Altar of Heaven, Lady of Victory

Well, I’m back.

In my last post I said I would post some more pictures of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. The Church does not look like much from the street 124 steps below its porch. Inside, however, is a different story. There is plenty of interest, especially for a Franciscan, the Church being the medieval generalate house for the Order. Our focus here, though, is the Battle of Lepanto.

This is the interior wall of the front of the Church:

The central stone panel in the lower half of the photograph contains an inscription commemorating The Battle of Lepanto. Click on the photo above for a better look. The inscription tranlsates: Continue reading

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Finito!

I am off to the airport in about an hour. This morning we took this picture of the community in Via Boccea. Father Settimio is the suprerior of the house (the very tall one in the middle). If you would like to see the state of Fra Giles’ balding head, click on the pic for a better look.

Yesterday the said Fra Giles and I went into Rome and visited a few churches. We also ate lunch at Santa Maria Maggiore with the friars there. Fra Giles was asking about everyone in America. He says hello to the locals.

One of the churches we visited yesterday was Santa Maria in Ara Coeli (Saint Mary of the Altar of Heaven), which an ancient church built on one of the tallest hills in Rome over the ruins of the Roman temple of Juno Moneta. I will more into the history of the Church in the next post. My main interest in this Church, which I had never visited before, is two: 1) It is the ancient Roman headquarters for the Franciscans; 2) It contains a huge memorial of the Battle of Lepanto.

In 1571, Santa Maria in Aracoeli hosted the celebrations honoring Marcantonio Colonna after the victorious Battle of Lepanto over the Turkish fleet. Marking this occasion, the compartmented ceiling was gilded and painted (finished 1575), to thank the Blessed Virgin for the victory.

Here is a little taste of some of the pictures I will be posting over the next few days.

This is the best shot I could get of the whole ceiling (click on the image for a larger version):

Continue reading

The Church Militant or Impotent?

home-church.jpg

I just posted an entry on a tragic Holy Week real estate deal on AirMaria, and that has provoked some further reflection on my part. Holy Monday is a time to reflect humbly upon our own sinful betrayal of Jesus Christ.

The Church Militant is fighting for its identity. Leon Podles argues that our Church has been feminized and emasculated. It has become, in his words, the Church Impotent.

The closing of our Churches has many causes, and I am not here to play the blame game; however, this tragedy is reflective of the loss of our missionary spirit, and the sacrificial spirit of Holy Week. So now we can celebrate Holy Week by buying a closed Church . . . and do what with it? Partition it into an upscale apartment, like the one in the picture above? Or how about a garden show, like the one below?

sacredheartgardenshow.jpg Continue reading