Celebrating Labourers Yesterday, all around Rome people were leaving early (a member of the CDW was heading for Turin to view the Shroud and attend the Holy Father's Mass on Sunday, then going on to Ars for a Year-of-the-Priest devotional exercise) or letting you know that they'd be closed "domani per la festa" (tomorrow).
A few groused that it was too bad it didn't fall on a Thursday, Friday, Monday or Tuesday so that "si puo fare il ponte" ("one can build a bridge", i.e. have a very long weekend.
Today is May Day, chosen by international workers day in Europe and widely elsewhere to symbolize solidarity among the working class (our "Labour Day", the first weekend in September in the USA and Canada retains some tone of conflict, but mostly emphasizes the contribution to society of workers).
To them all, the Church offers the example of St. Joseph the Worker (Pope John Paul II also developed a teaching on Jesus the Worker in his encyclical Laborem exercens).
Today's feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in order to Christianize the concept of labor and give to all workmen a model and a protector. By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers.
"Workmen and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares"(Leo XIII).
"May Day" has long been dedicated to labor and the working man. It falls on the first day of the month that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that this feast would accentuate the dignity of labor and would bring a spiritual dimension to labor unions.
It is eminently fitting that St. Joseph, a working man who became the foster-father of Christ and patron of the universal Church, should be honored on this day.
The texts of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours provide a catechetical synthesis of the significance of human labor seen in the light of faith. The Opening Prayer states that God, the creator and ruler of the universe, has called men and women in every age to develop and use their talents for the good of others.
The Office of Readings, taken from the document of the Second Vatican Council on the Church in the modern world, develops this idea. In every type of labor we are obeying the command of God given in Genesis 2:15 and repeated in the responsory for the Office of Readings.
The responsory for the Canticle of Zechariah says that "St. Joseph faithfully practiced the carpenter's trade. He is a shining example for all workers." Then, in the second part of the Opening Prayer, we ask that we may do the work that God has asked of us and come to the rewards he has promised.
In the Prayer after Communion we ask: "May our lives manifest your love; may we rejoice for ever in your peace."
The liturgy for this feast vindicates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. In many of the documents issued by Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II, reference is made to the Christian spirit that should permeate one's work, after the example of St. Joseph.
In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work done in caring for the family. The Office of Readings contains an excerpt from the Vatican II document on the modern world: "Where men and women, in the course of gaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, offer appropriate service to society, they can be confident that their personal efforts promote the work of the Creator, confer benefits on their fellowmen, and help to realize God's plan in history" (no. 34). — Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi
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It's a Small World -- S+L in Rome: Juventus and the Archbishop of Ottawa… in Turin
From Alicia Ambrosio's entry on the saltandlighttv.org/blog entry on our meeting in Turin; she had come up the evening before (Monday) to hear Fr. Timothy Verdon's presentation on the Shroud, which she reported on earlier in a news story. Then she picks up our story line:
... On Tuesday morning, I proceeded to the Press Office for the Shroud exhibit, got my press pass and set up my laptop to check e-mail and look up a couple of phone numbers. On the desk next to me I set down my Turin travel guide. One of the local journalists sat down close by and said, “I guess you’re not from here if you’ve got that book with you.”
I gave my large, “Pleased to meet you” grin and said, “No, I’m from Canada”
“Ah, Canada. So you’re here for the Archbishop of Ottawa?”
I blinked, “What?”
“The Archbishop of Ottawa is visiting the Shroud at 2:15,” the Torinese journalist said.
I walked over to the whiteboard by the door that listed the VIPs visiting the Shroud that day and sure enough, right under the line that read, “Gioccatori Juventus” (Juventus players) was a line that read:
“2:15 Arch. Prendergast, Ottawa (Canada) ”
I made a few inquiries and was told to be in front of the Cathedral at 2:15. The press office officials would bring the Archbishop to us after his visit so we could interview him.
I had lunch, (a local journalist led me to his trusted neighbourhood food and drink place and entrusted me to the culinary care of the establishment’s owner). I finished writing my article for CNS based on an interview done the night before, and made my way to the Cathedral. I walked up to an official from the press office and asked, “Is Archbishop Prendergast here yet?”
The Italian official looked concerned.
“No. They were supposed to call me when he arrives to let us know if he’d like to do the full exhibit course or the short route, but nobody has called.”
So I stood and waited with my cameraman and a couple of other Italian journalists. Five minutes went by, then ten. The press office official called the protocol office and was told nobody had heard from or seen the Archbishop.
Looking concerned the press office gentleman asked me, “Do you know what he looks like?”
“Yes I do,” I answered.
“Come with me, we’re going to go look for him,” he said.
I was lead through the Shroud exhibit in reverse direction, keeping my eyes peeled for Archbishop Prendergast.
All of Novara had invaded the exhibit, but there was no sign of the Archbishop.
At the entrance to the exhibit we got a phone call. One of people from the protocol department found Archbishop Prendergast and promptly led him to a quiet piazza for our interview. When I got to the piazza, the Archbishop was in the middle of a scrum of Italian journalists asking him a slew of questions and he was doing quite well keeping up with them. Once the Italians had their story, including the photo of the Archbishop signing a petition of solidarity with the Holy Father started by a Turin newspaper, I said in English, “Archbishop Prendergast, I’m from Salt + Light Television.”
“AH!! Yes the Rome correspondent. I’ve read the S+L blog. I knew you were here!”
Which made me feel guilty for not following Archbishop Prendergast’s blog more regularly myself. If the archbishop can follow my blog, I can certainly find time to follow his.
He graciously granted me an interview for Perspectives, and reminded me that Turin is not only home to the Holy Shroud but also Pier Giorgio Frassati’s final resting place. In fact, I had passed in front of the chapel that houses his remains on my way up to see the Shroud.
We wrapped up the interview and said goodbye, with Archbishop Prendergast mentioning he was leaving that afternoon on the Frecciarossa (high speed) train. “Me too!” I said. It turned out were going to be on the same train. My CNS colleague blurted out “Hey, come visit us. We’re in car seven!”
Lo and behold somewhere around the stop for Florence, as my CNS colleagues and I were chatting away, Archbishop Prendergast came to visit, announcing, “Gee, it’s purgatory back there in our car… the air conditioning isn’t working!”
I join Alicia and CNS photographer Paul to cool down in their air-conditioned Trenitalia car
We all groaned knowingly. Failed air conditioning is an ailment common to Italian trains, even the newest ones. So Archbishop Prendergast and Msgr. Jose Bettencourt, formerly in Ottawa, now with the Vatican Secretariat of State, came to join us in our nice, climate controlled train car. It made for pleasant ride from Florence to Rome’s Termini station.
The next day in the office the CNS photographer who had been on the trip to Turin, commented, “Wow. He’s amazing! I wish he’d come to sit with us earlier!”
Canadian clergy, wowing the world, one train ride at at time.
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TURIN prepares to Welcome BENEDICT XVI's Visit to the SHROUD
Turin Welcomes You to the Feast
Tomorrow, the Holy Father arrives in Turin to reverence the Holy Shroud. He will celebrate Mass in St. Charles Square, named in honour of St. Charles Borromeo who in a way is responsible for the Shroud being in Turin.
Converted on the death of his brother and henceforth dedicated to seeking holiness for himself and his people of the Archdiocese of Milan, he wished to venerate the Shroud in Chambry, France and set out on foot to do so. In order to spare him the full journey, delegates brought it to Turin where it remained (many historical details are skipped over in this summary).
Turin is the Piedmont capital and was the seat of the Kingdom of Savoy. The grounds around the cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the rest of the churches in the city centre are all marked by the Shroud's presence and devotion to the Passion.
The Shrine Church of the Consolata (the Blessed Mother Comforted)
Msgr. Bettencourt and I arrived at 11 on the train and found our way to the cathedral, meeting the rector who said that the only Mass each day in the cathedral during the period of the exposition is in the early morning and pointed us to the Shrine of the Blessed Mother Consolata (consoled). There I was invited to preside a concelebrated Mass for pilgrims from Modena: they sang with gusto and devotion.
After a quick lunch, we headed for the Shroud's walkway and were deeply touced by the devotion of the pilgrims, especially after a DVD presentation of what we see on the Shroud reduced all to silence.
In silence after a striking DVD presentation, pilgrims prepare to view the Shroud
Human suffering is poignant and the suffering of Christ for us and our sins, to set us free and to bring us to the Father is immensely consoling. That, after all else that marked this marvellous day is the grace I treasure.