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

Posts Tagged ‘St. Gaetano Catanoso’

Vultus Christi

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Father Mark in Oklahoma, who keeps the blog Vultus Christi, reminds his readers about the life of one great saint, who happens to be a favorite of his and mine, St. Gaetano Catanoso. The post is here. A novena and a brief description of the life of St. Gaetano is included at the post. Nicely done.

I have corresponded with Father Mark a few times; he was stationed in Rome until recently and attended St. Gaetano’s canonization in October 2005. He writes periodically about my cousin.

Patron saints

Monday, September 1st, 2008

From the blog Stuff Catholics Like:We all have fears and phobias. The Church has saints to protect you from them. Print this list out and carry it with you so you will have the prayers you need to get you through the terrors of every day life.” The amusing list is here.

By the way, St. Gaetano Catanoso is the patron saint of parish priests.

Bernini: Rome’s baroque genius

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Bernini-Teresa
The spector of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the great 17th-century Italian sculptor and painter, is evident all over Rome — on bridges, buildings, piazzas and in the city’s finest museums. Perhaps nowhere is his artistic genius more evident than in St. Pater’s Square, where he designed the arching collonade, which defines the world’s most glorious public space, and is topped with 144 saints carved in travertine (St. Gaetano Catanoso is not up there, but his sainted Calabrian predecessor, St. Francis of Paola, is!). All this emphasis on gathering huge crowds overlooked by a communion of saints is entirely fitting: that is the primary place where canonizations are held — and where saints are named.

I’ve seen many, many Bernini masterpieces during my visits to Rome, including the incomparable “Ecstacy of St. Teresa” in a tiny church near the Piazza Repubblica (shown above). I really wish I could visit the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where a traveling exhibit of Bernini’s gorgeous marble busts are making their only American appearance. The story is here.

An excerpt: “The cloth ripples. You would swear it does. Call this the ultimate form of illusionism: making marble look as soft as cloth or as delicate as lace. The hair, the skin and the lips on Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s portrait busts are just as logic-defying.”

Journal entry: Mass at the church of St. Gaetano — 6-17-06

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Sanctuary, Church of Padre Gaetano
We had a houseful of company this morning, and I didn’t get to Mass. This journal entry from two summers ago describes the first Mass I attended at Gaetano’s church in the Santo Spirito neighborhood of Reggio Calabria.

We arrive at the church at 5:55 p.m. (Saturday)…The nuns are all praying aloud when as Daniela and I take our seats. They pretty much fill the first four rows of the narrow sanctuary. They are praying the rosary with those in church early, and then shift into an Our Father and Hail Mary, all in Italian of course, before the Mass starts sharply at 6 p.m. Three Filipino nuns, two on acoustic, gut string guitars and one on tambourine, start to sing. It is stunningly beautiful, the lovely rythem, the flutey, voices filled with passion, the perfectly timed tap and rattle of the tambourine. I’m surprised by how beautiful it sounds, echoing off the hard surfaces of the sanctuary – marble floors, stucco walls, modern stained glass windows high on the left side of the church. The alter wall is amazingly beautiful, a glorious modern mosaic depicting Jesus on the cross with St. Veronica standing at his feet, head bowed, holding up the cloth showing the Holy Face. It’s a remarkably simple piece of art, sketched in long, bold sweeping strokes of rectangular tiles and soft colors. Totally evocative.

“The singing makes me fee strange – like my heart is rattling around in the chest. I remind myself that I am actually attending Mass in Gaetano’s church, a place he did not say Mass in himself, being that it was completed nearly 10 years after his death. But his remains lie in a glass tomb just a few yards behind me, looking even more like a mannequin than ever. As I listen, I realize I’m on the verge of tears, again. If this keeps happening, I’m going to scream! But I’m convinced this is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard play in a church anywhere, anywhere, with the sole exception of when I’ve heard Laurelyn sing at wedding or funerals.

“This seems a good place to pray, so I give it a try. The sanctuary is warm and several of the nuns are fanning themselves. A few of the older nuns have trouble standing and kneeling, so they remain seated in the straight-back pews with fixed kneelers. I close my eyes and try to figure out how to make this work. Who to pray to, who to pray for? There are plenty of options, and I won’t discuss them. I don’t know the Bible that well, but I know that Jesus wasn’t crazy about people making a show of praying. In fact, he wasn’t crazy about churches at all. But it occurs to me that he might like this one, simple as it is, stuck in the middle of a shabby working class neighborhood, where the constantly running public water spout on the corner is always crowded with some poor person filling up large, empty water bottles to cart home…”