Saturday, January 31, 2009

Union of prayers from the tomb of Padre Pio...

Be assured that today you were prayed for in front of the holy remains of this saint: the twentieth century stigmatist, Padre Pio. All readers of this blog were prayed for as well as all readers of all Catholic blogs and all Catholic bloggers (journalists).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Padre Pio was/is a spiritual father to many...

Italians will sometimes speak of having a "spiritual father." Growing up in Catholic America I never once heard this expression from anybody. By this Italians do not exactly always mean a spiritual director or pastor or a parish priest.

My spiritual father is Padre Pio. He was the spiritual father of Pope John Paul II, too. Please, Catholics everywhere, have a spiritual father. Consider Padre Pio.

In February and then in March of 2008 the body of Padre Pio was first exhumed and then the coffin was opened. He was found to be incorrupt. A signum fidei, his flesh had turned dark, but remained incorrupt. Now one can see this as his body is displayed in the lower crypt chapel of the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

I'm here on retreat at his tomb now. In the presence of his sacred remains I carry your private intentions in my heart. He was a stigmatist. A friar. A miracle-worker and now in death has been found to be incorrupt.

This destination is a must for all who visit Rome. Yes, Assisi, but San Giovanni Rotondo, too. It's just three hours from Rome by train. There is a pensione here, the last one star pensione that remains in this town, where one can stay on the cheap.

Visit. See the miracles. See the countless here who still live even today who knew him and lived with him and shared him as a spiritual father.

The last pensione here (cheap place to stay) where I'm staying is the same pensione where Fr. Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, stayed in 1947 when he came here during his Easter holiday.

Fr. Wojtyla arrived in Rome in November of 1946 for studies but his desire was to soon visit Padre Pio to ask him if he would be his spiritual father. The future Pope went to Confession to the mystic here and later visited again as a Cardinal and then more than once as Pope.

The same woman who worked at the pesione then is now 95 years old and remembers when she met the young Pole and shares the experience with everyone. Padre Pio made her promise to pray the rosary every day of her remaining life. She made this promise and to this day, since her arrival in 1936, prays the holy rosary every day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From a Roman: "I was there at Auschwitz..."

You never know who you might meet while in Rome. Just yesterday while at Rome's main train station yours truly wandered into a bookshop and in walked the one who apparently is the last living member of Rome's pre-war Jewish community who came back alive from Auschwitz. His name is Alberto Sed. It was lovely to chat with him and to hear him speak of America with such joy; the Americans liberated him in 1945. In Auschwitz his mother and baby sister died in a gas chamber (sono finite subito nella camera a gas) while his other sister made it out after Dr. Mengele destroyed her body for life. The eyes never change. As I looked into his beautiful eyes - eyes that were a multiplicity of colors - I saw for a moment something deeply sacred. The eyes are the window to the soul. This man was able to forgive and go on to lead a happy, normal life. From the bosom of Abraham, may the Father be praised.

Memories of Pius XII at Rome's famed Capranica...

As a young man Pius XII was a student here. After his election he was able to return to visit, seen in the framed photograph.

Holy relics of Pius XII donated in 2002...

Holy relics of Pius XII donated in 2002...

Holy relics of a saint as seen at Rome's Capranica College.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chasuble and alb of Pope Pius XII...

Romano! This Roman style pianeta is displayed inside a display case at Rome's Capranica College.

Shoes and alb of Pope Pius XII...

As seen at Rome's Capranica College.

Pope St. Pius XII: sainthood now!

Images of the Servant of God Pius XII as seen inside Rome's Capranica, near the Pantheon.

Bedroom of Pius XII as it looks today...

This is the old bedroom of the future Pope Pius XII at Rome's Capranica. When he was a seminarian he lived here for some time. Today yours truly offered a prayer in this same room for his speedy canonization.

From Rome: the Catholic lamp...

From Rome's Alma Capranica College.

Best place for fish in Rome...

If you don't mind "greasy spoon" then this place is a must. Family owned, everybody just orders the same thing: a battered fish or two and greens with beer. It's great fun.

Filetti di Baccala'
Largo dei Librari
In front of Santa Barbara, just a step south of Campo de' Fiori.

Baccala' means dried cod/stockfish.

FSSP Rome parishioners sometimes meet here for la cena.

The lost vocation: the brother...

The very last seem to now be in their eighties and soon enough even these few will be gone. Many are still called to this vocation. Be open.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The best minor seminary...

Times change.

Today, the finest (and largest with 152 seminarians) minor seminary in North America is Saint John Vianney Minor Seminary located in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

See here and encourage vocations:

Pines of Rome: what is your Rome music?

Many have a song or album which brings them back to Rome.

Of course it varies for different people. For some it might be the In Paradisum of Gabriel Fauré while for others, for example, it might be the Nessum Dorma of Puccini, etc.

But for me it has always been the Symphonie Fantastique of Hector Berlioz. Odd, but the ten minutes at the end of the Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat always carries me back to the glory of the Eternal City.

Catholic Ukraine...

See here:

The Santuario S. Maria della Visitazione...

In the hills up from the seashore near Rome is this sanctuary, located in the resort town of Santa Marinella. It's not worth a trip, but I've been there three times to pray.
Notice the bottom photo, though. This is the view of the sea, covered by mist and rain. Can you see the little hill near the middle? That is what an old Etruscan tomb looks like. If excavations were to be done a giant room with tombs would very likely be discovered inside the middle. Hundreds of similar tombs are located all along the coast north of Rome.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Catholic Vienna: Ball Season 2009...

For anybody interested, here's the site for the Catholic student ball:

It's a nice event and very Catholic.

The diet of a poor Rome student...

Top photo: homemade minestrone. Italians eat this soup during the winter time. Boil that bunch with some vegetale brodo and it will feed an army.
Lower photo: butcher scraps called cacciatora mista. Boil and grill this bunch of turkey, pork and chicken with rosemary (from the Angelicum garden) and it will fill your students and keep them quiet.

The Maria Ss. Bambina statue...

Many in the north of Italy have a devotion to the infant Blessed Virgin Mary, depicted as a baby. The original of this statue can be seen in a convent chapel in Milan (of the Sisters of the Most Holy Baby Mary). Sisters from the north living in and near Rome often have a similar statue such as this in their convent parlor or chapel.

Rome custom: titular church stemmi...

Anybody who has been to Rome has seen on the front of every titular church (on either side of the main entrance) a stemma of the reigning pontiff and then one of the still living cardinal whose titular church it is.

Catholic custom: tombs of bishops...

It really is best when some bishops are entombed inside of their cathedral churches. This can easily be done in floors or walls, when the civil law permits.

This photo was taken in the Basilica of San Marco in Rome, Piazza Venezia.

The Russicum: since a.D. 1929...

This was a dream of Pius XI. He established this collegio in Rome, run by the Jesuits, to act as a seminary to train bi-ritual priests to serve in Russia. This can still happen. Pray to the Harvest Master...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Asking for the "ferraiolone" again...

Brightly draped prelates in the ferraiolone look absolutely gorgeous, and this is something that layfolk can agree upon, too.

Some things in the Church we say "trancend" the power of human understanding, but this does not. It is a simple matter of beauty and the Church has given us such beauty through Her bounty and beneficence.

Meanwhile, as the story goes, along came the chiseled rhetoric of the sixties and the ferrialone got the chop as everybody betook themselves in the "new" direction of making everything "modern."

Funny thing is that we of today are much more modern then they of forty years ago ever were.

Continuing with the drama, until 1967 clergy were ordinarily required to wear the ferraiolone when in the presence of the Popes. Then they did away with this. Now we're asking for a return.

Beauty is to be duly observed and not done away with in the silly name of modernity.

Archbishop Harvey, we look to you, ti prego!

Study in Rome: the Angelicum...

This might be the place for you if you're good at Latin, philosophy and theology. Study for your licence and MA in Thomistic studies at Rome's Dominican Univeristy. The only answer is for a new generation to carry the torch, or much will be lost.

See here: .

Study in Rome: the Augustinianum...

This is the Institutum Patristicum in Rome. It might be the place for you if you're good at Greek and Latin/have an interest in Church Fathers, apologetics, Church history, etc.

See here:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hearty congrats to SSPX...

Many of you are readers, congrats to you all from Orbis.

Union of prayers from the Holy City.

Let there be no schisms amongst you... (1 Cor. 1:10).

Classical architecture and academic freedom...

They say that the study of classical architecture is still effectively banned from our architecure schools in America.

Except at Notre Dame. If your call is to be an architect, then apply to Notre Dame as they get it right:

Rome's mighty Pantheon...

Jesus Christ, Lord of History.

Once a pagan temple where even the emperor offered sacrifice, today a collegiate basilica where the true Sacrifice is offered.

The Fathers of the Church...

As a friend, Fr. Gregory, once shared: "Get to know one Father of the Church well."

It's good advice, and know Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662)...

"The perfect mind is the one that through genuine faith knows in supreme ignorance the supremely unknowable, and in gazing on the universe of his handiwork has received from God comprehensive knowledge of his Providence and judgment in it, as far as allowable to men."

-Maximus the Confessor