Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pilgrimage Observation #1: Side Altars Should Be Used!

I like side altars. I like celebrating Mass at side altars. I rather got used to it on my pilgrimages to Rome. One sad thing about Fatima and Lourdes is that the side altars in the older basilicas are unused. It seems that one must either pre-schedule one of the modern little chapels or be forced to con-celebrate. (I am not a big fan of con-celebration unless I know the principal celebrant well. Too often have I been an accidental accessory to liturgical abuse.) If there are side-altars, they should be available for use for Mass not as stands for potted plants.

Pilgrimage Stop #1: Fatima

Our first stop (not counting Ohare, Charles De Gaul, and Lisbon airports) was Fatima. What an amazing place. I celebrated our first Mass at the main altar in the old (real) basilica where the three visionaries are buried. All the important sites are within walking distance. My favorite is the hill which has the outdoor Stations of the Cross and the site of the apparition of the Angel of Peace. We also visited the homes of the visionaries. I have to say that while I liked all the places we visited, this one was my favorite. (I picked up some acorns there and will try to grow some Fatima oaks for the parish next year.) A wonderful place to pray!

The new basilica isn't as bad as I feared, but it does give the impression of being an oil drum. It is rather sad. It is made of beautiful materials but is stark and rather ugly. (In many ways it reminds me of the LA cathedral.) The crucifix above the altar is one of the ugliest things I have every seen. The giant 'crucifix' outside looks like someone crucified the AOL guy. (I will post pictures when I get them from fellow pilgrims. I don't like carrying a camera when I travel.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Ultimate Reason To Vote For McCain.

While stuck in Charles De Gaul Airport on a 5 hour layover, I discovered a shrine to the Obamantion of desolation in the bookstore. The French REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like Barry. They REALLY want us to elect him. One over ridding principle of my life has long been, do exactly the opposite of what the French want. So, Vote for McCain and piss-off a Frog.

Back, With Jetlag, But Still Back.

Sorry for the long absence, but I only had a week back before my two weeks on the pilgrimage and during that week I was cramming for our first public celebration of the Mass according the the extraordinary rite. (It went well.) The pilgrimage went well. (I really like Portugal, Spain, and Crotia--France was semi-tolerable.) The journey back was interesting. We left Zagreb at 5:00 am local, 5 hour layover in Paris, 7 hours in a cramped Air France seat (they hate tall people), 5 hours in Chicago, and arrived in SLC at 11:00 pm. I am still semi-conscious.

I will be doing several posts on the pilgrimage, but here are some initial observations:

--Glow-in-the-dark Statues increase in tackiness in direct proportion to their size. (They had a four foot one at a store in Fatima.)
--Liturgical vandalism hit France especially hard. (No wonder the SSPX is so strong there.)
--All America should do penance for exporting gangsta 'culture' to the rest of the world, especially graffiti.
--Side chapels should be used.
--Tacky vestments are not limited to the US.
--Real men use soap, not shower gel.
--Humming "Deutchland Uber Alles" while in France is amazingly therapeutic.
--When did Colin Powell become such a weenie?