Saturday, February 28, 2009

St Michael's Abbey in California

Fr. Ambrose, many thanks and we support you guys!

Families: get the new Norbertine CD here...

California Gregorian Chant and Polyphony...

Get the new fabulous Norbertine CD here on Amazon and so support their goal of soon constructing a new Abbey in California. The good guys have to be supported!

Click here, spread the word and consider a purchase:

FYI: support the Norbertines...

Times change and today some of the very few finest clergy on the planet earth are Norbertines from the Abbey of Saint Michael in California.

See their new site and take a look at their plans to construct a new Abbey and school. These guys have the guts, holiness and vision, but they need your support.

Norbertines walk the same road that Christ walked: a road of poverty and obedience and self-sacrifice and service. Help them as the Holy Spirit illumines the treasures of their patrimony for a new generation.

See here and support them today; to the shame of the demon and the bliss of angels:

The Catholic Traveler: win a trip...

From: The Catholic Traveler...

I'm giving away a trip!

It's very easy to enter, with several ways to do so and even ways to enter more than once.

The contest starts on Ash Wednesday and continues throughout Lent, with a winner picked either on Easter Sunday, or the following Monday (still working out a few details).

The winner will be able to pick from any one of my 2009/2010 trips and travel for free.

There are a few exceptions, such as school trips and other trips that may be open only to certain groups or parishes.

The winner can even give the trip to someone else if that person is unable to travel.

Of course there will be terms and conditions and all that legal stuff. But, it's pretty simple. Enter the trip. Win. Travel.

The giveaway will coincide with the launch of a new version of which includes some great new features.

FSSP World Headquarters: overlooking Fribourg...

This is the FSSP General House located in snowy Fribourg, Switzerland. Fribourg is a college town on a river. In the city center is located the tomb of St. Peter Canisius (read of him in Butler's Lives of the Saints).

Support the good guys here:!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Warriors for the cause: arise...

La speranza del domani!

Catholic culture: the Orchestral Mass...

Wow, this is what I grew up with at the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This is a First Solemn Mass celebrated in January of 2009 in Italy. It's Mozart, the Spatzenmesse.

Extraordinary Form Instructional DVD Trailer - HI-RES

The splendor of different rites in the Church!

"Finally, let charity shine out between Catholics of different rites."

Ad Gentes of VII, 15.

Catholic culture: role of grandparents...

Grandpa got back from California and sent me an e-mail.

You have no idea the joy of receiving an e-mail from your own grandfather who is now 90 years old, begot 12 children, was a WWII pilot and still surfs the Internet! The e-mail was about Padre Pio, the twentieth century stigmatist.

Makes one think of this line from the Scriptures: "I handed on to you as of first importance what I myself received." (1 Cor. 15:3). Our parents and grandparents give us the Faith. Religion is often handed down from one generation to the next. We are each an heir and upon us devolves the duty of perpetuating this gift.

Grandpa always bore unanimous witness of his catholicity. This was firstly by his example. The upbuilding of the Church was always his joy and even after 90 years he remains a fierce and loyal Catholic.

Grandpa also raised his kids through the throes of the sixties, a tremendous challenge and accomplishment. May he be rewarded a thousand fold in this life as in the next. Thanks, Grandpa!

Vatican Council II: read it...

V. II is easy reading. And it's fun.

There's just sixteen documents: 9 decrees, 3 declarations and 4 constitutions (only two are "dogmatic").

Everybody has their favorite and mine is the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes).

Among English-speakers there are many myths about the Vatican Council. Meanwhile, nobody has taken the time to read two bits of it.

Tiara of Pius XI: 1922 - 1939...

Photo taken at the 80th anniversary of the Vatican City State exhibit.

Mitre of Pius XI...

A true period piece!
Photo taken at the 80th anniversary of the Vatican City State exhibit.

So you want to study in Rome post-ordination?

Feed your bishop this line:

"Moreover, after gaining some pastoral experience, suitable priests should be chosen to pursue higher studies in universities, even abroad and especially in Rome."

-Vatican Council II: Ad Gentes, 16.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What cardinals wear: buy yours today...

This is what they're all talking about on the streets of Rome...

12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

Isn't she cuuute (and talented!)? God bless her wonderful parents and hear her words, see the Spirit and be inspired.

We support priest bloggers...

Catholics have been slow with the whole social communications thing. We never did get into radio evangelization or even much into television ministry and now we're not getting much into Internet, either.

But just a few priests have made the jump and lead us with fine blogs and these priests are the finest of men. These guys are doing fabulous work in the area of online catechesis and they labor for us and our families: for our moms and dads, youth and kids and families. God bless you men for all you do!

Three deserve honorable mention and link to them here:
Fr. Z:
Fr. Tim:
Fr. Ray:

"With common heart and mind, let all the sons of the Church strive immediately and most energetically to use the instruments of social communication effectively in the many fields of the apostolate, as the circumstances and the times require [Internet]. These efforts should head off hurtful enterprises, especially in those places where moral and religious needs dictate a more active zeal. Religious shepherds should speedily fulfill their duties in this field, closely connected as it is with their normal preaching responsibilities."

-Vatican Council II: Decree on the Instruments of Social Communication, 13.

A word about the Tablet and "worthy" journalism...

"First of all, worthy journalism should be encouraged. By way of thoroughly inculcating a Christian spirit in its readers, a Catholic press worthy of the name should also be established and supported. Whether it is published and run by direct ecclesiastical authority or by Catholic laymen, let it be clearly edited with this goal: that it may form, strengthen, and spread public views which are in harmony with the natural law, and with Catholic teachings and precepts; let it publicize and correctly interpret facts which pertain to the life of the Church."

-Vatican Council II: Inter Mirifica, 14.

A word about The Tablet: "hyperbole" and "detraction"...

At the Venerable English College in Rome the guys call it, "The Rag." English priests and seminarians in Rome are not happy with The Tablet. Truth be told, I didn't even know what The Tablet was.

"Why Rag?" I asked with a nervous laugh. Each agreed: "There is a difference between journalism and hyperbole and The Tablet is hyperbolic. Catholic journalism in England is dead and now it is guilty of detraction, too. The Tablet has become as a dirty old rag."

How is one to react to this? If I was in charge the first thing I would do is fire the editor and editorial board.

The next thing I'd do is name Tim Finigan the next Cardinal Archbishop of the Westminster See.

Sign this petition here: and make darn sure that other fine priests and laymen don't get torpedoed by Catholic "journalism" in the UK or elsewhere.

Carmel in Rome...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catholic culture: carnevale...

Sunday were the big carnival parades in Catholic cities across the world. They always have a nice one in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome.

Yesteryday, the last day before Lent, the kids in Italy all wore their carnival costumes to school. It was cute to see them all walking home from school in the afternoon all dressed up. When we were kids we always loved wearing our Halloween costume to school once a year.

Just remember what carinvale means: carne vale!

The Chief Rabbi of Rome on Pius XII...

The secular media won't tell you about this famous figure of the twentieth century: meet Eugenio Zolli

This is the story of the man who was the Chief Rabbi of Rome during WWII, Israel Zolli. He was a world-renowned Scripture and Talmudic scholar and authority on Semitic philology.

After the war Rabbi Zolli sought to became a Catholic as a "completion and fulfillment" of his being a Jew and he took the name Eugene in honor of Pius XII (whose baptismal name, too, was Eugene).

Rabbi Zolli did this to honor the Pope who saved his life and the life of the Rome Synagogue.

Be informed and buy your copy here from Ignatius Press:

Rome: where the Servant of God Pius XII was born...

Via degli Orsini, 34 (here, where he was born).
Via della Vetrina, 20 (nearby, where he grew up).
Via del Banco di S. Spirito, 6 (nearby, where his baptism was).

Ancient Rome: Tacitus and the broken gods of old...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A tribute to Fr. Adrian Ckuj: 1970 - 2009...

Link here:


Solemn Requiem Mass in Rome for repose of the soul of Fr. Adrian Ckuj

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rome Funeral Mass for Fr. Adrian Ckuj...

Fr. Adrian, born in 1970 in Australia, was a Byzantine rite priest living in Rome. A Latin rite Funeral Mass was celebrated for his soul today at the FSSP Rome parish, Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini. This coming Thursday there will be a Byzantine rite Funeral Liturgy for his soul in Rome and burial will be in Australia.

Rome Funeral Mass for Fr. Adrian Ckuj...

The wonderful Rome Aussie Fr. Mark Withoos celebrated the Solemn Requiem Mass in the Classical Roman rite for the soul of his old high school classmate and fellow Rome priest, Fr. Adrian Ckuj.

Rome Funeral Mass for Fr. Adrian Ckuj...

Friends of Fr. Adrian came from all over Rome to honor his memory and to pray for his soul at this Requiem Mass.

FSSP Low Mass for soul of Fr. Adrian Ckuj...

Santa Messa in Suffragio di Padre Adrian Ckuj...

Fr. Adrian Ckuj: 1970 - 2009...

Catholic Australia can be proud. One of its finest and he was in our presence never to be forgotten.

Ad Multos Annos: Archiep. Luigi de Magistris...

The grandnephew says that il Sardo turns 83 today so happy b-day and cardinale subito to this legend and happy warrior who inspires us all!

What a faldstool looks like...

Such a simple design and so classic and Roman. These should again be made in this manner for parishes to purchase for liturgical use. Anybody own a chair factory?

Catholic library: Greek and Latin splendor...

This photo was taken of a Rome student's personal library. Greek and Latin is the way it's done. Youth, begin your own personal library in your bedroom. Begin to collect works in Greek and Latin which you can pick up at estate and garage sales as well as in used book stores.

From Rome: Latin for all...

Know your patrimony...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fr. Adrian's death...

Link here:


Solemn Latin rite Requiem Mass for soul of Aussie Fr. Adrian Ckuj
Monday, February 23, 2009 at 19.00
Rome FSSP parish of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini

Unite your prayers with this Holy Mass and so pray for his soul, his parents, family and friends.

Let us pray.

So you want to study in Rome post-ordination?

Number eighteen of the Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life reads that it devolves upon superiors to see that the "best persons" are chosen for "professors" and that they are to be "carefully trained."

If you feel your call is to study in Rome, then feed your superior this line in your begging letter:

"Throughout their lives religious should labor earnestly to perfect their spiritual, doctrinal, and professional development. As far as possible, superiors should provide them with the opportunity, the resources, and the time to do so."

-Vatican Council II: Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life, number eighteen.

When it's time to abandon a religious order...

Anyone who knows two bits about Church history knows that some religious orders go through a process of becoming so full of sin and rot that all or most of the best talent then have no choice but to leave.

Here's what the Vatican Council has to say on this ever present phenomenon:

"If after consulting the appropriate Ordinaries, the Holy See decides that certain communities or monasteries no longer offer any reasonable hope of flourishing, these should be forbidden thereafter to accept novices. If it can be done, they should be absorbed by a more vigorous community or monastery which approximates their own purpose and spirit."

-Vatican Council II: Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life, number twenty-one.

Vatican Council II on Latin...

"In addition, they should acquire a command of Latin which will enable them to understand and use the source material of so many sciences, and the documents of the Church as well."

-Vatican Council II: Decree on Priestly Formation, number thirteen.

Catholic honor: papal decorations...

Those who work the security gig merit these and other medals. They protect, defend and serve the popes with great honor and personal risk.

Dal Vaticano: the crisp winter air...

Rome has a crisp winter air with a strong blue sky bathed in bright sunshine as seen here.

The Dominican Univeristy in Rome...

Become a Dominican friar and teach Thomism in Rome at the Dominican University...e allora come no?

Castagnole Ripiene Alla Ricotta: best sweet in all of Rome...

A fabulous sweet and frankly the best!

Via di Torre Argentina, 3

What a Rome street shrine looks like...

Beauty seen in Catholic countries. It's a blessed object. Offer a prayer to Our Lord as you pass by. Maintain the flowers and candles. Pray more such devotion will be spread throughout the world.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Catholic custom: the "lectio brevis"...

On the first day of class, by Roman tradition, the professor gives a lectio brevis, which means the class ends early after a brief introduction.

Here it is: just about every modern word in Latin...

When Cardinal Bacci over many years put together this LEXICON he did a great service to humanity. He was the world's greatest living latinist and he put words such as "electricity" and "communism" into Latin. This extremely rare fine ought to be republished asap.

From Rome's Quirinale Hill...

One word: classic...

...from the Holy City.

Winter fun in Rome...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Catholic womanhood: the chapel veil...

Too, as the Blessed Virgin Mary the front pew!

Request for prayers...

"Just wondered if you might post a request for prayers for a dear friend of mine from High School, Fr. Adrian Ckuj, Chancellor of the Ukrainian Eparchy in Rome, Australian, aged 39 years, who is in a chemically induced coma here in Rome after suffering for weeks from pulmonary bronchitis without improving. Although he is presently stable his situation is very grave and the only real hope is prayer. I would be grateful for any prayers you could request of your readers."


What would gelato (ice cream) be in Latin?

From Cardinal Bacci's LEXICON dictionary of modern words in Latin.

Across the street from the Vatican...

Catholic Action (ACI) built these nice flats across the street from the Vatican during the reign of Pius XI. One can only imagine the magnificent interiors and how nice it would be to live in one of these units with a room with a view.

From the Palazzo del Vicariato...

From Rome: where to buy a cheap fountain pen...

Very, very few Americans still use fountain pens. However, it's great to see them sometimes used over here and they always add a nice touch.

Sometimes it's difficult to find a cheap fountain pen in Rome. However, this is the place to go near the Pantheon and they've been around since 1893:

Stilo Fetti
Via degli Orfani, 82

For a Roma game: where to get tickets...

Even if you care little for sports or soccer it's a giant cultural experience to attend a Roma game at the old Stadio Olimpico (then you see who God is for these people).

The Lazio-Rome game will be on Holy Thursday, April 11. Tickets go on sale about April 2.

For any tickets go here:

Roma Store
Piazza Colonna, 360

From Rome: La Casa del Habano...

The kid brother discovered this place on his own over ten years ago. Just go upstairs and you'll find cigars galore...

Via Colonna Antonia, 34

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Support that new Austrian bishop...

Become a fan of that nice priest named bishop in Austria and stick it in the face of the others giving him a hard time...join the revolution and be heard!

Politics of euthanasia: when a dollar is to be made...

This photo was taken in a Rome book shop two days ago on February 17. The girl on the cover was murdered on February 9. The author of this little book is her father (the book sells for 17 euro) and as you might remember, her father is the one who fought for years to have this girl, his own daughter, starved to death. American media reported that her "family" wanted her dead, but that is not exactly true. The strange twist is that her mother, too, is in coma and has been for years.

From Rome: Catholics defending human life...

San Giovanni Rotondo: the cheapest (and best!) place to stay...

Staying here changed my life.
When I arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo it was already dark and cold. Entering the church a prayer was offered in front of the tomb of Padre Pio which went something like this: "Padre Pio, ask the Lord to help me find a cheap place to stay or I will sleep outside which is fine, but complicated because it is winter and now raining."
In the dark I walked out into the rain and just across the street from the church was this one star "pensione." This alone is a small miracle. In the Italy of today this is extremely rare to see and even in a small town like San Giovanni Rotondo there are today only mostly three and even some four star hotels (and as I was later told this was the very last pensione in the whole town).
And it goes without saying that you just never know who you're going to meet while in Catholic Italy...
Little did I know but I was entering into the same pensione where the young twenty-six year old Fr. Karol Wojtyla stayed during part of his Easter break in 1947 (yep, the future Pope John Paul II) and the same woman who welcomed him then welcomed me now over 60 years later! Her name is Annamaria Bianco, but everybody calls her Signorina. She's the boss and runs a mini-empire for the cause.
As I entered she was leaving by the same door with a shawl over her head and I had no idea of her amazing story, but I was invited to return at 10 pm to pray the rosary with her.
Signorina was born in 1913 and is now almost 96. She was born into a noble family and moved to San Giovanni Rotondo in the thirties to be with her aunt and also to see and meet this mysterious and already famous friar who was said to have the stigmata of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Padre Pio asked Signorina to start a cheap pensione for pilgrims. Padre Pio depended upon Signorina and her aunt as they were wealthy and somebody had to assist the growing number of pilgrims who were arriving and in need of a place to stay. He also depended upon them to get the ball rolling for the construction of a hospital across the street. And so they began small and after these many years now have many rooms and after a few additions on the property now have a really nice and cheap ristorante below, too. It was the first pensione in the town and the first to have electricity and indoor modern plumbing and heating. An architect from Turin was called in and did everything.
It was the thirties and Padre Pio told Signorina that he had already spoken with the mayor and that she was to go and sign the papers and start this pensione as soon as possible. Signorina did it and she still runs this pensione even today, forty years after the death of her beloved Padre Pio. Signorina prays all night long and every night at 10 pm she prays the holy rosary with guests and all are welcome. She explains that she still remembers her chat with the future Pope John Paul II in the same room in 1947.
Signorina knew Padre Pio and has lots of stories of miracles, grace and conversion. She says that Padre Pio prayed 100 rosaries every day. Padre Pio even made her promise to pray a rosary every remaining day of her life and she has been true to this even to this very day. In fact, she, too, is a mystic. You must see and meet this woman and pray with her, too, and be inspired and hear her words.
From Rome take the Eurostar to Foggia, just three hours. From there take a bus to San Giovanni Rotondo, just one hour. Stay at this pensione and pray the rosary each night with this woman and speak Italian and hear and see this and be blessed and know that the Lord of History has a plan and that St. Pio has been and remains a big part of this modern plan.
Print this or write it down:
Pensione Bianco
di Annamaria Bianco
Piazzale Santa Maria delle Grazie
di fronte al convento di Padre Pio
71013 San Giovanni Rotondo (FG)
Tel. 0882.45.62.49
Ambiente familiare

FYI: for a quick and cheap lunch...

Everybody has their favorite Rome place(s) to grab a quick sandwich and to each his own.

However, as a poor student this is where I sometimes go for my money's worth at the noon hour and everything is fresh, cheap and really good:

Forno Argentina
Via di Torre Argentina, 3
(Just a two minute walk off Largo Argentina).

When the scandal of corruption hits us...

Word is on the street that the LC and RC are in a bit of a meltdown/implosion.

Scandal is scandal, but how does one explain corrupt leadership to laymen as well as to clergy? Every police officer and judge and priest and all others see corruption in their orbit and it's tough and every corporate body suffers from it at times.

Here's what the Vatican Council said:

"For although the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace, her members fail to live by them with all the fervor they should. As a result, the radiance of the Church's face shines less brightly in the eyes of our separated brethren and of the world at large, and the growth of God's kingdom is retarded. Every Catholic must therefore aim at Christian perfection (cf. Jas. 1:4; Rom. 12:1-2) and, each according to his station, play his part so that the Church, which bears in her own body the humility and dying of Jesus (cf. 2 Cor. 4:10; Phil. 2:5-8), may daily be more purified and renewed, against the day when Christ will present her to Himself in all her glory, without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph. 5:27)."

Vatican Council II: Decree on Ecumenism, number 4.

From JPSonnen: why I am bi-ritual...

In college I began to attend Divine Liturgy at the Byzantine (Ukrainian Catholic) parish near our home for different reasons. "Why?" everyone asked me. The answer follows here:

"All should realize that it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern Churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition..."

Vatican Council II: Unitatis Redintegratio, number 15.

Summer of '08: longest of my life...

In retrospect the summer of '08 was perhaps the best of my life. It was just really busy doing the Lord's work as a tour guide and sleeping every night on this balcony for two months. The sea breeze at night was wonderful - the marine salt in the air is clean and natural. Many thanks to my dear roommate friend who hosted me and thank you for the splendid meal on the balcony that night with our two guests which was ever so memorable!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peter's voice on air waves for first time: in Latin!

Todays they start with: "Laudetur Iesus Christus, this is Vatican Radio!"
But in that glorious first moment when Pius XI first preached the Word on live radio from the Vatican City to the world in 1931 it was: "In Nomine Domini!"
See this Vatican Radio display at the free and fabulous exhibition at the Vatican celebrating the 80th birthday of the Vatican City State.

What Catholic students read on the train...

This photo was taken on a Rome train just a few days ago. Students of the sacred science of theology enjoy the source documents and read them in the original Greek and Laitn as this is how it's done and it brings great joy.