Packing ‘light’ for World Youth Day

By Sara Angle
One in a series

HERSHEY, Pa. — Pilgrims attending World Youth Day have been told to pack light, so what exactly does that mean when you are taking a week long trip to a foreign country? Well, I thought I’d share what I’ll be bringing, for anyone curious. Attending WYD and still haven’t loaded your suitcase? Maybe this will motivate you! I’ve included:

— Cotton shirts and lightweight cotton skirts (church-appropriate with shoulders covered and skirts at the knee).
— Breezy cotton dresses to beat the heat.
— Some gym clothes so I can get in a nice run (perfect way to see a new city!)
— Cotton PJs.
— Plenty of socks.
— Three pairs of closed-toe shoes (with so many people, feet are bound to get stepped on).
— One pair of sandals (let those piggly-wigglies breathe!)
— One bathing suit (you never know).
— One hat to keep the sun off my face.
— Umbrella and poncho. (I’m a Girl Scout, be prepared!)
— Belts and scarves to dress up anything I decide to re-wear.
— A yoga mat for sleeping outside with the other pilgrims on the final night (too hot for a sleeping bag).


Pilgrims were told to pack light!

Not pictured:

— Lots of underwear! Of course.
— Two bottles of sunscreen.
— Dry shampoo for in-between hair days.
— Madrid guidebook.
— Hand sanitizer and toilet paper (you’d be surprised how many European bathrooms leave out the essentials).
— Reusable water bottle.
— Basic over-the-counter medications (because its a pain to read labels in another language if you are sick!)
— Do-it-all soap (good for washing YOU and your laundry in a hotel sink!)

Happy packing and safe travels to all of you headed to WYD! For everyone else, keep your eye out for my adventures. Oh, and I’ll also be bringing a lot of electronics to make sure all our readers are up to date on the latest happenings at WYD!

Sara Angle, 21, is a senior at Villanova University and has written for CNS from Rome and Washington. She enjoys traveling and soaking up the culture of her surroundings, be it through food, fashion or faith, and looks forward to covering WYD for CNS — from the big events to the off-beat adventures. Sara loves reading and writing (but not arithmetic) and dancing like no one is watching. You can also follow her on Twitter @CatholicNewsSvc. She’ll be using the hashtag #SaraInMadrid.

Jesuit hypertext pioneer dies at 97

Jesuit Father Roberto Busa standing in front of his landmark "Index Thomisticus." (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

VATICAN CITY — His name may not be familiar to most people, but it was probably thanks to Jesuit Father Roberto Busa that today’s computers don’t just crunch numbers, but amass, sort and link words, allowing written works online to be easily searched and analyzed.

Father Busa died late Aug. 9 at the age of 97; during his lifetime he took full advantage of how data-processing went from simple punch-cards to magnetic tapes and beyond.

As a young Jesuit linguist, Father Busa wanted to find a way machines could take over the monumental task of generating a concordance — a kind of systematic index of every word used in a work.  His dissertation in 1946 involved making a handwritten concordance of just one word that appears in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. It took 10,000 handwritten cards to list and analyze all the shades of meaning of just the Latin word “in” in order to study what St. Thomas meant by “presence” and “in the presence.”

In the past it took hundreds of scribes and countless man-hours to create handwritten concordances of the Bible and other major works. Father Busa saw great potential in the new accounting and data-processing machines being created by IBM and Remington Rand. But instead of analyzing numbers, he believed they could help scholars analyze literary works.

In a piece written in 1999 by Thomas Nelson Winter titled “Roberto Busa S.J. and the Invention of the Machine-Generated Concordance,” you can read about how the priest made a critical impact on the way computing machinery could and would be used.

A great tidbit from White’s paper recalls the priest’s first meeting with the founder of IBM:

Father Busa recalled the meeting as follows:

I knew, the day I was to meet Thomas J. Watson, Sr., that he had on his desk a report which said IBM machines could never do what I wanted. I had seen in the waiting room a small poster imprinted with the words: “The difficult we do right away; the impossible takes a little longer.”  (IBM always loved slogans.) I took it in with me into Mr. Watson’s office. Sitting down in front of him and sensing the tremendous power of his mind, I was inspired to say: “It is not right to say ‘no’ before you have tried.” I took out the poster and showed him his own slogan. He agreed that IBM would cooperate … “provided that you do not change IBM into International Busa Machines.”

Father Busa’s pet project, “Index Thomisticus,” was published in printed form in the 1970s. But it took another 20 years of waiting for technology to advance further to make the work available on CD-ROM with the title “Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia — cum hypertextibus.”

At a press conference in 1997, the priest said the project had taken nearly 50 years of his own life and an estimated 1.8 million hours of labor.

You can also read a story about Father Busa in yesterday’s L’Osservatore Romano, which credits him with the concept of hypertext, and a 1956 story about him in Time Magazine.

Humility for WYD pilgrims at Lourdes

By Emily Anderson
One in a series

LOURDES, France — Yesterday, we visited Lourdes to see the grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. Lourdes is, in so many ways, a peaceful and intense place. There are not words to describe what it is like to be in a place where Mary actually appeared!

There are probably a million graces from visiting yesterday, but I just want to talk about one for now. Yesterday we started with the Way of the Cross. This is no joke in Lourdes. It started with us going to the stations up stairs on our knees. It is seriously uphill from there. There were a few times where I thought I was going to literally keel over. If you know me, you know I am not in the best of shape, so this was literally a labor of love for me! The Way of the Cross is not typically prayerful for me, but this time around it was great. I was a sweaty mess, but I actually prayed through it. There is something unifying about hearing the stations in a ton of different languages.

One of the reflections was about Jesus falling for a second time. The reflection spoke about forgiveness for the times our sinfulness caused others to fall! What a thing to walk with and reflect on. How many times has our sinfulness kept others from heaven? Whoa! Think about it! I carried this with me for the day and really thought about the people I have affected with my sinfulness! What a great day. I have a lot more to share about Lourdes, but for now, we are off to the next adventure. Thanks for the prayers!

Emily “Em” Anderson, 28, is the director of youth ministry at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Va. She is excited to be traveling with seven teens and two other adults from her ministry. This is her second World Youth Day, having trekked across the world to Sydney with 10 teens for World Youth Day in 2008. She enjoys laughing, singing at the top of her lungs — rather badly — praying liturgy of the hours and planning her next party.