Saturday, July 27, 2013

Year of Italian Culture - You might be more Italian than you think!

26 July 2013 (ORCNS) - This year, 2013, is the Year of Italian Culture in the United States. Know what else? You might be more Italian than you think! Are you French or Celtic? You might be Italian. Let's get some background first.

American perceptions of what it means to be Italian typically follow the stereotype of a Sicilian or Neapolitan with a Mediterranean appearance. Not surprising at all, since so many Italian immigrants to the United States came from those areas and other places in Southern Italy. But there is more to Italy!

The concept of Italy as we know it today really didn't start until the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed (that's a fancy term for conquering, partly through military force and partly through diplomatic means) the entire Italian peninsula. Pretty tall order, eh? Before that, "Italy" was a collection of sovereign (another fancy term for "independent") states that existed at various times, including the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Milan, the Republic of Venice, the Kingdoms of Sardinia, Etruria, Naples, and the Two Sicilies, and several others. It was kind of like the United States, only the States weren't united under one common government.

And what about that Kingdom of Sardinia that unified Italy? That's the House of Savoy...which is from...that's right, you guessed it...Savoy! But wait! Savoy is in France! Turns out that whole border in Northern Italian is sort of a figment of someone's imagination. It's really just a political boundary. Savoy (home of fondue and skiing) is actually Italian, but the House of Savoy gave it to France as a little thank you gift. Nice gift, eh?

Let's go beyond the border all the way to the north of France...Normandy! Viking, right? Only in part. Ethnically, Normans are Scandinavian, Frankish (just like Charlemagne), AND Gallo-Roman. The Gallo-Romans were Romans who moved up into Gaul (France during the Roman Empire) and stayed. So, if you're of French ancestry, then you have strong ties to the Italians, too! And, while William the Conqueror was leading the Norman Conquest of Britain, Roger (another Norman) was leading his own conquest of Sicily.

But wait, there's more! The ancient civilization of central Italy, the Etruscans, were getting squeezed by the Romans from the south and the Celtic tribes from the North. The Romans eventually took over, and the Celts moved up into France, Spain, and the British Isles where they really became famous in just about everything. Art, government, military, farming, and invention, including Guinness beer! So, if you're of Celtic ancestry, you also have strong ties to Italy. After all, your ancestors used to live there!

So, whether you think you're Italian or not, let's celebrate the great culture of the Italian peninsula with a glass of wine and a cup of espresso! Buon appetito!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Following Christ in Service

25 July 2013 (ORCNS) - The Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church has a special mandate of mission, service, and charity, following in the footsteps of its patron, St. Stephen the Deacon and Martyr. Deacons led offices in the early church known as deaconries that helped to provide for the needs of the poor. Saint Stephen was known for his great charity and was among these first deacons and is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He was eventually stoned to death for his faith and became the first Christian martyr.
This legacy of charitable service is continued by the ARRCC as a particular church today, supporting food banks and homeless shelters, children's medicine, clothing supplies, educational programs, and more. This is accomplished in part through the efforts of its charitable wings such as the Deaconry of Santa Maria Antiqua, the Order of Saint Stephen, and the Order of Mary Immaculate. Carrying the Holy Sacrifice on the altar to the world,  The Bishop of Saint Stephen, Cardinal Rutherford Johnson said, "Faith must be put into action in order to have any meaning. If we are to be Christ-like, then we must help others as Christ helped others." 
The charitable works of this Old Roman Catholic patriarchate have touched six continents. The Patriarchal See made it clear that there is no score card and that there is always a vast amount of work to be done. The Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church continues in mission, service, and charity to help make the world a better place and, above all, to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

William and Kate's baby born into a great big royal world

LONDON 24 July 2013 (ORCNS) - The world has been abuzz with news and talk about the newly-born George, Prince of Cambridge, son of Prince William and Princess Catherine of Cambridge. The newest addition to the British royal family joins a rich tradition that extends well beyond their own national borders. Despite the fact that many are not currently reigning, the world is brimming with royal dynasties. In fact, the British Windsors are in fact of a German line. They originally were the House of Hanover until Queen Victoria married Prince Albert von Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha. That name continued until the King was requested to change the family name to some a little less German sounding in light of the First World War. Let's celebrate the new royal birth by taking a look at just a few of the other royal and serene families of the world, reigning and non-reigning.

Kingdom of Albania - House of Wied
Principality of Andorra - (vested in the Bishop of Urgell)
Duchy of Anhalt - House of Ascania
Empire of Austria-Hungary - House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Grand Duchy of Baden - House of Zaehringen
Kingdom of Bavaria - House of Wittelsbach
Kingdom of Belgium - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Bohemia - House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Kingdom of Brazil - House of Orleans-Braganza
Duchy of Brunswick - House of Welf-Guelph
Kingdom of Bulgaria - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Croatia - House of Savoy
Duchy of Courland - House of Biron
Kingdom of Denmark - House of Oldenburg
Kingdom of Epirus - House of Santa Sofia
Kingdom of Etruria (Napoleonic) - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Etruria (Holy Roman) - House of Johnson-Etruria-di Daniell
Kingdom of France (Legitimist) - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of France (Orleanist) - House of Orleans
Kingdom of France (Merovingian) - House of Gavalda-Gevaudan
Empire of France - House of Bonaparte
Kingdom of Finland - House of Hesse
Kingdom of Georgia - House of Bagrationi and Imeretinsky
Empire of Germany - House of Hohenzollern
Kingdom of Great Britain - House of Windsor (Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha)
Kingdom of Greece - House of Oldenburg
Kingdom of Hanover - House of Hanover
Grand Duchy of Hesse-by-the-Rhine - House of Lorraine-Brabant
Holy See - (elected, vested in the Pope)
Kingdom of Italy - House of Savoy
Principality of Liechtenstein - House of Liechtenstein
Principality of Lippe - House of Lippe
Kingdom of Lithuania - House of Urach
Grand Duchy of Luxenbourg - House of Nassau-Weilburg
Sovereign Military Order of Malta - (elected Prince Grand Master)
Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin - House of Mecklenburg
Duchy of Modena - House of Habsburg-Este
Empire of Mexico - House of Iturbide
Principality of Monaco - House of Grimaldi
Kingdom of Montenegro - House of Petrovich-Njegosh
Kingdom of Naples - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of the Netherlands - House of Orange-Nassau
Kingdom of Norway - House of Oldenburg
Grand Duchy of Oldenburg - House of Oldenburg
Duchy of Parma - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Prussia - House of Hohenzollern
Principality of Reuss - House of Reuss
Kingdom of Romania - House of Hohenzollern
Empire of Russia - House of Romanov
Kingdom of Sardinia - House of Savoy
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-und Gotha - House of Wettin
Kingdom of Saxony - House of Wetting
Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe - House of Lippe
Kingdom of Serbia - House of Karageorgevich
Kingdom of Spain (Bourbon) - House of Bourbon
Kingdom of Spain (Carlist) - House of Bourbon-Parma
Kingdom of Sweden - House of Bernadotte
Grand Duchy of Tuscany - House of Habsburg-Tuscany
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - House of Bourbon
Principality of Waldeck - House of Waldeck
Kingdom of Westphalia - House of Steinhurst v.u.z. Westfalen
Kingdom of Wurtemburg - House of Wurtemburg

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


VATICAN CITY, 23 July 2013 (VIS) – At 3.40 p.m. yesterday (twenty minutes ahead of schedule) the aeroplane carrying the Pope landed at the carioca airport of Galeao where he was received by the president of the Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, accompanied by the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Cabral Filho and the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes. The Pope was also greeted by Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil. It was a warm and informal welcome, without formal addresses, which were given later at the official welcome ceremony at Guanabara Palace.

The Holy Father travelled the eight kilometres from the airport to the presidential palace in a utility vehicle with the back window open to greet the crowd who thronged the route. During some parts of the journey the vehicle was forced to stop since there were no security cordons to hold back the crowd. Upon nearing the cathedral the vehicle was exchanged for the unarmoured Popemobile which will be used during the visit, and the route was unexpectedly changed to enable the Pope to greet the crowds who had awaited him for hours.
Upon arrival at Guanabara Palace, Francis greeted the senior state and diplomatic representative and, after listening to the anthems of Brazil and Vatican City State, he gave his first address as Pope in the American continent.

He began, “In his loving providence, God wished that the first international trip of my pontificate should take me back to my beloved Latin America, specifically to Brazil … I have learned that, to gain access to the Brazilian people, it is necessary to pass through its great heart; so let me knock gently at this door. I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you. I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”

The Pope went on to cordially greet the president for her warm welcome and said to the bishops that, by his visit to Brazil, he wished to “pursue the pastoral mission proper to the Bishop of Rome of confirming my brothers in their faith in Christ, of encouraging them to give an account of the reasons for the hope which comes from him, and of inspiring them to offer everyone the inexhaustible riches of his love”.

However, he continued, “the principal reason for my visit to Brazil goes beyond its borders. I have actually come for World Youth Day. I am here to meet young people coming from all over the world, drawn to the open arms of Christ the Redeemer. … These young people are from every continent, they speak many languages, they bring with them different cultures, and yet they also find in Christ the answer to their highest aspirations, held in common, and they can satisfy the hunger for a pure truth and an authentic love which binds them together in spite of differences. … Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission, 'Go and make disciples'. Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters! And young people have confidence in Christ: they are not afraid to risk for him the only life they have, because they know they will not be disappointed”.

He emphasised that, in addressing the young, he is also speaking to “their families, their local and national church communities, the societies they come from, and the men and women upon whom this new generation largely depends”. He recalled the saying, “'Our children are the apple of our eyes'. How beautiful is this expression of Brazilian wisdom, which applies to young people an image drawn from our eyes, which are the window through which light enters into us, granting us the miracle of sight! What would become of us if we didn’t look after our eyes? How could we move forward? I hope that, during this week, each one of us will ask ourselves this thought-provoking question. … Young people are the window through which the future enters the world, thus presenting us with great challenges. Our generation will show that it can realize the promise found in each young person when we know how to give them space; how to create the material and spiritual conditions for their full development; how to give them a solid basis on which to build their lives”.

Pope Francis concluded by asking everyone to “show consideration towards each other and, if possible, the sympathy needed to establish friendly dialogue”. He added, “The arms of the Pope now spread to embrace all of Brazil in its human, cultural and religious complexity and richness. From the Amazon Basin to the pampas, from the dry regions to the Pantanal, from the villages to the great cities, no one is excluded from the Pope’s affection”.

After his address, Pope Francis met privately with the president and with the governor and major of Rio de Janeiro. He then transferred to the Sumare residence, which belongs to the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, where he will stay during his visit.

Today, Tuesday, the Pope will spend the day resting and acclimatising, and will resume activities tomorrow with a visit to the shrine of Aparecida, 200 kilometres from the Brazilian capital.

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Monday, July 22, 2013


Vatican City, 21 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father's Sunday meditation before praying the Angelus this morning was dedicated to Jesus' visit to the house of Martha and Mary in Bethany in the Gospel of St. Luke, and the two key themes of Christian life: contemplation, listening to the Word of God and the concrete service of our neighbour. These are not to be experienced separately, but rather are two aspects to be lived “in profound unity and harmony”.

The Bishop of Rome explained to the thousands of the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that the two sisters “both welcome the Lord, but in different ways. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening, whereas Martha is absorbed in domestic tasks and is so busy that she turns to Jesus saying: 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me'. And Jesus responds rebuking her with sweetness. 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is the need for only one thing'”.

“What does Jesus wish to say?” continued the Pope. “Above all it is important to understand that it is not a matter of two contrasting attitudes: listening to the Word of the Lord – contemplation – and concrete service to our neighbour. They are not two opposed attitudes but, on the contrary, they are both aspects that are essential for our Christian life; aspects that must never be separated but rather lived in profound unity and harmony”.

“So why does Jesus rebuke Martha? Because she considered only what she was doing to be essential; she was too absorbed and worried about things to 'do'. For a Christian, the works of service and charity are never detached from the principle source of our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, sitting – like Mary – at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of a disciple. And for this reason Mary is rebuked”.

Pope Francis affirmed that “in our Christian life too prayer and action are always profoundly united. Prayer that does not lead to concrete action toward a brother who is poor, sick, in need of help … is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when in ecclesial service we are only concerned with what we are doing, we give greater weight to things, functions and structures, forgetting the centrality of Christ; we do not set aside time for dialogue with Him in prayer, we run the risk of serving ourselves and not God, present in our brother in need”.

“Let us ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of listening and service, who teaches us to meditate on the Word of her Son in our heart, to pray with fidelity, and to be ever more concretely attentive to the needs of our brothers”.

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Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service - 00120 Città del Vaticano