The Oblate Grotto–a weekend favorite in San Antonio, Texas

Oblate GrottoSan Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. and every weekend we get requests on our main website for information regarding the Oblate Grotto in San Antonio.  Many visitors to the city are looking for a place to attend Mass and apparently the Oblate Grotto is one of the most popular.

Read moreThe Oblate Grotto–a weekend favorite in San Antonio, Texas

Vatican Announces Pope Francis’ World Youth Day Schedule

Here is the latest press release from the Vatican Information Service (reprinted with permission):

 Vatican City, 7 May 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 22 to 29 July of this year on the occasion of the 28th World Youth Day (WYD).

Sketch of Pope Francis
A sketch of Pope Francis by Catholic artist Tobin Pilotte

Read moreVatican Announces Pope Francis’ World Youth Day Schedule

WYD 2013 Helpful Sites & Apps

Whether you are traveling with a group or independently, you will get more out of your visit to Brazil if you do a bit of advance planning.  One thing would be to learn a few basic sentences in Portuguese.  Remember, that is the official language of Brazil is Portuguese, not Spanish as in most other South American countries.  A phrase book or phone app would be a wise investment.  At least become familiar with some aspects of the country, emergency contact numbers, etc.  Here are a few basic tips to help you prepare:

  • Emergency phone numbers……medical: 192    fire: 193      police: 197
  • For Mass times and locations try the website Horario da Misa.  It is in Portuguese, so use google translate or some other method.
  • Be sure to check in at the main World Youth Day website..Lots of great info.
  • Follow the Cross app lets you follow the Cross and Icon of the Virgin Mary throughout Brazil. For iphone and ipad click here & for Android users click here.
  • There is also an app for Australians, but we don’t have final information on that yet.

It’s not Fathers Day everywhere

Many countries celebrate the third Sunday in May as Father’s Day but others do not.  Fathers Day originated in the U.S. in the 1920’s as a counter point to Mother’s Day although it did not gain much popularity in the early days.  

Perhaps one of the most notable exceptions is that of Italy.  They celebrate on March 19th, Feast Day of Saint Joseph.  We think this is rather fitting since Saint Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and a great example to fathers everywhere.  

Regardless of where or when, we salute fathers, step-fathers, foster-fathers and God-Fathers everywhere (hope we mentioned all categories).

For an interesting look at how the Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated not only in Italy but around the world click our webpage here.

World Youth Day phone lines now Open

World Youth Day 2013 Logo
World Youth Day 2013

A new phone line is now open for information on World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil.  The phone line is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., but is not toll-free so you will have to pay international phone charges.  Of course if you are attending WYD 2013 and are in Brazil it will not be an international call.    The number to call is (country code 55) + (21) 2122-8050.  Those answering the phones will be able to communicate in Portuguese (the language spoken in Brazil), English and Spanish.

  Click here for all the details.

You can also email them at: contact@rio2013.com.  Emails are answered in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Polish.  Please note that many of the answers you are looking for are on the official World Youth Day website, so they ask that you go there first.

Lourdes Shrine remains partially closed due to flooding

The latest news is that the Shrine is officially closed at the moment.  As of Tuesday most activities, including Masses at the Grotto, had been cancelled due to the the flooding that has taken place this week.  The only Masses were in the upper Basilica of the Shrine.  

The situation has worsened since then and now the Shrine is temporarily closed to pilgrims.

Inspirational New Catholic Documentary

Be part of this exciting event!  A new film is set to be released this fall outlining the life of Brother Joseph Zoetti, a humble servant of the Lord and his creation of  over 125 life-like models of various shrines and holy sites throughout the world. This is nothing short of miraculous considering that some of the materials used came from a train derailment that “just happened” to be nearby and provided him with a source of crushed marble. And he did all this in his spare time during a tumultuous era in the deep South of the U.S. which had a tiny Catholic population.

Owen Reid who plays a young Brother Joseph
Here you see Owen Reid, who plays a young Brother Joseph, practicing horse back riding before shooting a scene in Franklin, Tenn.

The documentary entitled “Brother Joseph and the Grotto” tells his story from the time his mother died, he emigrated to the U.S., served in many humble ways and created on the country’s most unique attractions.  It includes voluminous archival materials, key interviews, stylized re-enactments and storybook illustrations.  

A truly uplifting movie for our times,   it is a powerful testament to this humble little hunchback who did so much with so little up until the time of his death in 1961.

Head Abbot Cletus Meagher and Producer Carol Ann Vaughan
Producer Carol Ann Vaughn Cross and Abbot Cletus Meagher of Saint Bernard Abbey review archival materials

The film makers are looking for supporters to help make its release an even greater success by contributing in small or large amounts.  Funds will help pay for rare archival footage (like the only known motion-picture footage of Brother Joseph, captured in a Paramount Pictures newsreel and unseen for 70 years) and post-production services (like color grading) to deliver as polished a final product as possible.  Their goals are modest, only $10,000, of which almost one third has already been raised.  By contributing you can become a part of the New Evangelization and possibly even get your name mentioned in the film credits!

We encourage you to visit the following link to find out about their efforts and to help in any way possible.  

Click here to learn how you can be involved.

Check out the press release for more information about the film.

If you ever have the opportunity we encourage you to visit the Grotto.  You can learn more about the Grotto by clicking this link on our main website.

Summer Organ Recitals at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

During the months of July and August the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. will be offering their Summer Organ Recital Series. Performances are  Sundays, July through August, at 6:00 p.m. in the Crypt Church. Admission is free although there is a goodwill offering taken.  Here are the details of each performance at the Basilica and those who are performing.

July 7            Michael Lodico        St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square

July 14         Peter Latona   Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

July 21        Timothy Duhr     Holy Trinity Parish, Georgetown

July 28       Benjamin Straley     Washington National Cathedral

August 4  Russell Weismann  Basilica of the Nat’l Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

August 11  Josh Stattford   Saint Paul Parish, K Street & Saint John the Beloved, McLean

August 18        Adam Detzner     Stanford University

 August 25  Benjamin LaPrairie    Basilica of the Nat’l Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

 

 

Relics of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati arrive at WYD 2013

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati holding cigarIn a time when young people are under attack from so many secular sources, Blessed Pier Giorgio is truly a man for our times. He showed that a Christian can be fun-loving and devout at the same time.  Born to a wealthy family, he loved to ski, smoked cigars and clown around just as most young people.  His sense of humor was well-known and he loved to pray practical jokes.  At the same time he let all his actions be guided by his Catholic faith.  

But he was best known for his efforts at social justice and service to the poor that he exhibited throughout his short life—he died July 4, 1925 at the age of 24 from Polio.  In 1981 his body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. In 1989 Pope John Paul II traveled to visit his tomb at the family plot in Pollone, Italy before it was moved to the Cathedral in Turin.  And it was Pope John Paul II who Beatified him in 1990.  

Pope Francis to celebrate Mass at the Jesuit Church in Rome July 31st

According to Vatican sources, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Gesu (home Church of the Jesuits) in Rome on July 31. This is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order.  Pope Francis will celebrate the closing Mass of World Youth day in Brazil on Sunday July 28th and is due back from World Youth Day on Monday, July 29.   We do not have the details of the Mass yet (the time or whether it is open to the public) but will try to find out in the next few days.

If you are in Rome, whether this July 30th or any other time, we encourage you to visit the Gesu Church.  In addition to its architectural beauty (the “domed” ceiling is not actually a dome, but is painted to look like one) you can also visit the rooms next door where Saint Ignatius lived out the last 17 years of his life.