Vatican II fathers OK’d languages people use daily

The first session of the Second Vatican Council ended Dec. 8, 1962, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, with a closing Mass and speech by Pope John XXIII. You read the speech and the CNS report on the closing congregation of the first session at our council daybook blog, Vatican II: 50 Years Ago Today.

What may surprise you is that one of the very first actions of the council fathers was to approve the use of the vernacular in Latin-rite liturgies. This surprised many Catholic around the world, too, because of the speed with which the fathers made this change. It seemed like overnight, the exclusive use of Latin in the Western rites had been supplanted with the languages people actually used in their daily lives.

Two of the entries in the blog discuss this change. One is the article explaining the approval; the other is a very good analysis by one of the council periti or experts in sacred liturgy, Benedictine Father Cipriano Vagaggini, who died in 1999.

A woman uses a hand missal in Swahili during a Mass in Kenya. (CNS Photo/Nancy Wiechec)

A woman uses a hand missal in Swahili during a Mass in Kenya. (CNS Photo/Nancy Wiechec)

As Father Vagaggini noted in his article, the approval did not spring like Athena from the head of Zeus, from the minds of the council father or Pope John. Liturgical reform had been well under way for almost 50 years by the time the council had begun. Missionaries had been pressing for the use of the vernacular for many years, especially in Asia and Africa, since Latin had almost no resonance with people on those continents.

The Benedictines were among the most prominent of the liturgical reformers of the first part of the 20th century. Nowhere was liturgical reform more studied in North America than St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., with its renowned School of Theology and Seminary. Today St. John’s is home to Liturgical Press, a pioneering publisher of liturgical resources since 1926.

Iowa Catholic woman is world’s oldest person

(Photo/Patti Brown, The Catholic Mirror, Des Moines)

(Photo/Patti Brown, The Catholic Mirror, Des Moines)

The Gerontology Research Group announced this week that 115-year-old Dina Manfredini is the oldest person in the world. She is Catholic and a longtime parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines, Iowa. She inherited the title when 116-year-old Besse Cooper of Georgia died Dec. 4.

Here is a link to a profile of Manfredini by Patti Brown published last year in The Catholic Mirror, newspaper of the Diocese of Des Moines, and posted on the newspaper’s blog. Editor Anne Marie Cox tells us the paper was working to update the story on the supercentenarian, who was born April 4, 1897.

According to Brown’s story, she was born in a small town in northern Italy called Sant’Andrea “the month after William McKinley became president of the United States” — he was sworn into office March 4, 1897 — and “just a few weeks before Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless communication over the open sea.”

“She came to America as a bride in 1920 and settled with her husband, Riccardo, in a tiny mining camp on the southwest edge of Des Moines. Riccardo was 15 years old and had come to America first before sending for Dina.” The couple had four children. “My parents lived their faith. They were poor but we didn’t realize it,” daughter Enes Logli told the Mirror.

Some reports put the number of supercentenarians — those 110 years old or more —  living around the world ay 70. The Gerontology Research Group says the figure is between 300 and 450.  Another Catholic paper recently featured a centenarian — Charlie Barcio. At 108, he has a little way to go before he gets the “super” designation. He recently moved to an assisted living facility in Columbus, Ohio, from Victorville, Calif.

Reporter Tim Puet of the Catholic Times, newspaper of the Columbus Diocese, asked Barcio to sum up what’s meant the most to him in his long life, he said: “My church, my work and my wife.” He was born March 22, 1904, in Erie, Pa., three months after the Wright brothers made their first flight. Read more of his story here on Page 11.

Salt and Light, Canada’s Catholic media network, at 10


Salt and Light, Canada’s Catholic television network, is now 10.

Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt and Light, tells Catholic News Service the network opens its celebration of a decade of broadcasting with a concert Dec. 6 featuring The Priests performing “Venite Adoremus.”

The sold out concert will take place in Toronto’s Telus Center for Performance and Learning.

“We have only just begun our work,” Father Rosica said in an email to CNS staff. “We will build on the solid foundation that has been laid and continue to produce award-winning programs, documentaries and tell stories of hope to the world around us. The church needs our strong, catechetical programs, beautiful, inspirational documentaries and positive message.”

Catholic News Service has enjoyed a long, collaborative partnership with Salt and Light.

The network has its roots in World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. Inspired by the words of Blessed John Paul II at the event, Canadian businessman Gaetano Gagliano felt compelled to use mass media, television in particular, to spread the good news of Jesus. Gagliano formed the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and invited Father Rosica, who served as CEO of World Youth Day 2002, to join him in the leading the enterprise.

As they say, the rest is history.

Salt and Light has expanded into radio and social media with a presence on Facebook and Twitter. It also publishes a magazine.

Salt and Light can be accessed in 2.6 million Canadian homes through eight television carriers and has a worldwide reach through online streaming around the clock. The network continues to broadcast significant worldwide events and maintains partnerships with several Catholic television networks to broadcast Catholic programming.

For the anniversary, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, lauded the network for connecting the local church with the global church and for its outreach to young people.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Richard W. Smith of Edmonton, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec have sent letters of congratulations to Father Rosica.

On a lighter note, writer Daniel Baird captured the spirit of the TV network in his recent column in The Walrus.

CNS joins all of them in extending heartfelt good wishes to Salt and Light for continued success, and we look forward to working together to share the good news of the church in the world today.

Street artists bring spirit of church to new art exhibit

(CNS/Greg Watry)

By Greg Watry

ROME — Two street artists are bringing the spirit of the church to a new art exhibition in Rome.  The -1 Art Gallery, located in the basement of the Casa dell’Architettura, opened a new exhibition titled “Sancta Sanctoroom” on Friday, Nov. 23.

Prominent Roman street artists Mr. Klevra and omino71 are the creative forces behind the exhibition, which illustrates scenes from the Book of Revelation.

Mr. Klevra gained notoriety for his unique street art, which often depicts religious figures such as the Madonna and Child.

The gallery is full of religious figures in Byzantine

(CNS/Greg Watry)

art style.  An image of the Virgin Mary welcomes patrons into the first room, which depicts the Apocalypse in an array of psychedelic colors.  On the left wall, the false prophet, surrounded by a beast and dragon, represents evil.  While on the right, the sacrificial lamb and two lions represent the unity of the Holy Trinity and good.  The New Jerusalem, a city painted in gold, sits in the background of the three figures.  The second room depicts the Last Judgment, when mankind’s sins are weighed and it is decided whether one goes to paradise or the inferno.

The work warrants much contemplation with its inclusion of minute details from the Book of Revelation and the hidden symbols scattered within the art.  Coupled with contemporary images and themes, the exhibition brings a modern twist to an ancient text.

Religious and art enthusiasts will both find something to enjoy in this gallery.  As with most street art, the exhibition has a lifespan and will only be open until Dec. 21.  After that, the walls will be repainted to make way for a new show.  So if you’re in the Rome area it is definitely worth checking out.

Behold: the children’s movie made for children


Scene from the animated film ‘Rise of the Guardians.’ (CNS/DreamWorks Animation)

As someone who has to take his daughter to the movies every once in a while, I found it refreshing to see the movie “Rise of the Guardians.” It is a family-friendly movie in every sense of the word.

When I interviewed its director, Peter Ramsey, Nov. 29, I knew I had to ask him to comment on having such characters as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, who are stand-ins for the real reasons behind those seasons, in the film — besides being two of the central characters in the William Joyce books on which the movie is based.

“We knew we were dealing with these characters, and we knew we embraced these characters” from our own childhood, Ramsey replied. “These are real, and they have a real presence for these people. You can’t deny that there’s something real emotional and real special about these characters.”

He added, “We wanted to make a movie that kids would be able to see and completely enjoy. We didn’t want to pander to one group or another. We didn’t want to load it down with stuff for adults: ‘Yeah, this is corny and syrupy sweet. We’re in on the joke.’ We wanted to tell a straightforward adventure story for kids that anyone could enjoy.”

To that end, Ramsey and crew succeeded. John Mulderig, CNS’ associate director for media reviews, gave “Rise of the Guardians” a classification of A-I — general patronage. He called the film “a tenderhearted and touching family movie — one, moreover, that’s entirely free of objectionable content.” Privately (well, not so privately, if I’m spilling the beans here), he told me it was “as ‘A-I’ a movie as I’ve seen this year.”

I, for one, found it quite free of those manipulative moments that tug at the heartstrings of grown-ups, and was glad of it. Not so, apparently for movie watchers at previews Ramsey’s attended. “I can’t tell you how many grown men come up to me afterward: ‘I don’t know why I felt this way but I cried three times during the movie,'” he told Catholic News Service, adding there have been “at least three with every screening.”

Ramsey said some viewers have told him, “It really did make me feel like a kid again.” And it can, he notes, “if you are really open to that side of yourself.” Well, when you’ve got the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman on the same side as Santa and the Easter Bunny doing battle against the Bogeyman, how can you lose?


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