Preaching closeup

Christmas eve dinner, part 2.

In Ischia the big Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve. For traditional reasons, this dinner is meatless (not even meat broth is allowed) but substantial. It is the most important family holiday. We have a saying in Italy that you may spend Easter with whomever you please, but Christmas must be spent with the family.
Christmas trees are not traditional for Neapolitans. Instead, a creche (called a presepio) showing the scene of the Nativity is prepared before dinner. The figures that go into the creche are often antique and beautifully sculpted. Old ones are rare but in Naples beautiful new ones are still made by a few artisan sculptors.
After the Nativity creche has been assembled, zampognari, shepherds from the mountains of Abruzzi, often come to play Christmas music on their bagpipes. The men, who during the Christmas season wander all over Italy, playing in the streets or at private houses, are colorfully dressed in felt hats, sheepskin vests, and leggings that lace up their legs. Their bagpipes are oddly comic, with sheeps' feet hanging down from them. At midnight on Christmas Eve, following the departure of the zampognari, the entire family, including babies and grandparents, attends the candlelit midnight mass.
With the dinner which follows, we often drink a white wine from the island of Ischia, Biancolella or Casa d'Ambra. The production is extremely limited-usually only enough for our region - so it is hard to find elsewhere.

Collapse )
Preaching closeup

Christmas eve dinner, part 1.

Dear friends, it was the first Christmas eve without dad, particularly odd, particularly sad... I tried to recreate the same atmosphere of the past years thinking about his presence, I do know, is always among us, every day, every occasion. Some photos of dinner and Christmas gadgets to share with you and I hope you'll enjoy our South-Italian traditions. Merry Christmas.

Collapse )
Preaching closeup

Over the rainbow...

This morning I found my musical file of "over the rainbow" I played last Christmas for a Concert. A good occasion to share it with you and an invite to all of you to answer to the question I have had listening to the song: "What's over the rainbow for you?"

"Over the Rainbow" (often referred to as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") is a classic ballad song with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by Judy Garland in that movie after unsuccessfully trying to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her regarding an unpleasant incident involving Dorothy's dog Toto and the nasty spinster Miss Gulch, whom Toto bit after she struck him with a rake. Dorothy's Aunt Em tells her to "find a place where you won't get yourself into any trouble", prompting the girl to walk off by herself and sing the song..
Over time it would become Garland's signature song.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Yes they do, really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where
The clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney top
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly, hoah
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why, oh why, can't I

If happy little bluebirds fly
Above the rainbow
Why, oh why, can't I

Preaching closeup

90 yo but now let's start again from the beginning.

(For my Facebook friends: follow the link to Livejournal to view the entire post with the pics, thanx).

This week I was to a friend's birthday, 90 years old, my Ita-American friend John Sparaspilli Lauro from San Pedro (CA). He come to Ischia, his born place, to celebrate and all his friends, including my family and the Bishop, were by him, at Pirozzi's for a spectacular dinner. Here I post the video of the moment we are singing the famous Neapolitan song "a tazza e cafè" (the cup of coffee) and some pics. Happy Birthday, Gianni, and as wrote your friend Mr. Calise on the cake: let's start again from the beginning...

Collapse )

(the cake)
Procession 2

Candelora, blessing of the candles and liturgy.

Friends, today the "Candelora", or the Presentation of Jesus, with Joseph, Mary, the old Simeon and Anna. I had liturgy at St. Joseph's with the blessing of the candles and the procession. Some pics to illustrate you the cerimony and give to all of you the possibility to see my church and the people of the parish where I'm attending my ministry. (For my Facebook's friends I recommend to link the original post on Livejournal to be able to view all the pictures, thanx.)

Collapse )

That's all folks, for today. Glory to God for the beautiful feast and the graces He gave and gives to us in every action of our life.
Don Joseph.
Preaching closeup

A liturgical thought - Un pensiero liturgico (dedicato ai miei amici liturgisti)

Maybe it is true that many Catholics have gotten comfortable with the songs and the liturgical celebrations having nowadays. They are easy enough so that if someone cares to understand the meanings they can. They are like an old sock, comfortable and unassuming. A large part of them don't stir anything within us, they just simply are there, and we've come to expect their presence. But let's be honest, the vast majority of the songs we sing in Mass and the liturgies themselves don't reflect the beauty and grandeur of God, they don't reflect the solemnity of the Mass and of the Sacrifice being offered, and they definitely don't give the possibility to plunge the souls into the truly transcendent experience that Divine Liturgy is supposed to be (the Orthodox liturgy docet!).

Forse è vero che molti cattolici si trovano a loro agio con i canti e le celebrazioni liturgiche che si tengono oggigiorno. Esse sono di facile approccio cosicché se si vuole capire un canto o un'azione liturgica lo si può fare. Sono come un vecchio calzino, confortevole e senza pretese. Una buona parte di esse non smuovono niente dentro di noi, sono semplicemente lì, e noi ce le aspettiamo. Ma ad essere onesti, la gran parte dei canti che cantiamo durante la messa e delle liturgie stesse non riflettono la bellezza e la grandezza di Dio, non riflettono la solennità della messa e del sacrificio che si sta offrendo, e non ti danno la possibilità di immergere lo spirito nella vera esperienza del trascendente che una divina liturgia si suppone debba essere (la liturgia Ortodossa docet!).

(Communion kneeling received )

Collapse )