Friday 28 September 2012

Pilgrimage to Vienna September 2010 - Day 3

So, the third day had arrived - and with it the dreaded climb, on which there will be more written further down, but we must start from the beginning. After breakfast, excellent as always, we went on a trip just outside of the city centre to visit the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy; the baroque Belvedere castles. Prince Eugene became rather rich fighting the Turks and had, apart from the two Belvedere castles, a palace in central Vienna. The palaces are now used for art exhibitions and between them lies a beautiful garden with everything one could possibly want from a garden- fountains, sphinxes, statues...and trees.

Walking down from the Upper Belvedere to the Lower Belvedere and exiting the garden we came upon the Karlskirche (OK, there was also a short walk).

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Pilgrimage to Vienna September 2010 - Day 2

After an intensive first afternoon the next morning started with Mass in the Kapuzinerkirche, where they celebrate the Latin Mass every morning, then back to the monastery on the Freyung for breakfast before the group of pilgrims were back on the streets to experience more of Catholic Vienna. The guest house is part of the Schottenstift, named after the Schotten (Scots); Irish monks involved in missionary work, a Benedictine monastery.

First stop on this days walk was the Stephansdom - St. Stephen's Cathedral - with its incredible roof and towers. There's been a church on the site since 1147, and indeed the entrance and towers of that church are the ones in the cathedral today, the rest of the church is the result of several rebuilds and additions - all in the gothic style, but differing slightly in age. After another excellent pilgrims presentation we looked around inside the church. Going up in a lift to the top of the North Tower we had a look at the bells in the tower (the famous Pummerin bell, third largest in Europe) as well as a great view of the entire city of Vienna (and a close up-view of the roof!), but there was, of course, also much to see in the church itself. A Byzantine style icon of the Madonna and child can be found just inside the doors to the church. It was brought to Vienna in the late 1600s by the Emperor Leopold I after the Mother in the picture had on several occasions been crying real tears.

The last thing on the agenda was the Kapuzinerkirche and its Kaisergruft. This Capuchin church, officially named Church of St. Mary of the Angels, is the one where the Latin Mass is celebrated each morning. It was finished in 1632 after having been delayed by the outbreak of the 30 years war. Underneath the church is a mausoleum where most of the remains of all the members of the Habsburg dynasty are laid to rest - 143 Habsburgs are entombed here. The first people to be buried here were Emperor Matthias and Empress Anna of Tyrol, who also provided the money to build both the church and the crypt, whose sarcophagi are kept in the Founder's Vault. The crypt is an impressive, though somewhat scary, place full of coffins and decorative skeletons.

Pilgrimage to Vienna September 2010 - Day 1

This years pilgrimage went to Vienna - a city full of Catholic heritage. We started in the afternoon of the 19th with a walk around the city centre including presentations of the Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) and the Pestsäule (Plague monument), both on the Graben ("graben" meaning grave or ditch - one of the main streets in central Vienna). The presentations were held by different pilgrims and were all very good (well, my own might have been a little short... and slightly confused).

The Peterskirche, here to the left, is one of the oldest churches in Vienna, the first church on the site was built in the early Middle Ages and there have been several churches there before the current baroque one which was built in the beginning of the 18th century. It has a rather impressive exterior, the kind you want to take a step back to really admire. This, however, is impossible since this rather grand church has been squeezed into, in my mind, far to small a spot. The interior, too, is interesting, with a golden image of St. John of Nepomuc being thrown off the Charles Bridge in Prague. I was in Prague a few weeks before the pilgrimage to Vienna and I saw the tomb of St. John in St. Vitus' Cathedral at Prague Castle, designed by Fischer von Erlach, the very famous architect who also did much work in Vienna. John of Nepomuc lived in the 14th century and was considered a martyr after being drowned in the Vltava river for refusing to divulge secrets from the confessional of the queen of Bohemia, to whom he was the confessor. He's the patron against calumnies and a protector from floods. He was canonized in 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII.

The Pestsäule is a magnificent column crowned by golden statues of the trinity and a stone one of Emperor Leopold I kneeling in front of them. It was he who erected the column after God answered his prayer to end the 1678 plague epidemic a little early. The original monument was made of wood but when God was nice enough to also help drive out the Turks from Vienna in 1683 the Emperor replaced it with the one you can see here on the right.

But Vienna has more to offer the fun loving catholic; a couple of us who were early to arrive made good use of the extra time and went to Mass in the Hofburg Chapel, with the boys choir singing, and then went to see the Spanish Riding School - amazing horses performing the most advanced and exquisite dressage movements, the performance being set to music. The Spanish Riding School is thus called because the horses they use, called Lipizzaners, were brought from Spain by the Emperor Charles VI who founded the riding school in the 18th century. Up until two years ago all the riders at the school were men but they now also allow girl riders and have, we learned from the guide as we walked through the stables, two female riders training now. The riding school itself is an incredible building located in the Hofburg with the stables just across the Herrengasse.

October Devotions in Limerick

The following news has just been received from the Institute of Christ the King in Limerick:

Dear Friends,

The Holy Rosary will be prayed solemnly before the Blessed Sacrament exposed at Sacred Heart Church in Limerick, beginning Monday 1st October at 6pm (every day of October except Sunday)

Yours in Christ
Canon Lebocq
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Sacred Heart Church
16, The Crescent

God bless Christ the King!

Monday 24 September 2012

St. Pius X - Part XI

On this day one hundred years ago, St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Singulari Quadam on Labour Organisations.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Sunday 2 September 2012

Another cause for rejoicing, the Manchester Oratory

Today we heard that approval has been given to the establishing of an Oratory in Manchester.  The following information appeared on the website of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus website.

"With great thanksgiving to Almighty God, our Blessed Lady and our Holy Father St Philip, we can announce that the Bishop of Salford given his approval for the erection of the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Manchester.

The Manchester Oratory will be close to the city centre at St Chad’s, Cheetham Hill, which is the Mother Church of the City.

We will continue to be at the Holy Name until Advent, or when arrangements have been finalised. The Holy Name will then be part of the Chaplaincy to the Universities on Oxford Road staffed by the Society of Jesus.

A Letter from His Lordship will be read the weekend of 1st / 2nd September to the Congregations at the Holy Name and St Chad’s.

Please keep us in your prayers at this time."

The Manchester Oratory will be the fourth English Oratory.  The first, Birmingham, was established by Bl Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1848, and was shortly followed by London and more recently Oxford.  St Chads Church is associated with Sister Elizabeth Prout who converted to Catholicism having heard a talk by Blessed Dominic Barberi who also received Bl Cardinal John Henry Newman into the Church.  Some pictures of the church can be found here.

It is particularly welcome to hear this news following so quickly on the heels of the announcement of the Institute of Christ the King's purchase of the Sacred Heart Church in Limerick.