Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Treno a Napoli - Train to Naples

You know you have arrived when you see this world-famous topography looming over the teeming and most densely populated city in Europe from the train window:

Despite vicious rumors to the contrary, there are functioning trash trucks in Naples.

Welcome to my place of worship for the next week, the chapel of San Sosio in Miseno, dedicated to one of the deacons martyred with the great patron of Naples, San Gennaro. The "casa canonica" or rectory-apartment upstairs, will be my home during my stay. Fr. Domenico, the pastor, has invited me to celebrate holy Mass here some days this week.

The holy patron, San Sosio.

Despite the disappointments of the past, in faith and trust we turn again and again to the "images" of Christ in the members of His Body in order to truly know and love Him and discover His love for us. Here catechist Enza prepares her class for the celebration of the Sunday liturgy through a lesson on the encounter of the Lord with the Samaritan woman. By taking part in the catechism class, the visitor receives a gift from the Lord, His love, that is possible only by giving oneself as He does in the word of the Scriptures and His Body in the Eucharist. "What you have received as a gift, give as a gift."

New friends reach out with curiosity, inquiring about my home far away and discover my life in many ways is very much like theirs.

Rewarded at day's end with a home-made meal with old friends.

Enzo and Teresa.

Father and son, Donato.

Pasta with lentils, a fresh salad of tomatoes with tuna and olives, fresh bread, salami and steak.
The food was swept quickly from the plate. The cook has a passion for his craft and the guest is most pleased to taste the fare. Grazie amici!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008


"Be prepared to deny your child anything but a brother or sister." -- John Paul II

Monday, October 13, 2008

Silvio Berlusconi at the White House

Silvio Berlusconi a la Casa Bianca

This was my view this morning from a knoll on the south lawn of the White House at the welcome ceremony for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Thanks to JB for the invitation to join her.

Mr. Berlusconi spoke compellingly of his visit when he was young to the American cemetery in Anzio, Italy, where, at his father's urging, he swore to never forget the ultimate sacrifice American servicemen made to free Italy and restore her freedoms and nationhood.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And, later, that same day

And, later that evening, hours east by car between the ocean and the bay...assisting at the celebration of married love between Sam and Becky.

A Father has so many children to be proud of, yet so little time...

Promotion to Lieutenant Commander

On Saturday, 5 October 2008, CAPT Smith administered the oath of office and pinned on the insignia with the assistance of LCDR Buzzetti at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Anacostia.

Years of labor with Marines and Sailors, at sea aboard carrier USS IKE and ashore at North Carolina, Virginia, Italy and Florida, and dogged determination in the paperwork department have now, officially, paid off.

Oh, and how could I forget Iraq? I guess it's not so hard to do, after all.

Forget the people never.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Napoli da Bici

Naples by bicycle

We often set out on the road with enthusiasm, fresh from the night's rest, thankfully with no thought for the fatigue to come on the course of over 100 km and steep gradients.

We have friends to help us along the way. Michele Ercole, left, is training for the Giro da Sole tour series of southern Italy and has placed this season in one of the races.

Before starting out, a "fuel" stop for a quick caffe with the small group on the way to Vesuvius.

In the city, near the port area, the fruit and vegetable vendor, or fruttivendolo, sets out the offerings for the day.

We stop to discuss the road to take. Our course wended its way along the coast of the bay of Naples, visible at the end of the road ahead in photo, crowded with towns linked by the Vesuviana railway line.

The arc of the bay of Naples visible from the lower slopes of the dormant volcano which reminds the city to never take a day for granted. Naples is the most densely populated and most at risk city in Europe.

The peak of the volcano looks quite different as one approaches. The roads are lined in places with the rock lava formed by earlier eruptions.

The scugnizzi, or street kids, of Naples find work in different ways. Ciro, seen with his bike, works with his older brother as a "posteggiatore", or parking attendant, at the cemetery along the bay in Torre del Greco.

Danielo D'Ambrosio and his daughter Rosalia, of Angri, craft mosiac items popular with Americans. Here is their rendering of the famous view "Napoli da Posillipo".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Padova e Firenze

Padova is well known for Saint Anthony. Surpisingly, he is actually from Portugal! I previously visited "La Basilica del Santo", the shrine dedicated to this holy preacher, and also Giotto's fresco masterpieces at La Capella Scrovegni.

I stopped here only for pranzo, or lunch, with Tommaso, a friend from Comunita Cenacolo, and his friend Giorgia. There was Swedish tuna, potato patties, mozarella di bufala with olives, raw radicchio, and a sauce of olive oil, garlic and herbs. After lunch and a visit Giorgia helped me to find my way to the tangenziale from whence I continued on toward Bologna, then to Firenze through tight mountain passes, and on to Cortona for the night at Le Celle.

I stopped briefly at La Certosa, the Carthusian monastery visible from the autostrada outside Florence. The church is closed on Mondays. I was able to visit briefly with Padre Roberto in the shop stocked with the Certosan home made liquore, honey and other items.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poem: "The Gifts of the King's Children Three"

A poem, this, I offer
From the several gifts in my coffer,
With thanks for cookies sent to me
By the Williams children three.

Created and signed, these, cards of greeting
That their sentiments with me might find happy meeting;
And to celebrate the Lord's birth and joy to others bring,
Baked they cookies to mark the birth-feast of the King.

They rolled, cut and decorated with care
And, in a package to Iraq through the air,
These cookies mailed with prayers and glee
To all the folks deployed with Father "C".

Away the sweets went, o'er sea and land they flew,
A sign of love hidden away until revealed anew,
When into the receipt of Father "C" they were given,
A reminder of the care for all in Heaven.

After Mass these delights were shared with the many
Of those who praised the Lord on Epiphany Sunday.
Yet again, the next morn, Father enjoyed them with his latte coffee
And gave one as a gift to a Baghdad Iraqi.

Finally, when none more of these treats remained but a few,
One was conferred, aloft, upon a member of the Osprey crew.

And, too, a Marine would thank these Williams children three
For their Christmas cookies sent far by air, land and sea.

And for sending these signs, from America, of love-
Give we thanks and remember you in our prayers to God above
-- ((((..))))

"Lord, Every Nation on Earth Will Adore You"

Francis Twindomugisha and Johnathan Waigumbulizi of Uganda (above left), Silmi Mod of Sri Lanka (left), Specialist Colon at COP Akashat (below left), and John Bosko Byamukama of Kampala, Uganda, are some of the many voices and hearts raised in worship of the Lord throughout His Mystical Body, the one Church on earth.

"Every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2: 11). The Lord's will that His Church be truly catholic, or universal, impels the priest to reach out to everyone and, first, to fellow members of the household of believers. No one is excluded from the service of the Church through which Christ desires to embrace the whole world in love, for He wills "that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." The Church from the day of Pentecost has been called to serve men and women "from every nation under heaven" (cf. Acts 2: 5)

Ugandans serve as security personnel on bases throughout west Anbar and fulfill these words of Scripture. Sri Lankans, Indians, Filippinos and others work in roles of service in food, cleanliness, physical plant and transportation and also share in the Faith. They come some of the many nations on earth whose people share today in the communio of the Church and are a sign that all nations are called to adore the Lord.

The prayers of the Church rise like incense before the Lord, in every tongue and tribe and people and nation, as the sacred liturgy is celebrated everywhere under the sun. Francis Twindomugisha will go forth as a "leaven in the world" to encourage his brothers and sisters in the Church from Uganda to "adore the Lord" in the proclamation of the Word and prayer in common on the Lord's Day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Remain in My love" at Korean Village and COP Akashat

We remain in His love (John 15:9-17) as we keep His commandment to "Do this in memory of me" (1 Cor: 11:23-26) every time we celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Ugandan friends together with CDR Gilbert, HM3 Bondi who is preparing for first confession and holy Communion, LCDR Lettiere, Francis Twindomugisha of Uganda and Father Cusick.
Our military are often "like sheep without a shepherd" while deployed and can fall away from the habit of prayer without a priest among them. A convoy to COP Akashat yielded fruitful opportunity to fan into flames the gift of the Spirit among the flock already present there but unaware they were not alone. The priest serves as a "pontifex", or bridge builder, so that the members of Jesus' Mystical Body can recognize in each other, as they come together to pray the liturgy, fellow sheep of the Lord's one universal Flock, living stones of His Church.
Wherever we go, the Church awaits us - is sent ahead of us and accompanies us- as a gift from the Lord. He provides for us, keeping His promise: "I will be with you always." We come into deeper communion with Him as we persevere together in living the way of the Church.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"Behold the Lamb of God" at Al Qa'im

Upon the Cross, where the Son gives everything for us, we behold Him as John invites us, the "Lamb" of sacrifice for our sins.

We behold the Lamb, truly meeting Him in every holy Mass where He gives Himself anew. New friendships are discovered as we are brought into a unity through our ancient Faith. LCDR Beasley played guitar, Lcpl Garza, Joseph Abboud, Russ Tate, SSgt Gomes, Capt Gerdes, LCDR McGinnis, Catholic lay leader Vince Heningberg, "Ricky".

As Lcpl Garza says, "Jesus has my back." The crucified One goes on every convoy, His image affixed to this Marine's flack vest.

One evening while chatting with Vince I saw the chapel door open very slightly and then close quickly. I stepped outside and invited "Ricky" (name withheld) to come in. He is Iraqi, Muslim and from Baghdad. He expressed an interest in learning about our Faith and so I invited him to pray with us the following evening at Mass.

While pacing slowly in the sunshine to pray the breviary, the next day, I stopped Joseph Abboud to chat and learned he is from Lebanon and a Maronite Christian. I invited him to join us for Mass also. While visiting elsewhere on the base and chatting with Sailors, Russ heard my voice and recognized me from Mayport, Florida, where he met me while serving as a lay leader aboard ship before 2006. He joined us as well. The Church is a gathering always of friends both old and new.

"Ricky" joined us for the liturgy and remained after for catechesis. As I handed on in English the message of the kerygma, or proclamation of Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection, Joseph translated into Arabic for "Ricky" who listened with sincerity, patience and interest. We shared with "Ricky" that he must exercise his free will and choose for himself to walk through the door of Faith and thus enter the communio of Jesus in His Church. We assured him of our commitment in prayer and active help to accompany and support him on his path. Joseph will continue to provide instruction.

The "traditio", or handing on of the Faith, is taking place before our very eyes, and in our own voices, as each of us accept our vocation to be witnesses of the Lord in word and action.
Posted by MCITL at 9:47 AM

Thank you for visiting.


Kamsahamnida, Dziekuje, Terima kasih, Doh je, Grazie, Tesekur, Gracias, Dank u, Shukran

free counters