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WYD venues changed for Saturday & Sunday

It seems that the rain never quits.  Although it has apparently not dampened the enthusiasm of what could be over one million young people—as well as Pope Francis—it has resulted in flooding of the original planned site for the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening as well as the closing ceremonies on Sunday.  

No doubt this is a disappointment to those who worked so hard to set everything up, but the weather dictated otherwise.

Therefore these events have been moved to Copacabana Beach.  The schedule remains the same.  And as we said, enthusiasm remains high, and Pope Francis seems to draw energy from the crowds.  We will keep you updated on any changes in the next 24 hours.

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Are Travel Guidebooks passé?

Earlier this year 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.  Word on the street is that Google was mainly interested in the social media followers of Frommer’s, not in publishing guidebooks, so they sold the publishing rights back to Arthur Frommer and the good news is that he will continue to publish the books. 

A frommer's guide book from 2000
Even an older guide book can have a lot of great information….and you can probably pick them up cheap at a used book store.

So are guide books still useful?  Well, let me give you my “two cents”.  Guide books are still a great planning tool: you can lay them out on the table, flip from page to page and share with one another much easier than if you were on a computer or tablet.  Also, you can highlight items that are of interest to you.  Even an old guide book that might seem out of date can provide great insights you may not find on a website.

Once you’re on the road, a guide book can be invaluable to you. Although most travel websites are now adapted for mobile use, and there are many apps available as well, there are times when a guide book is more convenient, especially if you have bookmarked or highlighted pertinent pages when planning.

So bottom line…..both guide books and travel websites together can help you plan the trip of a lifetime. Hint….check out our website first!

We offer reliable guidebooks that are carefully selected for Catholic travelers.  Together with secular guide books they are a great resource. If we can quote Rick Steves, he said something like “$30 tools for $3,000 experiences.

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Relics of Saints to be venerated at WYD 2013 in Rio

The veneration of relics is an age-old tradition in the Church, and no, we do not worship them as some people might think.  It is a tradition going back to the early days of the Church to venerate them as reminders of the holiness of these great Christians.  As the originator of World Youth Day, John Paul II obviously had a great connection to this event.  A vial of his blood was sent to World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 and has again been sent to World Youth Day in Rio to be venerated by the faithful.  

This vial arrived in Rio in early July and will remain in Rio for several weeks after World Youth Day officially ends on July 28th so that visitors and locals alike will have the opportunity venerate his relic. 

Among other relics at WYD in Rio are the body of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and St. Antônio Galvão de Santana, the first Brazilian-born Saint. 

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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.

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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.  

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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



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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.

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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.

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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: [email protected]  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.

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