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October 05, 2007


Mr. Peperium

Thank you, Christine. A wonderful story with a wonderful end. Or maybe I should say beginning.

I recall that a few days after being received into the Church I was running a work-related errand and passed the Shrine of the Little Flower on Woodward Avenue. It struck me suddenly that this was "my" church, too. Not just the one we had been catechised at or the one we attended now, but all Catholic churches the world over were "my" church. Notre Dame de Paris, Rheims, St. Peter's Bassilica, all of 'em. What a wonderful change from the spiritual and intellectual clostrophobia of white-knuckle Protestantism.

I also recall my summer semester in Florence, where I discovered that even the cheapest wines were sweeter, richer, deeper, just downright better than most of what the Italians sent over for our delectation.

Talk about a trade imbalance. On the other hand, we burden them with our movies.


" It struck me suddenly that this was "my" church, too."

Mr. P,
I had that very thought tonight during Mass at glorious St. Benigne Cathedral. A decade ago I would have admired such beauty, but found it cold and alien. Now, to walk into a cathedral is to feel very much at home. I feel the very stones are mine, which have sheltered for centuries the Tabernacle and the thousands of worshippers who have gone before me.

Ah, to be Catholic!


It is Sunday morning here in Saigon, and thanks to Christine's reminder I will be asking the help of Blessed Elizabeth for a friend who is fighting cancer. I will make my way soon to Notre Dame Cathedral. In Hanoi a few days ago, I visited St. Joseph's Cathedral, which felt like home--particularly when locals showed up to pray the Rosary. Both of these beautiful cathedrals were built by the French in the 1880s, and both feel like "my church," dedicated to members of my Holy Family. The worshipers who have gone before me in these two places have suffered much in the wars of the last six decades, and I will seek to join my prayers with theirs.

Mr. Peperium

By the way, I know I misspelled "clausto..." or "claustra..." or whatever it is.

Possibly also "Rheims" and "Basillica".

I'm just not into looking things up today.

After mass today the kids and I lit candles for the child Mrs. P wrote about earlier, putting her in St. Joseph's care. Also gave me an opportunity to explain what a "foster father" is. I find that whenever I think it's going in one ear and out the other it's actually sticking.


Are you in VN on vacation? My father makes a trip there three times a year, to teach at the University of Saigon, and to donate to his favorite charities. He'll be going there in just a few days with my brother. I hope you enjoy your time there--especially the 50 cent bowls of pho!

Mr. P,
You spelled Rheims right!

Robbo the Llama Butcher

"Neither, as my weak faith had difficulty grasping, did God."

It's comforting to read that I'm not the only one who frets about the strength of my faith. (I really am a pretty shallow, weak and ignorant person, after all.) On the other hand, today we got the parable about the mustardseed. I'm pretty sure my Palie rector did not set out to reassure me that I could handle the jump to Rome, so I can only assume that the message was coming from a higher authority.


Robbo--Mother Teresa of Calcutta fretted about the strength of her faith for the last 30 years of her life. The fact that she persevered all that time and remained faithful to the end makes her a greater saint, in my eyes.

Faith, as I was recently reminded, is a gift. We must ask for it. "Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and the door will be opened unto you. Seek, and ye shall find."

Yes, the Gospel reading this week was on the parable of the mustard seed. Being in the city of Dijon, the irony was not lost on me.

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