29 February 2008

Moblogging From Rome

An opportunity came my way a month or so ago to be able to go to Rome, tomorrow, for the amazingly cheap price of £20, all in! The downside to that great deal means flying out at 6am in the morning, and flying back at 11pm tomorrow evening. A long day, but I decided it would be worth it.

In real terms I'm going to get about 8 - 9 hours to do what I want to, and my loose agenda is to go from Termini down the road to Santa Maria Maggiore, then down to the Colosseo, a long walk up to the fontana di Trevi, then up to Piazza Spagna, on to Piazza del Popolo, then another long walk down to the Vatican. That's a fair few miles! After the Vatican, I will be getting the tube back to Santa Maria Maggiore, where I intend to participate in the Vigil Mass. All in, that agenda will more or less take in the time I have.

I'm hoping to take lots of pictures on my phone (I use the N95 8GB these days) and hope to moblog. I made a trial post here before Christmas, and it worked well. The picture comes through at a small size, but it can be clicked on to be viewed in it's full state. I've no idea how this will work, and because I want to keep my data costs down I will be keeping my data allowance for email usage only, so I'll get to see how it looks when I get back.

23 February 2008

Saints Meme

Mulier Fortis posted this Meme over on her blog the other day and I got a tag to join in. I am not a net newbie, in many respects but can someone explain to me the name, Meme, where does it come from, what does it mean?

Anyhow, the rules for this Meme are as follows:

1. Answer the questions! You can give a reason for the answer if you like.
2. As for tagging people, you tag as many as you want or as little...minimum of one. There's no obligation to play.
3. Last of all, have fun!

Sounds simple enough. So, here we go:

1. First Saint you "met"?
My first experience with a Saint was way before I joined the Catholic Church. Officially I've only been part of the Church for just over two years, after my 'conversion moment' back on the 1st January 2006. I've gone through RCIA which is just completing and I get fully received into the Church this Easter!
Anyhow, my first experience of a Saint was with Sant' Antonio di Padua. Antonio is my middle name, and after I got married to an Italian lady I was introduced to the wonderful idea of 'Onnomastico' where you celebrate the feast day of your Saint. The feast day for Sant' Antonio is June 13th.

2. Favourite Saint(s)?
My experience with Saints is still something new, and I am learning more and more every day. I have a special affection for Our Holy Mother, and love praying the Rosary. St Joseph is very personal for me, and after much studying of Saints in the last few months (where most of my limited understanding of Saints comes from) so I could find a Saint to share on my confirmation, it was St Joseph I heard call. St Joseph is amazing, a just and righteous man, and no matter how long I live I will never be a tenth of the man St Joseph was. Other favourite Saints, with not many surprises I guess, include St Peter, St Paul, St Teresa of Avila and St Francis of Assisi. I also love the story of St Joseph of Cupertino, called The Dunce, and who is Patron of people taking exams.

3. Patron saint for the year?
I never knew about this; we can take a Patron St personally for the year? How do you do that? Who gives you the Saint? Would anyone like to suggest a Saint for a newbie Catholic?

4. Favourite book by a saint?
I hadn't read any, til recently. My study time has been taken up reading the Bible, and reading the Catechism. Any Catholic must be intimate with both as a minimum. Just recently I have started to look into readings of the saints. For Lent I am reading from the Early Church Fathers daily, by the end of Lent I will have read ten of the Church Fathers. I have just started The Way of Perfection, which is just amazing, by St Teresa of Avila, and I have also recently purchased The Confessions of St Augustine.

5. Saint book you are reading now?
The Way of Perfection, St Teresa of Avila

6. Favourite film of a saint?
I don't think I have ever seen one. I did see a TV mini series on Italian TV about St Francis, though.

7. Favourite Autobiography/Biography of a saint?
I've not yet read one. I have so many things to learn, to read, I don't know where to start!

8. Favourite novel/book by a saint?
I can't answer that yet.

9. Saint (besides your favourites) you'd want to meet?
I had to give this a lot of thought, for reasons already explained. I don't know enough, yet, to be able to give an insightful answer to this question. And, whilst in thought, I got a strong image of San Gennaro (St Jenarius). His feast day is September 19th, and he is the patron of Naples. The Cathedral in Naples holds a vial of the blood of St Gennaro, and on his feast day it liquefies. It is said that if this miracle happens then Naples will be protected for another year. The Neopolitans are very proud of their patron Saint.

10. Saint you look to for help?
At the moment I am developing my relationship with St Joseph, so it is he whom I turn to help at the moment.

11.Favourite saint quote?
Oh, how little I know, and how much I have to learn. But I do like this quote, from St Jerome: Read God's Book continually; never let the sacred volume be out of your hand. Learn, so that you may teach.

12. Favourite Holy Card?
Erm, not sure I have one, to be honest.

13. Favourite story of a saint?
It is regarding St Joseph of Cupertino. By all accounts he was gracious, kind, warm hearted and always ready to please, but when it came to learning he just couldn't get the hang of it. It seemed things wouldn't stick in his head. He wanted to join the Franciscans, but because of his poor efforts at study, he failed. After a few attempts he was admitted once again to the order to try and become a full member, with the hope that he could learn enough to be ordained. It is said:
He could never expound a Sunday Gospel in a way to satisfy his professors; one only text seemed to take hold of him, and on that he could always be eloquent; speaking from knowledge which was not found in books. It was a text of St. Luke (xi, 27): "Beatus venter qui te portavit."

Finally, came the time for Joseph to take his oral exam in front of the Bishop. This is what happened:
Minor Orders in those days were easily conferred, and even the subdiaconate; but for the diaconate and the priesthood a special examination had to be passed, in presence of the bishop himself. As a matter of form, but with no hope of success, Joseph was sent up to meet his fate. The bishop opened the New Testament at haphazard; his eye fell upon the text "Beatus venter qui te portavit," and he asked Joseph to discourse upon it. To the surprise of everyone present Joseph began, and it seemed as if he would never end; he might have been a Master in Theology lost in a favorite theme. There could be no question about his being given the diaconate. A year later came the priesthood, and Joseph had again his ordeal to undergo. He was examined with a number of others One by one the first candidates were tested, and their answers were far above the average. At length the bishop, more than satisfied with what he had heard, cut the examination short, and passed the rest unquestioned. Joseph was among the fortunate candidates who were asked nothing, and was ordained along with the rest. He was twenty-five years of age.

14. If you could go anywhere on a pilgrimage to a saint's homeland, where would it be?
I missed out on being able to attend our Parish trip to Lourdes for the feast day on the 11th February, and Lourdes remains at the top of the list of places I would like to go.

15. Any Blesseds or Venerables that you would like to become canonized?
I'm sure there are many worthy, but none I know enough about to comment

An interesting list of questions. and oh boy, I still have so much to learn about my Faith, but that is one of the things I love about being Catholic. The Faith is so rich in history and there is so much around it, I could spend every day for the rest of my life learning, and still only scratch the surface of it all.

Now, the idea is is I 'tag' someone to join in here, so if you've read this far and you would like to join in, post up on your blog your Q&A and drop a note in the comments box so I can come and have a read.

21 February 2008

Claude Newman

I don't recall where I saw this linked from earlier, I opened the link then was away from my PC for a couple of hours, so I can't give credit to the link, but anyhow, please if you have a few minutes open this link at On The Side of Angels. Maybe you know the story of Claude Newman, maybe you don't (I did not) but even so, it's worth a read.

10 February 2008


I don't know where 'There' is. 'There' is a place, but you can't just go 'There' you have to arrive, and you arrive in a certain way. 'There' is the place you arrive when you are kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament. 'There' is the place you reach when you are fully concentrated on Christ. I don't know where 'There' is, but 'There' is immense, a huge and vast place, so deep and so rich, so moving and so overwhelming.

I don't know where 'There' is, but I want to go back 'There'.

08 February 2008

A Sign of Love

This is NOT a sign of Love
In Many shops now, you will see toys like this one, sometimes embroidered with loving messages, as we approach Valentine's day. It is an indication of how generally warped the view of society is when an icon of the Devil is used to represent Love. The Devil has taken this Saint's day, taken it for himself. He has confused the whole concept of Love with lust and sex. So instead of celebrating Love, people use Valentine's day as an excuse for fornication. The Devil is symbolised as a cheeky, happy sign of carefree Love, when in reality he is anything but.

It really bugs me when people abuse the Saints in this way, people who otherwise wouldn't have a clue about what Saint's feast day it is. It happens on St Patrick's day, too, when that Saint's Holy Feast day is turned into an excuse for drunkenness and gluttonous excess.

The 'cheeky Devil' is not a sign of Love. Instead, I offer you something different, something that breathes Love, something that has Love woven through every part of it. This is Love, and if you can't see Love here, I'd suggest you are not looking properly: