Monday, August 25, 2008

I Highly Recommend...

...that you watch "Once"...

...and read Blue Like Jazz.

The first taught me about spiritual friendship, and the second taught me about living the Christian life.

More to come on both...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back After a Long Absence

It has been a long time, but I haven't forgotten about this blog. I intended to post more often in Rome, but our time there was nearly completely filled. Every now and then I'll try to throw in a story or two, or talk about a particular experience, but the best way to hear about Rome from me would be to send me an email and ask questions! Or if I get questions in the comments box I'll also try to answer those. Because I don't think I could capture Rome in a blog, even if I had as much time as I wanted. I hope that everyone who desires to experience Rome will have the opportunity, because it is definitely something that I could talk forever about, but never really get across to anyone except those people who have experienced it for themselves.

A quick update on what's been happening since then: I flew from Rome to Los Angeles on May 9th for my older brother's graduation on the 10th, then back home for a brief break , followed by Totus Tuus training and 6 weeks of camp so far. I have two more weeks left, then August I plan to fill with working at home, teaching the younger siblings and getting ready to start my junior year at UD.

So now, a little over two months after the end of the Rome semester, I return to throw in, every now and then, my small, quiet opinion of whatever happens to strike me. I have a feeling I'll be writing for my own sake most of the time, but maybe with a little advertising I'll get a few comments every now and then.

I'm excited to get back into the world of blogging. It's hard to believe that I've been at it for almost three years. Thanks for hanging in there!

Coming next: summer movie reviews

God Bless

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Palm Sunday at St. Peter's

I'm in the process of trying to get the video of the Pope uploaded, so here are some pictures instead. We were right at the barrier very close towards the front. These next pictures give you a bit of an idea.

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More updates to come...

Friday, February 15, 2008

First Update

Hi Everyone!!

I write this in the midst of the first cloudy day since I arrived. There is a thunderstorm that moved up from the Mediterranean, and it’s certainly a contrast from the succession of perfect and sunny days that have been the norm so far. Things have been going very well so far; it’s hard to believe that I’ve only been away for less
than two weeks! It feels like much longer, probably because they’ve kept us so busy.

This past weekend was spent on a class trip to Napoli (Naples), Stabiae, and Pompei. We left early Friday morning for Napoli, and arrived there about noon, only to find ourselves in the middle of a month long garbage strike. By reputation, Napoli is not the most beautiful of Italian cities; it is literally covered in graffiti, and you just can’t escape the ‘ghetto’-like feel, even in the more ‘upscale’ parts of the city. We had lunch and spent a few hours in the National Archeological Museum, where many remnants of Pompei are kept, and also tons of Roman copies of Greek statues. There were also a group of Italian art students there, who were making amazing sketches of the statues.

We left for Stabiae, which is a smaller city farther south in the bay of Naples, where we spent the night at the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Campus, an Italian-American project to restore some of the older parts of this little city. They kept telling us how south of Rome, Italy is basically a different country, and we definitely experienced a different (let’s say, less enthusiastic) reception.

By this time, we were in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, and early the next morning, we went to Pompei, where we spent half the day being guided through the excavated parts of the city; including the Coloseum, the Forum, an Amphitheater, and numerous houses, both wealthy and not. We also saw some of the preserved bodies, which were very striking in how they were captured in the last moments of their life.

There was a beautiful church in Pompei, Our Lady of the Rosary.

All of the churches that I have been to so far are so beautiful, built in the traditional basilica style, and so elaborate, even the smaller ones, like in Stabiae, that you would have to go back a hundred times to see everything.

So, we left Pompei to come back here mid-afternoon, and that night we celebrated Julia’s birthday in Albano, a town about 5 minutes by Cotral ride down the Via Appia. We had gelato (like ice cream, but better), and walked around a bit.

This morning, I left with some friends to go to 10:30 Mass a St. Peter’s, in Latin, and then the Angelus at Noon, where we saw the Pope!! There were a ton of people there, and it was amazing, even though you couldn’t really see him up in that window. It was just very powerful to think that here is the head of our Church. He spoke in 5 languages, Italian, Spanish, English, French, and German (and the Angelus in Latin). The Mass was amazing too. There were 65 priests, including a cardinal and some monsignors, and the Vatican choir. The organ was incredible, it filled the entire church, and literally shook you. When the priest or any of the cantors or choir sang, you heard it twice: once from the cantor and then again from the echo that came all the way from the end of the nave. This has probably been the most powerful experience of music and even of my faith in my life so far. If you came to Rome for one thing, it should be for this. At St Peter’s, I think that you could go back there every day of your life and still not see everything. So yeah, the center of the Catholic Church lives up to its name.

I miss you all!! I’ve been praying for you all.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Love Song

by Rainer Maria Rilke

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon which instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.


This could be the single greatest poem that I have ever read.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One Book...

...that changed your life:
A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin've read more than once:
Oliver Button is a Sissy, Tomie dePaola'd want on a desert island:
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

...that made you laugh:
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

...that made you cry:
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini wish you had written:
The Life You Save May Be Your Own, Paul Elie wish had never been written:
The New Friend, Charlotte Zolotow're currently reading:
Letters to a Young Catholic, George Weigel've been meaning to read:
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

You're all welcome to do this survey...just post it in the comments section.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

from Vitus Speaks:

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus
The Psalms

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer
The Rosary

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?
Yes, a scapular medal actually

4. Do you have holy water in your home?

5. Do you "offer up" your sufferings?
I try

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?
Fridays yes; not always Saturdays

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How Frequently?
Yes; every week (at least at school)

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or a Sunday morning Mass person?
Usually Sunday

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?

10. Favorite saints
Lots of Biblical figures (David, Isaac, Rebecca, etc.), Thomas Aquinas, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Cecilia (the last two my patrons)

11. Can you recite the Apostles' Creed by heart?

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day?
I try

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by an automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved?
Yes; my mom taught me to say a 'Hail Mary.'

hmm...I don't know who else is currently reading this blog anymore, but I'll try to tag John Hall...

U2 at the 2002 Super Bowl

Thanks to YouTube, I can finally watch this again after four years. I still remember the first time I saw it. It is perhaps the most powerful and moving live performance ever: