up in this era, i'm sometimes bemused by this. Although a titanic number of vocations have been lost to abortion and contraceptive use, others surely must be here? The secret for cultivating vocations to the priesthood was never rewritten (the spoof liturgies of today never inspired anybody under the age of 40). With military precision, the Tridentine Rite, like the Eastern Liturgies, speaks of the Divine Harvester and He calleth Thee!

Reopen the padlocked beauty...the Divine Office!

Rare, but niiice! In the early years of the Church, there was the tension that when the Lord returns He should find us praying! So, we pray the hours from the Roman Breviary! This is not a photo of a Mass, but of the chanting of the hour of "terce" at our prish in Rome (see: just before our High Mass on Pentecost Sunday.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Invaluable charisma...on the streets!

Amish? No, these are sisters who teach! They are the Religious Teachers Fillippini. One sees them all over Rome and Castelgandolfo. I so love to see a sweet, elderly sister as it implies a successful fulfillment of a life of service.

The School Sisters of Notre-Dame used to staff my high school (the last sister left in a.D. 2002). I sometimes walk past their mother house in Rome on the Via Aurelia (when I go to Panorama to shop!). I still remember the sisters saying to us while I was still just a youngster: "Love the Church as the Church is Jesus Christ!"

Viva Cristo Re...Long Live Christ the King!

Ridiculous are the antichristian laws on the horizon. In the political sphere we Christians can't be stuck omitting the aggressive, the ominous and the impolitic. Ever the keen horseman, the Christian should be politically active like a lion with a temper. After offering the customary courtesies, the Christian voter is to then let 'em have it in the gut! If you read Italian, then see:

Conjoined...lost souls and a bishop to lead them!

Imagine being a hopelessly lost tourist and flagging down a bishop to ask for directions! After the prelate told them how to get's to the Vatican, he then gave a systematic and scientific exposition of the fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith! Where else but Rome can the tourist, by accident, happen upon such a deeper and fuller grasp of what Christ confided to His Church? Come Lord Jesus!

Holy Week in Rome...nice calibre of beauty!

Yes, being in Rome affords one of much. So, can Rome ever be outshone liturgically? Invincible she stands? This past April in Rome we had the mother of all Triduum services in the Tridentine Rite. On Maundy Thursday we even left early the Holy Father's Mass at the Lateran Archbasilica to get Rome's famed French parish overlooking the Spanish Steps to see it all! Yeh, I'm proud to say - I was there with my boyz! Check it out here:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

To Sarajevo...where World War I began!

I never told my parents when I went to visit Sarajevo as I didn't want them to worry (with Sarajevo practically being a synonym for assasination!). But, here I am after days in the rugged Balkans, at the site of the assasination. It was 28 June, a.D. 1914 when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sofia, were shot here.

Olympiad in Turin, Italy!

In February were the XXth Winter Olympic Games, in Italy! A great time was had by all. I was there for just a few days, but it was still a blast (there was no snow while I was there!).

While in Turin one of my American friends asked me to translate from Italian the Olympic motto. I exclaimed: "Friends, that ain't Italian, it's Latin! Citius Altius Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger)!"

Culinary cook Italian for Italians!

Surely to be savoured is an Italian mammy cooking for you! But in this photo, I cooked for my dear Italian friends! I myself always thought cooking to be boring...until I moved here to the old world! Italians taught me to forever cook with virgin olive oil as well as sea salt.

Devotees of beauty...see it all in Italy!

A hiatus in Genoa is niiice! The unkempt me stood in the winter breeze while mesmerized at the beauty of this cool building! Naively did I grow up in the pasturelands of America without ever having seen such a building with this league of charm!

A shining beacon: at an internet point in Rome!

Wow, cool nun...even in this new millennium! I so love our sisters (and self-oblation)! One time a saintly sister said to me: "We stoop to discover the babe from whose fingertips tumbled planets and worlds!"

Did you know that there is a name for each part of the habit (i.e. coiff, gimp, etc.)? That the habit is blessed? That a scapular is usually a part of the habit? That the habit is usually made by the sisters themselves? That a habit is held together with pins and needles? Black is a timeless colour, always available, always fashionable and it doesn't show when it's soiled!

Rome's sun glinting Tiber...!

One time I watched a fish jingling amicably in these (polluted?) waters (but the fish had two heads?). As a kid I had heard some of the fabled stories of this mighty river. So when I first arrived in Rome in a.D. 1998, I wanted to touch the same river with mine own hands. Lucky for me I never did, though, as I might have splayed an extra ear or grown a tail or something!

Another fabled English Italy!

If today Catholic architectural aspirations could touch the automobile, then we'd have more nice autos like this one! Beauty like this decided not to emigrate to our era, except in relics such as this wicked old auto.

As for me whenever I smile, well, my eyes close. This one I can blame my mother for!

Marvellous beaches...near Rome!

The Tyrrhenian Sea is so resplendent! Because the water is so calm, one can often see, on a sunny day, a myraid of coloured shades of green and blue in the waters! The water is calm because it's a sea and not an ocean, with some islands.

I love to swim out rather deep from the shore and then to turn around in the water only to look back at the green water carrying me up and down and to see the resort town with the green hills behind it! The gigantic clouds match the gigantic sea! Then, sometimes I see an old bi-plane flying above while pulling a political banner!

Seafront of Rome...!

When you visit Rome, just visit the Tyrrhenian Sea, too! The water is said to be polluted, but at least there's no sharks! To get to the sea, take the metropolitana (subway/tube) to "Piramide." Then, head up the stairs and take a tram to the beach at Ostia! Do you like the oil base flag painted on the boat!?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Requiem in Rome for an American priest...

My friend, Father Todd Reitmeyer, passed away on May 24 in a boating accident in Texas. I knew him very well while we studied together in Minnesota. To honour Father Todd, we held in Rome a Funeral Mass for his soul on June 1 at our parish of San Gregorio dei Muratori. Father Todd was a great friend and a very holy man. He studied in Rome for four years before his ordination in a.D. 2003. In your charity please pray for his soul! You can see his blog at:

Crash-taught lessons in Rome!

I walk by this gypsy almost every day. Every few minutes people stumble over him. When I first saw him I thought he was a granny or a ball or something. Almost, but he likes to eat his meals around the corner at McDonald's...!

Art reverberated in Rome...!

I almost got busted for taking this photo in the galleries of the famed Palazzo Barberini. I didn't use a flash, but I so like it. A picture says a thousand words. The angels know Jesus is God.

Exalted the Vatican...with the Pope!

I'll always remember the times that Pope J.P. II, of blessed memory, bared his teeth and exclaimed: "Live for the Church! The Church is Jesus Christ!"

Comrade-in-arms for the are not alone!

They're not shouting the dirge, "Death to America!" On the contrary, these sun-baked and spirit-filled pilgrims shout: "Long live the Pope!" Such a radiant joy as this image emerged last Saturday, the Vigil of Pentecost!

From the scabbard of the Holy Ghost the fierce Catholic warriors of today are borne. The Vatican is our neighbouring home away from home. From the pavilion of Saint Peter's Square, we meet to pray and praise together as one. Marvellous that we are splayed into the world not alone, but of many!

Vespers with der Papst...!

Vespers with the Pope for the vigil of Pentecost...count me in! A confrere of mine took this photo and I stole it along with some others. There's no copyright, so you can sell it and make a little something for yourself!

Do you like my pet onion...!?

Ciao and meet my pet onion, "It." Living in Italy one can still daily visit the outdoor market for the produce that you'll need for the day. The fresh foods from the countryside of Lazio are grrrreat! But just be sure to eat your onions sooner than I sometimes do!

Awe yeah, cool motorcycles...!

Wow, niiice motorcade! Living in Rome one sees VIP motorcades all the time. However, when you have these cool dudes on their bikes as well as the roar of the hellicopter above as well as the presidential fender flag waving in the breeze, then you know it's the Il Presidente of Italia that you have to wave at! In this photo he's in his Lancia limo (lancia means "spear"). Note to readers: I almost got run over while taking this pic.!

It's graduation time...wear your academic biretta!

Ciao and welcome to the busiest clerical freight line in the world! I took this photo inside the hallowed Gammarelli clerical shop in Rome. Mister Gammarelli is the private tailor to the Pope!

The leftover clerics from the turbulent 1960s don't like this innocent hat, the biretta. Writhing with fear of anything "too Catholic" they say that it shouldn't be worn anymore by anyone. Because we have to be more cunning than the devil, to these draft dogers I reply: "Hey, if Signor Gammarelli says it's cool, then it's a big phat cool, basta!"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dispirited mod architecture...overriding the old?

My colleagues and I had to laugh at this contrast seen today in Rome. All-consuming beauty on the right, and on the left is an irredeemably modern building.

Wow, nice, but what does it mean...?

Many who visit Rome leave asking: "Whatever does S.P.Q.R. stand for?" Or, they might ask: "What does I.H.S. mean or even D.O.M.?"

S.P.Q.R. stands for Senatus Popolusque Romanus (The Senate and the People of Rome). This is seen all over Rome stamped on or carved on public works from the local government.

I.H.S. stands for Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus the Saviour of Man).

D.O.M. stands for Deo Optimo Maximo (God, the best, the greatest). This adage is used to start many dedications/inscriptions you seen in churches over here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My epithet for when I die...?

Like I once barked to my parents while I was still just a kid: "When I die, I just want a nice old-school funeral like grandpa said there used to be: in Latin with all the toys ( = back vestements with no flowers)." Now that I'm a few years older and a little smarter, I ask, too, for a Gregorian Requiem cause I just love to hear In Paradisum!

For an epithet on my nice Italian granite stone? DILEXIT ECCLESIAM (HE LOVED THE CHURCH).

Happy Saint Boniface Day today...!

Today, with Germany, we celebrate this special day! Did you know, though, that Saint Boniface wasen't even German? He was born in England, in Devonshire. His first attempt to convert pagans failed. So, he went to Rome where he received the Pope's blessing for a new mission, and so he set forth with the papal authority to preach to the Germanic tribes. He thus became the apostle and first archbishop of the Germans. While engaged in his earnest work there, he was martyred for the Faith on this day in a.D. 755. As we celebrate today, I extend a hearty prosit (Latin for "May it benefit you") to all!

To celebrate here in Italy, I'll be making myself a German dinner! Did you know that even here one can buy the delicious Munchner Weisswurste (Munich white sausages) as well as sauerkraut!? I even brag to my Italian friends: "Hey, in the U.S. of A. we even have food named after German cities - frankfurters and hamburgers!"

Saint Boniface, pray for us...and pray for Germany!

Perhaps the Empire never did die...?

Dio benedica l'Italia! Dio benedica Roma! To be a first-hand witness to military splendour of a bygone era! To pay tribute to the Navy of the Republic of Italy, we see this ceremony at Rome's Vittoriano. I took this photo from the open bus window of Rome's much loved "64 bus" as we were rounding the curve on two wheels.

All roads lead to Roma Termini!

Here I am at the end of the track at Rome's titanic Termini Station. The station is called Termini because all roads lead to Rome and thus Termini is the "terminus" as the end of these roads. The present version of the station was built by Il Duce. Just watch your wallet or purse, friends!

Visit the Vatican gardens...!

To go where no tourist has ever gone...the private Vatican gardens! Every Saturday, at ten o'clock, there is the guided tour of the Vatican gardens in English. It's so much fun! 108.7 acres is a lot! Did you know that there's even a small forest in the gardens?

Pope Saint John Paul II...the Great?

I took this photo in Fatima, Portugal, in 2004. He was born in 1920...ordained priest in 1946...ordained bishop in 1958...created cardinal in 1967...elected to the throne of Peter in 1978...and I was there when he died in 2005. The moment his passing was announced to the throng, a collective moan was heard.

In 1999 when I met him in his private library in the Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, with a twinkle in his eye, he looked at me and exclaimed, "Happy new year!" As I wept, I was not able to respond as he asked me more than once, "Where are you from?"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hey, nice sheepskin missal...!

Some have asked me for news of the so-called Dominican Rite at the Dominican Univeristy in Rome. Here's the scoop: During this 2005-2006 academic year, there has been a weekly Mass every Friday at one o'clock for students and faculty, in the Dominican Rite, at Rome's famed Pontifical Univeristy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. This Mass was initiated in the Year of the Eucharist as was proclaimed by H. H. Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory.

The Dominican Rite is the rite particular to the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans). It is, to say the least, gorgeous! The Dominican Rite is very ancient. The present missal was approved by Pope Clement IV in A.D. 1267. The holy Dominican priests and sisters of old prayed this rite every day, including, Pope Saint Pius V, the first Dominican pope!

During the 1960s, with the spirit of "change all or be square," everything was indeed changed. At that time, some peddled the idea that the last hurrah for the Dominican Rite was passing quickly. They said that the backwardness of the Dominican Rite would not fit us moderns (me, born in 1979?) .

...however, just for a quick post scriptum note, these same persons also forgot that some legacies aren't overcome. But then again, what beady-eyed liberal was ever tolerant of the Church's liturgical patrimony? For the autocratic liberals, the church was born during or just after the 1960s. Voodoo-style or polka Masses are okay for them, but never a Mass in Latin.

We thank the Dominicans in Rome for their hearty generosity. The Dominican convent at the Angelicum is for those friars from the Italian Province as well as for those on the faculty of the Pontifical Univeristy there. Many thanks to all of them for sharing this heritage with us! Laus Deo Beatae Mariae et Beato Dominico!

Efigies of some dead saints...incorrupt bodies!

To the bewilderment of Satan and the enemies of the Church, God sometimes works this miracle. A miracle is a signum fidei (a sign of faith). This saint, who lived hundreds of years ago, is incorrupt! Her body has not decayed and it remains for all to see in her convent in Viterbo, just north of Rome! Enemies of the Church are demobilized in the face of such a miracle as this!

Being exposed light for 500 plus years, this incorrupt saint's skin has turned rather dark. However, as I saw, her teeth remain white!

With diligence wear your cassock...!

Was it just an errand he had to run? I just saw him on the bus and he so inspired me! Living in Rome affords one to see so much. To glimpse a priest, a nun or a monk on the bus or subway is so cool, isn't it?

Inaudibly, the habit speaks to everyone! It's one distraction amid life's everyday concerns that speaks of the presence of God. Consciousness of such a public sight is everyone. Opportunity knocks?

Cheers to the vague stirring in the heart that we all experience when we see the habit blissfully worn. Impenetrable from the Church are many, but they all see the priest in his habit on the bus!

Americans did this to a church...?

In a.D. 1998 I met an old airman from the last great war, Milton. Someone told him that I was soon going to Italy again. He looked up with a smile and laughed: "Oh, I've been there!" So, I asked: "Oh, what did you see?" He laughed again: "I only saw it from the air; we bombed it!"

The fury of the Allied bombing left these tokens in Viterbo, just north of Rome. Did you know that the Allies bombed Rome twice? Let liberty ring!

A harbour of colour...for God!

So much for the weak, lightweight tabernacles we often see back home! Brightly coloured marbled tabernacles in Roman churches are great! It's like a reflowering of would-be flowers for God! Everyone loves the rare, blue marble here! It's called lapis lazuli (stress on the "a" of lazuli). Some ordinandi even like a touch of it put on their ordination chalices. When I see a chalice, I love to read the scrawl on the bottom. Every lucky priest gets a nice ordination chalice, usually from his family. FYI to the family, though, be sure to have the inscription done in Latin!

With friends in Rome...

Do you like our onion growing in the tea pot? I cooked and we all dined together on my balcony! These friends of mine all study with me here in Rome. Is your vocation to study here, too? There are students in Rome from all over the world who move here to study theology, bioethics, philosophy, canon law, social sciences, art history, architecture, etc.

Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the sake of the Church." We live for the Church as it's our life, passion and winning team! As laymen, we even want to return stateside to work for Her.

Divinely providential activity...

For the complete man! The depth of this image is as fathomless as the mystery itself! The Church is the faithful depository of our liturgical patrimony as the Order of Preachers (Dominicians) is the faithful depository of the liturgical patrimony particular to their Order. The Dominican Rite offers a vision of the whole friar, of the present as of the future, of matter as of spirit, of time as of eternity. Saint Dominic, pray for us!