Tuesday Morning Grab Bag
- First off, it's Tuesday, and not an appointment (American or otherwise) in sight -- at least, not for right now.... The count of vacant US dioceses stands at five: Lake Charles and Sioux Falls have been vacant for well over a year, Youngstown marks a year without a bishop this week, and Birmingham and Salt Lake await new shepherds as well. Throw in pending appointments of auxiliaries, coadjutors and those bishops who've passed the magic birthday of 75 -- not to mention a new nuncio who's putting his own stamp on the bishop-making apparatus -- and you've got a bit of a traffic jam of dossiers.
- The Office for Papal Liturgical Celebrations announced this morning that the Mass for the first anniversary of the death of John Paul II, originally scheduled for Monday evening inside St. Peter's, has been moved to the steps of the Basilica to accomodate an expected overflow crowd. It's the third time in a week that a papal event has been transferred outside -- a sign of Benedict XVI's increasing comfort with handling the open-air stage Wojtyla adored. At a Sunday evening vigil to mark the actual moment of the late pontiff's death, the Rosary will be said in the Square and the Pope will greet the faithful from his study window. Italian television is planning a weekend-long bloc of documentaries, specials and liturgies, the bulk of which, however, are being broadcast "in diretta da Cracovia" -- "Live from Krakow."
- On this side of the Pond, anyone in or near St Louis might want to head to its Cathedral-Basilica on Saturday as it hosts a rare event which is a real treat to witness: the consecration of a virgin living in the world. There are somewhere in the area of 150 consecrated virgins living and working in the United States, a number which has been increasing steadily in recent years. I've been so blessed to meet and know a few of these luminous souls from my travels, and such is the charism of their special calling that they just have the most resonant joy and an infectious spirit of vibrant life and gregarious giving of self. Especially in our time, consecrated virginity in the world not an easy vocation to fulfill, so a big turnout from the community at the consecration Mass is always a nice testament of the church's presence and support. Of course, St Louis is home to one of the movement's most zealous cheerleaders: Archbishop Raymond Burke, who'll be presiding over the rite and receiving the vows, is the national episcopal adviser to the group.