Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Gregory’s story has a lot to teach us about that tricky thing called discernment.

Back in 2008, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI devoted two General Audiences to this saint.  He began with a helpful outline of his life – born into an important Roman family, serving as prefect of Rome, turning his family’s land into a monastery to gregory the greatwhich he retired, then entering the service of the pope during very difficult times in Rome, including the plague, which killed the pope, and then…

The clergy, people and senate were unanimous in choosing Gregory as his successor to thend  See of Peter. He tried to resist, even attempting to flee, but to no avail: finally, he had to yield. The year was 590.

Recognising the will of God in what had happened, the new Pontiff immediately and enthusiastically set to work. From the beginning he showed a singularly enlightened vision of realty with which he had to deal, an extraordinary capacity for work confronting both ecclesial and civil affairs, a constant and even balance in making decisions, at times with courage, imposed on him by his office.

Benedict engages in some more analysis in the second GA. This is useful and important to read. 

Wanting to review these works quickly, we must first of all note that, in his writings, Gregory never sought to delineate “his own” doctrine, his own originality. Rather, he intended to echo the traditional teaching of the Church, he simply wanted to be the mouthpiece of Christ and of the Church on the way that must be taken to reach God. His exegetical commentaries are models of this approach.

And that is what any teacher of the faith, especially a pastor, is called to do.

Moving on:

Probably the most systematic text of Gregory the Great is the Pastoral Rule, written in the first years of his Pontificate. In it Gregory proposed to treat the figure of the ideal Bishop, the teacher and guide of his flock. To this end he illustrated the seriousness of the office of Pastor of the Church and its inherent duties. Therefore, those who were not called to this office may not seek it with superficiality, instead those who assumed it without due reflection necessarily feel trepidation rise within their soul. Taking up again a favourite theme, he affirmed that the Bishop is above all the “preacher” par excellence; for this reason he must be above all an example for others, so that his behaviour may be a point of reference for all. Efficacious pastoral action requires that he know his audience and adapt his words to the situation of each person: here Gregory paused to illustrate the various categories of the faithful with acute and precise annotations, which can justify the evaluation of those who have also seen in this work a treatise on psychology. From this one understands that he really knew his flock and spoke of all things with the people of his time and his city.

Nevertheless, the great Pontiff insisted on the Pastor’s duty to recognize daily his own unworthiness in the eyes of the Supreme Judge, so that pride did not negate the good accomplished. For this the final chapter of the Rule is dedicated to humility: “When one is pleased to have achieved many virtues, it is well to reflect on one’s own inadequacies and to humble oneself: instead of considering the good accomplished, it is necessary to consider what was neglected”. All these precious indications demonstrate the lofty concept that St Gregory had for the care of souls, which he defined as the “ars artium”, the art of arts. The Rule had such great, and the rather rare, good fortune to have been quickly translated into Greek and Anglo-Saxon.

Another significant work is the Dialogues. In this work addressed to his friend Peter, the deacon, who was convinced that customs were so corrupt as to impede the rise of saints as in times past, Gregory demonstrated just the opposite: holiness is always possible, even in difficult times.

He proved it by narrating the life of contemporaries or those who had died recently, who could well be considered saints, even if not canonised. The narration was accompanied by theological and mystical reflections that make the book a singular hagiographical text, capable of enchanting entire generations of readers. The material was drawn from the living traditions of the people and intended to edify and form, attracting the attention of the reader to a series of questions regarding the meaning of miracles, the interpretation of Scripture, the immortality of the soul, the existence of Hell, the representation of the next world – all themes that require fitting clarification. Book II is wholly dedicated to the figure of Benedict of Nursia and is the only ancient witness to the life of the holy monk, whose spiritual beauty the text highlights fully.

Above all he was profoundly convinced that humility should be the fundamental virtue for every Bishop, even more so for the Patriarch. Gregory remained a simple monk in his heart and therefore was decisively contrary to great titles. He wanted to be – and this is his expression – servus servorum Dei.Coined by him, this phrase was not just a pious formula on his lips but a true manifestation of his way of living and acting. He was intimately struck by the humility of God, who in Christ made himself our servant. He washed and washes our dirty feet. Therefore, he was convinced that a Bishop, above all, should imitate this humility of God and follow Christ in this way. His desire was to live truly as a monk, in permanent contact with the Word of God, but for love of God he knew how to make himself the servant of all in a time full of tribulation and suffering. He knew how to make himself the “servant of the servants”. Precisely because he was this, he is great and also shows us the measure of true greatness.

I found an interesting website from Harvard – a collection of brief articles focused on medieval preaching as reflected in the Houghton Library’s holdings. 

Here’s a page dedicated to Gregory the Great’s influence:

The influence of Gregory the Great is so widespread that the great scholar of exegesis, Henri de Lubac, dubbed the period from Gregory’s death up to the thirteenth century “The Gregorian Middle Ages.” Preachers were everywhere citing, referencing, and, generally, re-using the work of one they affectionately called “our Gregory” or “the homilist of the Church.”

And he’s in The Loyola Kids’ Book of Saints. 

amy-welborn-book gregory-the-great

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Today is the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome:

The Council of Ephesus in 431 formally proclaimed the mother of Jesus as the Mother of God, and the church (basilica) of St Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill in Rome was built shortly afterwards to celebrate her motherhood. This is the oldest church in the West that is dedicated to Our Lady.  More

My most memorable visit to the Basilica occurred back in 2006, when we all visited Rome, and then Irish seminarian-blogger -Zadok led us on a tour of St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.  It was a great day with the exception of the burden of me carrying the 14-month old baby on my back up the Esquiline Hill, a baby who delighted in yanking on my hair, but much preferred riding on my back to his dad’s and would make his preferences known, loudly, so I was stuck.

A story which I tell on my first appearance on Diana von Glahn’s radio show The Faithful Traveler this Friday!


Today is the memorial of another saint of whom I’d never heard, but whose story is well worth your time – again, for what it tells us about the varied roads to Christ and sanctity and how meandering the road can be after we say “yes.”

Blessed Frédéric Janssoone:

The son of a prosperous and devout farming family, Frederic Janssoone was born on November 19, 1838, in Ghyveldge, in the North of France. His father died when Frederic was only nine. He attended secondary school in Hazebrouck and then Dunkirk, but in 1856, he had to leave school to support his mother. He found work as an errand boy, and eventually had great success as a travelling salesman. After his mother died, in 1861, he was able to complete his studies.

In 1864, he entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in Amiens. Ordained a priest in 1870, he was a military chaplain during the Franco-Prussian War. Afterwards, he became assistant novice director and librarian. He then became superior of the community in Bordeaux. In 1876, he travelled to the Custody of the Holy Land.

He became chaplain for the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Cairo, and gave preached retreats there and in Alexandria. Between 1878 and 1888, he was assistant to the head guard of the Sacred Sites in Palestine. He helped with administration, promoted a renewal of the custom of Holy Land pilgrimages, reestablished the ritual of the Way of the Cross in the streets of Jerusalem, and directed construction of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He revised the set of customary regulations that had developed through the centuries between the Latins, the Greeks, and the Armenians for the use and maintenance of the shrines of Bethlehem and the Holy 2-Frédéric-Archives-13Sepulchre

…and we’re not done yet:

He settled in Canada for good in 1888. He lived in Trois-Rivières, where he became closely involved with the organization and development of the pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Rosary that had been started up by Father Luc Désilets at nearby Cap-de-la-Madeleine. He promoted the Franciscan Third Order in Quebec and New England. He created three outdoor Ways of the Cross, organized conferences and pilgrimages, and gave many preached retreats. He also wrote magazine and newspaper articles, booklets, works on the Holy Land, lives of Jesus, Mary, Saint Anne, Saint Joseph, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Anthony of Padua and the first Franciscan born in Canada, the Venerable Brother Didace Pelletier.

Father Frederic paved the way for the reestablishment in Canada of the Order of Friars Minor, which had ceased to exist with the death of the last Recollet in 1812. Father Frederic, the former travelling salesman, had become a peddler for God. He travelled from one parish to another in several Quebec dioceses, and went door-to-door selling his works. The profit from his sales went toward the establishment of several communities of consecrated life: the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Poor Clares, the Franciscans of Trois-Rivières, and the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood of Joliette. He died of stomach cancer in Montreal on August 4, 1916. Father Frederic is buried in Trois-Rivières. He was beatified by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

More from that source – from the website of the Canadian bishops.

This entry from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography is actually more detailed and interesting:

Father Frédéric’s initial visit to Quebec was a fund-raising tour occasioned by the fact that charitable donations promised for the construction of St Catherine’s Church were slow in coming. He arrived in Lévis from New York on 24 Aug. 1881. Apart from the political uproar caused by an ill-advised speech on liberalism that he gave at Quebec on 10 Sept. 1881 (the hapless visitor was unaware of the fierce disputes on this subject that divided French Canadian politicians and bishops) his campaign was a triumph. The sermons he preached in Quebec City and Trois-Rivières met with tremendous success. On 24 March 1882 Archbishop Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau* of Quebec, who in the interest of keeping the peace after Father Frédéric’s speech had asked him to leave the diocese temporarily, crowned his mission by publishing a pastoral letter which ordered that a collection for the Holy Land be taken in all the churches of the ecclesiastical province of Quebec every year, on Good Friday. A century later this custom is still followed in every Catholic church in Canada.

This is a vivid portrait of his preaching and fundraising tours:

In 1895, however, before his commitment at Notre-Dame-du-Cap was finished, Father Frédéric began the famous fund-raising drives that he was to conduct for some 15 years throughout a number of Quebec dioceses. This was the second of the great tasks to which he devoted his energy in Canada. Begun at the request of his superiors, these exhausting campaigns were intended to support diocesan or Franciscan works such as the Sanctuaire de l’Adoration Perpétuelle at Quebec, the monasteries of the Poor Clares in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood in Joliette, and the Franciscan friary in Trois-Rivières. Wearing a wretched skimpy brown coat, fasting and sleeping on the ground, Father Frédéric went from parish to parish and from house to house, braving inclement weather, bad roads, and farm dogs, preaching in the churches, comforting the sick and afflicted, and selling his books for the benefit of the causes entrusted to him, while keeping a small commission for the Holy Land. Thus he returned to some extent to his former occupation: he was now God’s travelling salesman. Charmed by his gentleness and courtesy, edified by his deep piety and incredible austerity, and above all amazed by the marvels that occurred here and there in his wake, the faithful saw him as another Francis of Assisi and were in the habit of calling him “the Holy Father.”

Father Frédéric’s preaching sounded like an informal talk, but it had a bit more hidden in it than was apparent. In order to reach his listeners more effectively, the holy man did not hesitate to dramatize or play to the utmost on their sensibilities. Many tears were shed during his sermons. Eager to be edifying, he always paid close attention to his appearance in public. Hence in group photos he often looks stiff and stilted, a posture out of keeping with his true temperament, which was kind and cheerful. But all these pious artifices, which irritated some of his colleagues, stemmed from his desire to save souls, a desire the crowds recognized. In common with all saints, he radiated a kind of spiritual aura which, like the Old Testament shekinah, was a true and palpable sign of the presence of God. Father Edmond Gaudron, who made his acquaintance at the Collège Séraphique de Montréal around 1917, has described this phenomenon very well: “He was the one who made God appear to men who could not see God.”

All in all, the role Father Frédéric played in Quebec was analogous to the one played in France by his compatriots Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney and Thérèse Martin: that of a living witness to the reality and holiness of God. It is to his credit that he succeeded in keeping to this path. When he arrived in Canada in 1881 the controversy about liberalism was raging. Abbé Desilets, his host, reportedly wanted to recruit him to support ultramontanism, a cause his bishop, Mgr Laflèche, also espoused. Between 1882 and 1888, however, the missionary from the Holy Land had time to ponder the question and decide on the course to pursue. In 1884 he wrote to his friend Provancher, another ardent ultramontane, that should he ever return to Canada, his work would be “exclusively a mission of charity, penitence, and peace.” It was a strictly spiritual program, patterned almost literally after the one St Francis of Assisi and his disciples had followed at the beginning of the 13th century. The sole objective of all his efforts during the 28 years he spent in the country was to win for God and for Christ the Canadians whom he loved so dearly, and to enhance their spiritual lives as much as possible.

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And…from the pontificate of Benedict XVI, selections from the Sunday Angelus addresses of the Fourth Sunday of Advent:


Let us allow ourselves to be “filled” with St Joseph’s silence! In a world that is often too noisy, that encourages neither recollection nor listening to God’s voice, we are in such deep need of it. During this season of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate inner recollection in order to welcome and cherish Jesus in our own lives.


Let us prepare ourselves, dear friends, to meet Jesus, the Emmanuel, God with us. Born in the poverty of Bethlehem, he wants to be the travelling companion of each one of us on our life’s journey. In this world, from the very moment when he decided to pitch his “tent”, no one is a stranger.

It is true, we are all here in passing, but it is precisely Jesus who makes us feel at home on this earth, sanctified by his presence. He asks us, however, to make it a home in which all are welcome.
The surprising gift of Christmas is exactly this: Jesus came for each one of us and in him we have become brothers.

The corresponding duty is to increasingly overcome preconceptions and prejudices, to break down barriers and eliminate the differences that divide us, or worse, that set individuals and peoples against one another, in order to build together a world of justice and peace.

With these sentiments, dear brothers and sisters, let us live the last hours that separate us from Christmas, preparing ourselves spiritually to welcome the Child Jesus. In the heart of the night he will come for us. It is his desire, however, also to come in us, to dwell in the heart of every one of us.


Nothing is more beautiful, urgent and important than freely offering to men and women, in turn, what we ourselves have freely received from God! Nothing can dispense or relieve us from this burdensome but fascinating commitment. While the joy of Christmas that we already anticipate fills us with hope, it spurs us at the same time to proclaim to everyone God’s presence in our midst.


Beyond its historical dimension, this mystery of salvation also has a cosmic dimension: Christ is the sun of grace who, with his life, “transfigures and enflames the expectant universe” (cf. Liturgy). The Christmas festivity is placed within and linked to the winter solstice when, in the northern hemisphere, the days begin once again to lengthen. In this regard perhaps not everyone knows "amy welborn"that in St Peter’s Square there is also a meridian; in fact, the great obelisk casts its shadow in a line that runs along the paving stones toward the fountain beneath this window and in these days, the shadow is at its longest of the year. This reminds us of the role of astronomy in setting the times of prayer. The Angelus, for example, is recited in the morning, at noon and in the evening, and clocks were regulated by the meridian which in ancient times made it possible to know the “exact midday”.

The fact that the winter solstice occurs exactly today, 21 December, and at this very time, offers me the opportunity to greet all those who will be taking part in various capacities in the initiatives for the World Year of Astronomy, 2009, established on the fourth centenary of Galileo Galilei’s first observations by telescope. Among my Predecessors of venerable memory there were some who studied this science, such as Sylvester II who taught it, Gregory XIII to whom we owe our calendar, and St Pius X who knew how to build sundials. If the heavens, according to the Psalmist’s beautiful words, “are telling the glory of God” (Ps 19[18]: 1), the laws of nature which over the course of centuries many men and women of science have enabled us to understand better are a great incentive to contemplate the works of the Lord with gratitude.


Precisely this aspect of the prophecy, that of messianic peace, leads us naturally to emphasize that the city of Bethlehem is also a symbol of peace, in the Holy Land and in the world. Unfortunately, in our day, it does not represent an attained and stable peace, but rather a peace sought with effort and hope. Yet God is never resigned to this state of affairs, so that this year too, in Bethlehem and throughout the world, the mystery of Christmas will be renewed in the Church. A prophecy of peace for every person which obliges Christians to immerse themselves in the closures, tragedies, that are often unknown and hidden, and in the conflicts of the context in which they live, with the sentiments of Jesus so that they may become everywhere instruments and messengers of peace, to sow love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury, joy where there is sadness and truth where there is error, according to the beautiful words of a well-known Franciscan prayer.

Today, as in the times of Jesus, Christmas is not a fairy-tale for children but God’s response to the drama of humanity in search of true peace. “He shall be peace”, says the Prophet referring to the Messiah. It is up to us to open, to fling open wide the doors to welcome him. Let us learn from Mary and Joseph: let us place ourselves with faith at the service of God’s plan. Even if we do not understand it fully, let us entrust ourselves to his wisdom and goodness. Let us seek first of all the Kingdom of God, and Providence will help us. A Happy Christmas to you all!


St Ambrose comments that “Joseph had the amiability and stature of a just man, to make his capacity as a witness worthier” (Exp. Ev. sec. Lucam II, 5: CCL 14,32-33). St Ambrose continues: “He could not have contaminated the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Lord, the womb rendered fertile by the mystery” (ibid., II, 6: CCL 14,33). Although he had felt distressed, Joseph “did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him”, certain that he was doing the right thing. And in giving the name of “Jesus” to the Child who rules the entire universe, he placed himself among the throng of humble and faithful servants, similar to the Angels and Prophets, similar to the Martyrs and to the Apostles — as the ancient Eastern hymns sing. In witnessing to Mary’s virginity, to God’s gratuitous action and in safeguarding the Messiah’s earthly life St Joseph announces the miracle of the Lord. Therefore let us venerate the legal father of Jesus (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 532), because the new man is outlined in him, who looks with trust and courage to the future. He does not follow his own plans but entrusts himself without reserve to the infinite mercy of the One who will fulfil the prophecies and open the time of salvation.


The human being who came to life in her womb took Mary’s flesh, but his existence derived totally from God. He is fully man, made of clay — to use the biblical symbol — but comes from on high, from Heaven. The fact that Mary conceived while remaining a virgin is thus essential to the knowledge of Jesus and to our faith, because it testifies that it was God’s initiative and, above all, it reveals who the conceived being was.

As the Gospel says: “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). In this sense, the virginity of Mary and the divinity of Jesus guarantees each other. This is what makes that single question so important that Mary, “greatly troubled”, asks the Angel: “How can this be, since I have no husband?” (Lk 1:34). Mary was very wise in her simplicity. She did not doubt God’s power, but she wanted to better understand his will, in order to conform herself completely to this will. Mary was infinitely overcome by the Mystery, yet she occupied perfectly the place which, in its centre had been assigned to her. Her heart and her mind are fully humble and precisely because of her unique humility, God awaits this young woman’s “yes” in order to carry out his plan. He respects her dignity and her freedom. Mary’s “yes” entailed motherhood and virginity as a whole. She wanted everything in her to glorify God and he wanted the Son, born of her, to be totally a gift of grace.

Dear friends, Mary’s virginity is unique and unrepeatable; but its spiritual meaning concerns every Christian, who is essentially linked to faith. In fact, those who put deep trust in God’s love welcome Jesus and his divine life within them through the action of the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of Christmas! I hope that you will all experience it with deep joy.


In her greeting to Mary Elizabeth recognizes that God’s promise to humanity is being fulfilled and exclaims: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42-43). In the Old Testament, the phrase “blessed are you among women” refers both to Jael (Judg 5:24), and to Judith (Jud 13:18), two women warriors who do their utmost to save Israel.

Instead it is used here to describe Mary, a peaceful young woman who is about to bring the Saviour into the world. Thus John’s leap of joy (cf. Lk 1:44) also calls to mind King David’s dancing when he accompanied the entry of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (cf. 1 Chron 15:29. The Ark that contained the Tablets of the Law, the manna and Aaron’s rod (cf. Heb 9:4) was the sign of God’s presence among his People. The unborn John exults with joy before Mary, the Ark of the New Mary-ArkCovenant, who in her womb is carrying Jesus, the Son of God made man.

The scene of the Visitation also expresses the beauty of the greeting. Wherever there is reciprocal acceptance, listening, making room for another, God is there, as well as the joy that comes from him. At Christmas time let us emulate Mary, visiting all those who are living in hardship, especially the sick, prisoners, the elderly and children. And let us also imitate Elizabeth who welcomes the guest as God himself: without wishing it, we shall never know the Lord, without expecting him we shall not meet him, without looking for him we shall not find him. Let us too go to meet the Lord who comes with the same joy as Mary, who went with haste to Elizabeth (Lk 1:39).

Let us pray that all men and women may seek God, discovering that it is God himself who comes to visit us first. Let us entrust our heart to Mary, Ark of the New and Eternal Covenant, so that she may make it worthy to receive God’s visit in the mystery of his Birth

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Here’s a story:

bambinelli blessing pope francis

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis welcomed the children of Rome for the traditional “Bambinelli Blessing.” On Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, Roman boys and girls bring the baby Jesus from their Nativity sets to Saint Peter’s Square to be blessed by the Pope.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father thanked the children for coming, and wished them a happy Christmas. He asked them to remember to pray for him when they said their prayers before their Nativity set, and assured them that he prayed for them, too. “Prayer is the breath of the soul,” he said. “ It is important to find moments throughout the day to open the heart to God, even with the short and simple prayers of the Christian people.”

Pope Francis also surprised the children, and all those present, with the gift of a small pocket prayer book “that gathers together some prayer for the various moments of the day and for different situations in life.” He asked them to always carry their prayerbook with them, as an aid to living the whole day “united to God.”

And here’s a very complete 20 minute video from today’s event.

And…here’s the book!


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First off – if you read this on Saturday and are on Long Island, Ann Engelhart is signing books at the Advent Shop: 3 Bayview Avenue Massapequa, NY, 11758  at 1pm today, December 13.  A little late, but perhaps someone will be in the vicinity or have friends or relatives who might want to go get a signed book!

Secondly, Ann is the first guest on the TelecareTV  (diocese of Rockville Centre) “Good News” program  Christmas Special.  No, she doesn’t sing White Christmas  – although I know she has a lovely singing voice, so she probably could – but she talks about both Bambinelli Sunday and Adventures in Assisi  (which I have for sale here – signed by both of us.)

Her segment starts at about 4:00.

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First, a reminder that Benedizione dei Bambinelli is a real thing…here’s the proof!

"amy welborn"

(The group’s Facebook page. Here they are on Twitter.)

Here’s a nice sighting of the book on displacy – from Two Hearts Catholic Shoppe in Roswell, Georgia

"amy welborn"

Want a Bambinelli Sunday Pinterest board? Here it is! Lots more links. 
I’ve searched a bit for American parishes who are inviting children and families to bring in bambinelli for a blessing…here are a few more:

Corpus Christi Catholic Community – the Anglican Ordinariate Mass at 11:30 in Charleston

Old Saint Mary’s in Detroit

Saint Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax (pdf)

Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brooklyn

Saint James the Apostle in Springfield, NJ

St. Albert the Great in Las Cruces, NM

Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St Louis, MO

St. Bartholomew, Columbus, IN

St. Jude, Hinesburg, VT

Annunciation Parish, Cincinnati – very nice bulletin insert!

First Presbyterian Church – Van Wert, Ohio!

An earlier list

Here’s a nice resource on using the book in catechesis. 

Sarah Reinhard on the book last year.

Also from last year, Elizabeth Foss.


Ann & I will have a few interviews over the next few days:

Ann will be on Telecare (Diocese of Rockville Centre)’s Christmas Special tomorrow – watch it or catch the video later here.

I’ll be on the SonRise Morning Show Thursday morning at 745 AM 

A joint interview we did with Fr. Jim Lisante will air this coming weekend.

The Bookmark show we taped in November will also air this weekend on EWTN.

WDEL will be re-airing the interview I did with them last year – “Catholic Forum” – at 10:05 eastern.


And the point?

The point is that Advent and Christmas are about welcoming the Word of God into our lives – which means our homes. The blessing of the Bambinelli – which we bring from our homes and return there – is an embodiment of this.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict said in his 2008 prayer for the event:

God, our Father 
you so loved humankind 
that you sent us your only Son Jesus, 
born of the Virgin Mary, 
to save us and lead us back to you.

We pray that with your Blessing 
these images of Jesus, 
who is about to come among us, 
may be a sign of your presence and 
love in our homes.

Good Father, 
give your Blessing to us too, 
to our parents, to our families and 
to our friends.

Open our hearts, 
so that we may be able to 
receive Jesus in joy, 
always do what he asks 
and see him in all those 
who are in need of our love.

We ask you this in the name of Jesus, 
your beloved Son 
who comes to give the world peace.

He lives and reigns forever and ever. 

Here’s a link to Rome Reports’ account of last year’s blessing.

How the book came to be.

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