Pope Francis Offering Holy Mass in the Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis Visits Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome | ZENIT – The World Seen From Rome

Pope Francis Visits Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome | ZENIT – The World Seen From Rome.Pope Francis’ first non-official act outside of Vatican City this morning was delivering a bouquet of flowers to the Virgin.

He placed it at the feet of the image of Santa Maria Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People), also known as the Virgin of Snows. Pope Francis knelt for 10 minutes and concluded with the singing of the Salve Regina together with those who accompanied him.

The visit took place in Saint Mary Major, one of the four papal basilicas located in Rome. It was a simple bouquet, with a blue orchid in the middle and several flowers of various kinds.

The newly elected Pontiff entered via the sacristy at around 8:00 am, crossed the central nave from the back of the church to the front. The church was empty, as the doors had not yet been opened to the public.

After praying in the Pauline or Borghese Chapel, he went to the opposite Chapel, still closed to the public for restoration. He paused a few moments to pray there before the tomb of Pope Saint Pius V, the Pope of the battle of Lepanto. On leaving he greeted those working in this church, men and women religious , security staff and others. “I’m Mexican,” a nun said to him. “And Guadalupan also, no?” Pope Francis responded.

“I also greeted him,” another

Pope Francis Portrait Painting

Pope Francis Portrait Painting (Photo credit: faithmouse)

Hello Kitty Meets the Disintegrator

My husband’s been waiting for a sunny day with no wind to spend at the shooting range. Today was the day. He was like a kid in the candy shop, with rifles, ammo,mount, binoculars and tripod at the ready for his get away.  As he made a break for it, I minded him, “Be careful out there. Watch out for crazy people.” With all the anti-gun hysteria, I actually felt he was going to a place that was well managed, with people who minded their p’s and q’s and had their acts together, unlike many in the media  blowing smoke at good citizenry and at the 2nd amendment, both barrels blasting.

My guy wore himself out walking back and forth to targets at one hundred yards and then 200 yards. All in all it was a very good day. He wrapped it up with these words when he got home, “You know those ‘crazies you told me to watch out for…they were right next to me. Seems the couple in the next lane, equipped with 2 AR-15s must have come to the range for the first time, and jumped right in, ignorant of the protocol.

First the guy trots out with his target paper, thinking he’s going to mount it to the frame “out there”, my husband’s, of course.  “Oh no you’re not!”, says my man, fearless in the face of ignorance.  After filling the newbie in on the niceties, my guy blasted holes happily til he checked his target, now peppered by rounds from, you guessed it, an AR-15.  Seems the wife of the other fella was shooting from another lane, beside her husband’s, at his target, which just happened to line up with my husband’s target, from her perspective.

Simply carrying on, patching her hits in his target and wishing they’d tire quickly, my husband still had very good day! There are scarier things out there:

I know what I want for Christmas:

Billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel welcomes the new Pope

Billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel welcomes the new Pope twitter.com/RickLeventhal/…

Contemplating the Lord’s Passion

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope

Contemplating the Lord’s passion

True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity.

The earth — our earthly nature — should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks — the hearts of unbelievers — should burst asunder. The dead, imprisoned in the tombs of their mortality, should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future resurrection should appear in the holy city, the Church of God: what is to happen to our bodies should now take place in our hearts.

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance. Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The sacred blood of Christ has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place to the true light.

The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless indeed they close off for themselves the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.

The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive with all the love of our heart to be like our Redeemer, and to follow his example. Everything that he did or suffered was for our salvation: he wanted his body to share the goodness of its head.

First of all, in taking our human nature while remaining God, so that the Word became man, he left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in his mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature, and is reborn in the Spirit through whom Christ was conceived?

Again, who cannot recognize in Christ his own infirmities? Who would not recognize that Christ’s eating and sleeping, his sadness and his shedding of tears of love are marks of the nature of a slave?

It was this nature of a slave that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason the only-begotten Son of God became also the son of man. He was to have both the reality of a human nature and the fullness of the godhead.

The body that lay lifeless in the tomb is ours. The body that rose again on the third day is ours. The body that ascended above all the heights of heaven to the right hand of the Father’s glory is ours. If then we walk in the way of his commandments, and are not ashamed to acknowledge the price he paid for our salvation in a lowly body, we too are to rise to share his glory. The promise he made will be fulfilled in the sight of all: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I too will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven.