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Last-minute road trip to Lourdes for Mass with Cardinal Burke

Last-minute road trip to Lourdes for Mass with Cardinal Burke

— One advantage of not over-planning a vacation is that you leave yourself open to opportunities that arise. This week, we changed our planned daytrip to Lourdes on Saturday to an overnight trip on Tuesday and Wednesday. At Sunday Mass here in Montpellier, we learned that an American cardinal, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, would be celebrating a Pontifical High Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes on Wednesday morning at 10 am.
We’re back in Montpellier after a whirlwind side trip to Lourdes

We’re back in Montpellier after a whirlwind side trip to Lourdes

— Kathryn and I just got back to Montpellier after a whirlwind 30-hour side trip to Lourdes. This is just a quick update because the last two days have been somewhat exhausting. I’m really happy we didn’t do this as a day trip as we’d originally planned. Four hours driving a rental car I’m not familiar with, on roads I’m not familiar with, took more out of me than I expected. Now I can’t imagine doing eight hours without getting some sleep in between.
The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

— While looking through my photos from last year, I noticed one from our Mexico City pilgrimage that never ended up on the blog. There are two basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe shown here. The old basilica, on the left with the golden dome, while still beautiful outside and inside, has suffered such extensive damage from earthquakes and an unstable foundation that it can no longer handle the throngs of pilgrims who visit this important holy site.

Earlier this week, I became a 47-year-old altar boy

— Back around Christmastime, the priests at our parish started running announcements in the weekly bulletin, asking all males of any age to prayerfully consider becoming altar servers. Altar servers were in short supply, particularly for the weekday Masses. From time to time, I attend the 6:30 am Mass before heading to work, and I’d witnessed the altar server shortage on a number of occasions. In fact, not too long ago, there was no altar server available twice in the same week.
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris

— Today is Ash Wednesday. It falls relatively late this year, March 6, as Easter will not arrive until April 21 for those of us in the Western churches. For me, Ash Wednesday also means it’s time for a rare selfie. This one is quite a disappointment compared to last year’s. Even after a lot of tinkering with the contrast and exposure, the ashes disappeared into my hairline. I knew I should have gotten a haircut yesterday.
Today I learned the word tempura is not Japanese

Today I learned the word tempura is not Japanese

— Today I learned the word tempura is not of Japanese origin. It turns out it’s a loan word from Latin, and it’s connected to a centuries-old Catholic tradition called Ember Days. This morning, I was up and out of the house early enough to get to Mass before work. I went to the traditionalist Catholic church Kathryn and I have been attending for the past couple months. At first I was a bit surprised to see the priest approach the altar in violet vestments.
Teotihuacan, our day trip from Mexico City in photos

Teotihuacan, our day trip from Mexico City in photos

— Although many of our fellow Mexico City pilgrims had started trickling into town Monday afternoon, Wednesday was officially the first day of our itinerary. The first and only destination for the day was the pyramids at Teotihuacan, but this was a pilgrimage group, so of course we prayed first. And ate. Because we now had a priest with us, Wednesday started out with Holy Mass. The fraternity to which the priest belongs has a chapel in Mexico City, Inmaculada Concepción.
Today is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of ham radio

Today is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of ham radio

— I don’t often blatantly repost old blog material. However, last week I had a conversation with some colleagues about my visit to Auschwitz in 2006, and it made me think about the following post I published three years ago today: I’ve been reminded that today, August 14, is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe. St. Maximilian Kolbe is probably best known for having given up his life to take the place of a fellow prisoner at Auschwitz, where he was martyred on this day in 1941.
Immaculate Conception, Newburyport

Immaculate Conception, Newburyport

— In the past twelve months, I’ve posted photos of two churches where Kathryn and I were called to be godparents to newborns. However, just this past Easter, we visited Immaculate Conception in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where I was baptized as a newborn, approximately a thousand years ago. Instead of a photo of the altar, this time I got a photo of the choir loft. One of Kathryn’s aunts was able to join us for Mass, which was especially nice.
Two easy ways to see the Pope in Rome

Two easy ways to see the Pope in Rome

— There are two easy ways to see the Pope when you’re in Rome. Kathryn and I were able to see him both ways during our visit to Rome earlier this year. As long as the Pope isn’t away from the city for his vacation or for an apostolic visit, you should be able to see him too. The Pope offers his blessing to all those who come to see him — believers and non-believers alike — and the blessing applies to any sacred objects present, too.