Category Archives: Culture

The Madeleine turns 100

The Madeleine.jpgUtah’s Catholics are celebrating a 100 years of the Catholic cathedral’s presence in a state long known as a haven for Mormons. The mother church of the diocese, The Cathedral of the Madeleine, is 100 years old. While history shows us that Franciscan missionaries preached and celebrated Mass as early as 1776, this celebration concretizes a presence in a house of prayer that has celebrated the sacraments unto salvation.

Catholics on the East coast of the USA or perhaps anywhere else other than Utah will wonder why I am bringing this story more attention. Isn’t the Madeleine’s anniversary a local festivity? Yes and no. Certainly the Catholics of the Diocese of Salt Lake City are remembering the graces and challenges of living their Christian faith there which obviously includes a witness to Christ. Well, it is obvious to me that every claim to witnessing to Christ is not of equal importance if we don’t point to Jesus as the origin of our happiness, the fact of being the Bread of Life and being THE way, the truth and the life. But all of us ought to be celebrating the fact that Christ has made Himself known to His people there. The theology and practice of the Catholic Church is know deeply that what affects Utah’s Catholic community affects us; being Catholic means that we are part of a Church, therefore a companionship of people announcing the the Presence of Salvation today. The Church thinks this is so with the presence of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith who unites all of us with the Holy Father. That is, the beauty of the Catholic faith is its true universality.

Johann Sebastian Bach: 259th anniv of death

JS Bach.jpg
Today is the anniversary of death of Johann Sebastian Bach
(31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750)
May he share the victory of Christ!

Seeing Jesus next to you

Nose Picking.jpgWe’re in the middle of the annual Vacation Bible School. About 150 kids ranging in ages 4-11 are attending the week. Each day a member of the clergy (or the seminarian) gives an explanation of the day’s Scripture passage who then ends the 5 minute lesson with a prayer. Well…

Father Ignacio (our fearless new curate) told the assembled and burgeoning bible thumpers that they had to be attentive to Jesus, and that Jesus was especially present in the person next to him or her. Kids being kids, a teacher turned to the person next to her and saw a little man picking his nose. While it’s a nice idea to think Jesus is present in all people I thinking there are limits when someone, even a kid, is picking his nose. Don’t you think? OK, I am not a parent but ya know….

Moscow Patriarch said women are the stronger sex

OK, I laughed (to myself so as not to disturb the priests with whom I live) that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in May to a youth conference that he thinks women are the stronger sex and psychologically more sturdy than men. My mother and sister would agree; and if my grandmothers and Aunt Jeanne were alive, they’d agree with His All Holiness. I am happy that he said this because he confirmed something I always knew or was drilled into my noggin –and heard proclaimed by women’s organizations since I’ve been in seminary formation. While this is neither new news nor as the critical as the oxygen being sucked out of the news industry in the past 8 days (with Michael Jackson’s death) but now it’s “infallible” and we all know the truth. Really, I am not poking fun at the Russian Patriarch…I think it’s humorous that such a point was newsworthy of Interfax, a news agency. In part, Patriarch Kirill said:

We can do it.jpg

“Men happen to be frailer. The upheavals of 1990s
caused many of them to break down, but women had more vigor to endure the stress.”

Answering questions, it was said that sport
achievements required courage: “women win our country most
of Russia’s gold medals in sport.”

The Patriarch’s words received a
riveting ovation. “An individual comprises both spirit and body, and human
strength depends not only on its physical component. In this regard, women are
the stronger sex,” Patriarch Kirill said.

That he travels around Russia Patriarch Kirill noticed that “Almost every village has some kind of an
amateur talent group. Who sings in a choir? Women do, and sometimes they are
accompanied by a drunken accordionist.” The same is true for many village schools, libraries, post offices, local
administration where women have to play the lead, concluded Kirill.

Gerard Manley Hopkins: 120th anniversary of death

Today is the 120th anniversary of death of Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet.



When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,

Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?

When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I’ll not play hypocrite

To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but

That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows

Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?


O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu

Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,

That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does

He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,

He comes to brood and sit.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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