24 November 2012

San Clemente Feast Day -- Video

Below is some video I took from the evening of the feast.  It begins with an Italian army band.  They are famous for their running march.  They also run and play their instruments, although I didn't get that on video.  That's followed by various scenes of the fireworks, which were across the street (Via Labicana), from the park where the Domus Aurea is.

Matching Gift

Student Brothers of the Dominican House of Studies 2012 - Pray for Vocations!
The Student Brothers in Washington.
We currently have an additional 13 brothers in our Novitiate in Cincinnati.

As many know, the Province of St. Joseph has had a great influx of vocations over the last several years.  It is a great gift and grace to the Province, but it also brings challenges.  One gives up much to enter religious life, but they still expect to eat.  Room and Board for 63 men in formation is not inexpensive, and in addition to that is the cost of their education.  Some weeks ago we received a notice from an anonymous benefactor who was willing to give us a matching donation, up to $300,000, for funds we raised.

If you are able to give some money--any any amount will do--you can double the benefit for the Province by giving now.  More details are at our Provincial website:  Matching Donation Challenge.

Please forward this message on, post it in facebook, tweet it, google plus it, and generally let everyone you can know about it.

The Patronal Feast of the Basilica of San Clemente

By tradition, ordained by St. Peter himself, Flavius Clemens of Rome is generally reckoned the 3rd Pope after Peter, although some ancient lists of Popes have a different order.  The house on the site of the Basilica here is associated with the family of Clemens, although there is some dispute as to whether it is the same Clement.  Some ancient historians of the Church (e.g., Eusebius), thought he was the co-worker of Paul mentioned in Paul's letter to the Phillipians.  Of the writings attributed to Pope Clement I, scholars today are confident of only one having been written by Clement, his Epistle to the Corinthians.

Pope Clement was a first century Christian, and likely died before the year 100.  He is a great source of the faith and practice of the early Church in Rome, and his Epistle is definitely worth reading.  An interesting aspect of the letter is that it reveals a Bishop who is not an Apostle involving himself in the business of another Church.  This is often seen as an early sign of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

22 November 2012

Feast of St. Clement

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Clement, the patron of the church here. We will celebrate it as a solemnity. It is also a bit of a feast for the neighborhood. I'm not sure why booths selling knick-knacks and used clothes is considered a way to celebrate the feast, but there you go. The picture is from the street behind the church.


21 November 2012

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

I just received the Pope's latest book on my Kindle:  Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives - Pope Benedict XVI : Ignatius Press.

The Holy Father's previous books on Jesus were impressive.  I think they were accessible to most readers, but they certainly not Reader's Digest versions.  The books attempt to discuss the person of Jesus Christ, as presented by the Scriptures.  What the Pope does better than most is to make the case for the orthodox understanding of Jesus, while at the same time using the tools of modern historical and text criticism.

The Catholic understanding of Christ is not simply the most literal application of the biblical texts.  From the time of St. Augustine, the Church has understood that the various books are read differently.  Some are more symbolic than others.  Even the Gospels, which each attempt to portray the ministry of Jesus, can be very different.  One cannot simply read the Gospel of John in exactly the same way one reads the Gospel of Mark.  The two are doing different things.

The Pope shows that one can used the tools of modern criticism in a way to deepen one's understanding of the Gospel message.  This current book plans to do the same with the Infancy narratives.  (Just in time for Advent & Christmas!)

18 November 2012

Omilia XXXI Domenica Tempo Ordinario

Below is my Homily from the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, as given here at San Clemente, in Italian.  Click "read more" to see it.


Here are some panorama photos of my trip to the Janiculum Hill:

And one of the strangest places for a store I have yet seen in Rome:

Location:Janiculum Hill, Rome, Italy

17 November 2012

House Chapel

In the early part of the 20th century, the Order of Preachers was headed by Fr. Hyacinth Cormier. He was regarded as a very holy man and beatified by Bl. Pope John Paul II. Among his many works, he labored for the building up of the Dominican University in Rome, known as the Angelicum. However, after his term as Master he lived here at San Clemente, and died in his room here in 1916. That room is now a chapel, and the place we celebrate Mass privately. It is where I celebrate Mass most days.

We also still have the altar set Bl. Hyacinth used when he was here.

Behind the altar set are pictures of the chapel when it was Bl. Hyacinth's room.

Location:Via Labicana,Rome,Italy

Prague, Czech Republic

In addition to going to Vienna last summer, I stopped for a few days in Prague. It's a 5 hour train ride (or so) from Vienna to Prague. By coincidence, I rode with a group of American college students studying in Prague.

Arriving in Prague, the city instantly became one of my favorite cities.  It has the beauty of Vienna combined with Slavic hospitality.  Our Dominican Church there is St. Giles, and is located near the old town square.  The government recently returned much of the religious property to the various orders.  The Czech Republic had some of the most repressive leaders in all the former East Bloc countries.  The religion was almost literally beaten out of the people.  For that reason, the Czech Republic has the fewest percentage of believers in God than any country in Europe.  But they have a very good Bishop in Prague, our Dominican, H.E. Dominik Cardinal Duka.

From Day 1 in Prague:

These are pictures of my second day in Prague:

Here are pictures from my last day in Prague, mostly of St Giles Church:


On my last morning in Vienna, I spent some time taking photos of Dominikanerkirche, as it's known in Austria, which is the Dominican Church in Vienna.  It's official name is St. Maria Rotunda.  It is in the old section of Vienna, but a bit removed from the heavy tourist traffic.  It is a beautiful example of Viennese-style baroque art and architecture.  

Omilia -- XXXIII Domenica del Tempo Ordinario

While I am here at San Clemente, I have to preach in Italian about every other work.  Fortunately, we have some Italian employees who kindly correct my Italian.  It is exceedingly difficult to preach in a language that is not your own.  I feel constricted by not being able to express myself as well in Italian.  It usually causes me to be much briefer (much to the relief of the people here, I am sure).  To read  my Homily for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (in Italian) click the "read more" button below:

Vienna -- Day 4

I would love to go go through and tag all these.  But if I do that, I'll never get them all up.  I took a lot of photos.  Here are some more photos I took of Vienna when I was back there in the summer.


It was a beautiful day in Rome, a bit unusual this time of year, it being Rome's rainy season.  I went over to the Janiculum hill (the Gianicolo, in Italian).  It is one of Rome's largest hills, but as it is on the other side of the Tiber, it is not considered on of the "7 hills of Rome".  Still, it offers some of the best views of the spires, domes, and towers of Rome.  Here are some pictures: