Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Week Called "Holy"

It's already Palm Sunday in lands east of North America. Each year Lent seems to be a long haul of 40 long days. Then it ends up zooming by faster than any "zoom zoom" commercial on TV.

Palm Sunday's liturgy plunges us deep into the heart of the Paschal Mystery--that's the name the Church calls the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paschal relates to "Passover." It is the new and lasting Passover when Christ's blood saved each of us from the effects of sin. Instead of the blood of a lamb being sprinkled on door posts, as happened at the first Passover when the Hebrew people--the Israelites--were preparing to leave the slavery of Egypt for the freedom of the Promised Land, we were and are saved by the blood of Christ shed for us on Calvary. Easter then is our celebration of Christ's saving event.

There are good movies to help us recall these events: Jesus of Nazareth, and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" are among them.

Then there are other movies that have "Christ Figures" in them. By that I mean characters who give their lives that others may live. "Ladder 49" with Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta as firemen shows how some people do give their lives that others may live. Kevin Costner in "The Guardian" portrays a Coast Guard veteran rescue swimmer who seems extremely tough on new recruits. Yet, he never asked anything from the young men and women he trained which he had never gone through himself. I don't want to give away the end of the movie, so I won't tell you how "The Guardian" ends. Just bring Kleenex when you get the DVD. The Kevin Costner film uses real Coast Guard rescue personnel in addition to real actors. These last two movies are good for any time of year, since being Christ-like is a 24/7 operation, 365 days of the year.

I wish you a good Holy Week: time for inner quiet; outer quiet too; prayer; reading that reminds us of what Christ did for you and me; time for Church; time for reconciliation and confession; time for peace. One gentleman who frequents our book centre told me last week, "What counts is that God loves us, and that we love him in return." That's a great start for a Holy Week reflection.

Let's pray for each other to make this the holiest of Holy Weeks, so our Easter will truly be a Happy Easter.
The crucifix depicted here is in the lower church at the basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii, Italy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Meet the Actor

Today I was privileged to meet the young man who played Karol Wojtlya in the movie (now on DVD) Karol A Man Who Became Pope; The Pope, the Man. Piotr Admaczyk is in Toronto for what -- in a sense -- is the premiere of this film on Imax screen. The movie will show in English Saturday night, March 31 at Ontario Place in Toronto. It is showing in Polish--but that viewing is sold out already. On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM it will be shown in Italian.

One of the announcers at the station "Radio Maria" -- a Catholic radio station here in Toronto--invited us Daughters of St. Paul to come to the station to meet Piotr who is in town for the premiere. Frank Ruffolo conducted an interview on radio. Before the radio program began Omni News, a multi-lingual television service, sent their camera man Hugh to film Piotr who spoke in English, Italian and Polish. The actor was still feeling jet lag having arrived in Canada only a few hours before.

The DVD of Karol is in English and Italian dialogue. Apparently the film was first shown on teloevision as a mini-series.

Piotr, who turned 35 on March 21, said he felt honored to play the role of the Pope. He recalled one of the scenes which took place in Poland where 600 extras portrayed Poles who were forced to flee their homes when the Nazis invaded their country. The actor said that despite cold and wet conditions the people did their part quietly and seriously. He felt they realized they were walking in the footsteps of their ancestors who actually suffered displacement and hardship in the war years. He said too that even as a child of seven, when John Paul visited Poland as Pope for the first time, he knew that things were going to change. The grown ups were talking about it and he sensed the greatness of this man from Poland. Another moment which struck the actor as especially poignant was the scene in St. Peter's Square which re-enacted the attempt of John Paul's life by Ali Acca. He was dressed in the white cassock which then was stained with blood. The square was filled with pilgrims from all over. Yet one woman close to the filming site spoke aloud: "I will never forget that moment...". Then it was that Adamczyk realized that this is a film that would touch the emotions of people around the world.

I am looking forward to seeing it. One of our Sisters who has seen all of the John Paul II movies says that this portrayal is by far the best.

In the photo you will see Frank Ruffolo interviewing Piotr Admaczyk for Omni TV; myself and Antonietta Ferlitto, an Annunciationist. She too is a member of the Pauline Family--a vowed member of our feminine secular Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Check out these videos

Sister Anne Joan Flanagan who lives in Chicago sent me some links to videos she has done with the assistance of some friends. The one on The Angelus prayer is very interesting. Some of you may even live in areas where the Catholic church bells ring at 6:00 AM, at noon and at 6:00 PM for The Angelus--the prayer which daily reminds us of the fact of the Incarnation. That Latin based word, "In - carnation" means "in the flesh" literally. That is what happened when Mary said "yes" to the Angel Gabriel. The Word of God, God Himself became a human embryo which became Jesus. All of us started out in that embryonic, microscopic form. Jesus shared this experience with us. I recommend that you see the DVD "The Nativity Story", a very reverent yet very human portrayal of the Incarnation and Mary and Joseph's roles in this drama that impacts us every day.
Here are the links Sister Anne Joan prepared:
Pray the Angelus!
Best Catholic Books for Lent:
Best Books for the Way of the Cross:

She will have to prepare something now for Ester very soon.
To everyone reading this I wish a serene and joyful preparation for Holy Week, and for the celebration of Easter.mHave a blessed day! Sister Mary Peter

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jesus' Bones

Tonight Canada's Vision Channel aired the "documentary" about the supposed tomb of Jesus.
There were so many "if's" that the film maker seemed to take no note of how far fetched his whole theory is. I was impressed at how little time he gave to those who seriously doubt his premise, even though the "doubters" are people of outstanding credentials. I also found it uninteresting, maybe boring is the more honest word.
As we say in the Creed, he, Jesus, arose from the dead. He did not, as the film wrongly states, ascend in spirit and leave his body behind. Why go through the Resurrection only to have bones left behind? That hypothesis, as one writer comments, is "full of holes."
I pray that people who may know little of their faith will read more about the truths of Christianity, and thus have their faith strengthened by this attack on Christian faith.
N.T. Wright has a large book called "Jesus" which answers those who resist the Resurrection accounts in the gospel.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Meeting the Archbishop

Yesterday's Mass with Toronto's new Archbishop Collins and the women and men religious of the Archdiocese was a very nice event. The Sisters of St. Joseph hosted us in their chapel for the Mass and for the reception in the spacious hall beneath chapel. About 500 were in attendance. It was nice to get to meet and see some of the many sisters and religious priests and brothers who serve in this Archdiocese.
I just realized that I used a very specific Catholic term when I wrote "religious."
That word refers to men and women who are consecrated to God by means of vows, from the Latin word "religare" which means to bind. Many priests are religious--that is members of religious orders. Other priests are secular or diocesan--that is, they are not bound to live in common with other priests, nor do they have a vow of poverty. Canon Law which is another name for Church Law stipulates that priests should live simply, but it does not impose a vow of poverty on diocesan priests. Religious also stems from the Latin "regula" which means "rule." That is, each order of monks or Sisters has a rule or regulation to follow which governs their lives. Some older books about Catholicism may mention secular or regular priests: the regulars are the religious who live in community and follow a rule of life according to a particular order's constitutions. That's enough of "class" for the day. Enjoy the week, and for those of us in the northern clime, stay indoors as much as possible, since we have a wind chill warning that advises against going out in subzero weather.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Meeting with the Archbishop

This afternoon many of the Sisters in the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto will have the opportunity to meet with our new Archbishop Thomas Collins. Three of us Daughters of St. Paul met Archbishop Collins at the dinner and reception which followed his installation Mass on January 30. His homily at the Mass was clear and challenging in the sense that he invited Catholics to be engaged with society. He seems very outgoing and approachable.
I will let you know how the meeting went in my next blog.
Sister Hosea and I are somewhat involved in the Archdiocese as we are members of a planning team. The team is preparing for the 2008 North American Catholic Communicators Convocation. It will be held in Toronto in May of 2008. It is good to know the lay people and clergy involved in using media to get out the Good Word. I am impressed at how well our meeting went, being it was the first time for some of us to have met.