MY COUSIN THE SAINT
A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

The pope’s visit to L’Aquila

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI was accompanied by more than 400 journalists as he toured the city of L’Aquila and surrounding villages for three hours on Tuesday. Powerful photos, too, at this link.

Luck or answered prayer?

Monday, April 13th, 2009

A Catholic parish in Vermont proclaims its prayers were answered when brave Captain Richard Phillips was safely retrieved from a dramatic high seas rescue off the coast of Somalia — on Easter Sunday, no less. A doctor in L’Aquilia is left with no other explanation than that God led him to a crumbled building where his 20-year-old son lay injured, but still alive, beneath earthquake rubble. Miracles? Answered prayers? Or it is rather the work of patient, skillful sharpshooters and, in the case in Italy, pure luck? Your faith will determine your answers. Even with a saint in my family, I can’t help but wonder: are prayers really answered so arbitrarily? Was no one praying for the nearly 300 innocent victims who died horrible deaths in last week’s earthquake?

Homeless struggle to cope in Abruzzo

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The Times reports: L’AQUILA, Italy — Italy’s Civil Protection Agency continued setting up tents to house the homeless in and around L’Aquila on Wednesday after another night of fear as aftershocks continued to jolt this crumbling city. The death toll of the powerful earthquake that jolted L’Aquila on Monday rose to 251, officials said , and Pope Benedict XVI said he would visit the stricken area as soon as possible after Easter Sunday.

Please remember to contribute to a relief agency like this one.

Italy’s suffering

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

For most travelers, Italy is a land of history, beauty, generosity and gentility. Old Rome. Tuscan countrysides. Venician glass and gondolas. The devastating earthquake in Abruzzo is a bleak reminder of the other Italy — the Italy of poverty and suffering. In this other Italy, typically south of Rome, life is anything but sweet. This column in the Times, centering on the life and experiences of the great Italian writer Ignazio Silone, tackles that subject head on.

“The ties never break”

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The Times reports: New York Italian-Americans move to aid quakes victims: “There are few forces that so swiftly and surely reaffirm such immigrant ties as a natural disaster, and Monday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which killed as many as 150 and left tens of thousands homeless, was no different.

MORE: ABC News offers a sad timeline of Italy’s earthquakes, the worst of which struck Reggio Calabria and Messina, Sicily on Dec. 28, 1908. The video here, at this Euronews site, is sad and shocking.

Reggio di Calabria

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Lungamare in Reggio Calabria
In 1921, the archbishop of Reggio di Calabria, the region’s largest city, called Padre Gaetano Catanoso down from his mountain parish to lead a church in the middle of the city. It was a difficult place then, having been devastated in 1908 by the worst earthquake to strike western Europe in modern times (still). The city today, with more than 200,000 people, retains a chaotic, gritty feel in many ways, with dense construction, noisy traffic and throngs of young people crowding the main commercial drag at night.

But down on the lungamare, the waterfront, Reggio offers a look and feel rivaling any seaside resort in Italy. White, sandy beaches, a beautifully designed walkway with a famous monument honoring Italy’s King Emmanuel II , who oversaw the nation’s reunification in 1870, and unparalleled views across the Strait of Messina to the northeast coastline of Sicily.

Reggio is often overlooked as a tourist spot, except perhaps, among southern Italians. But it deserves a closer look. A long weekend stay could easily be justified before hopping the ferry to Sicily. The city’s commercial district, rebuilt in the 1920s and 1930s, retains a kind of New Orleans architecture and charm. The National Museum claims two of the most cherished pieces of art in the world — the 1,500-year-old Riace bronzes.  There’s a 1,000-year-old castle, several beautiful old churches, great pizzerias, and a splendid opera house in the city center.

bergomot
And there is bergomotto. This lemony-looking fruit — a key ingredient in candies, perfumes and Earl Grey tea — grows only in southern Calabria. The fruit pictured here was given to me by the woman I rented a room from during the summer of 2006.

And of course, Reggio is home to only priest ever to be canonized from Calabria, and the first saint from the region since 1517.