Monday, April 04, 2005

Home is the fisherman, home from the sea...

There have been so many tributes to the late John Paul II in the blogosphere, and no small share of those who would attack him before he is in the grave. To the latter, SHAME on the lot of you! Meanwhile, an excellent survey of the former can be found in entries of the last two days by Dom Bettinelli of, also Managing Editor of Catholic World Report.

I first heard the announcement itself on CNN, about mid-afternoon Saturday. It did not surprise me to see them trot out the usual would-be "experts," with all the half-baked theories on the why or wherefore on renegotiating unchangable Catholic teaching on, say, women in the priesthood or contraception, by the next pontificate. So after seeing the likes of rabidly pro-abortion Jesuits like Robert Drinan (who only left Congress after the new Code of Canon Law directed him to) and their usual drivel, I turned to MSNBC and Fox News Channel for more balanced reporting.

But what did surprise me is that, except for hanging black drapes and proceeding with plans for Saturday evening Masses, the parishes in DC's Virginia suburbs appeared to go on with business as usual. Didn't they know that the Holy Father had just died? Didn't they see the news footage of pilgrims flocking to St Peter's in Rome, to his former residence in Cracow, to St Patrick's in New York City? Even the Basilica of the National Shrine was planning to roll up the sidewalks as usual. Could they not, for once in a blue moon, leave the doors wide open, with candles lit by the man's portrait, inviting all who would enter and pay their respects, even into the next morning?

After agreeing that we were in no mood to go out dancing, Sal and I went across town, to Our Lady Queen of Poland in Silver Spring, MD, to join his country men in praying the Rosary. Years of praying in Church Slavonic with the Byzantine Liturgy prepared me to follow the "Paters" and "Aves" in Polish, as the two of us responded to ourselves in English. As a young woman in her native Philippines, Sal marched with her kababayan through the streets of Manila -- armed only with a Rosary in one hand and a cassava cake in the other -- to bring down a dictatorship. Surely they followed the example of the Holy Father, who brought down the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union, with no greater weapon than the Rosary, and the arousal of the will of humanity.

I've been reading a book this past week, Stories of Karol: The Unknown Life of John Paul II. I have long been a student of his life. Whatever tribute of my own could not compare to those who have already written. But I hope to offer my own feelings of the man who was Karol Wojtyla, whom many knew affecitonately as "Lolek" (roughly translated as "Charlie") -- the man who, upon learning of his appointment as a bishop, told those with him to "call me 'Uncle'."

I will conclude this entry with a video tribute prepared by Mr Bettinelli, entitled Abba Pater.

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