Starting underground, ending up in the peripheries

So, the Missionaries of Mercy sojourn in Rome is at an end. Re-commencement for the next two years has begun.

Above is Metro Roma Linea A in the early morning.

Checking in online (on the phone) for the return Delta flight to Atlanta, I find that, as usual, my seat has been changed by some 20 rows, but, of course, never next to a “bad seat.” We’ll see.

Anyway, emerging from the depths onto Piazza Cinquecento, Stazione Termini, one sees Jesus, the Sacred Heart, surveilling the City from the pinnacle of a church.

If there was a place to sit for a coffee, this would be a great people watching place. Everyone’s from everywhere.

If I put up such pictures leaving Rome, I guess it must mean that I’m nostalgic. That’s not a bad thing, is it? Waiting…

On the move into the peripheries…

Not the peripheries are always all around us…

Sometimes you can even look inside yourself. But Jesus visits the peripheries.

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Visiting prison: Tarcissius! Prayers for Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai

In the last moments before leaving Rome I made it out to Saint Lawrence’s Outside the Walls. This is in the Blessed Sacrament chapel below the altar: Saint Tarcissius. Or am I wrong? This little boy was commissioned by the Pope (who would be forthwith martyred in the catacombs) to bring the Blessed Sacrament to prisoners at the Coliseum. He was doing this…

He was doing this when he was smashed down and beaten to death by some other boys who wanted whatever it was he was carrying. They could not wrench it from his hands, even in death.

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Will you join me with some prayers for them? It’s like taking the good example of Saint Tarcissius…

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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St Lawrence’s prison: praying for Fr Gordon MacRae & Pornchai

During my last hours in Rome I made a pilgrimage to Saint Lawrence’s prison. It’s terribly, terribly tiny, and often has about an extra 18 inches of water on the floor when it rains. This

Here’s the high altar:

Some historical notes. I’m sure some of you can translate these:

And here’s the entrance to the prison. The steps down are very steep.

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Saint Lawrence was imprisoned with a non-Christian who was blind, but who miraculously received his sight at the intercession of Saint Lawrence and who then requested to be baptised there in prison. I’m sure you can draw an analogy. Will you join me with some prayers?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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Miracle Mary Pilgrimage for Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Maximilian Moontri

This is the famous little church where Mary Immaculate brought about a certain miraculous conversion. This is also where Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe offered his first Holy Mass, in fact, at this altar..

O.K., not exactly that altar. Let’s peek into that side chapel:

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was imprisoned, as you will remember, and he is a patron saint of Father Gordon and also Pornchai, who took the name Maximilian upon his conversion. Will you join me with some prayers?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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“You’re nothing special” – Pope Francis to Missionaries of Mercy

“Moreover, be sure you understand well that you’re nothing special, you Missionaries of Mercy.” – Pope Francis

That’s right. What weak and sinful man can forgive sin? So, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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Saint Paul’s chains and my good friend Fr Gordon MacRae

I made a pilgrimage to the Major Papal Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. What you see above is the baldacchinoed central altar with the apse in the background with its mosaic of Jesus and Paul. Far below the altar, down in the “confession” a bit of archeological digging was done recently. Saint Paul’s sarcophagus was found with all manner of indication that this is him. You can see one side of this in the back of the excavation. Between this and the altar you can see the chains which he wore and which he mentioned in his letters. On the top of that box you see three figures, Saint Paul in the middle and his two companion jailors to either side.

I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Will you join me?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

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Relative perspectives…

This is at Saint Paul’s Outside the walls.

This angel above looks terribly snarky, with enthusiasm, in all good will wanting to smack you down, you know, in friendship.

Now, this other angel below looks terribly aghast, downright miserable, the moment he’s been terribly disillusioned by his protectee, like a whole human life span of time in guardian angelship just thrown away without remorse.

This is the same angel, but from an angle just two inches lower.

Honestly I think my guardian angel has pretty much both expressions going on all the time.

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Missionaries of Mercy – Future

Umbrellas were useless as we Missionaries of Mercy walked a good kilometer in bucketing rain to a parochial school chapel to hear each others’ confessions. We passed by a most famous mosaic-icon street shrine. Look up “divino amore”:

“Oh Virgin Immaculate Mary, Mother of Divine Love, make us saints!

I am reminded of the exclamation of the Pontifical North American College: “Monstra te esse Matrem!

If we Missionaries of Mercy cry out for our Lady’s maternal love, that is, to make us saints, surely something good for the Church will take place, like us continuing to go to Confession.

If we do that, some other good things in the future might come about. Of course, we remember the admonition about making plans for the future so as to make God laugh.

We’re supposed to return in two year’s time. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to have regional or national gatherings amongst ourselves, and also promote the Sacrament as best we can in whatever ways including occasions for the Sacrament.

I’m thinking of organising something especially for priests in various regions throughout the United States as represented by the Cathedral of whatever Archdiocese taking in all its suffragen dioceses. Perhaps we could have continuous confessions during adoration. During the week, mind you. All priests especially of that region invited. All priests released from other duties during that time. And encouraged to come. I’ve spoken with a couple of other Missionaries of Mercy about it and they like it a lot. So we’ll see.

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Suffering teaches? My bad.

This Benedictine at Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls – the last of the four Major Basilicas in Rome that I’ll be able to visit this time around – was born the same year as my own dad, 1924. I was born late in his life.

I sat down with him for a visit and I found out he had suffered quite a bit in his life. I very stupidly repeated a platitude to him. Don’t do that with wise people unless you’re willing to be humiliated.

  • Me: Suffering teaches a lot.
  • Him: Pfft. No. God teaches a lot.

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All time most read post on “ariseletusbegoing”

Here’s an example of one of the daily visits to this most read post:

Location: New York, United States
IP Address: Mcgraw-hill Education (192.243.80.62)
Referring URL: (No referring link)

Visit Page:

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2017/09/12/national-anthem-star-spangled-banner-meaning-of-hireling-and-slave-singing-along-with-whitney-houston/

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From CBS News to the Holy See: “Can I record a Confession?”

In the above picture some 600 Missionaries of Mercy waited for the closing Mass to begin at the Lateran. Waiting. Waiting.

A short while after Mass was over, this hit came in from the Holy See.

Referring URL:

(No referring link)
Host Name:Browser:Chrome 65.0
IP Address:212.77.3.[…]
OS/Platform: Win10/Desktop
Location:Holy See (vatican City State)
Javascript: Disabled
Visit Length:Not Applicable
ISP: Holy See – Vatican City State

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage (No referring link)

11 Apr 06:48:30

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2017/07/14/missionaries-of-mercy-reconfirmed-mafia-excommunications-undecided/

I had had a chat with our boss, his Excellency Archbishop Fisichella, that is, about automatic excommunications for corrupt organizations. But that part of that post became it’s own post. The interest with the post linked above is instead about recording confessions.

There is great interest in this topic by journalists. That post was just visited, for instance, by CBS News. I’m guessing they want to put undue pressure on the Church.

They should know that the Diocese of Manchester already betrayed the Church in a much worse manner:

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2017/01/09/confession-settlement-that-could-halt-the-sacrament-of-confession-in-the-catholic-church-pope-francis-missionary-of-mercy-complains/

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First up 2018-4-11: Archbishop Octavio Ruis Arenas

This guy’s number two to Archbishop Fisichella, therefore the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the umbrella organisation for the Missionaries of Mercy.

His talk is entitled “Pastoral Indications on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” I’m guessing this will be a rehash of the Vademecum for Confessors. It would be great to hear a few words on the Curé d’Ars. This being the closing conference, a bad and evil temptation to entrench in a bad and evil thought came to me, that this will be all about Amoris laetitia, reducing the Missionaries of Mercy to only one perspective of the ever so political chapter 8 of that iteration of what Pope Francis himself in the same papered volley calls a dialogue. In view of the other conferences, I have to doubt that. It’s been all good, in fact, fantastic up to this closing conference. It’s been my fear during these years that we would be political pawns in a much larger chess board. But that’s just stupid me, and I know it. I’m sure I’ll rejoice.

Update:

  • Confessors must be faithful, dedicated, joyful, conscientious.
  • Missionaries of Mercy are to promote the Sacrament of Confession in their dioceses.
  • Priests are instruments of Jesus’ mercy, acting in His Person in this Sacrament.
  • Those in the darkest of existential peripheries want a Confessor who totally understands them and is in solidarity with them to bring them into the light of the joy of “seeing” the risen Lord.
  • Don’t treat penitents badly!
  • Mulier adultera of John 7:53–8:11. All traditional interpretation.
  • Curé d’Ars! Yay!
  • San Leopoldo Mandić, OFM.Cap. Yay!
  • The joy of filial dignity provided to the penitent.

That’s it! Great!

Fisichella is adding a personal story about Padre Pio…

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Scary decadence depicted

This guy, perhaps a political figure back in the day (quite a particular face, reminding one of the practice of Dante), seems to be truly bad and evil. He was staring down at me with evil intent there in the Sala Regia all during our audience with Pope Francis. He’s bearing the weight of one of the stone frames of the frescoes.

If he’s scary to us, perhaps let’s skip such depictions and do something much more scary, looking in ourselves and seeing that we could crucify the Son of the Living God.

Oh wait, by original sin and our own we did do that.

For an even scarier depiction of ourselves we can look at the wounds of Jesus and then, with Thomas, put our fingers through the wounds in His hands, our hands into His side, His heart.

And then break down in tears of humble thanksgiving, joyful that our Lord has been deadly serious about bringing us to life. Not scary, that. After that, anything scary is a source of laughter: “That’s supposed to be scary? Because it’s not. Haha!

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (sharpening one’s vision edition)

I mean, you do see them immediately, don’t you?

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Update: For Fr Gordon MacRae et al

I made a pilgrimage to the Mamertine Prison where both Sts Peter and Paul were imprisoned. I felt compelled to pray for Fr Gordon MacRae and Pornchai here. Will you join me?

Angel of God…

Hail Mary…

Saint Michael the Archangel…

Update: just got this email:

“Dear Father George, this news was just read to me via telephone by Charlene Duline and I am more grateful than you could know for this remembrance. And it came on the day after my birthday. I turned 65 yesterday. I wonder if they let prisoners retire!! With fraternal blessings,
Father G.

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How prodigal of Pope Francis! Thank you Holy Father.

A solid bronze replica (weighs a ton) of this detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s.

The Holy Father commissioned one for each Missionary of Mercy.

My licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was on this scene of Luke 15.

I am deeply touched by this gesture of his thanks to us. Thank you, Holy Father.

Btw: that’s a donkey with his ears laid way back, right?

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About those wounds

A priest I met at the bus stop.

We had a good conversation about Jesus and the cynicism of the world. He said that people have so many wounds that a few more on Jesus isn’t going to affect them one bit. He spoke of how terribly difficult the mission is. He didn’t blame the modern world, but recognized that all times are quite the same.

Now I go one step more…

Having priests start going to Confession so that they bring this Sacrament once again to their parishes isn’t good enough. We have to be willing to rejoice that we are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord. So, let me change that all too set in stone saying of mine to…

Humble, joyful thanksgiving.

Pope Francis says it best:

“Joy greater than any doubt.”

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Paul VI Audience Hall

After a day with Pope Francis, the Missionaries of Mercy were treated to a nice lunch at the Audience Hall. With ice cream, btw.

In the Atrium, this image of JPII carried by the winds of the Holy Spirit always catches my eye. Here’s a detail of suffering for the Church, weighed down with the burden, as it were, of the glory of God:

Of course, I think it’s really cool that St. George has his back.

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Making it personal: 600 of us

And with joy. I like that. I like that a lot.

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Nota bene: Sala Regia

Two years ago Pope Francis addressed the Missionaries of Mercy in the Sala Regia. The ultra-Tradition-al-ism-ists condemned him, me, everyone else there, and then said that the Sala Regia is not the Sala Regia but some other place.

Here we are again, in the same place. They’ve had two years to do research. Will they entrench, apologize, just not talk about it anymore?

If anyone was willing to listen, would they hear what was said this time about mercy being founded on justice? about Confessors going to Confession themselves? about those who are bitter going to Confession? about joy in seeing our wounded but risen Saviour, our God, before us? about priests being a good example of repentance and joy?

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Can’t we just help each other to get to know Jesus? Didn’t King David dance?

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