Church Up Close (part 1)

It’s a gray, rainy day here in New York, so what better way to spend my afternoon than sharing some pictures of bright sunny Roma with the world?

IMG_2350Just two weeks ago I was here, admiring Bernini’s handiwork and learning a whole lot about religion writing and the Catholic Church, along with my best friend Pope Francis.

IMG_2459This is the Popemobile. (Fun fact: the little cobblestones are called petrini, like Peter, to whom Jesus gave the fabulous nickname The Rock.)

I was in Rome for the Church Up Close conference, which was for journalists covering religion “in the age of Francis,” and deciding to skip the beginning of my senior year to attend was one of the best decisions of my life. I was the only student who’s ever gone, and I learned so much from the other attendees, let alone the program itself.

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The Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Our time was split between seminars at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with guest speakers both from the media and from the Vatican, on-site visits with more lectures, and tours of various locations and offices.

IMG_2400Above is the Vatican press office briefing room, which is where I’m going to be during the next conclave. I hope.

IMG_2412One of our speakers was Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who was giving a talk on his work on interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, but is more of a public figure for being the guy who comes out on the balcony and goes “HABEMUS PAPAM!”

 IMG_2468It was pretty intense compared to other conferences that I’ve attended, with all-day sessions Monday through Saturday and then a tour and farewell lunch on Sunday, after which I was able to spend a little time in my old neighborhood, Prati. 

This is the very short version. I hope to be able to post about a few of the sessions, not all of which were on the record, as well as some of my travel experiences, including my hostel, which was my first-ever blog collaboration. Stay tuned!

(And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who made this possible.) 

IMG_2406In the meantime, I’ll be over here trying to reach this crazy dream job:

  • Following religious media and journalists on news alerts and social media
  • Having the realization that maybe I should have taken Italian more seriously and, you know, actually eventually learn how to speak it
  • Reading the USCBB’s documents on covering the Holy See (so interesting)
  • Getting ready for the career fair next week
  • Reading everything John Allen Jr. ever wrote. 

 

 

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#WCD2014

The World Communications Day Conference took place on Thursday in NYC, and fortuitously, I a) found out about it, b) was close to the city still, and c) it was Dad’s day off so he could come with me! Bonus!

I think the gist of the conference is best summed up in the Storify I made, below: 

For me, the main takeaways were: 
  • New technology is changing communication itself
  • Church presence in the digital world is absolutely necessary
  • There is no more passive consumption of media
  • Expression is no longer text-dependent

But the biggest thing that I realized was, religious journalism is a thing. I’ve always thought how cool it would be, but never really thought it was a niche big enough to get a job in. This is definitely a field I’ll be exploring further. 

Dad and I step-and-repeating!

Dad and I step-and-repeating!

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One Year With Papa Francesco

One year ago on a rainy night in Rome, Jorge  Mario Bergoglio was elected to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics as pope on the fifth ballot of the conclave.

In his first address to the crowds outside St. Peter’s Basilica, Bergoglio, who took the name Francis, asked Christians around the world to pray with him for his reign as pontiff and for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He then led the 100,000 observers packed into the square in reciting the Our Father, Glory Be and Hail Mary.

This humble tone has continued through the whirlwind first year of his papacy. In fact, the motto Francis chose is “miserando atque eligendo”: lowly, yet chosen, according to the Vatican website.

(Read more at the Torch)

I cannot believe that it’s been a whole year since my overly excited #popefangirl self stood outside for nine hours in the rain hoping that the cardinals would elect a pontiff.

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I prepared extensively and learned so much about the ways of the Church in the days leading up to the conclave.

I stood through the first ballot, and sighed when black smoke poured out of that tiny chimney. 

I gasped and cheered when the next smoke was white (and ahead of schedule!) and grabbed my friends by the hand and ran to the center of the square, underneath the loggia, to await the revelation of the newest successor of Peter. Reading my first post after the conclave almost made me cry today, people.

I was so excited about Francis from the start, and he has not disappointed me.

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It is sadly midterms week (coming off a week of service during which I didn’t have a computer and hardly any internet), so I don’t have too much time to be posting. 

I do have a new theme, which I’m really excited about, but I need the time to customize it (and make the text not so gray). 

Coming up I hope to write about more Pope things/the feast of St. Joseph, my week in Denver with the Vincentians, Lent, and how to navigate the stations of the cross in Rome. 

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The Pope Flew Away…a year ago

One year ago today, Pope Benedict XVI left the chair of Peter.

One year ago today, Allie and I hurried out of theology class and rushed Angie and Elise along, heading down Via Cola di Rienzo towards St. Peter’s Square, a route we knew by heart by that point. We waved goodbye and took photographs and, feeling lost, turned away from a big basilica voluntarily without a bishop for the first time in centuries to eat paninis in a little restaurant on Via Ottaviano.

Since the announcement of the pope’s intention to resign a few weeks before (and Jenny sums up what it felt like so very well over here), we knew things would change.

I’m not sure we knew how much, both for us and for the world.

In any case, below is my post from a year ago. (If you’re interested in reading more about this, just put “pope” in that search box in my sidebar and you’ll get dozens of results.)

###Allie was very emotionally distraught

Allie was very emotionally distraught
People crowded the square
People crowded the square
The sunset over St. Peter's
The sunset over St. Peter’s
The usual flags were joined by a giant cross
The usual flags were joined by a giant cross
A second helicopter followed the first so we could see the entire journey from takeoff to landing
A second helicopter followed the first so we could see the entire journey from takeoff to landing

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Their banner said "Grazie"
Their banner said “Grazie”
This was a major plot point in Angels and Demons, if I remember correctly
This was a major plot point in Angels and Demons, if I remember correctly
These two watched intently in perfect silence
These two watched intently in perfect silence
Ciao Papa
Ciao Papa
We watched on the giant televisions as he lifted off and circled Rome
We watched on the giant televisions as he lifted off and circled Rome
The crowd
The crowd
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Top Five Faith Favorites #alliteration

It’s Sunday, so that makes this appropriate!

Here’s what I’m digging about theology this week:

The divine praises (adoration is like the best, y’all):

(This video is pretty long. The Divine Praises start about 3:39. While you’re watching the first part, here’s some non-Catholic thoughts:

  • Tantum Ergo Sacramentum (the first part) is worth a listen. At SJU we sing it in Latin, which I am a huge fan of. 
  • I have always loved the old wisdom and beauty of the catholic church; isn’t it just a little bit cool to think you’re singing the words that have been chanted since at least St. Thomas Aquinas?
  • Why does the priest have to wear a scarf to hold the monstrance? I have actually asked priests this and I still do not understand.)

That there’s a feast called the Chair of Peter.

Excerpt of an email from Franciscan Media (click for link)

Excerpt of an email from Franciscan Media (click for link)

You know your organization has been around for a long time when you start celebrating the furniture.

This Buzzfeed quiz on which apostle you are.

The basilica of St. Francis (Assisi, Italy)

The basilica of St. Francis (Assisi, Italy)

That moment when you are about to take a practice GRE so you quickly look up the patron saint of exams (Joseph of Cuptertino, for all you college kids out there).

St. Thomas More Church

St. Thomas More Church

The opportunity to worship with my community multiple times each day is (to my surprise) one of my favorite things about SJU!

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