Archive for August, 2009

Notre-Dame de Chartres

August 28, 2009

“It is impossible to find a place with more reverence for the Virgin Mary than Chartres, France. The cathedral dedicated to her, Notre-Dame de Chartres, begun in 1195, is the epitome of Gothic architecture and is known as the jewel of France. Considered one of the greatest complete masterpieces of Europe, it has inspired a host of mystics, writers and artists. The great architectural and artistic innovations manifested in the building of this cathedral created a giant leap forward in the worlds of art and architecture. They were developed with a miraculous intuition inspired by adoration of the Mother of God, the patroness of Chartres.”– from “Holy Places: Sacred Sites in Catholicism”.

The cathedral lords over the Medieval city:

The numerous jamb statues; the saints welcome in the pilgrim:

The Sancta Camisa, tunic of the Blessed Mother, which, kept at Chartres after it was given by Charlemagne, miraculously survived a great fire:

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Feast of Our Patron

August 25, 2009

Today is the feast of St. Louis of France, the patron of this blog! Today we further devote ourselves to Christ with his intercessions: Oh God, who has moved St. Louis of France from the cares of temporal government to the realm of your Glory, grant us, through his intercession, to seek above all your kingdom in the midst of our temporal occupations. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Patriarchal Basilicas, Part 4: St. Peter’s Basilica

August 23, 2009

In the year 64 AD, the Apostle Peter was crucified upside down near the obelisk at the Circus of Nero. He was buried nearby at the necropolis of the Vatican hill. That obelisk, brought from Egypt by the Romans, was witness to the martyrdom of the first Vicar of Christ, and it still stands today, in St. Peter’s Square, home of the iconic church of Catholicism: St. Peter’s Basilica. Words are not enough, not even pictures are enough! It is one of the places that you simply have to see for yourself if you ever can.

The Throne of St Peter, with the Four Great Doctors of the Church:

The Great Dome:

The original design of the second basilica:

St Peter’s hosts the celebration of the canonization of Mother Cabrini:

The best view of Rome is at the top of the dome (you can climb up for ~€6):

Below the main level there is the crypt, the resting place of many popes and princes. Here on that level is the Clementine Chapel:

Below the crypt level is the Vatican Necropolis, and the scientifically certified remains of St. Peter himself, directly under the main altar of the basilica:

And there we have it. The Four Archbasilicas of Rome, St Peter’s, St Paul Outside the Walls, St Mary Major, and St John Lateran–all places of extreme importance in the course of Christian history.

Here We Come

August 20, 2009

It’s time for me to go back to seminary (finally)! So I’ll be taking a break from blogging the rest of this week as I move back into the flow of things, and after a day of recollection (pray for us). Ah, my seminary is a precious place, a gem for the Church in Florida. The future of Catholicism in Florida and the western Caribbean starts right in our halls.

Churches of Krakow

August 15, 2009

Whenever you look up and see a field of blue with golden stars, you know you’re in the right place.

The Basilica of St. Mary:

Church of St. Francis:


Rare Find: The Sanctus Candle

August 13, 2009

The rubrics, at least for the extraordinary form of Mass, give the option for the lighting of the Sanctus candle. Lit from the Sanctus until the priest’s communion, it is a special sign of the Real Presence of Christ in the consecration that is about to take place. Unfortunately, the practice is hard to come by, even in Rome. But I swear, every time I spot one I feel like the Croc Hunter whenever he finds some rare iguana or something–“Crikey look at that! What a beaauuuuty!”

A few examples from around the world (with a little help from me if you can’t spot the thing!)

Stockholm, Sweden:

St. John Cantius, Chicago:

Ss Trinita dei Pellegrini, Rome:


“I Learned to Love Them”

August 12, 2009

“On one of my visits to the missions, I went to a leper colony in Buluba, Africa, where there were 500 lepers. I brought with me 500 silver crucifixes, intending to give one to each of the lepers-this symbol of the Lord’s Redemption. The first one who came to meet me had his left arm eaten off at the elbow by the disease. He put out his right hand and it was the most foul, noisome mass of corruption I ever saw. I held the silver crucifix above it, and dropped it. It was swallowed up in that volcano of leprosy.

All of a sudden there were 501 lepers in that camp; I was the 501st because I had taken that symbol of God’s identification with man and refused to identify myself with someone who was a thousand times better on the inside than I. Then it came over the awful thing I had done. I dug my fingers into his leprosy, took out the crucifix and pressed it into his hand. And so on, for all the other 499 lepers. From that moment on I learned to love them.” –Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen

Christ heals the leper, Church of the Chora, Istanbul:

Christ heals the Lepers, St. Jørgen’s Hospital, Norway:

Blessed Damien the Leper, soon to be canonized:

Healing the Leper, S. Crisogono in Trastevere, Rome:

The Supreme Witness

August 10, 2009

Today is the feast of St Lawrence, brutally martyred.

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.” (CCC2473)

We should all take time to ponder our own martyrdom, because the time may come when we are called to give up absolutely everything for the sake of Christ.

Catholic Ear Candy: Guillaume de Machaut

August 9, 2009

At the end of the 4 part series on the Patriarchal Basilicas (Rome), we’ll be changing more of our focus from Italy to France. Here is a taste of things to come:

Melchizedek and the King of Peace

August 8, 2009

“For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him: To whom also Abraham divided the tithes of all: who first indeed by interpretation is king of justice: and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace: Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever…

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: Who needeth not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, in offering himself. For the law maketh men priests, who have infirmity: but the word of the oath (which was since the law) the Son who is perfected for evermore.” (Heb 7:1-3,26-28)

Melchizedek (wearing a crown since he is king of Salem, and anachronistically wearing a mitznefet since he is a priest of God) meets Abraham:

Melchizedek (left) next to Abraham (Chartres Cathedral):

A true saint, mentioned in the Roman Canon:

Here the meeting takes place in Early Netherlandish dress:

At the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major:

Jesus Christ, High Priest, flanked by Priest-King Melchizedek (bottom right):