Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grazie dei messaggi a tutti voi...

Many thanks to everyone for their kind words of encouragement. Such a treat to receive support from fellow bloggers as well as from blog readers in the blogosphere. Through the primeval forest of blogdom, just in the past few years, a quick trail has been blazed and now we still gaze in amazement as the growing plain of influence of Catholic blogs continues to reach yet even further.

Special thanks, too, to a fellow son of the North Star State, the famous Fr. "Z." Who would have known that the Lord would have gifted the greater world with so many fine clergymen from the vast Northwest Territory (a region which once belonged to Catholic France)? Now these priests bring the divine kingship of Christ to the world with their many talents and they make us proud. Two of these fine sons deserve honorable mention: Frs. John Zuhlsdorf and John Berg, FSSP. Both are sons of Minneapolis, discovered in 1680 by a Franciscan, Fr. Hennepin.

The opportunity to share my sojourn in the Eternal City through photographs has been a blessing and a great joy. It all came together at once: the invention of the blog, the digital camera with its indoor photographic ability, speedy wireless Internet access, the German Pontificate, and I guess me ending up here as a student.

Heedful of my poverty, God still called me to graduate school in the Holy City. There are many ramifications to being here and one of these has always been the financial burden. In a special place in my heart I carry those generous souls who have donated to my education through this blog. Although my shortcomings are many, I thank you all for your many acts of kindness and I carry your intentions in my heart.

We were all born some place special on the globe. For most of us, Rome is a long ways from home. How the Lord of History has provided Catholic leadership from the New World! Blessed was I to have been born on the new continent of the Western World first made known by the Catholic explorer Christopher Columbus and then pioneered by Fathers Hennepin and Marquette. And then born near an old American military outpost established at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.

On the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, father of streams, you will find a unique Catholic nucleus. Remember this place. Early explorers made note of their utter amazement at the mighty current that sweeps down the Mississippi River. There you will find two "Twin Cities." One seems to have the most fitting name of any city in the world (it has borne the honored name of the zealous Apostle of the Gentiles, Saint Paul) while the other seems to have the most unique name of any city in the world (the metropolis, Minneapolis).

In the 1930s Eugenio Pacelli was there. In the 1980s Joseph Ratzinger was there. Perhaps someday you, too, might make it there to see the two most magnificent churches on the North American continent: the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary.

See here:


Anonymous said...

God bless our priests!

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Please keep up the good work. You are inspiring a lot of people. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good on you, John. Cent' e buon'.

Geometricus said...

Please allow me to gently take you to task for studiously avoiding mention of the aboriginal inhabitants of this wonderful “Northwest Territory (a region which once belonged to Catholic France)” in this post. I happen to have significant heritage in a tribe who has lived in and around Minnesota since before 1680.

Acting as if we never existed is not only contrary to dignity and charity, it is historically lazy and inaccurate. Perhaps you are not aware of the roots of the many place names you grew up with if you lived in the Twin Cities in your youth. The “most unique name” Minneapolis is not unique by accident, but because it borrows the Lakota word for water “mni” and combines it with the Greek. Minneapolis was not “discovered” in 1680 by Fr. Hennepin, because it did not exist as a city with that name until centuries later. If you want to say that the place around St. Anthony Falls was discovered by Fr. Hennepin, that would only be from the perspective of Europeans. We knew it was there all along.

Now I suspect that your heritage is European in origin and in your defense, you would be expected to speak from that perspective. But as someone who sees the many races of the world on pilgrimage in Rome, the headquarters of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, you probably are aware of the error of being too Euro-centric, especially these days when the official government of Europe is so stridently anti-Catholic or at least agnostic towards religion and morality in general.

Let me tell you something else about that “old American military outpost established at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.” That place was as sacred as a place can be for the Lakota, something akin to St. Peter’s in Rome for Catholics. They called “Makoche Chokaya Kin” or “the center of the universe.” Building a military establishment there was, while probably good military strategy, was an abomination to the indigenous people who worshiped there. It would have been something similar to Muslims, having taken over Rome, making St. Peter’s not a mosque, but a warehouse to store armaments.

Now please be aware that I don’t mean clobber you over the head with this information. If I sound harsh, please know that I bring you this information in the hopes that your impulse to be a more holy Catholic may also include care and concern for the least of God’s people, the American Indians, and respect for their history as well as your own. Perhaps you were just not aware of this history which was understandably “subliminated” until recently, in order that the progeny of the conquerors would not see themselves in the light of these monstrous and unjust deeds.

I don’t see the Church as complicit in these injustices for the most part, as most of the priests and missionaries, Father Hennepin foremost among them, came here not to build a great civilization, but to bring the love of Jesus Christ and his Church to the likes of lil’ ol’ me and my bro’s. For the large part they opposed unjust treatment of Natives, but the overwhelming culture of death (“manifest destiny”) which pervaded early America usually drowned out the truly Catholic voice in the public square.

Please receive my words in the spirit of fraternal charity. That is the spirit with which I mean them.

John Paul Sonnen said...

Very interesting. God bless the Dakota and the Sioux people of Minnesota. Yes, the Calvinist American government treated them in a poor manner.