Yours truly served Mass at this 1930s altar countless times as boy at the church of the Nativity in Saint Paul, Minn. Many memories of serving Benediction here. And my First Holy Communion. May God be praised.
In her high destiny under God to stand before the people of the earth as a shining example of unselfish devotion to the ideals that have, under God, made us a great nation; the Christian ideal of liberty in harmonious unity, builded of respect for God's image in man and every man's right to life, liberty and happiness.
I believe in America:
For the blood in the veins of America, our heart's blood comes from the wounds of many peoples, chaliced in humanity's name upon the altar of liberty.
I believe in America:
Not because of the tremendous resources of her fields and mountains, rivers and lakes, valleys and plains, but rather because America has been and must ever continue to be, under God, the Beacon of Liberty, the Hope of the Oppressed, the Refuge of the Weak, the Pledge and the Proof that humanity can live in mutual respect based on the law of God, voiced through the conscience of man, and in mutual esteem, based on the responsibility of democratic life.
Lastly, I believe in America:
Because I believe in God and God's Providence that has been over us from the earliest days of our beginnings. Believing in God, I am confident both of His merciful forgiveness of our national sins and His awareness of our national virtues. Believing in God's Providence, I am confident of our high resolve that this fair land, the visible setting of the vast, immaterial soul of the American nation, shall never lose its initial consecration to the common Fatherhood of God, so that we and our children's children shall live in peace and harmony among ourselves and with our neighbors. In this America, I believe; for this is America, I live; for this America, I and millions of others stand ready to die.
"Of what little importance the individual is to some people was brought home to me one day when I asked a man why some of the white people in Africa do not seem to like the missionaries. He said: 'Because the priests teach the natives that in God's sight all men are created equal and that every man has an immortal soul to save.' If I were looking for a reason for being disliked, I would not want a more glorious one."
This photo was taken 80 years ago today (18 August 1936). Moments later, the man in the photo was shot to death. In his eyes, you can see a foretaste of eternity. A peace comes upon the soul in the moment of martyrdom.
Father Martín Martínez Pascual was 25 (born in 1910),
and had been a priest for 14 months. He belonged to a community of
priests dedicated to promoting vocations and praying for priests, and
had recently been appointed as a seminary professor and spiritual
director. He was on vacation at his family home when the Spanish Civil
War broke out, and the Republican militia took control of the area.
They were virulently anti-Catholic and anti-clerical and routinely
rounded up priests and religious for execution.
Father Martín took the
Blessed Sacrament from the parish church and went into hiding on a
friend's property, first in a barn and later in a cave.
On the evening of 17 August, the militia seized Father Martín's father
and demanded that he tell them where his son was hiding. Mr Martínez
sent a message to Father Martín, telling him not to worry about him, and
to get as far away as possible. Instead, Father Martín turned himself
in. He was thrown into prison with other priests from the area, and
spent the little time they had together giving them the Holy Eucharist
for the last time.
The priests were loaded on to a truck and
taken to a local cemetery outside of town. The German photographer Hans
Gutmann was documenting the progress of the militia, and took this photo of Father Martín.
The militia told him to turn around for his
execution; he responded that he wanted to face them, because he would be
praying for them, that God would forgive the insane thing they were
about to do. As they took aim, Father Martín's last words were, "¡Viva
Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!).
Father Martín was
beatified as a martyr in 1995, and is one of more than a thousand
martyrs from the Spanish Civil War beatified to date. Official reports
identify a total of 6,832 clerical and religious martyrs (13 bishops;
4,172 diocesan priests and seminarians; 2,364 monks and friars; and 283
The expression on Father Martín's face --- so full of
gentleness, patience and love, without a trace of anger towards his
captors or fear of what was about to take place --- is a powerful
witness to the working of grace and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Suppose we could maintain, amid the little trials and inconveniences of
daily life, just a portion of the attitude that Father Martín had in the
face of his impending death.
What does he know that we need to learn? What did he see at that moment, and how can we find it?
On August 1, 1978 Papa Montini came here for a Mass in memory of his friend and mentor, Cardinal Pizzardo, who passed away in 1970. Pizzardo was the cardinal Montini had voted for in the Conclave of 1963. Take note that Montini did not cast his vote for a "liberal." Pizzardo was considered a "conservative."
Here is an example of a very poorly executed church exterior: SAMPLE.
Pray for a return to Catholic sensibilities. These new churches are falling way below the grade (and are no doubt highly over priced).
I used to avoid going to the Palace of the Vicariate because of the brochures displayed, begging for money, depicting the abysmal new churches planned for Rome and the city environs.
Italy was profoundly touched by the 1960s cultural revolution. Modern Italians are copycats. This instinct is shown most clearly in their architects who continue to copy the worst of pagan north European architecture from the past (ostensibly from the future), instead of the best of their own from the past and present.
The criteria for Catholic church design must be made clear by the Rome Vicariate: Catholics are to test the validity of an architectural design by the bonum, verum, et pulchrum.
Truth demands that the exterior of a church building clearly reflects the purpose for which it was constructed; beauty and goodness are achieved by following that classical style so familiar and accepted by the Church, the ages and human sensibility.
Two of my favorite. Having lunch with them in a convent outside Rome overlooking the sea was a real highlight of my adventures in Italy. These sweet nuns have peace of soul. Madre Vincenza e Suor Margherita.