Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today we celebrated the great American Holiday over here in the Eternal City.  It's never the same as being back home but it is a wonderful experience.  Archbishop Burke came over to celebrate the mass with us and then afterwards we all had a pranzone (huge lunch) with Turkey, stuffing and even cranberry sauce.  One thing I always found funny over here at the North American College is the fact that they insist on serving some sort of pasta as a primo piatto (first dish)!  We had ravioli before we ever saw the turkey.  Not the average Thanksgiving tradition  (unless of course your family is Italian!)  But the rest of the meal was great and after a nice digestivo (Italian after dinner drinks) and a call home, I took a long nap! 

Now I am getting ready to take a trip this weekend to Malta, a little Island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with a lot of history-including St. Paul, who was shipwrecked and wintered on the island.  I will be gone till Monday - I will post some pictures when I get back.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1,000th Visitor to Praedica Verbum

I just noticed on the bottom of the blog that the hit counter has crested 1,000.  I am surprised but happy to know that so many people are checking up on the things I post!  Now, I didn't put the hit counter on until a couple of weeks into the blogging so it might not be an accurate number.  The number could also be explained by people checking it more often than just once a day (Mom, I told you stop checking it every hour!, Just kidding:-)  But anyway, thanks for looking at the blog. 

 If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask or speak - I will do my best to answer and it might even make for some interesting blogging!

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,

Fr. David

to post a comment click below where it says comments.  I moderate the comments so they won't automatically show up.  They will appear as I approve them.  Better safe than sorry these days!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Surprise Visitor in Class

Today in Class we had a surprise visitor - dutifully arranged by our Marriage Law teacher Fr. Kowal, S.J.  He reminded us that November 27th of this year is the 25th anniversary of the effectual start of the New Code of Canon Law in the Latin Church (it having been promulgated on January 25th, 1983, and after a vacatio legis of some 10 months, came into effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983)  One of the major collaborators in that momentous work (which I am now devoting considerable amounts of time to learning) was none other than the Gregorian University's own Urbano Cardinal Navarrete, S.J.  

I guess if you're famous enough you get a wikipedia entry:

Urbano Cardinal Navarrete Cortés, S.J. (born May 25, 1920) is a Professor of Canon Law and former Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was made Cardinal in 2007.

Urbano Navarrete Cortés was born in Camarena de la Sierra, Teruel; his father was named José Navarrete Esteban. He entered the Society of Jesus on June 20, 1937, after his licentiate in philosophy and in theology he obtained a doctorate in canon law. Navarrete was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1952, during the International Eucharistic Congress. A world renowned canonist, he then served as Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome until 1980, when he was appointed rector. Navarrete was granted an honorary doctorate by the Pontifical University of Salamanca, in his native Spain, in 1994, and is a consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia.

On October 17, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would elevate Navarrete and twenty-two other prelates to the College of Cardinals. The Pope agreed with Navarrete's request to be dispensed from the requirement of episcopal ordination, and, at the consistory in St. Peter's Basilica on November 24, 2007, he was created Cardinal Deacon of S. Ponziano. As he is above the age of 80, he is not eligible for participation in a papal conclave.

That was a nice treat and a little break from the tediousness of the canons themselves.  It is always interesting to get the insight that only a man with such a closness to and amount of time spent with a particular subject can bring.  Cardinal Navarette is truly a master of Canon Law and has shaped its understanding for the better part of half a century!  This is one of those instances of being at the feet of the master ad liminum Magistri - soaking in the collected wisdom of practical insight and lived experience.  He is a humble man who has gained the respect given him not by demanding it from others as a simple 'rite of passage' granted to one's elders.  But rather from working diligently and competently in the vineyard producing a consistent, rational exposition of the portion of the universe of knowledge entrusted to him.  A rare man, a rare experience and definitely a welcome surprise!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Faculties in Rome

I just received my 'carta di riconoscimento' (card of recognition) from the 'Vicariatus Urbis' (the Vicariate of the City). 

This is kind of like an ecclesial passport recognizing me as a priest in good standing in the city with all of the usual faculties to hear confession, celebrate mass, preach and the like.

I guess now I will stop forgetting who I am!
If I do forget, all I'll have to do is open my wallet:

These are just the one's with my picture on them! 
(The one on the top right has my picture on the back.)
I guess I will need a bigger wallet!

Villa Borghese

This past Saturday, after feeling a bit of the cabin fever from the rain and the books, I decided to go out for a walk in the city.  I headed towards the Villa Borghese, the second largest public park in Rome.  It is a beautiful park full of gardens and monuments.  I entered the park by the Porta Pinciana - the ancient Roman gate at the North of the City (it is just a ten minute walk from the Casa Santa Maria).   Here is a picture to show you what the ancient walls look like:

There are plenty of trails and roads to walk around.  There are 148 acres in the park!   There are some nice overlooks of downtown Rome also, the Pincio hill sitting just above the Piazza del Popolo.

 And there are many trees to be seen, but hardly any that have changing colors. 

Here is a typical shot that I took at the Piazza di Siena :

And then finally, I saw some fall colors!:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cool Fall Weather

Well, the weather is finally starting to turn cool.  It is about time, because last week it was wet and muggy from all the rain.  This week marks a sharp down turn in the temperature.  The weather in Rome never gets too cold and it hardly ever snows.  But it is always nice to have the semblance of a change of seasons.  I sure do miss the fall colors back home (I am guessing that they are almost gone by now:-(

Anyway, classes are still going well and there is still lots of reading to be done.  That's why there haven't been many posts lately.  But I did take one picture of the interior of the Gregorian Universtiy where I study and thought I would share that with you:

My classes are on the upper floor (which in Italian is the 1st floor - the 1st floor American being called the Ground Floor)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Libri legendi - pars secunda, et de Sancto Thome More

As you can tell from the title today was a latin day.  Still plodding through the details and precision of the language of the ages!

On top of that, the books and notes never stop piling up to be read!
Here is another shot of my little study corner:

Here is a nice shot of one the 'dispense' that we have been give for Fr. Hilbert's class.  It helps to follow his lectures:

Above my desk I have hanging a picture of St. Thomas More:

St. Thomas More, Martyr (Patron of Lawyers) St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, andwhen she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book "Utopia". He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher's execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that "we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation." And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as "the King's good servant-but God's first." He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd.

St. Thomas More pray for us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fr. Jaki Talk

Every once in a while we get the opportunity here at the Casa Santa Maria to have a speaker of note come to enlighten us on a particular subject.  This evening we had the privilege of hearing Fr. Stanley Jaki, a Benedictine priest, theologian and physicist.  He was a Gifford Lecturer and in 1987 received the Templeton Prize.  He has written over 50 books.
Tonight he spoke to us about John Henry Cardinal Newman; a convert to the Catholic Faith through the Oxford movement in the Anglican Church in the 19th century.  There is a lot of talk about Newman in many circles and it was interesting to hear this scholar's take on the subject.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pope Sighting

Sorry about the long time in between posting.  We have begun some of our intensive classes on administrative practices and so it means evenings are taken up for a while!  But that doesn't mean that I haven't been able to get out and about!  
This past Thursday the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education said mass in St. Peter's for the new academic year and all the students of the Athenea and Ecclesiastical Universities of Rome were invited.  I was tempted not to go because it was raining(and it rained hard -I got soaked to the bone and my cassock weighed a ton because the wool had soaked up all that water!).  But that afternoon I was over at Santa Croce for a meeting and one of the priest professors there came up to me and asked me if I was going to the mass - I hemmed and hawed - but then he said, well, you can't pass this opportunity up and handed me a main concelebration ticket of which there were only about 100, i.e. a front row seat!  Turns out, these were given only to professors. But apparently some didn't want to go and had done the same thing as this one at Santa Croce.  Anyway, what an opportunity!  I got to vest and process in for the mass.  I even got a front row seat:

Now of course this was taken after mass!  But it is where I was seated.

At the end of mass, we all remained in our places because the Pope came to give us a talk.  That is what made my seating so awesome!  He came and stood not ten feet away from where I was seated:

And no, to anyone who asks - I wasn't able to shake his hand - even though I had a white main concelebrant ticket I didn't have a golden ticket (cue the music from Charlie and the Choclate Factory).  Literally, I didn't have the yellowish gold shake-the-pope's-hand ticket.  These were reserved to the rectors of the universities.  But being that close was good enough for me!  And to think, I wasn't even going to go.

To top it all off, afterwards when we divested, we were able to go right up to the Pieta of Michelangelo (i.e. behind the glass wall protecting it).

Notice that there is no glass between me and the Pieta!

That little set of events brought me back up after a grueling week of classes and the rainy weather.  Deo Gratias!