Monday, January 29, 2007

Don Bosco: see him incorrupt in Turin...

One year ago at this time I found myself in Turin at the Olympic games. I was bored and so as I studied my map and saw this big basilica near to the cathedral. I hiked over there, and to my surprise, it proved to be one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

As I knelt in awe (liking the maniple and glitter of his body), I could hear a childrens choir in the gallery above the sanctuary. It was then that I realized that this locale had been his famous Oratory and that his work continued there even today.

Then I made my way to the little chapel across the square where Don Bosco used to pray. As I knelt, I could hear all the kids outside running and playing and enjoying everything that Don Bosco had built for them, through the grace of God. My thought was this: when abortion is made illegal, first in Russia, there will be even greater need for us to commit to the youth in Christ!

January 31: Feast of St. John Bosco

Here we see Don Bosco still standing with his kids in Torino. If you ever find youself in Turin to see the Holy Shroud, be sure to walk over to his old headquarters to check it all out (about a fifteen minute walk from the cathedral).

Don Bosco build a veritalbe little town there for his kids. You can see the basilica there with his incorrupt body (!) as well as his former rooms and chapel. There's even a little book shop there, still a giant school and even a little bar to have lunch in!

Rome Requiem for L'abbé Franck Quoëx...

This Saturday, February 3, at 11:30 a.m. a Solemn Requiem Mass will be sung for the soul of Fr. Franck Quoëx at the Roman church of San Gregorio dei Muratori (

Photo courtesy of: .

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New F.S.S.P. Rome blog...

See this new (unofficial) ad hoc news blog from the F.S.S.P. in Urbe: .

The Angelicum (Angelico)...

If you are a high school student or other, consider moving to Rome to study at this Dominican University for your Bachelor of Arts degree.
The good news is that if it's God's will for you to study here for your baccalaureate degree in philosophy, it's just a two year program (instead of the usual four back home) and the classes are all held in English (as well as in Italian) and are held just in the afternoons (mornings are left open to study - and see Rome!).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rome's Dominican University...

Here we see Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (a.k.a. the Angelicum) as seen from the Vittoriano.

The belfry and two domes on the right horizon are of St. Mary Major. In the middle on the horizon one can see the Dominican convent of Sts. Dominic and Sixtus (with the battlements) and the church attached to it on the far left is the Church of Sts. Dominic and Sixtus.

The Dominican friars live in this clausura and the classrooms are on the main level. There is also a lovely cortile and giardino. One can boast that Pope John Paul II studied here from 1946 - 1948!

January 22: Feast of S. Vincezo Pallotti...

Everyone knows that for Latin Rite Catholics the liturgical calendar really took a big hit during the late ‘60s. But not everyone knows that the Diocese of Rome conveniently just kept so much of the gold and so has maintainted a much richer liturgical life than the universal rest of us! (But I guess a sure way to escape it is to just follow the Classical Roman Rite!)

Monday in Rome we celebrated the feast of this saint, St. Vincent Pallotti, who is incorrupt and entombed in this Parrocchia Pallottina. He was the fondatore dell’Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico. This is him as he rests in splendor under the altar mensa in the Roman parish del SS. Salvatore in Onda (Via dei Pettinari, 57 – near Ponte Sisto).

Founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate...

What can be learned from this saint whom we now look at? His parents were the decisive religious influence during his youth! After ordination he committed himself to keep alive the Christian faith of the inhabitants of Rome. He became an animator of collaboaration among clergy, religious and laity alike.

He was born in Rome and died there, too. He lived from 1795-1850. He was declared blessed by Pius XII in 1950 and was canonised a saint by Blessed John XXIII in 1963. He was the founder of the Pallottine Fathers (they serve everywhere and since 1998, in Russia, too). Since January 22, 1950 , this sarcophagus has contained the body of the saint.

Unio Apostolatus Catholici...

In 1835 he founded the pious union of the Catholic Apostolate, in which the baptized participate in missions of the Church as the realization of a common goal.

He stated when he founded it: “The Catholic Apostolate, that is, the universal apostolate, which is common to all classes of people, consists in doing all that one must and can do for the greater glory of God and for one’s own salvation and that of one’s neighbor.”

Follow him: you, too, be a Pallottine...

He’s buried inside of a church that was built at the end of the XI, beginning of the XII century. The first mention of this church is in a letter of Pope Honorius II in 1127. In 1844, Pope Gregory XVI consignd the church and the adjoining house to him for the community of priests and brothers of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate founded by him. He died in this church in 1850.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Abortion industry in Italy...

Here we see a little Italian at Rome's S. Andrea della Valle. How many of his contemporaries were killed by abortion in the year in which he was born? Circa 140,000...

To my Italian friends, see here to be informed of this corporate menace in your own nation:

Octave of Christian Unity...

These days now we are praying in particular for Christian unity. We do this every year during this so-called "Octave of Christian Unity." It started last week on the old Feast of the Chair of Peter at Rome and will end on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (18 January - 25 January, 2007).

If you have a copy of the Raccolta you'll see some great prayers in there for this octave of prayer:

First Day: For the return of the 'other sheep' to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Second Day: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.
Third Day: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
Fourth Day: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.
Fifth Day: That Christians in America [or: throughout the world] may be one, in union with the Chair of St. Peter.
Sixth Day: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.
Seventh Day: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.
Eighth Day: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

January 21: Feast of St. Agnes...

If you're ever in Rome on a wintry January 21, take an early bus out the Via Nomentana and you'll see this lovely sight at the Chuch of St. Agnes!

Each year the nuns prepare two young lambs in this manner. They actually tie them down in baskets (the lambs don't bite, but try to eat the plastic flowers, so attenzione!).

The kids (and adults, too) stare in awe at the lambs and then try to pet the fur, still being cautious of the chops.

Then the lambs are processed into the church for a nice High Mass with the Canons of St. John Lateran. In this church are located the bones of St. Agnes (although her skull is located at S. Agnese in Piazza Navona).

Canons: the splendor of the local church...

I took this photo in Lourdes of two canons (I liked the rochet!). Stateside many don't even know what a canon is, but I've seen many, many of them in Europe in cathedrals/collegiate churches in Rome, Pisa, Florence, Naples, Paris, London, Cracow, etc.

It sure would be nice to have more such canons back home. See this great website for an American canon: .

Friday, January 19, 2007

Saturday: Feast of St. Sebastian...

Every year at the Roman catacomb of St. Sebastian, in the late afternoon on his feast day, there is a lovely procession (seen in the photo) with his chief relic, led by the faithful with candles, into his catacomb (catch the bus at the Lateran baptistry - hope to see everybody there!).

St. Sebastian, pray for us!

Wednesday: Feast of St. Anthony of the Desert...

Ciao, tutti! This is a photo of the Roman parish of St. Anthony of the Desert. Wednesday was his feast and so I made a quick visit there.

I ask every adult Catholic to please buy this book, a biography of his life (Vita S. Antoni), of which you can easily read in one day.

See here to order (it's entitled "St. Anthony of the Desert" for $5) : .

Teologo della Casa Pontificia...

Not every Catholic has been versed in the more subtle distinctions of theology. And so I arrived in Rome to study the sacred science of theology thinking I knew it all and then learning that I knew – and still know – so little!

At the Dominican Univeristy in Rome you can meet this Dominican friar, who lives in anonymity, or you can even sometimes see him on the 64 bus!

He was my professor of Moral Theology and now he's the Holy Father's private theologian! The majesty of his incisive and resounding intellect convinced me from the start that he was the most brilliant professor that I had ever had the honor to study under. I was a privileged witness to his intellect and now, under his theological guardianship, the Holy Father collaborates with him daily. He is eminently Polish and Dominican, he is Rev. Dr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.!

Even a pope seeking to avail himself of collegial and communal inquiry involving theologians goes without saying:

“We do not exclude (non excludimus) collaboration, because infallibility is not an inspiration or revelation but is granted the pope as a divine support. Therefore the pope has to employ (tenetur) – considering his office and the importance of the matter – all appropriate means to ascertain the truth and express it suitably.”

Bishop V.F. Gasser, 1213d (19th cent.).

The archetype of leadership: a priest with his sons...

When I think of the Old Testament election and consecration to God (he who has merited the priestly dignity), I think of this man, my mentor, “the” Monsigor.

He, through the grace of God, was to beget many spiritual sons through his generous paternity, one of which I am proud to be. He directed my passion for the sacred liturgy and made me the adult Catholic that I am today.

As a kid I pondered from the pew the rich symbolism of the Roman Rite. I contemplated and assimilated higher truth through liturgical beauty. Even the child in the pew thinks, abstracts and infers concepts through the mood and images. An image is not just a representation, but a manifestation of the thing itself.

It was the Monsignor who interwove it all together for me and so taught me the Roman Rite. He often instruected us: "A common birthright for us Catholics is to enjoy the liturgy as the Church has given it to us. In Her wisdom the Church has given us the liturgy as She desires it to be presented (nobody has to be creative with it)."

Pray for him as he rears his spiritual sons – even today – he’s eighty-six! His lovely sermons were often capped with this thought: “The Church is Jesus Christ! When you love Christ, you love the Church!”

To harange: it's IL DVCE...

The haughty DVX had his office here behind these middle windows in the Palazzo Venezia after he moved from Palazzo Chigi in the early '30s.

His noisy, ranting speeches were heard from this balcony in the '30s and '40s. Ever see the old black and white news reels of his haranguing here (you can buy them on DVD in the Vittoriano)? The Duce was the interlocutor between the king who did nothing and the people (capo dello stato).

I once heard an expat call Benny “il cuckoo spit." The days of his diatribe rhetoric are over, but if you still want to enter and see the old la sala del mappamondo, sometimes there are traveling art exhibits shown there.

Britain's Telegraph: world's oldest priest just died...

Father Konrad Fuchs, who has died aged 109, was reputedly the world's oldest living Roman Catholic priest; he was also the second oldest living German and one of only eight known remaining German veterans of the First World War.

It was following his own traumatising experience as an infantry soldier on the front line that he received a strong calling to the priesthood, one that he had already felt in boyhood. Three of his brothers fell at the front, and Fuchs often reflected that he was only saved from a similar fate after a head injury meant he was unable to fight in a particularly bloody battle in which many of his comrades lost their lives...

See the story here:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The clerical biretta...

Everyone loves a nice biretta and so here's a nice (English) biretta pic for the blogosphere...

Our liturgical rites: the why...

“The holy founders who first elaborated the form of our rites, considering it wise to organize our sacred hierarchy on the model of the heavenly hierarchies which are not of this world, clothed these immaterial hierarchies in a variety of material symbols and forms in order to represent them to us, so that we might rise in an analogous way from these sacred signs to the simple and ineffable spiritual realities of which they are only the image. It is impossible, as a matter of fact, for our human minds to attain in an immaterial way to the imitation and contemplatioin of the heavenly hierarchies without the use of material means capable of guiding us, proportionate to our nature.’

-Pseudo-Dionysius: Heavenly Hierarchy, I (5th century)

To kiss the sacred slipper: in obeisance...

“To the greater glory of God” (Ad majorem Dei gloriam).

Pope St. Gregory the Great, Dialogues, I. (6th century).

Will you be visiting Rome...?

This is the entrance to the Casa Santa Maria in Rome. In this property is located the U.S. Bishops Office for Visitors to the Vatican. The office is staffed by friendly Americans: a monsignor and a sister with volunteer seminarians.

It would be helpful for every American pilgrim to know that if they want to attend a papal event while in Rome, it is best for them to first contact this office via e-mail so as to get information on the Pope's scheduled appearances and so to request tickets:

Are you Protestant or...?

“It was not Catholic ceremonial, but Catholic continuity which appealed to me. Catholicism was everywhere the same, branches of one great tree, the seed of which was sown in the catacombs. But Protestantism changed its shape from one valley to the next. Lutherans here, Zwinglians there, and Calvinists beyond the next hill barrier. Protestantism is a collection of sects, Catholicism the home of our race.”

Arnold Lunn: Now I See (20th cent.)

The 1960s couple: with the chosen son...

The Christian family is a well ordered battle-array for the Church! Our livable faith is such that we are each a member of the living whole by which and for which we live. Our passion is for catholicity and our joy is for ardent faith (the faith of our fathers).

I was raised in this era of ambivalent "casual" Catholics. It seems that everybody you speak to about Catholicism these days just has a merely sociological understanding of the Church's structure, which canot be.

It was my parents that taught me that the Church is Jesus Christ (cf. Pauline epistles). It was my parents who taught me to not accept the tired, resigned and stubbornly defiant particularization of today’s “theological pluralism” (doomed as it is). It was my parents who taught me the unity of the Catholica and the glory of the mysterium (family motto: Cooperatores Veritatis).

Catholic sisters: to labor in Russia...

I just love our lovely sisters. They commit to such an apparatus of labor: they operate our Catholic hospitals, schools, orpahanges, conservatories of music, clinics, etc.

Of course the Church always has need for many more holy, talented and happy sisters. Is your call to serve in Russia? See here for information: .

Monday, January 15, 2007

The nonappearance of the "overdue" indult...

Patience, but we could use a hoped-for interdict imposed on the goofy French bishops (someone have Bellarmine write them a letter about their untenable paranoia!). Why is this indult taking so long?

My complaint does not begin with charges against the Pope, but against his RETINUE (our anticurialism is aimed at the block of vehement bishops making the trouble). It all plays on their ambiguity of being “in one accord” with the spirit of the Church communio (as if any of them had any true claims to competence in the field of liturgy anyways – they’re all about equity – except when it comes to the Tridentine Rite).

St. Catherine’s appeal to Pope Gregory XI is hilarious! She writes that she smelled the stink of infernal depravity in the Roman curia. The Pope responded that she had only been there in Rome a few days. She replied: “I am bound to say that I smelled the stink of the sins which flourish in the papal court while I was still at home in my own town more sharply than those who daily commit them.”

Infallibility is not a perogative of an abstract papacy, but of the pope actually reigning. The B-16 bomber will deliver with his already made decision. Obviously the curia is an indispensable department, but lets pray the insufferable “Tyrrell” entourage out!

P.S. I really bristle at these exasperated bishops with their animosity to (a) missal of the Roman Rite, who try to make the Holy Mass, of all things, a part of their polemics…

In Russia: ministry with youth...

How does one be a lay missioner? How does one be an apostle? Where does one even begin to start in such a ministry with this age bracket?

Asking myself the same questions, I kept on the move through the city while invoking the Paraclete. With tact I tried to meet them in their own forum - wherever that happened to be. I was a curiosity and my message unknown while the Holy Ghost was reigning down with fire...

With the youth I tried to always introduce myself first with my name, nationality and that I was a Catholic. I would share the web address of the mission parish and invite them to visit. I would then grin as I'd be known as "the Catholic."

In Russia: ministry with kids...

They loved the digital camera and so in the rain they just took several photos and we all laughed.

Many Russian homes have an absent or alcoholic father so it's unusual for many of these kids to find themselves in the presence of an adult male who is cheerful, sober and interested in playing soccer with them!

Whenever I found myself with the kids or the elderly I always felt like Mother Teresa! She taught us that some languages are international - I didn't have to speak Russian. The most important and effective thing for me was just to have a presence as a Catholic mentor.

Me and the dead Lenin: from Russia with love...

It was a windy morning in Red Square at dawn, but somehow I found myself there in the former evil empire while praying the Leonine prayers said after Low Mass!

My prayer intention that day was simple: that Russians might read Soloviev!

Soloviev notes that the Russian Orthodox Church just goes on and on with their (forever the same) polemic against the Latin Church while everything they say has, “no positive element.”

For example: the Spirit does NOT proceed from the Son, Mary was NOT immaculate from the instant of her conception, the pope has NO claim to juridicial primacy. He writes: “The pseudo-orthodoxy of our theological school consists of polemic negations.” “Your entire ‘orthodoxy’ and your ‘Russian concept’ are merely a nationalistic protest against the universal authority of the pope.”

“If the Russian and Greek churches cannot express their solidarity by actions in life” (which, according to Soloviev, they cannot do because they are national churches for whom a universal council would be impossible), “then their ‘unity in faith’ is merely an abstract formula that accomplishes nothing and has no binding power.”

Vladimir Soloviev, Russland und die universale Kirche [Russia and the Universal Church], 1954.

Vatican Council II: on Reds/Communism...

From the annals of the Cold War…

“Many…of our contemporaries either do not at all perceive, or explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man to God. Atheism must therefore be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our time.”

“The Church therefore deplores the discrimination between believers and unbelievers which some civil authorities unjustly practice in defiance of the fundamental rights of the human person. She demands effective freedom for the faithful to be allowed to build up God’s temple in this world also. She courteously invites atheists to weigh the merits of the Gospel of Christ with an open mind.”

Gaudium et Spes 19 and 21

Catholicity: even on the edge of the globe...

Such a colossal edifice! With untiring zeal coupled with God-given grace, the Catholic faith is expounded from this little church overlooking the sea (lux lucet in tenebris). Emblazoned it is as a lumen coeli (a light in the heavens).

Ciao and welcome to Russia! This is the port city of Vladivostok, overlooking the Sea of Japan. Is your call to be a missioner here (yeah, winters are cold, thanks for asking)?

There is a legitimate position and pedigree for clergy who might feel called to serve even for a temporary period in Russia. A fidei donum priest is one sent by his diocese to another country where there is a shortage of clergy. Perhaps this is your call (Christ precedes us – others have preceded us)…

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blogosphere: give to this restoration project...

Below you will see a few interior photos of this Catholic parish located in Vladivostok, Russia. I ask everyone to be generous in giving for its complete interior renovation (for more photos see: .

The cornerstone of this church reads 1908 and in 1923 it was created a cathedral (the Cathedral of the Most Holy Godbearer). It has survived the Communist Revolution and remains the largest Catholic parish in that pocket of the world.

The beauty of this church, the pride and boast of the local population, is its neo-Gothic wonder. It rises above the nearby Sea of Japan, its distinguishing feature being the pointed arch and clustered columns with carved capitals.

Please consider assisting the faithful Russian Catholics in their project for a complete and authentic interior restoration.

Stencil and frets: to decorate a Gothic church...

Isn’t this stencil finishing great? I took this photo in Rome at the Milanese parish that was restored for the Holy Year 2000. Any Gothic pattern or design can be produced in the same manner. A professional stenciller simply needs to copy a Gothic pattern and then reproduce it on a wall.

Gothic frets can be done in this manner, too. Frets are simply ornamental latticework of straight lines or bars, arranged in symmetrical patterns. Fretwork, as ornamental work in relief, so speaks of the beauty of God. Can we interlace the walls of this Gothic parish in Russia, too?

November 2006: bells to sound the hours...

The hallmark clash and peal of these bells, heard across the echo of the harbor, will be the affectionate joy of the Golden Horn Bay in Vladivostok, Russia!

Church bells are sacramentals. These bells were donated to the Catholic parish in Vladivostok, Russia, by the faithful in Poland. When Pope John Paul II was in Poland on his apostolic voyage there in 1999, he blessed these same bells before they were placed on a train to cross Russia.

In Russia there are many large bells, including the great “Bell of Moscow,” which is about 19 feet high. Bells are so Catholic: they summon us to prayer.

November 2006: the interior nave and choir loft...

Providence allots so much to us daily! Take a look at the exciting progress in the restoration of this Catholic parish in Russia! You, too, can play a part in this epic project.

Will the walls reamain white in these years or shall it see a full Gothic restoration? The latter is our response, so please be generous!

Gothic symbols, as used in art and architecture, are ornamental details emblematic of the great truths of Christianity and so teach without words.

Even in the Roman catacombs, where we see at least many rude paintings, we see more art than here! Emblems and ornaments typifying the faith of Catholics: emblematic momograms and letters and images of saints ornamented with emblems denoting their virtue are all so Catholic. Lets share this beauty even in our generation.

November 2006: the interior vestibule...

The interior decoration of a church is a progressive crescendo. My heart is kindled when I see this photo with such neo-Gothic potential!

For the glory of God and the edification of the faithful we decorate our churches in the most authentic manner possible. I could weep copiously just thinking of the artistic potential here!

It is not difficult to assimilate the needs of this project: as you can see for yourself everything is needed! Please be generous and may you be hidden in His wounds! Give here: .

We can all recount many stories of when Gothic altars or other matching contents were pulled from our sanctuaries. Lets right those wrongs and commit to this authentic restoration...

November 2006: the interior nave...

Give today to the interior restoration of this Catholic church in Russia (! You and your private intentions will be remembered by the clergy and faithful who live and worship there.

A Prayer For Benefactors (from the Raccolta)

May it please Thee, O Lord, to reward with eternal life all those who do good to us for Thy Name’s sake. Amen. (from the Roman Breviary).

Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus propter nomen tuum vitam aeternam. Amen (ex Breviario Romano).

Codex Iuris Canonici: fierce laymen on the rise...

We all grew up with slipshod liturgies by carelessly selected and trained clergy, right? Well now the fierce layman is on the rise with a wicked bite: g-r-r-r, tiger!

"In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the RIGHT and even at times a DUTY to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a RIGHT to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."

Code of Canon Law, canon 212. 3

Monday, January 08, 2007

The episcopal biretta...

Everyone loves a nice biretta and so here's a nice episcopal biretta pic for the blogosphere...

Baptism of our Lord: end of the Christmas season...

Yesterday, in the Diocese of Rome, was the Baptism of our Lord. Today, in the United States, is the Baptism of our Lord (the U.S. Bishops don't think that it is in our competence as laymen to deal with a holy day of obligation, Ephipahy, being on a Saturday?).

I took this photo of the Jordan River this past December. I tried not to get any of the Evangelicals in the photo who were along the shore. They were dressed in white, being baptized by immersion (ashamed was I by the immodest spirit of these Protestant modernists as their neophytes wore nothing but underwear and white dresses that were transparent once wet).

The liturgy proposes to us the narrative of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, according to St. Luke's account (cf. 3:15-16.21-22). The Evangelist narrates that, while Jesus was at prayer, after having received baptism among the many who were attracted by the precursor's preaching, the heavens opened and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. At that moment, a voice resounded from on high: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22). Jesus' baptism in the Jordan is recalled and highlighted, though in a different manner, by all the Evangelists. It formed part, in fact, of the apostolic preaching, as it constituted the starting point of a series of events and words on which the apostles were to give testimony (cf. Acts 1:21-22; 10:37-41).

Communion rail: veiled in linen for communion...

Old Indian proverb: "Before you take a fence down, first ask why it was put up in the first place."

All anyone has to do is visit a large antique shop or an Irish pub to see odd pieces of our communion rails. Who was it that took them out of our churches and why (you just know they will reply Vatican II)? Why were they put up in the first place?

As an altar boy as a kid I saw even the practical value of an altar rail: during weddings and funerals it kept the photograhpers and others from the holy of holies and between Masses it kept the thieves away from the treasures.

Why the communion rail born from the wisdom of ages past?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Epiphany: the relics of the three wise men...

The mighty Cathedral of Cologne rises in its Gothic glory on the shore of the Rhein! In this cathedral are kept the relics of the three wise men (the magi). The World Youth Day was held in this Catholic ethos in that year of grace, a.D. 2005!

Beaming with pride, such Catholic beauty makes me want to shout in Latin across the Catholic Rheinland: Cathedrales Europae Christianas Radices Memorant!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Buzz from Rome: the indult...

Under the starry Roman sky I have some good news for everyone: the indult is here!

This is Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (born in 1929 and ordained in 1952) walking into the Vatican Basilica on New Years Eve. When asked about the indult what was his reply? "Subito."

Sonorous and majestic: it's the Tridentine Rite! Why the Tridentine Rite? The reply is simple: "Because it is our patrimony."

“…and we cannot understand the secluar history of modern Europe, unless we understand something of that long thousand-year process of change and growth which we name the Middle Ages. Those thousand years saw the making of Europe and the birth and rebirth of Western culture; they also witnessed the creation of that socio-religious unity that we call Christendom, and the gradual penetration of our culture by Christian beliefs and Christian moral ad intellectual standards. They have left an indelible imprint on both our social and religious life. They have helped to make us what we are, whether for good or for evil, and even those who know and care nothing about mediaeval religion and culture, are themselves the unconscious heirs of mediaeval traditions."

Christopher Dawson: Mediaeval Religion and Other Essays, 1934

January 1: Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God…

While wandering through the streets of Rome on New Years day, I found myself huming Dean Martin's Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...and thinking about this quote:

“No sacrifice is more acceptable to God then zeal for souls.”

Pope St. Gregory I: Hom. 12 in Ezechiel (5th cent).

New Years Eve: Empire State or Caput Mundi...?

New Years Eve Anno Domini MMVI was spent in the Vatican Basilica for Vespers and sung Te Deum with the Pope (those who on the last day of the year assist at the singing of this Ambrosian hymn in a church, in order to give thanks to God for the blessings received from Him during the whole year, are granted a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions)!

It was myself and four sons of the Commonwealth: two from the Dominion of Canada and two from the Commonwealth of Australia (two from the Seminarium Internationale S. Petri). Amazing to think how they all live under a single sovereign power: a Christian Monarch, Her Majesty the Queen (a deliciously wicked Anglican who has never worked a day in her life). But then again, at least the sun never sets on the British Empire while Mr. Guy Lombaro lives with his Auld Lang Syne!

New Years Eve: splendor from the Vatican...

Patriarca dell’Occidente…

Of course we all prefer a nice Renaissance mitre, but this neo-Gothic look is still nice (may the omen augur no evil)! Tanti auguri di buon anno!

“For many years! (Ad multos annos!) For many years, O Lord! (Is polla eti, Despota).”

Liturgical Acclamations. (First, chanted at consecration of bishop, Roman Pontifical, ca. 8th-10th cent.; second, regularly chanted by choir in Pontifical Mass according to Byzantine Rite, before 8th cent.)

A cardinal or a bishop...?

Americans arrive at papal events in the Vatican and they always ask the same question: "Hey, is that guy a cardinal or a bishop?"

The answer is simple: "If his biretta looks like the one on the right, then he's just a bishop. If his biretta looks like the one on the left, then he's a cardinal (the cardinals wear red)."

Our Blessed Lady: pray for us...


Santa Maria Maggiore – Roma
Attrib. S. Luca

If you know and love Rome, then you know and love the treasured icon of the Salus Populi Romani found in the Borghese chapel of the Roman Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. This mosaic copy is kept in the crypt of the Church of the Dormition on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.