Sunday, August 31, 2008

St. Catherine Labouré habit: bring it back...

Can some new young sisters create a new "reformed" Daughters of Charity and bring back the old glory?!

In 1964 they did away with this beauty: the starched cornette of the Daughters of Charity. Strangely, we now only see this habit today in old photos or in Hollywood films with a pair of extras in the crowd!

Thought for the day: if Hollywood recognizes the significance of it, now why can't we?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

To be a Catholic theologian: it is a call...

Nancy Pelosi thinks she's a theologian. And sadly so do many Catholics, too; clergy and otherwise.

If you're inclined to know what it means to be a Catholic theologian then read Donum Veritatis which was put out by Cardinal Ratzinger in 1990:

Read, too, The Nature and Mission of Theology by Cardinal Ratzinger, first published in 1993; English edition by Ignatius in 1995.

Friday, August 29, 2008

From the mariner's compass: swordfish vs. man...

A trident in the neck is all it takes. But other than that it was an uneventful day. At 11:30 a.m. yours truly arrived at the castle of Santa Severa, just north of Rome, to make a pilgrimage to its chapel. Still being closed for restoration, it was off to swim. They have a nice, sandy beach there and it's clean and free, just a bit of a walk from the train with one train per hour.

So then it was off on a five hour walk north along the coastline to the neighboring town of Santa Marinella with periodic swims and a stop at the Portofina ( Great to see all the kids having fun, families and boats, the Rossellini villa where Ingrid Bergman lived, but the best are the old Etruscan ruins along the coast. The Lord has so blessed Lazio, the land around Rome!

Yesterday in Santa Marinella I took photos of the Pacelli family summer villa, the Petacci summer villa as well as the Torre Chiaruccia, where radar was invented on the eve of war. It's a chapter of history not yet written, but interesting to see what went on in this quiet resort town in the 1930s. The key players were all kind of all there. Cardinal Pacelli (future Pius XII) was at his villa just down the coast from Dr. Petacci (the one who many Italians, along with E. Card. Tisserant, believe killed Pius XI) and whose daughter, Clara, was il Duce's lady on the side. Meanwhile, at the same time G. Marconi was there where he invented the radar and then Hitler himself came there to visit a year later, in 1938, as the guest of il Duce and the King at the castle located in the same town.

The Byzantine rite: rich splendor...

My roommate is playing the most gorgeous church music in the world; and it isn't Latin. It's Byzantine choral music in Old Slavonic. To hear Church Slavonic sung with the Russian pronunciation from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is one of the most deeply sacred experiences on the planet. It almost brings tears to the eyes. Everybody has their favorite Rome memory. The best Rome memory I have is the cold winter nights when in the dark, tired and hungry, I crawled up the steps to the Rvssicvm to hear vespers chanted in an empty church on a Saturday night.

N.B. Modern man is so blasé so as to not even recognize the beauty of this music, but if you're ever in Rome on a cold winter Saturday night, then be sure to attend vespers at the Rvssicvm.

Why the cleric is to wear his habit...

This photo was taken this year, in Civitavecchia, Italy. The habit speaks of leadership. If you want to have strong bearing on youth in your command then dress in this manner. The priest is the man in uniform. He has a new comportment excelling in composition when he dresses in this garment. It almost cannot even be explained. Mother Church, in Her wisdom, chose this garment and She chose well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why the sister is to wear her habit...

This photo was taken this year, in Civitavecchia, Italy. The sister in the habit shines (the others don't). The nun is the bride of Christ. Her religious habit is her wedding garment. Each of its pieces are blessed. She wears her habit and her smiling face carries the joy of Christ to the world. There is no vanity and all is feminine.

We sometimes hear about the crisis of identity in the priesthood and religious life today. It bespeaks a grave problem when some nuns even today continue to discard the femininity of the religious habit with its veil and dress in order to so decide upon the look of masculinity instead. Brides of Christ, be brides!


If you're on Facebook then be sure to join this group:


Description of this group:

Coetus adunans omnes qui Romanum Pontificem in pristinum splendorem redere volunt ad maiestatem patefaciendam Illius cuius est in tellure vicarius.

Christians vote pro-life...

“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation.”
-Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Election year: vote pro-life...

Tell anybody you vote pro-life and watch the response: an eruption of fury.

Point of meditation: the hatred with which the world has constantly pursued His disciples:

You shall be hated by all men for My name's sake (Matt. x: 22).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Birthplace of Pius X: a must see...

This is where the future Pope St. Pius X was born in 1835. Today it's a museum (the caretakers live on the left and when you ring the bell they appear and unlock the museum where he was born and raised on the right). It's located in the village of Riese Pio X (the town had been called Riese, but has since been renamed Riese Pio X) and it's well worth a visit. It's a magnificent experience to pray here and to feel the presence of Christ. All his life his mother lived here and even when he was Cardinal Patriarch of Venice he came back here to stay on a visit to see his elderly mother before she passed on.

Just another day in Urbe...

This afternoon was spent swimming in the sea off the Port of Rome, Civitavecchia (it's old Latin name was better, Centumcellae). Civitavecchia was founded by the Emperor Trajan and built between 103-110. In May of 1943 it was bombed and was never rebuilt properly. If you ever have the interest be sure to visit their giant outdoor grocery market some morning (70 km from Rome).

Italians have little sense of real estate development. Their shores remain underdeveloped. The lousy beach in Civitavecchia is covered with sharp stones with little to no sand. But the joy is to swim out and then to look back from the waters and see the Michelangelo Fortress at the entrance to the port (where Santa Fermina once lived) and then the Villa dei Principi Odescalchi on the lovely Borgo Odescalchi (where Elettra Marconi was born).

Yesterday I had 17 tour clients from Iowa. One had last seen the Pietà at the World's Fair in New York in 1964. He mentioned how at the Vatican pavilion there was a colored light on the statue and they passed it on a moving floor and that it was behind glass. Another client in the same group mentioned how she saw Nikita Khrushchev with her new husband in Iowa in 1959.

Makes me think of the client I had earlier this year who saw Cardinal Pacelli in New York in 1936 or of the elderly New Jersey lady I met in the lobby of the Vatican Museums this July who was born in 1918, soon will be turning ninety, and just came to Rome for the first time with her twin daughters to fulfill a dream.

So much wisdom, history and knowledge in the elderly. May they be respected and admired.

Pius X: celebrating 150 years of priesthood...

The Cardinal Patriarch of Venice will sing High Mass at the Cathedral in Castelfranco Veneto where Pius X was ordained priest in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Monday, August 25, 2008

L'estate sta finendo: it was a good summer...

Italy is back to work and most are now back from holiday. Everybody was at work today at the Vatican. Seen this morning were Archbishops Piero Marini and then Malcolm Ranjith, both in St. Peter's Square. As usual, Archbishop Ranjith had a nice word with a kind smile.

The summer days on the beach have passed. It's just nature's annual way. Now there's clouds each day instead of the cloudless summer beach days. The days are getting shorter. It's getting dark earlier. Each night it gets chilly.

The notti d'estate are gone. The gentle evening breeze. Gleam of the moon atop the sea. Gelato and a walk in the dark before bedtime. Concerts and kiosks and late-night walks in the resort towns near Rome. And even a Cuban cigar now and then.

Such dynamism in this still Catholic land. Thank You, Father, for bringing us here. Catholicus Romanus sum, gratia Dei!

The Cathedral Pius X was ordained priest in...

In this cathedral, 150 years ago, Pius X was ordained priest.
It's the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta e San Liberale located in the town of Castelfranco Veneto (the town where the painter Giorgione was born in 1478).
The cathedral was designed in 1723. The interior is fantastic: the height of the nave is the harmonic mean of its length and width.
When you visit it be sure to see the sacristy, too. This parish has vestments donated to it by Pius X which will be on display in 2010 when they complete the new museum.
It's a true blessing to pray inside this church and to see the same floor atop which he laid during the ordination rites.
To get here just take a train or bus approx. 40 km from Padova, near Venice.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua: his tomb...

One of the top few most precious pilgrimage sites I've ever been to is this site: the Basilica del Santo ('il Santo" as the locals call it), the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua.
When you're in Rome be sure to visit here. It's just four hours from Roma Termini. Take the Eurostar for 54 euro each way. You can stop in Florence and Bologna, too.
This Basilica is one of the world's most important art treasures and one of Christianity's most popular shrines. Great miracles are witnessed here each day.
The outside is Romanesque and the inside is Gothic. It's dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua who was born around 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua in 1231. The next year, in 1232, they began construction of this church.
The sumptuous interior has tombs of military leaders, scholars, nobles and clergymen. The altar-tomb of St. Anthony was designed in 1594. In 1981, 750 years after he died, the tomb of St. Anthony was opened. When he died he was about forty years old. When they opened his tomb they discovered that his vocal apparatus was found to be intact. This complemented St. Bonaventure's discovery of the Saint's incorrupt tongue during the first recognition of the body in 1263.
It's a great honor to see in this church, in the Treasury Chapel, St. Anthony's incorrupt vocal chords, incorrupt tongue, his jaw bone, some hair, skin and clothing in the reliquaries surrounded by the ex voto objects left by pilgrims as a tribute of favors/miracles granted.
At his tomb, as seen in the photo, be assured that I prayed for you, readers of this blog and all readers of Catholic blogs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

St. Giustina in Padua: tomb of St. Luke...

This is the Basilica di S. Giustina in Padova. It's located on the side of a gorgeous park called the Prato della Valle in the city center. The tomb of St. Luke is located in this church, as seen in the photo. St. Giustina was killed during the persection of Diocletian around 304. Be assured I prayed for you while in this church just yesterday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pius X una vita...

Greetings from Castelfranco, the walled city where Pius X was ordained priest 150 years ago in 1858. This city is perhaps 35 km from Padova. And about 12 km from here is the little town of Riese where he was born in 1835.

To get here from Rome is easy. From Roma Termini just take the Venice train for four hours with stops in Florence and Bologna. Get off at Padova. In front of the Padova train station just take the bus for Castelfranco. From Castelfranco take another bus to Riese.

I carry all of your private intentions in my heart as I retrace the steps of our great patron, Pius X, of blessed and holy memory.

Let us pray!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pope Saint Pius X: my Confirmation saint...

Got a deal on tickets and so tomorrow I leave for Padua/Padova to go to Riese, birthplace of Pius X. Thursday is the celebration of his feast there, August 21, and so they will have a nice festa and we'll see about getting some nice photos, etc. I carry your intentions in my heart.

These days Riese is more or less a distant suburb of Padova, in the Veneto. It's an intensely Catholic area. In that pocket is located Trent, Venice, Padova, Verona, Brescia, Milan, etc. Then, there's Lake Garda, too! This summer I read all of the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent cover to cover and it was an exceptional read (if you think there are problems in the Church today!).

This afternoon was a joy to swim in the Tyrrhenian. Cold water today. It's been a windy summer, with waves, but today was the first calm day this season. All still - perfect for hunting octopus! When there's wind the waters are choppy and then one can't see below, but with no wind and no clouds in the sky they were all out!

Swimming out between the boats my Russian friend called out to me: "Gianni!" Gianni, (prounounced "Johnny"), is what the locals call me (as well as "Little John"). Please pray for my Russian friend, L. Her father lives in Vladivostok and she's a good woman who has suffered greatly.

One of the best memories I have of my time in Italy is swimming out deep in the aqua-green waters to a type of buoy called a "nun buoy." Holding onto the buoy, the thrill is to look back at the coast where one can observe the layers of nature which the Creator has painted for the Italians and tourists: one sees the blue sky with no clouds, the by now parched yellow hills of August, the villas and flats, the palms, promenade, colored umbrellas, sand and then the blue-green waters. Then the usual biplane flies overhead towing an advertisment for all to see! And today it was cool to see a 1930 Lancia on the way to the beach!

At the tomb of St. Anthony of Padova I will pray that you, gentle reader, will find what you are meant to find!

The beautiful: we want the tiara again!

Holy Ghost, reign down Your fire upon the nations!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lament and pray for the dead: Flavia Montefiore...

The most painful funeral I ever attended was this one on August 9. Angels do exist. Flavia was 5. Consumed with grief with her untimely death hundreds attended the burial rite. The priest whispered the sermon. Flavia's mother wept and her father saluted the crowd with a wave.
The exceedingly painful moment was at the end when all crowded around the tiny white coffin. Even Flavia's friends were there. Before the departure for the cemetery countless white balloons were released into the air and in that moment I caught site of the nuns who began to moan as they wept. The nuns always loved us first and loved us the most. May their hearts be ever rewarded as always.

Benedictines and Borsalino: the Panama hat...

Made in Ecuador, the Panama hat looks great, travels well, keeps the sun off your face and neck and can be purchased here or in Rome:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August in Italy: chiuso per ferie...

The whole peninsula is on holiday and so are we! To everybody: have a good summer vacation!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy ferragosto (feriae Augusti) a tutti voi...

Catholic life: living the dolce vita in the Tyrrhenian (Mare Nostrum) off the seashore near Rome on the Solemnity of the Assumption (Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teach your kids Catholic culture: the extras...

It's funny how selective memory works, but I'll always remember the fun party my friends hosted in 2003 for the 100th anniversary of the election of Pius X. It was held in Minneapolis, off the creek, and it was a blast and oh so Catholic. To this day I say a hearty "thank you" to the guys who hosted it. In fact, one of the girls who was there has since joined the convent.
On the Pope's birthday or anniversary of his election to the throne of Peter host a nice German dinner at your table. Inspire your kids, your spouse and others. Live the Faith! The photo above is of a German dinner hosted in Italy in honor of the Pope, long may he reign (perhaps the only German thing about it was the beer, but to be ecumenical brie from France was eaten along with scamorza from Italy!).

One of our own: the lovely American sister...

You shine, Sister, God bless you always and thank you for teaching us.

Franciscan pilgrims on the road...

Your humility is a witness to the nations.

Rome: where to send your kids to school...

Would be nice to graduate from such a school as a child and thus have a diploma which reads "Pontifical" (Scuola Pontificia Femminile).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Election year: vote pro-life...

From we have this video:

Where the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul trod...

Atop the very same soil, now consecrated with their blood! Keep the continent baptized.

Es lebe der Papst (long live the Pope)...

It was a proud moment in that piazza when in 2005 we all heard that one word: "Iosephum!" and then the hysterical crowd became even more wild.

Sunday morning at the Pantheon...

To look after the needs of the papal apartment...

Everybody around the Vatican knows these Polish sisters. They're the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Under Sr. Tobiana, their Rome superior, they cooked all of Pope John Paul II's meals! Paul VI, on the other hand, had the Congregation of the Sisters of Maria Bambina, from Milan.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The pilgrims who arrive in Rome: admire...

How to build a classical church...

Liberals, fools, useful idiots and some others claim it's too expensive or too "old fashioned" to build nice neo-classical churches anymore. The truth is, it can be done, easily. Here's a nice parish as seen in Genazzano, just east of Rome. Bring back the glory, troops!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

August 5th in Rome: let it snow!

The liturgical life in Rome is rich with custom and tradition (unlike everywhere else after the sixties). One of the most special days to be in Rome is August 5th. This is the day in which is celebrated the liturgical feast of the "Madonna of the Snow."
And so today the Romans flocked back into the city from the beaches of Ostia for the morning to see the "snow" of the white jasmine and rose petals showering atop the confessio of the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Mary Major during the choral singing of the Gloria. "Long live Catholic traditions in the face of the devil!" was all I could think of as I stood in awe amid the enchanted faithful in the face of the falling blessed flowers.
It was during the night of the nonae of August, between the fourth and fifth of August in the year 358 when the Virgin Mary appeared both to Giovanni Patricio and Pope Liberius, asking that a basilica be dedicated to her on a site in Rome where, that night, it would snow. The next morning the wealthy senator and the pope went to the Cispian, where that very night a heavy snow had fallen. Here, Pope Liberius watched by a giant crowd, traced the outline of the future church in the heavy snow and thus the basilica and another beautiful addition to our Catholic story.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Youth: see this site...

A tribute to Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Anyone who has been to Russia knows how deep their problems run. Just yesterday a great Russian hero died. His name is Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a former WWII Captain of the Soviet Army who went on to become the Nobel prize-winning chronicler of the horrors of the Soviet gulag system. Read his story here:

Александр Исаевич Солженицын
Rest In Peace

In his memoriam, please support Catholic missions in the Russian Federation: .

Tales of the 64 Bus: Spanish sisters in prayer...

Eastern European Sisters to see the Pope...

All invited to event in Eire...

Could you give this a little publicity please:

Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association invites you to honour the Holy Year of St. Paul by attending Holy Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) on Saturday, 30th August, 2008, at 11 a.m., in St. Paul’s Church, Emo, Co. Laois, Ireland, followed by a tour of Emo Court House and Gardens.

For the past 15 years, St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association has been working prayerfully for the provision of the Traditional Latin Liturgy in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

Please confirm your attendance to:

For further details consult:

God bless you!

Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rome is dead and we miss the ciceroni...

Be glad you're at home. Yours truly just spent his first August day ever in Rome. It was dead. So dead that it was almost scary...and the heat has now arrived like the flip of a coin.

How does one celebrate? For yt it was off to the dusty Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum with a friend for his first paid tour of those sites ever (just 10 euro). Livid, yt always makes note that for the humanistic guides no mention of Christianity/martyrs is made in that they have been eliminated from the new version of the story.

When will faithful Catholics take back the giant tour industry in Rome from these devils?

In the old days there were the Roman ciceroni. They were the good guys. During the days of Pius IX and until the end of that century they were the best tour guides ever as they guided foreign visitors through Rome while giving them vibrant descriptions of the slaughter of the early Christians (stories which were often unhistorical and highly "creative").

Licentiates in Thomism in Rome: be a champion...

Study "under the shadow of the dome" during this historic Bavarian pontificate: .

To our lovely sisters: thank you!

"Bishops and other superiors of monasteries of nuns shall take special care that nuns, as they are admonished in their constitutions, confess their sins and receive the most holy Eucharist at least once a month, so that they may fortify themselves by that salutary safeguard valiantly to overcome all the assaults of the devil. In addition to the ordinary confessor, the bishop and other superiors shall provide twice or three times a year an extraordinary one, whose duty it shall be to hear the confessions of all."
-Council of Trent, 25th Session, Reform of Regulars, Chapter 10, anno 1563.

Comeback of the Capello Romano...

"If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for you."

Friday, August 01, 2008


The French "traditionalists" put on nice summer camps for kids. See how they do it here:

Bring back the old papal stemma image on silk!

Hasn't been done since the sixties, but let's see if some Italian firms in the north can carry the torch and print/imitate the likeness of again on bolts of silk the arms of the reigning pontiff so as to make some wicked-cool vestments!