Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Straight A's

  • an Announcement
  • an Apology
  • an Account

New Papal Document on the Word of God
Many thanks to Rae Stabosz, for posting news about Verbum Domini on the Association of Pauline Cooperators blog this week. Benedict XVI’s new apostolic exhortation is the fruit of the most recent Synod of Bishops, held in Rome the autumn before last. Two years is a long wait, but judging from the synopsis and initial reports, it seems well worth the wait. Pauline Books & Media has already begun the process of publishing it in book form. Due date: mid-December, if not before. Price: $6.95.

Reflections of both bishops and pope on the Word in relation to culture and the media will be especially interesting to me. Look for a reference here and there, either in future blog posts of mine or in the sidebar, “Weekly PauLine.”

So Sorry!
A kind reader pointed out to me that I’m not responding to people’s blog comments. No ill will there. I’m an apprentice in blog-craft and didn’t even realize that people are answering me. Thank you for your interest and help. Comment away!

Italian Connection Part III
Last week you and I toured Alba and environs, where the Pauline Family began. This time, we’ll pass a day and a night in Assisi.

One of Assisi's bronzes depicting episodes
from the Little Flowers of St. Francis
Yes, it was a bit of a blitz, but we managed to “consider it all joy,” setbacks and all, as Francis would have put it. Early Sunday, Oct. 24, our bus took us down the boot into the Umbria region. I prevailed upon most to pay their respects to Perugia as we passed, where I had studied Italian eight years ago. They humored me.

Once in Assisi, we parted company with the film crew. From Alba, despite heroic efforts, they had been unable to rent a vehicle large enough for their 14 pieces of equipment, one of which was about the size of a casket. So, Sr. Paola, our driver from the generalate in Rome, drove to Assisi in a van, scooped them and their belongings up, and spirited them away to Rome, where they were able to hire a chauffeured van to carry out their scheduled interviews.

That left us free to roam the stunning medieval city overlooking equally stunning hills and valleys. The Portiuncula, the Basilica of St. Clare, and the Basilica of St. Francis headed the list.

I had already visited St. Clare on previous pilgrimages. Had to, glad to. She’s my Confirmation patroness. So, since the group was in the able hands of Sr. Margaret Kerry, Patrizia, our Assisi guide, and Rosella, our tour guide, I headed for the Cathedral of San Rufino, that had recently been excavated and restored following the 1997 earthquake. Below the baroque church, still in use, I explored fragments of the medieval cathedral. There, 18-year-old Clare had heard Francis preach and on Palm Sunday night, slipped undetected from her home to join the friars, establishing the women’s community later known as the Poor Clares.

Marguerite Ashley
proclaims the Word.
Cooperator Margie Skeels,
U.N. staff member,
informs us that this day
is the U.N. International
Day of Peace.
I rejoined the group just in time for 5:30 evening Mass in the friary’s Peace Chapel, a very rare privilege. Fr. Paul Aveni, our chaplain, said it was for him a dream come true.

Additional touring, shopping, and dining ended the day for most of us, though a few of the more daring among us made their way to San Damiano and back in the pitch dark.

Why Assisi? A Pauline cannot understand Alberione without understanding Italy, and no one can understand Italy without entering into the heart of Francis and Clare.

Next week: Rome.

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