Tag Archives: Benedict XVI

swaddled in a kaffiyeh

24 May

A local Nativity scene for the Papal Mass

artwork of Bethlehem for teh Pope's visit

BETHLEHEM – A work of art of 14 meters long by 6 meters wide. Nothing is too big or too good to welcome the Holy Father. Created ​​by a Palestinian artist, the figurative art piece, full of symbols, will be positioned as a backdrop behind the altar for the Papal Mass. A nativity scene reinterpreted with many local elements. 

The stable mentioned in the Gospel is represented by a tent, a symbol of all the many refugees from the region who, like Christ, are reduced to a miserable condition. It is also symbolic of the Incarnation of God who came “pitching his tent among us” (John 1:14). 

The shepherds are not the only figures. The three popes who visited the Holy Land, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are there to worship the Child, followed by Doves of Peace. Pope Francis, who will preside over the Mass in front of the art work, is indirectly represented by his patron saint and namesake, Francis of Assisi, friend of the poor, but also the protector of the Holy Places. 

Two religious sisters are also shown on the right, each side of St. Francis: the Carmelite Sister Mariam of Bethlehem, and Sister Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas, founder of the Sisters of the Rosary (the first Palestinian congregation) who was born in Jerusalem but spent most of her life in Bethlehem. They are two locals of the nineteenth century beatified in recent years. 

Saint Joseph is wearing a black and white kaffiyeh, local traditional headdress that has become a Palestinian emblem. This is also used to swaddle the Child Jesus in his manger. 

In the background, the city of Bethlehem and the hills of the Judean desert. 

Rich in symbols, intended as such by the artist, a Palestinian native of Bethlehem, Robert Jakaman, who studied art in Italy. 

by Myriam Ambroselli, Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem website, posted on May 20, 2014

Sede Vacante

4 Mar

Pope-web_this-440x276

Some of us like to act like we’re smart. So, we use Latin phrases, like saying “sede vacante” to mean that there is no Pope. Literally, it means “the seat being vacant.” There is no one who sits in the Pope’s seat. There is no one who has the authority of the Pope, who exercises the role of the Pope, who holds the office of the Pope, who does the ministry of the Pope. You got it. There is no Pope.

sede_vacante_1930515

We are popeless, but not hopeless. Benedict XVI has gotten up from the chair and has left it empty. But soon someone else will sit in that chair. The fact that there is no Pope makes for good conversation. The election of a new Pope provides entertainment. But we do not experience serious grief or anxiety over “the seat being vacant.” The sede vacante of the Pope doesn’t really immediately and intimately affect our lives.

What grieves us more are the empty seats in our own personal lives that will never be filled. There is that empty seat at the Thanksgiving table, because that was dad’s chair, and he is no longer with us. You sit in your pew at Mass on Sunday morning with an empty space next to you, because that was where mom sat, until she left you. There is an empty stool at the breakfast counter. There is the empty seat on the passenger’s side of the car. There is an empty chair at “our” table in our favorite restaurant.

Sure, we pray for our church, for the election of a new pope. But that prayer will be answered, and we will stop praying it. We will get a new Pope.

During the “sede vacante” it seems right and good and just to also acknowledge and reverence the empty chairs, the empty seats, the empty places in our own personal lives or in the lives of those who will never recover from the loss.

EmptyChair

Non Habemus Papam: We do not have a Pope

1 Mar

The wheels lifted off the ground at the Vatican heliport. It was a moment to be recorded and remembered.

Notice “Gorgeous George,” the Pope’s secretary, wiping away tears at 1:16.

The real drama begins at 12:36 as the camera focusses on the front wheels of the helicopter. It is not until 14:00 that they inch their way off the ground, to carry the Pope into history. 

Have you seen the doors slamming shut and the Swiss guard leaving their post? It was yesterday’s post. It was the scene that I was waiting to see, thinking that the moment would be striking and dramatic. I was not disappointed. 

The door slams shut on the Papacy of Benedict XVI

28 Feb

At 8:00 p.m. Italy time (and 2:00 p.m. Milford time) the doors of Castel Gandolfo, the summer home of the Pope,  slammed shut. As the bells chimed eight, His Holiness Benedict XVI, who arrived there two hours earlier, was no longer Pope. The Swiss Guard, whose sole mission is to guard the Pope, left their post and returned to the Vatican. There is no Pope.

Two Hours before Mass

20 Aug

In every Mass we pray for three living human beings by name.

After calling forth a profession of faith from Simon Peter, Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church.” He did not say, “On this rock you will build your church.” He said, “On this rock I will build my church.” It is the Lord’s church. He will build it. And He will protect it and preserve it.

In order to build, protect and preserve His church, Jesus entrusted to Peter, the chief apostle, and to his successors, the Popes, we believe, the keys to the kingdom, the power to loose and bind, and the authority to speak in matters of faith and morals.

It is the Lord’s church. He will take care of it.

Spiritual writers often mention a humble and humorous prayer that Pope John XXIII said when he was going to bed, no doubt feeling tired from the work of the day and overwhelmed by what remained to be done, “Well, Lord, it’s your church. You take care of it. I’m going to bed.”

With that same humility and trust, parents sending their children off to school, especially those sending their child off to college, pray a similar prayer, “Lord, I have taken care of your children that you have entrusted to me, trying my best to teach them by word, discipline and example. As I send them off, they will no longer be under my watchful eye, and will be out of the reach of my control, my influence and my protection. So, I give them back to you. They are your children. You take care of them.”

Oh, the three names, we mention at every Mass: Benedict, Dennis and Joseph. When we do that, we are reminding ourselves that we are a part of something bigger than us and our gathering, we are being grateful that the Lord is protecting and preserving His Church, and we are praying for our pope and our bishops who have a unique role and responsibility in the Lord’s church, of which we are a part. Perhaps our prayer for them, if nothing else, will help them sleep better.