This Sunday, as I offer mass, I will do so with added liturgy of infant baptism. Does the mass go slightly longer? Yes, but I do so not to inconveniently delay anyone. I just thought it would be good to remember what happened when the waters raced over our heads: Satan was put on notice that God's Divine Life of adoption that we call justifying grace now marked us, that we no longer suffered the curse of the Adam's original sin, that our practice of faith, hope and love were now possible, that we had Jesus officially as our Savior, that the Holy Spirit marvelously took up residence in His temple, (the human body), that we became members of the Catholic Church. Do you celebrate your baptismal day with all the honors and sweetness of your birthday? Well, you should. If you don't recall the date of your baptism, find your certificate and set all sorts of reminders to celebrate it this year. Being born into this world is not the same as being of water and the Spirit (John 3).READ MORE
During the recent pilgrimage to Rome for Deacon Gabriel Terrill's ordination, I met up with a good friend whom many of you will recognize as the Cathedral's Sunday Televised Priest (and Telly Savalas look alike) Fr. John Lankeit. As is the case with close friendships, I see things about him you don't. It's not that he has skeletons in the closet, he's just down to earth, and I enjoy his humor—and that allows me to enjoy being me around him too. It's good to laugh with a good friend. It's a good day when you can. So, what's the humor here? Good old Fr. John wanted to play in a street Gypsy band. The best I could do was to have him stand behind the musicians and act his part to win the crowd. Voila! Here's the moment I captured a few of his imaginary musings! I think I'll take this happy memory all the way to the grave.
Rome is expensive but it's tourist friendly. There were a few unfamiliar local faces who took the time to pose and enjoy our business. Piazza Navona is a sight to behold in the evening. There are no end of street musicians and artists who weave through the hoards entertaining visitors at the outdoor restaurants.
I forget this gentleman's name. I didn't ask. He offered to pose. So, I sent this photo to Tre Scalini (Three Little Steps). Never heard back from the Restaurant. Just thought it'd be a nice detail. One thing about Italians, in general, they've got an impressive culture to share, and a smile and a wink that goes along with it. The human charm they possess is much more than a tourist trap to someone's wallet. There's also the door to a delightful conversation as I had with this waiter.READ MORE
In the Church of Saint Mary ‘in Montesanto’, Rome, there’s a lovely marble statue of the Madonna resting Baby Jesus on her lap. As the gaze fixed on true to scale sculptures, these works of art quietly fill the senses with admiration for the real event that shaped the world forever and, more importantly, led God to open heaven’s doors to us once again. May your gaze fix itself on a selection of your Christmas Greeting cards in these days of Octave to recall silently, meditatively, the mystery of God’s love for you.
To my faithful of Holy Cross, Merry Christmas!
In the evenings before getting ready for bed there’s a need to detox from the world. Getting away from desktop and news stories in the evening is a must in order to sleep well. I know that for myself. At the end of a really hectic day, I sometimes go to my personal library of tunes. I prefer the classical music from the Romantic era of the later half of the 19th century and very early 20th century. One of the soothing selections is Ottorino Respighi’s The Pines of Rome. The first of four movements goes by the name Pines of the Villa Borghese, which is where this photo was taken.
En las noches, antes de prepararse uno para irse a la cama, hay una necesidad de desintoxicarse del mundo. En las noches es necesario alejarse de la computadora y de las noticias para poder dormir bien. Yo lo sé muy bien. Al final de un día saturado, a veces entro a mi colección personal de piezas musicales. Prefiero la música clásica de la era romántica de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX y de principios del siglo XX. Una de las piezas más tranquilizantes es Los Pinos de Roma, de Ottorino Respighi. El primero de cuatro movimientos se llama Pinos de la Villa Borguese.
Throughout the year the streets of Assisi are packed with people of every continent. It’s a gentle little town, set up to house pilgrims and tourists alike. It is also the epicenter for Franciscans of every type to visit. I captured a moment when three pilgrim religious from some branch of the Franciscans, found a semi private place in the Plaza to pray the hours of their breviary. Now that’s the way it’s done! Notice they have no ear buds, bulky cameras, backpacks, hats, bags, souvenir paraphernalia, maps, fancy gadgets, gold rings, gold time pieces, gold teeth, Segways, skateboards, food stains, tattoos, mobile phone selfie sticks, tripods, ice-cream cones, popcorn or anxiety for not having any of the above. That’s the Franciscan way! So what’s left to do with a life like that? Put out the breviary and pray for the Church and her children. They were offering the Church’s prayer for us at that moment. God bless the Franciscans everywhere.
On the 3rd day of our Italian pilgrimage we traveled to the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy. Perhaps the most famous fresco ever rendered of Antichrist belongs to the 12th Century artist, Luca Signorelli. This famous work covers a chapel ceiling of the San Brizio Chapel in the Cathedral. St. John's first two letters are the only biblical books that make use of the word 'Antichrist'. Who is the Antichrist according to St. John? In his first letter, the answer is 'the one who denies the Father and the Son'. Jesus simply isn't to be taken on par by nature with God the Father. John's second letter again defines him as the one who 'will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh'. Thus, God would not dare mingle with the affairs of us humans in such an intimate way. The first attack is against the divinity of Christ, the second against his humanity. That is: Jesus is just a regular guy who had some interesting things to say. As is going to happen, this man of sin ( See 2Th 2:3-4, Da 7:7-8,24-25; 8:9-12,23-25; 11:36-45; Rev 13:1-10,11-18, Catechism of the Catholic Church 675-676), whoever he turns out to be, won't stand to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.READ MORE
There's no room for a Lowe's® or a Target® in downtown Rome. Business and commerce go on as they have for centuries. Small shops specializing in a few things line the streets. I couldn't help pass this fruit and vegetable store without a long sit. I'd sit still awaiting one of Rome's inhabitants to move into the frame. I actually took this shot sitting from a dining room table in a restaurant on the other side of the cobble stone street. The simplicity of the store made me think of my bedroom.
Could I settle for less? Yes.READ MORE