Thursday, January 31, 2008

Father Marcial Maciel Degollado: 1920 - 2008

The founder of the Legionaries of Christ, P. Marciel Maciel, L.C., just passed away yesteryday, January 30 in the United States. Please pray for his soul.
I took these two photos at the major seminary of the Legion in Rome.

Father Marcial Maciel Degollado: 1920 - 2008

Apostolic Palace
Autumn of 1963

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The hobby of liturgical study: ask for that grace...

If you go to Milan today you can still meet people who knew him. Italians, (and the rest of us) claim him as the greatest liturgist of the twentieth century. Meet "the" Blessed Schuster.

By divine providence, in 2002, my roommate got this set for $150.00 from Loome Theological Booksellers. It has really proven to form our liturgical sensus.
The best thing is to read this splendor on the sunny Italian balcony with an old-fashioned Cherry Coke (Coca-Cola and grenadine) with highlights from Tosca by Puccini.
The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum)
Historical and Liturgical Notes on the Roman Missal
By Ildefonso Schuster
Abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul's Without the Walls
Benzinger Brothers
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jesuits: at the foot of the sacred slipper...

Potshots at Peter are never nice. Is it me, or do we never hear anything positive from the Jesuits?

We hear plenty about their cynicism, distortion, failure and apparent self-aggrandizement, but what of their loyalty to their boss?

In the old days these soldiers were team players:



From East and West: ab oriente et occidente...

Here's a great new blog which you might enjoy: .

Also, if you want to support vocations, then these are the people to give to: .

"Et venient ab oriente et occidente et aquilone et austro, et accumbent in regno Dei."
(Luc. 13.29).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carnevale: in Catholic Italy...

For most Americans, carnevale is just a crazy Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, Louisiana. For many Europeans, it's that plus another crazy parade in Rio de Janeiro. In fact, I never even knew what it truly was (or was truly meant to be) until I moved to Italy.

For Italians, it's a lovely family event (the season of festival before Lent). On these last few weekends before Ash Wednesday all the little kids wear colorful costumes and celebrate in the public squares with their parents. It would be nice if homeschooling parents could bring some of this Catholic culture back to the New World.

Yesterday, I made the mistake of forgetting and walking into the mix of it all in the central piazza of the resort town of Ladispoli, near Rome. All of the kids, each like a wild terrier, was trying their best to throw and spray paper and aerosol confetti on each other, on parents, etc. I wanted to slap each brat and take the confetti away.

I haven't watched TV since 1997, but having a nasty cold these past days I just turned on the TV tonight and watched some old 1940s/1950s cartoons of Donald Duck, Pluto, Tom and Jerry, etc. The devil never rests: these cartoons were really violent and not for kids - or adults. Like my own mother once taught me: "Kids don't need that kind of stress."

My roommate says boiled whisky is good for a bad cold. I tried some Catholic Jagermeister, but that didn't help (too much sugar as an l'amaro dolce).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

St. Sebastian, in Italy, is the patron saint of the Vigili Urbani. So every year they have an honor guard at his tomb for the celebrations. It's a nice touch.

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

The glorious Roman cope. The next time you're in Rome order your pastor one from Ditta A. Gammarelli on the Via Santa Chiara (near the Pantheon)...

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

Many in the hills south of Rome have a devotion to
St. Sebastian. This could be, in part, because nobody knows exactly where, in that general area, he died.
Anyways, like St. Rita, you see his statue in lots of churches here. He makes a good confirmation saint for boys - my eldest brother even chose him.

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

The procession led into the catacombe. Each of the faithful held a candle. It was an honor to walk the catacombes with St. Sebastian - or at least a big relic of him.

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

Feast of St. Sebastian in Rome...

Photographs are not allowed in the catacombes. But here's one photo to illustrate how they look.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fearless: resplendent liturgical rites...

Like Dorthy once said: "There's no place like home." However, then there's the glory of the liturgical life in Catholic Italy!
Actually, this year marks the XXth anniversary of the time when I first donned the Roman cassock and surplice. My own dad brought me into the sacristy and explained to me that this is what he had done and my grandfather and my great-grandfather before me. For a 9 year old, it was a proud moment. Dads, bring your sons to the altar and know that fides vincit!
"To be Christ's page at the altar, where even angels falter, to touch the throne most holy, to serve at the words of a priest..."

From Rome: Latin signs...

This is a photo of the door which leads to the stacks in the Angelicum library in Rome.

From Rome: Latin signs...

You know somebody's important when this sign is on their office door: Sacristiae Praefectus.
This photo was taken in the sacristy of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (the door to an office in the sacristy).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Al Card. Stickler: patron for the Roman rite...

1910 - 2007
Please pray for authentic liturgical renewal. Please pray for our leadership.
Union of prayers,

When Pope John Paul II was shot...

I took this photo in the Vatican Museums of the 1977 Toyota that was donated to the Pope for his use. As far as I know, this is the auto in which the Pope was riding in when he was shot in 1981 in St. Peter's Square.

When Pope John Paul II was shot...

All of Rome was touched in 2005, just after Pope John Paul II passed away, when Pope Benedict gave the nod to have this polished marble slab placed over the spot in St. Peter's Square where Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981.
For over twenty years there had simply been a red cobblestone marking the location of the attempted assasination. The next time you find yourself in Rome, look for this site, near to the Bronze Door of the Apostolic Palace.

Latin lives: in the sacra Urbs...

One nice change seen in Rome: when the Holy Father's most recent encyclical letter was published, it was also published in Latin, too, whith this nice glossy cover you see here and made available in lots of the little shops near to the Vatican...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wiener Walzer: Viennese Waltzes in Vienna...

One easy way to restore Catholic culture is through dance. Classical dance is useful, pure and fun. Dance reflects dynamics from the Creator: two partners perform together to the steady lead of the male with the intuitive follow of the female.

Ball season is here and so Catholic students from Rome's Pontifical Universities are making plans to attend a ball in Catholic Vienna. The Catholic students in Vienna host this nice ball which I attended last year: . The ball season ends with Ash Wednesday.

Meanwhile, dance classes continue to be conducted in Rome, in English, for students and others. Singles are welcome to join. For information, feel free to contact the director: .
N. B. Photo is of a shop window in Rome.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Feast of St. Agnes in Rome...

One can see how one lamb is adorned with white flowers (S.A.V.) while the other is adorned with red flowers (S.A.M.).
This is for the virginity (white) as well as for the martyrdom (red) of St. Agnes.
Later in the day the lambs were brought to the Holy Father and then back to their home in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood.

Feast of St. Agnes in Rome...

Is this another Pope? Vestito tutto bianco? Here we see the Abbot General of the Canons Regular of the Lateran. Each year, on the Feast of St. Agnes, he celebrates Holy Mass in pontificals at the Church of St. Agnes on the Via Nomentana.

Feast of St. Agnes in Rome...

Many have seen the skull of St. Agnes in the small chapel in the parish of S. Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona (where her home was located). Out the Via Nomentana one can see her tomb, as seen here in the photo.

Feast of St. Agnes in Rome...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rally in St. Peter's Square for Pope...

Magna est veritas et praevalebit (truth is mighty and will prevail)...
Here we see the march on St. Peter's Square today of the faithful to rally their support for the B-16 Bomber.
It was mighty...

Rally in St. Peter's Square for Pope...

Parem non fert (he endures no equal)!

Here one can see the scene today in St. Peter's Square as the thousands rallied to show their suppport to the Pope after his apostolic visit to Rome's Sapienza Univeristy was postponed.

It was all glory...

Rally in St. Peter's Square for Pope...

Patriis virtutibus (by ancestral virtues)!
Great to see the next generation of Italians as warriors for Mother Church and at the service of the Popes.
Uniti al Papa (United to the Pope)
A Difesa Della Civilta' (To the Defence of Civilization)

Rally in St. Peter's Square for Pope...

Wicked to see this Latin adage (rallying cry of the First Crusade) on this crusaders banner today in the St. Peter's Square: Deus Lo Vult (God wills it).

Rally in St. Peter's Square for Pope...

As the crowds rushed into St. Peter's Square today for the Sunday Angelus one could not help but notice this girl giving out these pro-life items. Made me proud.
Have confidence in fellow Christians in this culture war and know that you are not alone.
La Crociata Per La Moratoria Sull'Aborto (The Crusade for a Moratorium on Abortion)
Fate L'Amore (Make Love)
Non L'Aborto (Not Abortion)

Pro-Life across the globe...

Be confirmed and know that many Christians in Italy, as everywhere across the globe, are doing their best to wage war on the abortion industry.
Rome was just covered with this poster and so I took this photo today to share it with the blogosphere. Makes me proud to know that we are not alone.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How to keep your kids Catholic...

My family is still Catholic thanks in large part to our involvement in the pro-life movement.
With my father's nod my courageous mother had us kids in front of the abortion mill since we were infants. Prayer and fasting was the order of the day - and it was humiliating for us kids. On our knees we made penance.
We were spit on, screamed at, rejected, teased, scorned, derided, ridiculed, jeered at, cursed, mocked and laughed at. The same thing happened to Christ on His way to Calvary and we knew it. Who did this to us? Pedestrians, police, schoolmates, Protestants within the movement, etc.
Worried your kids will have no interest in Church and fade away in high school? Let them experience a little persecution. Let them suffer for thier catholicity, before it's too late.
The Church is strongest when She is on the cross.

Capital sins: sloth or acedia...

One common vice I accuse myself of is acedia. It helps to talk about it. Here are some thoughts from the Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae section entitled The Battle of Payer:

"Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia - a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement. "

"Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelesness of heart. 'The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.' The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rome's La Sapienza University...

During the height of the clash, yesterday, on the day in which the Pope was scheduled to visit Sapienza, this glory showed up.

It was 9:30 in the morning and raining. This monk had come from Assisi, in his rags and with no shoes, to pray amongst the students - whom he loved. So humbled by this I didn't even know what to do. So I, too, prayed in his company.

Can we have holiness (=witness) like this in the rest of the world?

Rome's La Sapienza University...

As everyone knows, there was a bit of a rumble at the largest university here, Sapienza.
Azione Universitaria had a big demonstration against the hippie docenti e ribeli studenti and so yours truly joined them - it was a blast.
The sign reads:
Studium Urbis (the motto of the University)
Viva il Papa (long live the Pope)
Il Mondo Esprime Solidarieta' al Papa (the world expresses its solidarity to the Pope).

Papal shoes...

Somebody asked for a photo of papal shoes. This is the body of Pope John XXIII (m. 1963 and redressed in 2001).
The cross is on each shoe for the faithful to reverence (kiss)...

Where to study in Rome...

The last Catholic university in Rome (if you don't count Sacro Cuore), outside of the pontifical university network, is the European Univeristy of Rome (see:

There is a reason for this: it is a new univeristy having been only just founded these past few years. And, it is operated by the Legionaries of Christ.

This university is already growing fast and has different faculties (such as law, history, etc.), a lovely green campus and a great location in suburban Rome.

Maria, Sede della Sapienza, prega per noi!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Carriage of Pius IX...

These two photos were taken in the "Carriage Museum" of the Vatican Museums (an underground bunker with old papal carriages and autos).

Carriage of Pius IX...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Panzer divisions: mobilize...

Lay mobilization! Divine providence brought us all to Rome to study. United States, Mexico and Germany. Pray, and it might be your call, too.

Where to study in Rome...

See this site here:
More and more of our youth are needed to study bioethics in the face of the cultural war and this is the place to do it.

Where to study in Rome...

See this site in English:

If it's your call, then study here as a layman.

If you're looking for a Catholic univeristy that is orthodox with no modernism, then this is it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Passeggiate Romane near Rome...

Today on the seashore near Rome I sat on a capstan along the parapet to enjoy the sea, pray and think. The Church has such powers of recrudescence peculiar to Herself beyond human imagination!

I brought along a pipe (toasted cavendish tobacco from Virginia) and a flask (whisky aged in white oak casks from Canada). And a rosary (I just got a nice Ukrainian one, of which soon they'll be a photo post).

As I hope everybody knows, the Christmas decorations can start to come down today (Baptism of the Lord). My dad once told me that when he was a kid (1940s), Christmas decorations at home went up only on Christmas Eve. I'm proud that many Catholics are returning to this sensus (do the average faithful still even know that Advent is a penitential season and thus the violet?).

At the Stazione San Pietro, the train station nearest to the Vatican, I asked an employee why this year, for the first time ever I was told, there was no Christmas manger scene or decorations set up for the holiday. The sad employee shared that this year she was sick and so unable, that her friend and only helper was unable to do it all alone and that "none of the other employees cared." My response was quick: "Lady, this is Rome and the next year you call me and we'll work together to keep this station Christian."

As one reads comments left on blogs, too, one cannot help but notice that perhaps most of these English-speakers who leave these comments don't even know to capitalize the "m" in the word Mass. Protestant America always taught us to write this word with a lower case "m," but I hope we can remind and instruct our youth that this word is to be written as "Mass."

At a party near Rome, too, I just met an elderly American who was a combat war veteran. He spoke of his being sent to the South Pacific in 1943. He had a fascinating story: born in Scotland, first came to the New World in 1937 via the Panama Canal and then joined the Marines in California. He shared that before battles everybody was in the tent to pray, while after the battle, few were in the chapel to pray. His question was, "Why?"

At another dinner party near Rome a Catholic father once shared this, too: "When we take our two-year old son to a Novus Ordo Missae, he knows it's play time. But when we take him to Holy Mass in the Classical rite, he acts completly different as even he can see that it's not play time, but serious prayer." So, shake your hips at the Novus Ordo or worship in the mystical climate of Catholic tradition? Let your kids answer that one for you...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Catholic Mass in Westminster Abbey...

These three photos are rather historical. This past Saturday, January 5, Holy Mass was celebrated according to the usus antiquior Roman Missal of Pope St. Pius V over the tomb of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey in London.
I thank divine providence for the opportunity (grace) to have been there as well as the Oratorian Fathers from London's famed Brompton Oratory for hosting the Mass.
Needless to say, this was a titanic event and a first of its kind after nearly five-hundred years.
During the Mass I though of all the dead who wished and prayed for such an event. All those holy souls who attended the seminary of the Westminster Archdiocese, St. Edmund's College, Ware. Fr. Ronald Knox, a convert to Catholicism whose father was the Anglican Archbishop of Birmingham. John Henry Newman, a priest convert from Anglicanism who was later created a cardinal by the Pope.

Catholic Mass in Westminster Abbey...

Here we can see the now Anglican (but once and still Catholic) altar dressed for Holy Mass. Immediatly behind and elevated is the tomb of Edward the Confessor (the man who actually first built the Abbey).

Catholic Mass in Westminster Abbey...

This photo is worth gold and truly historical. I would have liked to have taken more, but photos are strictly forbidden inside of Westminster Abbey as it has more or less been almost entirely turned into a museum (one is even charged a "pretty penny" for admission entrance).

Your Rome barber...

Before every trip as kids our mother would instruct us: "Pack your nice clothes for pictures and get a haircut."

Before my first trip to Rome ten years ago I got a haircut. My kid brother had a better idea. He waited until he arrived in Urbe.

It's a cultural experience, and a little piece of Rome, to get your haircut here. I recommend my barber, Adriano. He's been a barber in Rome for 54 years in the old Rione Monti neighborhood!

Adriano Santoloci
Via Panisperna, 46

Enjoy your Italian cuisine when you dine in Rome...

It's always a treat to have some home-style meals in Rome. Sometimes Americans have difficulty reading the menu, though.
One little booklet that I highly recommend and enjoy is entitled The Marling Menu-Master for Italy by William E. and Clare F. Marling. It's a delight to read.
Being a tour guide, too, I like to recommend, although it goes without saying, the French custom when traveling, of drinking the "vin du pays," the local wine. Enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Holy Russia: abundantly tithe...

One hero of the cold war was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the foremost American prelate of the twentieth century. Here are his words on Russia from his own autobiography:

"Despite my opposition to the evils of communism, I have always loved Russia. The chalice I use every day in Holy Mass was used in St. Petersburg in its days of faith...The little tabernacle in my private chapel is a replica of a Russian church. Thus do I express my hopes for the ultimate conversion of Russia. Not in war, but in prayer must we trust that the land which once was known as Holy Russia may become again the wellspring whence a pure stream of Christianity may flow..."

-Treasure in Clay by Fulton J. Sheeen c. 1980

To give today, see here:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Byzantine Liturgy pro defunctis...

This past January 2, in London, Holy Liturgy according to the Byzantine rite was sung for the repose of the soul of Fr. Franck Marie Quoëx, S.T.D., who passed away on January 2, 2007.
Fr. Quoëx, a Frenchman ordained in 1992, was a renowned liturgist and a good friend of the celebrant and of many others in Rome and elsewhere, too. He will always be remembered for his holiness. He was a faithful friend and a model priest. He is sorely missed.
Please pray for his soul.

Byzantine Liturgy pro defunctis...

Here we see the rite of prayer for the dead after the main Liturgy. Because the rite is for a deceased cleric, you can see the prepared chalice over the folded stole with the funeral card. Also, one sees bread which the faithful have left in remembrance of the dead (of which the clergy take to eat).

Byzantine Liturgy pro defunctis...

Overjoyed was I to pray for the dead in this rite, which is called Panikhida. In its splendor it so speaks to the human heart.
With all the failings we often hear of the Novus Ordo (being rather boring, etc.), this rite, on the other hand, so speaks to the human soul.
Visit your nearest Byzantine Catholic parish to experience this Catholic rite.

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter...

Nice Latin and well-made card.
Hearty congrats to all the guys including Juan.
Persevere, men, in spite of counter influences. If this is God's will for your life, then go all the way!

Clergy and laymen alike: know and love the rites...

For those who enjoy The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Adrian Fortescue try this great read.

Omnia Avtem Honeste Et Secvndvm Ordinem Fiant.

-I Cor. XIV, 40.

The glorious white biretta...

Norbertines are the best. They add a lot to the rich liturgical life in Rome.
If it is your call to wear the hallowed white biretta, then see here for more California info: