Kuukausittainen arkisto:lokakuu 2008

Beautiful Catholic music – JMT

Today I listened to something I’ve known intuitively for some time. The faith is so beautiful that there simply must be absolutely captivating Catholic music out there somewhere, but I never knew where. And at the same time there were 3 songs on my computer that were just that, but I didn’t know if they were Catholic and who sang them. Yesterday I found out by accident. His name is John Michael Talbot.

I’d heard of him somewhere and I was quite surprised to learn he’s a monastic Catholic and that there were no huge controversies about him (at least Wikipedia didn’t mention any:). Well listen to some more of his songs and let me know what you think.

And this one is famous, we’ve even sung it in Finland…

The Catholic family in practice

Today I listened to what I’ve known intuitively for some time. This is what Christian marriage is about in its full depth. Now I know there are actually some families that truly believe it, live it out and talk about it; that it’s really possible and that it’s as rewarding as I had thought it’d have to be. Please watch these 3 10-minute videos (at least the first one!) and voice your opinion in the poll below!

Estonia 2.-3.10.2008

After Romania I had 3 days in Finland and then I was on my way again, this time to Estonia. My friend Varro and his friends were organising an annual cultural festival called Trialogos for the ninth time now and it was high time for me and my friend Jason to go! Although the timing was bad in that we had a full week at the university I managed to skip some courses (for which I’ll have to do the impossible and read more books in 0 time for upcoming exams) and be there for 2 days.

We traveled on Viking Line which was quite nice, had a snack and a good conversation first with each other and then with a weird guy. On the way back home we were already so much at home in the boat that Jason really took it easy and made himself comfortable while eating all of my orange chocolate and watching the impressive views of the Baltic pond.

In Tallinn we got to stay at Varro’s place, a very homely (in the English sense, not the American:D) apartment, neat, big, nice, beautiful, but according to Varro, ASCETIC! Anyway we had home made buns and pancakes for breakfast and a delicious dinner in candlelight (just one ordinary candle though, no romantic stuff don’t get me wrong!:D) and all… Our thanks to Varro’s family! Below you see Varro and me first and then Varro’s brother Mihkel (whom I had run into in Loreto) with Jason at the dinner.

Then to the conference. There were some top speakers mostly from the US speaking on a variety of topics related to the East and the West, Science and Religion, Past and Present… There were mostly traditional Catholic and Orthodox representatives although the Orthodox sort of did their job and then vanished from the scene. I and Jason got lucky twice, Varro arranged for us to go have lunch together with the speakers! The restaurant and the food was excellent.

In regards to the contents specifically, two most interesting new acquaintances were Jeffrey Langan and James Larson, both from the US and both in the picture below (Larson talking on Palamitism, one of the big topics there).

On Friday there was an interesting exchange on Science. Robert Sungenis and David Berlinski, coming from totally different backgrounds (Catholic & agnostic/skeptic) mounted a forceful critique of contemporary science (and sometimes of each other). Below Sungenis taking notes while Berlinski is speaking.

I guess my major motivation to go to the event was to hear and meet Robert Sungenis in person. If you clicked on his name above you probably know why already. His apologetics website is at http://www.catholicintl.com. I have read his Not by Faith Alone (around 700 pages) and got a dedication&signature for it:) In addition to two lunches, we had beer together with him and Langan, and took a walk and an espresso (well, Jason did) with him on the last day. Oh and we went to the Tridentine Mass as well. It was a special and exciting experience for me and we got to talk a lot.

We also got an invitation to drop in for a cup of coffee in Pennsylvania some day:) I hope we can go see ”number ten” (he’s got 9 kids so far!:) some day. This meeting made up for the failed plan to meet Karl Keating in Finand in August. Now that the ice is broken, though, I hope to be able to meet Scott Hahn in London on October 31st, or at least to see and hear him. Yes, another trip. London is next, again. It’ll be nice to see the Kings again.

Romania 26.-28.9.2008

Finally something to write about – and yes, it’s another trip abroad:) I was in Romania last weekend and it was my first time in the country. The reason for going was a meeting similar to the one in Holland earlier this year. This time I didn’t go alone, fr. Manuel Prado went as well and we had a great time together representing CSC. The meeting was bigger, too, with almost a hundred participants from several European countries. I counted I spoke 19 languages during the weekend (a few of them of course limited only to one or two sentences).

Our accommodation was in Snagov outside Bucharest. It was a Carmel in the middle of fields. It was still under construction but I had no complaints – quite an ideal place for such a conference. Obviously I met a lot of wonderful people and made friends. In the above photo you see fr. Manuel with one of those people, Jean-Baptiste from France. He was from the Emmanuel community whose beautiful and joyous songs we got to enjoy during the first Mass Friday evening, in Romanian:) J-B impressed me with his cheerfulness and apostolic zeal. We immediately realized we were soulmates:)

Above you see me and msgr. Leuzzi, the main organizer, in front of the fields. Below two fantastic people – a Neocatechumenal professor of linguistics from Rome with whom I discussed etymology, theology and ancient languages a lot together with a Lebanese Maronite priest from Cyprus. He spoke Greek, Arabic, Italian and English. I have an invitation to go to Cyprus and visit Libanon with him, and I hope we can organise a group of Arabs to finance tickets for him so that he could visit Finland and say the Maronite liturgy in Aramaic in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere. Contact me if you’re interested in helping with this project.

And here below is the whole group. In the middle His Excellency Everard De Jong, Auxiliary Bishop of Roermond and my good friend whom I sincerely hope to have here in Finland as our next Bishop. Actually there have been such rumors in Holland but it’s not sure at all. God grant us a holy, wise, humble, generous, youthful, charismatic and orthodox Bishop with such a good sense of humour (+experience as a Bishop and a sincere willingness to learn the new language)!

Well we did do some sightseeing as well! Here is the second biggest building in the world (after the Pentagon), Ciaucescu’s palace with like a thousand rooms and tons of marble. Notice in front the mess with the wires or whatever the electric lines are called that the Romanians aren’t able to hide or keep neat for some reason. We saw 4 rooms in the palace + the toilets which were also made of marble.

Then we went to this outdoor museum that resembles Seurasaari in Helsinki a bit. After a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe with my Southern Italian friends (with whom I got to speak Neapolitan, of course:D) we did some extreme duudsonit stuff with the Irish delegate. I asked him if he knows the Larkins and he said he didn’t until I mentioned Andrew’s first name and then suddenly he did. Last time it was the opposite when I asked Andrew’s brother David if he knows an Andrew – he didn’t know until the surname came to light. There’s something wrong with this Irish people. They’re all the same and they all know each other after thinking they don’t.

Finally we visited the Cathedral and had a fabulous dinner with the local Bishop. There is a weird scandal related to the Cathedral though that is worth mentioning. They’re building a huuuuuge hotel right next to the church to make it look small and insignificant. There is a protest movement of Catholics rebelling, of course. Here is what it looks like.

We took part in the Sunday Mass with the congregation, mostly in Romanian, and it was a wonderful experience. There were the Missionaries of Charity there too. And it’s interesting to see how ”Orthodox” the Mass looks like in an Orthodox country, whereas in Finland it looks quite Lutheran. And of the beautiful Romanian language which by the way I studied intensively on the way there through Budapest. After reading over 100 pages in a textbook I could already communicate the basics. Fell in love with the language! Below the 4 Bishops from Slovakia, Poland, Romania and Holland from the Sunday Mass in the Cathedral. Pray the one on the right will soon be here with us:)