Guidebooks aren’t dead–and why you should consider using one

The importance of Guidebooks

 It was recently revealed that the venerable “Frommer’s” travel guides were purchased by Google and soon thereafter it was announced that they would discontinue publishing the travel guides in book form. 

 In the age of the internet, many people get their information from websites such as ours.  That is a good thing since there is such a wide range of sites out there, but we caution against relying on websites alone (even this one).

For starters, guide books are a great planning tool before you set out on your travels.  The better ones are generally written from first-hand experience.  And they often go in to more detail than general travel websites.

 

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A Martyr Beatified in Oklahoma City

On September 23. 2017 the first U.S.-born Martyr was beatified:  Father Stanley Rother, of the Diocese of Oklahoma City.

An Oklahoma farm boy, he fit in well with the oppressed Catholic peasants of Guatemala during the chaotic war fought in the late 1970’s and 80’s, when the dicatorship killed thousands of Catholics and persecuted the Church.

Refusing to abandon his parish, he was murdered in the sacristy…..not crying out so as not to put any of his flock in danger of execution as well.

His body was returned to Oklahoma City (minus his heart, which stayed in Guatemala) and is buried here in Oklahoma City.  Among the 14,000 people attending his Beatification were members of his family as well as some from the mission in Guatemala that he served and loved.

You can find out more about his life and his tomb in Oklahoma City by going to our page here.

Death of Noted Mariologist Father Rene Laurentin

 

Fr. Rene Laurentin
Fr. Rene Laurentin

Fr. Rene Laurentin was a leading Mariologist and author of over 150 books and thousands of articles regarding Marian apparitions, such as Lourdes,  Lisieux and many others.  He died on September 10, 2017 at the age of 99.

He wrote about many modern mystics such as St. Therese of Liseux, Maria Valtorta (“poem of the Man God”), Saint Bernadette and many, many more.

More recent works include his 1995 book “An Appeal from Mary in Argentina”, about the approved apparitions in San Nicolas, Argentina.

Thinking of a Destination Wedding? Here is some great advice for you.

According to some statistics, destination weddings are approaching 25% of all weddings.  Great news for wedding planners no doubt, but how about you?  

With all the drama that goes in to arranging a wedding in your home town, how much more complicated ( and stressful! ) is it to plan one in another city, or even another country?  And, of course the requirements for a Catholic wedding go well beyond just a quick trip to the nearest church.

Well fortunately, it can be done, but you need to be sure you know the pluses and minuses of destination weddings.  

We have added a series of pages to help you plan a Catholic destination wedding. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

 

 

Headed for Rome? You don’t need tickets to attend Papal Audience in August

Normally, you need to have tickets (free) to attend the weekly Papal Audience held almost every Wednesday in Rome.  There is an exception for the entire month of August every year, when no tickets are issued. Therefore you DO NOT NEED a ticket to attend the audience.

It is suggested that you just go to the audience early. It will probably be in the Paul VI Audience Hall at 9.30 or 10 AM. But you should plan to get there by 7 AM and stand in line. You will have free access.

For this year, tickets will be issued beginning in September, with the exception of Sept 13, 2017, when the Pope will be visiting Colombia.  

To get tickets for the weekly Papal audience click here.  Tickets can also be arranged through Saint Patrick’s Church in Rome ( the American Community parish in Rome) by clicking here.

 

Catholic American Parish in Rome has a New Home

 

For many years, Americans visiting or living in Rome, have attended Mass in English at the Church of Santa Susanna. The church has served as the national parish for U.S. residents of Rome since 1921, when the church was assigned to the care of the Paulist Fathers.  

Due to problems discovered in June 2013 (wood items falling from the ceiling, among other things), the Church regrettably had to be closed to the public; however, alternative arrangements for Mass were made at two Roman Churches nearby.

Saint Patrick's will be the new home
Saint Patrick’s will be the new home

Now, it has been announced by the Rector, Rev. Gregory S. Apparcel, that the parish has found a new permanent home.  It will be located in Saint Patrick’s Church in Rome, not far from the U.S. Embassy. Daily Mass in English will begin on August 1, 2017.  There is also a vigil Mass on Saturdays and two Masses on Sundays, all in English.

Check our web page for more details concerning the new home for the American parish in Rome, including Mass times, special events, and more.

What is YOUR “Benedict Option” ?

Author Rod Dreher, is his book “The Benedict Option” argues that the best way to fight the growing secularism and hostility to Christianity that most of us see in our home countries is to go back to the example of Saint Benedict of Nursia.  

Saint Benedict of Nursia, looking at the moral collapse following the fall of Rome in the 6th Century, chose to retreat from the world and build communities based on the order and stability that Christianity offered.  The existence of these communities is credited with saving Christianity and Western civilization.

Dreher points out that watered-down Christianity, a secular culture that is hostile to Christian values and general apathy of Christians themselves, make it advisable….maybe even necessary….that we build our own separate communities.

It is certainly easy to get discouraged and feel that you are swimming against the tide….such as the Charlie Gard case, where the government dictates what care parents can give their child.  Or where Catholic doctors and nurses are obliged to violate their consciences in order to practice their profession.  Or sidewalk counselors are threatened with arrest.  Or even some of our own clerics who have strayed from the teachings of the Church.

However, something we may have forgotten was that Christianity was never meant to be easy, and unfortunately, surface Christianity has become too easy in many places.  No one stops you from attending Mass or practicing your faith….until you take it out of the church building.  But, of course, the building is not the Church, we as Catholic Christians are the Church.  

What is often missing, though is a sense of community.  In fact, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook has taken the place of churches in providing a sense of community, and sadly, he is probably correct in many cases.  

Although retreating to a monastery might appeal to some (and they may even feel called to it), it is not practical for most of us.  We have jobs, children (or grandchildren) to raise, responsibilities that keep us in the world around us.  And, of course, we are called to be “a light unto the world” rather than withdraw from it.

Archbishop Charles J. Caput has written a similar book on the subject, “Strangers in a Strange Land”, as shown here on the left.  

We highly recommend it.

And in reality, what Dreher is proposing in his book is similar:  rather than hide out in a monastery in the forest, we remain in the world, but withdraw from those things which are so harmful to our spiritual life.  

 

Some simple things you can do that can be your own Benedict Option:

 †    Turn off the TV and read a book.  

 †     Start a prayer group

 †     Plan a weekly social event with other like-minded Catholics.  

Thus, we become our own community, or “Benedict Option”.

So how does all of this relate to travel?  We suggest you go on a pilgrimage or retreat.  Traveling to a local shrine, taking a pilgrimage, whether near or far away, can be a way to help renew our faith and to be in community with fellow Catholics.  

There are many opportunities…a retreat center nearby, a group pilgrimage to various shrines, or just a personal pilgrimage as shown on our blog.

Being around other Catholics offers a chance to re-charge your batteries…..not so much in the physical sense but in the spiritual sense.  You realize that you are not alone in the struggle. And, of course, if you travel to on a pilgrimage you will be with other Catholics, participate in Mass in other cultures, see just how universal the Catholic Church really is, and how you fit in to this world-wide community.  

And that, really, is what “The Benedict Option” is all about.

 

 

Exciting new Danube River Cruise for Catholics

A rapidly growing segment of the cruise industry has been river cruises, especially in Europe. They offer much smaller ships, dock right in the heart of town, almost everything is included in the price including shore excursions, drinks, gourmet meals and many other items that have become extra cost on most ocean cruises.

Unfortunately, there were hardly any that offered a priest on board….until now.  

Select International Tours, an award-winning tour operator, is offering a Danube River cruise in June 2018, with Father Leo Patalinghug (Host of EWTN “Grace before Meals”) as spiritual director and Gus and Michelle Lloyd (radio hosts of “Seize the Day” on Sirius XM).  

You can get a $100 discount when you register using code CTguide.  This cruise will fill up fast, the ship only hold 180 passengers, so don’t wait too long to sign up.  

Click here for details.

 

Tom & Sue Final day of their 33 day pilgrimage to Spain & Poland

Hello, Hi, Good morning, Good evening (We miss dzein dobry)

Well, we’re home and the trip to get here was just long and depressing. Did we ever tell you we love Poland? The hotel we stayed at in Paris worked out and we got out the door before 6:30 A.M. …, 12:30 AM our time. We took the 6:30 shuttle to the airport and were alone in the van. The driver took us right to our gate door entry, he was a really nice kid, and we checked in and were in the Admirals Lounge before 7:30. It was great and we relaxed, sent a trip report out and had a lovely breakfast.

The long flight home
The long flight home

Our flight left on time, but we were 13th in line and when we finally took off there were 25 other planes behind us. Charles de Gaulle Airport … UGH. They changed the plane we were supposed to fly on, and it was not as comfortable as the 777 that it was supposed to be, but it was fine. We made New York on time and transferred our luggage and had about and 1 ½ hours before our flight to Miami. Again, we left on time and we were only 11th in line this time … I love small airports.

We arrived in Miami at 8:30 PM and it took over an hour to get our rental car, but we tried to remain calm and finally we got on the road to Palm Beaches and got home round 11:30 PM, a 24 hour day anyway you look at it. No unpacking … only a glass of wine and into bed and that’s all I remember.

We woke up around 7:00 AM, had coffee and went to Mass at Miracle House Chapel. After Mass, it was home and Susan started to unpack and I went to the store for some groceries and sticker shock ($$$$$$) after being in Poland.

We couldn’t make 8:00 PM that night and we were up on Sunday at 6:00 Am and went the 8:45 Mass at the Cathedral, since we were Eucharistic Ministers this week. It was so nice to see so many of our Cathedral “Family” and we spent a lot of time after Mass with them.

We went home and Susan continued to re-organize us. I went to pick up a few more things (we are taking this easy). Bed time came again early around 7:30 PM but we did sleep until 7 AM and jet lag has finally gone away.

We hope that you all have enjoyed this Pilgrimage. It was our 9th and, by far the best. It was the least aggressive we have done, as the old bodies become less resilient.

Editor’s note:  Their idea of “less aggressive” is pretty aggressive by our standards…they are an inspiration to us.

Our family in Spain are always a must to be with and we never seem to have enough time with them. They are loving and wonderful. Poland, especially Krakow, has become another home for us and it’s because of our beloved Saint John Paul II, the Divine Mercy Shrine, Fr. Tomasz, the Cardinal and all the Sisters we have become so fond of. Everywhere we have gone over the years have been experiences we will never forget.

Although we have, unfortunately, returned to reality, we have made a decision to continue our daily lives “on Pilgrimage” as we have for the past month and we will continue to pray for all the intentions we were blessed to be entrusted with by all of you. We already look forward to our next adventure in “2018” – “Si Dios Quiere”!

God Bless

Love

Susan & Tom

Exaltation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, in this tragic hour of the world’s history, we entrust and consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart, our only refuge, our hope, our salvation. Have pity on this world, torn by the most terrible conflicts, burning with the fires of hate, victim of its own sins. May your heart be moved at the sight of so much ruin, pain and sorrow.

We consecrate to your maternal heart our persons, our families, our country and the whole of humanity. Protect and save us!

O Heart of Mary, source of true love, fill our selfish hearts with divine charity and with that true brotherly love without which there can never be peace. Grant that men and nations may understand and fulfill the precept of your Divine Son, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, in order that true peace may be firmly established in the Justice and Truth of Christ.
Amen.

Tom & Sue Final Day in Krakow then on to Paris

Bon jour:

Yes we are in Paris, well almost, I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would catch up on our final day in Krakow.  By the way Susan is sleeping and I envy her.  5  AM came early again and today it wasn’t easy getting out of bed, less than 5 hours sleep doesn’t cut it but we had to see our friend once more before we leave and what better way than at his morning mass for the Sisters.

Sue with Mother Superior
Sue with Mother Superior

We met and walked about 15 minutes to a non descript building and Fr. Tomasz rang the bell and we were buzzed in, we put our jackets in another room and met the Mother Superior of the order.  She was so sweet and young for such an important position.

They directed us into the chapel and Fr. Tomasz said, “I think you will fit in the pew” and he was right, I almost fit.  I did manage to sit and stand but I had to get out to kneel in the aisle.  The Sisters were all behind us and I’m sure they found it amusing seeing this big man trying to navigate this tiny pew…..Susan and I did, and so did Father.  We had the precious blood again today and the Sisters sang in Latin, I think Fr. Tomasz told them we didn’t understand Polish but some Latin, yes.  At the prayers of the faithful Father finished with a prayer for our safety on our travels home and told us in English when they finished.

 Before we left Sister gave us prayer cards of their founder who was beautified in 2013. We thanked them and left and we both felt great……being around holy people will do that to you. We walked with our friend to his office and it was hard to say goodbye, but we know we will him again….Si Dios Kyrie.

Made an omlett turned out pretty good
Made an omelet turned out pretty good

We stopped for an extra large cappuccino on the way back to the apartment and between that and the 2 espressos I had this morning, I was flying.  Susan did the final packing and I finished the Day 6 report and got it out, I made breakfast, an omelet with all the stuff left in the fridge, it turned out really good.  We planned to go back to Divine Mercy on our way out but it was after 12 and I had to get Jag back by 1 PM.  I did enjoy the car the gas mileage was super and the pickup and speed, well, you know. But did I ever tell you I really loved that Mercedes 2 years ago?

We checked in for our flight and went outside to enjoy a little more sun and the cool breeze before going thru security. We had a beer and a glass of wine before we got on the plane, since I had a few Zolty left and we left Poland with 50 cents left.  We got stopped at security because I had our water pick in the carry-on and he asked what it was, I wanted to say a gun, but knew better so I tried to explain and he went to the computer and checked it out. We still have the pick, so I guess he found it on-line, maybe he ordered one from Wal-Mart.

 We will be in Paris around 5:30 this evening and our flight is at 11 AM tomorrow morning.  We had to fly to JFK because we left from Paris and one of our business class seats I got with mileage (and they don’t make it easy to use the miles your way).  We have a nice hotel and a room for 3 with large double and a single…..we will see, every large double we have had could only sleep one, that’s why I booked larger rooms with extra beds.

Well back to reality, did I ever tell you I hate Charles de Gaulle……not the guy, the airport.  Their hotel shuttle system leaves something to be desired and we waited over an hour for the shuttle because the first one that came people were pushing and shoving to get in and we were in line first.  The first shall be last, we are trying to keep our pilgrimage peacefulness.

At least the bed was a decent size
At least the bed was a decent size

This hotel was the biggest miss I have made in a long time, this place is away from it all, food,wine  or even a grocery. 

It’s only an overnight so we are roughing it with a pizza……we hope it gets here before we fall asleep.  The beds are comfy and I hope to be in bed soon.

 

 It’s been a long day and even longer with the joys of traveling.  That’s all I care to remember for today. 

PS their vending machines are broken, but the pizza just arrived.  Good night

God bless you all

Love

 Susan & Tom

 

Dear God, today, I offer to you all the suffering I experience, in union with the sufferings of Jesus.  May Your Light and goodness mollify the pain in my being, soothe the sorrow in my heart, and lift the darkness from my mind and weakness from my will.  Amen.