POPE-POURRI: 'Light' news items, anecdotes about Pope Benedict now

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00Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:19 PM

Sailors head to Canary Islands to raise funds for child brain cancer research

By Gina Carbone
May 31, 2009 6:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — Caroline Hamilton is "a little peanut of a girl" with "a brain tumor the size of a plumb," said Dana Anderson of York, Maine.

Caroline, 8, of Methuen, Mass., has pediatric low grade astrocytoma, or PLGA, the most common form of brain cancer in children. She was diagnosed at age 6.

On June 1, Anderson and three crew members — including Caroline's uncle, Albert Previte — will sail from Portsmouth to the Canary Islands off the coast of Portugal to raise money and awareness for the PLGA Research Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The four men will sail 3,000 miles across the Atlantic on a 2003 Sabre 42-foot vessel named Vision Quest, which is owned by Anderson, a longtime friend of Caroline's family.

Throughout the roughly 30-day voyage, supporters can visit PLGAQuest.org to observe the crew's progress and learn about the expedition in real-time blogs. Anderson and crew hope supporters will visit that same site to make donations.

Since Caroline's story and Anderson's sail were first reported in these pages back in September, PLGA Quest: Journey for a Cure has raised $30,000. Organizers are hoping for at least $50,000, with all proceeds benefiting the PLGA program at Dana-Farber.

"Times are tough right now, but anything anyone can give — $5, $50, $500, it truly adds up," said Caroline's mother, Sarah Hamilton. "It all pools together and it makes a difference."

The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States estimates there are more than 20,000 children with PLGAs today and more than 1,000 new children are diagnosed with some type of PLGA each year.

The tumors are called "low-grade" because they're slow growing. "But they're no less invasive," Sarah said.

Even though PLGAs are the most common forms of childhood brain tumors, Sarah said it's one of the least researched areas in the field, with "toxic and ineffective" treatment options dating back to the 1980s.

Right now, Caroline is doing well, having gained 12 pounds. since September. She's endured 25 blood transfusions and 15 months of chemotherapy.

Sarah believes Caroline's current good health may be due in part to a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI, which Caroline was able to receive through the Make A Wish Foundation. Caroline, who attends Catholic school in North Andover, Mass., went to Rome in March and was blessed by the pope himself.

Since then, Sarah said, Caroline's cyst shrunk — "nothing (else) has been smaller in two years" — and her growth hormone levels became normal.

"I really do give the pope a lot of credit," Sarah said. "That was a very special, very personal experience."

00Friday, June 5, 2009 5:59 PM

Medals issued to mark Pope's visit to Czech Republic

CTK (Czech News Agency)
5 JUNE 2009

Jablonec nad Nisou, June 4 (CTK) - The local Ceska mincovna mint Thursday started minting a limited issue of golden, silver and platinum medals to mark Pope Benedict XVI's forthcoming visit to the Czech Republic, Prague Archbishopric spokesman Ales Pistora told CTK.

The coins will be a big rarity for collectors, not only because of the exceptional event they will mark, but also because they are decorated by two portraits, the project's initiator Petr Pitha said.

There will be a portrait of Benedict XVI, designed by Daniela Kartakova, on the coins' face.

The reverse side will feature a portrait of St Wenceslas, a 10th century duke and saint patron of Bohemia.

"The portraits express a dialogue of centuries, a meeting of the present church with the main representative of the Czech cultural tradition," Pitha said.

Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk visited Jablonec Thursday to see the launch of the issue. He received the first coin minted.

The mint will issue 60 golden medals with a diameter of 37mm, 333 golden medals with a diameter of 28mm, 280 platinum medals with a diameter of 37mm, and an unspecified number of silver medals.

"Medals with the pope's portrait have already been minted in other countries, but never platinum ones," said Pitha.

The Pope is to visit the Czech Republic on September 26-28.

00Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:38 PM
Bonn: Vor 50 Jahre hielt der heutige Papst seine Antrittsrede in Bonn
Geschrieben am Mittwoch 24 Juni 2009

"In Bonn hat sein Weg nach Rom begonnen"
(Bonner Presseblog) Bonn: Joseph Ratzinger, der heutige Papst Benedikt XVI., hielt vor genau 50 Jahren, am 24. Juni 1959, an der Bonner Universität seine Antrittsvorlesung als Fundamentaltheologe. Ratzinger begann seine akademische Laufbahn an der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universität Bonn und lehrte als Ordinarius für Fundamentaltheologie an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät. 1963 wechselte er als Dogmatiker nach Münster. Der Titel seiner Bonner Antrittsvorlesung lautete: Der Gott des Glaubens und der Gott der Philosophen."
Die Tageszeitung General-Anzeiger zitierte Professor Hans Waldenfels, den zweiten Nachfolger des neuen Papstes auf dem Bonner Lehrstuhl: "Für ihn ist es wichtig, den Menschen zu vermitteln, dass Gott sich in Jesus Christus offenbart hat." Dies sei auch in Ratzingers Antrittsrede an der Bonner Universität deutlich geworden. Waldenfels: "In Bonn hat sein Weg nach Rom begonnen."
In Bonn wohnte Ratzinger zunächst im Collegium Albertinum, dem erzbischöflichen Theologen-Konvikt des Erzbistums Köln, und dann in einer Wohnung in der Wurzerstraße in Bad Godesberg.


The article says, that exactly 50 years ago, at June, 24th 1959 Papa gave his first lecture at the university in Bonn and started his academic career. Papa was teaching fundamental theology at the catholic theological faculty. The title of the lecture was “The God of faith and The God of the philosophers”.
Prof. Hans Wadenfels, who is the second successor of Papa at the chair of the Bonner university mentioned among other things, that in Bonn Papa’s way to Rome began.

(Sorry for the poor translation.)
00Friday, July 3, 2009 7:00 PM

'Popes' less papal and more full of it

Toronto Star
July 03, 2009

Just for the record, Emmanuel Kant's self-limitation of reason does not "grind the Pope's gears" and he has nothing against washing machines.

Those are the musings of fake popes posing as Pope Benedict XVI on Twitter, the groundbreaking social networking site that has exploded in popularity over the past year.

"The Pope is not on Twitter," assures Neil MacCarthy, a spokesman for the Toronto Archdiocese. "Not that I would be the first person they would tell."

Back in the Middle Ages, setting yourself up as a fake pope required the backing of a few cardinals and a decent-sized castle, as was the case for 72 years in the 14th century when a succession of popes, including Benedict XIII, challenged the authority of Rome.

Today, all you need is an email address, a user name and the support of a few followers, as subscribers to Twitter feeds are called. There are at least 13 phony popes on Twitter.

Some, such as popebenedictxvi, with more than 2,600 followers, are supporters of the Pope who use Twitter to spread the Vatican's word.

Others, such as pope_benedict16, with 16 followers, use the site to mock the real pontiff.

"PM (Angela) Merkel (of Germany) saying I made an error in lifting the excommunication of Holocaust denying Bishop," pope_benedict16 tweets. "People aren't getting this `infallible' thing."

MacCarthy has been dipping his own toe into Twitter with twitter.com/neilmaccarthy – "I have 10 followers and I haven't done anything."

He opened the account this year to monitor the tweets of others, including the fake pope, with an eye to launching something more official in the fall. "I want to use it as a tool, not just to be there to be there," says MacCarthy, who hasn't made a single post.

"The question is, what gets sacrificed if we devote this time to social media sites?"

He does not expect the Vatican, which already has a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, to start its own Twitter feed.

"The casualness of Twitter does not lend itself to the hierarchy of the Vatican," which has a central clearing house through which all news releases and announcements must pass, MacCarthy says.

Besides, he says, it's difficult to debate theology in the 140 characters that Twitter allows for each entry – a fact at least one fake pope laments in his feed.

"I find it very hard to cut entire thoughts down into 200-character chunks. (sic) Even spaces take a character! I find this unfair," complains PBen16.

Minutes later, however, he seems to have found the way: "Know what grinds my gears? Kant's self-limitation of reason."

Another phony pope waded into the controversy in March when the Vatican credited washing machines with liberating women, a statement feminists said perpetuates the image of the happy housewife.

"Got criticized for saying that women were emancipated because of the washing machine?" pope_benedict16 tweets. "Hey, I'm against washing machines."

MacCarthy says that while Twitter has been invaluable in giving people insights into such events as the protests in Iran, the fake pope sites show its fallibility as a source of reliable information.

Anyone can set up a fake site, provide a link to the real Vatican website, Vatican.va, and dress it up with real symbols and logos to make it look official, he says.

"Twitter is simple to use, but that simplicity also leads to people taking advantage of the service."

Pope Benedict XVI isn't the only one to fall victim to the simplicity of Twitter.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa settled a lawsuit with Twitter last month after an imposter sent out derogatory statements under his name. And just this week, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess said his identity was stolen on Twitter under the user name "Lambo_Weezy."

Twitter is experimenting with software to provide verification for legitimate athlete and celebrity users.

00Thursday, July 9, 2009 3:15 PM

St. John Neumann stole to be Obama gift to Pope

By Kristin E. Holmes
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
July 9, 2009

The owners of the DiCocco Family St. Jude Shop are getting to be experts at this. When there's a presentation for the pope, call the store in Havertown.

Twice in the last 15 months, the store owners have been tapped for their Benedict XVI know-how.

The first time, they helped supply a specially made chair the pope used during a U.S. visit. This time, they assisted the White House in finding a gift for him.

That present will be given to Benedict as part of President Obama's visit to the Vatican tomorrow.

The box will contain a stole that had been draped around the enshrined body of St. John Neumann in Philadelphia for nearly 20 years.

"It's a sacred gift," said the Rev. Kevin Moley, pastor of the National Shrine of St. John Neumann in Northern Liberties. "I'm glad [the administration] asked St. Jude, and St. Jude asked us, because it represents the U.S. and Rome. We should all be pleased and thankful."

White House officials declined to confirm the gift or discuss the matter before the meeting tomorrow.

At the end of June, a State Department official called the shop and asked for advice on a papal gift, said Louis DiCocco 3d. The official first suggested an antique chalice, but then gave up the idea, hoping for something with more historical significance.

DiCocco and his brother Robert began discussing possibilities. They called their contacts in the Catholic community. When they phoned the National Shrine of St. John Neumann, officials there suggested the stole, Louis DiCocco said.

"We told [State Department officials] that we had something very precious, representing Catholic history in America and specifically Philadelphia history," Louis DiCocco said.

State Department officials thought the sash of St. John Neumann was perfect.

The ivory stole, with gold, crimson, and blue trim, was wrapped around the body of Neumann, the first U.S. bishop to be named a saint.

Born in what is now the Czech Republic, Neumann immigrated to the United States and served as bishop of Philadelphia from 1852 until his death in 1860. He was known for his service to immigrant communities, and built 35 Catholic schools in eight years. A member of the Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers religious order, he was canonized in 1977.

The sash was in place under a glass encasement starting in 1989. It was removed in 2007 when the body was re-dressed with the help of Cardinal Justin Rigali. The sash then was kept at the church, Moley said, until Louis DiCocco came calling.

DiCocco and his family have operated a series of religious gift shops since 1964, when DiCocco's parents, Louis Jr., now deceased, and Norma, founded the first one in Havertown. The family now has three additional outlets, in Philadelphia, Malvern, and Cherry Hill.

In 2008, the store was contacted by Msgr. Walter Rossi, of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, to provide a chair for Benedict. The pope met with bishops on a trip to the nation's capital in April that year and needed a a special chair for the occasion.

The chair was designed at the DiCocco shop and built by a father-son team of woodworkers from Bucks County. A year later, when the State Department needed a gift, somebody in Washington remembered the DiCocco Family St. Jude Shop, Louis DiCocco said.

On July 1, DiCocco placed Neumann's stole in a box, drove it to Washington, and hand-delivered it to State Department officials.

"How many times do you get a chance to do something not once, but twice for the Holy Father?" DiCocco said.

Norma DiCocco, 80, calls it a highlight of her 45 years in a family business that she calls a ministry.

"We take this as privilege," Norma DiCocco said. "We are beyond words."

00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:18 PM
Tour de France
The Tour will pass Papa's vacation resort today very close (just about 1,5 to 3 km distance).
If he probably will watch them isn't sure, but helicopters got the permission to fly above his chalet.
The cyclists may reach the place after about 90 km, around 3:20pm CEST.

00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 3:51 PM
Tour de France at Val d'Aosta today
Papa sent his best wishes to the athletes and reminded them to use sports just for development their personalities.


00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 5:09 PM
Thanks, Simone! Are those views really Papa's chalet from the air? If so, we can see the larger building which houses his entourage. I've wondered where it is and how far from the chalet, but if that's it, then people like Dr Polisca are really very close by. Phew! That's a relief! [SM=g27817]
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 5:19 PM

Papa's Chalet

My gosh, that chalet is not as secluded as I had thought. Look how accessible it is from the road. I think even somebody my age could easily climb that hill to the back door. Hmmm. [SM=g27818]

00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 5:52 PM
Now, now, benefan! You're the sensible lady. I must say the proximity of the road interested me too. I could scramble up that hill on all fours and arrive out of breath and pleading for a drink!
Seriously, I did think the road was a bit close..........
Oh well! I'm sure he's safe. Now, stop worrying about him, silly old Mary! [SM=g27837] [SM=g27837] [SM=g27829] [SM=g27829]

P.S. What's that thing that looks like a giant, sliced pizza????????
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 8:31 PM
The giant sliced pizza
Mary, I think the "giant, sliced pizza" [SM=g27835] you see is the circular herb and vegetable garden. I am also a bit amazed at the road so near to his chalet. First thought was: no, it can't be his place. Then I saw the slice of pizza and this was the give-away: it's indeed the Pope's chalet.
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 9:39 PM
Thanks, Crotchet
I did wonder if it really was Papa's chalet, when I first saw those pics. Where did you read about the herb garden? I know - you've been there!!!!! It's a lovely idea.

The road is much closer than I would ever have thought.

It's good to see you back on the forum, Crotchet! We've had frequent updates of news about "The Wrist", so I do hope you'll have a look at everything that's been posted.

All seems to be quiet at the moment, so we trust Papa is really, truly resting.
[SM=x40797] [SM=x40797]
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 10:02 PM
hey girls, I must be dumb but where is he staying : is it in the small chalet on the right ?
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 10:02 PM
Re: Pope's pizza garden
Mary, I saw the round garden (your pizza!) and a long explanation of everything around and at the Pope's holiday chalet in a video, either on this forum or the American one,I can't remember the precise site because I visit too many forums and blogs at present since it is holiday time here too! Lots of free time for a change. But the video can be seen either on this forum or the American forum, of that I'm almost certain. [SM=g27819]
00Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:54 PM
@Flo: Yes, Papa is staying in the small chalet. Mention was made of a larger house where his "entourage" was staying - and I assume the larger building is it. According to one of our news reports here only GG is staying in a suite close to his own and the two Memores Domini ladies are also living in the chalet. I was quite surprised that Papa didn't have his valet living in the house with him. Let's face facts: he now needs someone to do a lot of things for him, since he's really only got the use of one hand.

@Crotchet: I'll check back through our videos. I definitely didn't see one about a herb garden on this forum. I'd already decided to plant some herbs in some of my pots after the summer annuals have gone over, so now I'm looking forward to that even more. Mine will just be to look at; I assume the ones at Les Combes are for the ladies to use in their cooking.
00Wednesday, July 22, 2009 6:25 AM

Hi Crotchet,

Great to see you back. What a clever way to set up a garden! I wonder what can be grown there besides the herbs. The growing season can't be very long at that height. I wish we could figure out what some of the other unusual features are on those screen caps. I'm surprised that the woods aren't very dense. It seems that the chalet could almost be seen from the road.


I really hope Papa's valet is nearby, maybe in the larger house. Papa definitely does need help now that his arm is in that cast. In fact, I was thinking that since he is unable to write now but wants to, it would be very helpful to have--(gulp) dare I say it--somebody like Ingrid Stampa around so he could dictate his book either to a tape recorder or directly to her so she could transcribe it for him. I'm sure that he is most frustrated by not being able to make some progress on that book.

00Sunday, July 26, 2009 5:46 AM

A videoclip of a young British artist who is painting a portrait of Papa:


00Tuesday, November 10, 2009 2:34 AM

Alma Mater (Papa's new CD)

Here is a link to Ignatius Press' page about the Alma Mater CD featuring Papa's voice and the Vatican Choir.


The page includes several excerpts of songs on the CD that you can listen to. The music is lovely but unfortunately Papa sings very little (and sometimes off-key) but does say several parts of prayers in different languages. Here is what Ignatius Press says about the CD:

"This unique and amazing new recording features Pope Benedict singing or reciting hymns and prayers to Our Lady accompanied by The Vatican Choir. His Holiness uses several languages in this recording including Latin, Italian, French, all recorded at St. Peter’s Basilica or during his Papal trips abroad. The album also features classical music by an international group of composers performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Abbey Road studios. Hymns include Regina Coeli, Mater Ecclesiae, Sancta Dei Genitrix, Benedicta Tu, Advocata Nostra and more."

It is on sale for $17.05.

00Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:25 PM
Thanks, benefan!
Thank you for the information about the CD. I pre-ordered mine from Amazon.UK as soon as the news was announced, but then I would, wouldn't I !!!!! [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828]
Can't wait to receive it!!!!!!

Hey! Where is everyone? I know we've all got a life and don't spend every hour or every day sitting at the computer. I think that's a good sign -it means we are not "saddos". But....it would be good to see a few more people posting sometimes.
00Friday, December 4, 2009 2:46 AM

Italian bakers give Pope sweet bread to feed the poor

Rome, Italy, Dec 3, 2009 / 03:23 pm (CNA).- The Italian Federation of Bread Bakers has donated 1,000 loaves of “panettone” (a traditional Christmas sweet bread) to the Holy Father who will distribute them to the poor in Rome. As an expression of their affection for the Pope, they also gave him “the largest panettone we’ve ever made” as a special gift. The sweet bread will be distributed to the poor at the Dono di Maria Shelter and by Caritas of Rome.

The president of the federation said the Italian bakers also wished to convey to the Holy Father their desire that “Sunday be respected as a day for the family.”

00Sunday, December 6, 2009 5:46 AM

This is a very touching story about a boy who really loves the pope.

Boy's wish comes true for papal audience

Post Tribune
December 4, 2009

ST. JOHN -- Andrew Birlson celebrates Mass often, donning his priestly vestments, carrying his Bible, and singing songs, occasionally swinging an incense burner to offer a blessing.

Andrew is 9.

His vestments were handmade by his grandma and his mom, Theresa, and his incense burner is a tealight holder on a chain.

He knows all the colors of a priest's vestments and when during the Catholic religious calendar they are worn.

"I have them all, white, purple, red, green, pink," he says, his bright eyes wide with enthusiasm.

Andrew lives in the same house his family has owned for 150 years, and is a member of the same church his family has attended just as long, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, just down the highway.

His faith, his mom says, is passionate, which is why Andrew, unlike thousands of other gravely ill children, told the Make-A-Wish Foundation that he wanted to go to Rome to visit the pope.

The third-grader at St. John Evangelist School has a rare genetic disorder called citrullinemia. His body does not produce the enzyme necessary to digest protein, so his mother has to monitor everything he eats. He has had 200 blood draws and six hospitalizations this year.

If he ingests too much protein, the ammonia levels in Andrew's body rise to dangerous levels. He begins vomiting and could go into a coma.

That's what happened when he was 3 days old, when he suffered brain damage and almost died. At Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Theresa and Bob Birlson pinned a cross to their infant son's bed and told him Baby Jesus and Mary would be with him.

Andrew also became sick on Nov. 18 when he, his parents and three of his four sisters (18-month-old Elizabeth stayed home with grandma), had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

"We were waiting in the security room and Andrew got sick," Theresa Birlson said.

"I threw up two times," Andrew piped in.

Already in the VIP section behind the cardinals and bishops, Andrew was moved to the front of the line where the spiritual leader to 1.1 billion Roman Catholics placed his hands on Andrew and blessed him.

"I said, 'I love you' to the pope," Andrew said, looking at a photo of the pope kissing him on the forehead.

After the papal audience an ambulance whisked Andrew away to Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu hospital where he spent the next four days.

Make-A-Wish handled all the details of the family's unexpectedly extended stay, and Andrew was able to enjoy his last day in Rome.

"He wanted to go back to St. Peter's," his mom said. Big sister Olivia, 15, videotaped him running through St. Peter's Square that day, chasing the pigeons.

Andrew's answer as to why he wanted to visit the pontiff is simple.

"Because I love the pope," he says, breaking into yet another song from Sunday Mass.

It was Andrew's only wish. He wouldn't even offer a back-up when asked by Make-A-Wish volunteers. In fact, Sophia Morton, who has been with the Greater Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky chapter of Make-A-Wish for 10 years, said she remembers only one other child out of 6,000, an Ohio boy, who asked to see the pope.

It was Andrew's faith that helped him get to Rome, a feat much more complicated to carry out than a trip to Disney World, where the vast majority of Make-A-Wish kids want to go.

To be considered, Andrew had to write a letter to Make-A-Wish telling why he wanted to visit the pope.

His sisters, however, told their mom that a letter wouldn't do justice to their little brother's religious zeal.

"Words can't describe Andrew as far as his faith goes," Theresa Birlson said.

Instead, the girls videotaped Andrew celebrating a "Mass," singing his songs and showing his passion for life.

The DVD included photographs of Andrew with various priests he knows.

Andrew rattles off their names, Father Maletta, Father Larry, Bishop Melczek and on and on.

When he was smaller, Andrew would hug the statue of the Blessed Mother holding Baby Jesus when they passed it in church.

"Or he would point and say, 'That's not Baby Jesus, that's me,' Theresa Birlson said. "Things like that led us to believe Blessed Mother was taking care of him."

Her son sometimes tells her, "Jesus snuggles with me at night when I'm trying to go to sleep."

"He's just so on fire with love for Jesus," Theresa Birlson said. "It's all so unprovoked, my husband and I said it's got to be a connection with heaven."

Time for sightseeing

In Rome the family did make time to see ruins and artifacts, including a piece of the crib from the manger in which Baby Jesus lay.

They walked to the top of St. Peter's on a stairway hundreds of years old and so small a rope was hung to hold onto because there was no room for a handrail.

"When we got to the top we could see all of Rome," Theresa Birlson said. "The trip was once in a lifetime, maybe even more.

"It was so cool," she said. "Who gets to shake the pope's hand and get a physical blessing from his consecrated hands?" she said. "For those hands to be placed on our son's head was so overwhelming. It was an honor and a blessing."

Pope Benedict also blessed all assembled and any religious articles they had brought. The Birlsons were prepared, with an entire carry-on bag full of medals, rosaries and prayer books for friends and family, which Andrew insisted on carrying himself.

"We saw this as a pilgrimage not only for our son but our whole family," Theresa Birlson said.

She said Make-A-Wish was "outstanding" in handling Andrew's illness.

She says that while her son's illness has been a drain on the family, "Spiritually he's brought our faith to a whole new level.

"We would go to Mass in the past, but the way he changed us is so far beyond what we could have imagined. He's truly a blessing to us."

00Monday, December 14, 2009 11:44 PM
Clever Photo from American Papist blog

Photo: Very Clever Advertising

So clever I had to post this before offbeat Friday.

From NullWeKnow : "To promote a plastic surgeon's office, this life scale poster was placed at the entrance of his office and by the elevator in the main lobby of the hospital building."

Of course, telling people they will be "born again" through plastic surgery isn't a very Catholic message.

{Ph/t: AmP reader Charles.}
00Tuesday, December 15, 2009 11:39 PM
Hey, papab83, thanks for posting. That's really a great ad.

I found this article on BR-online, unfortunately just in German.

It says amongst other things, that Papa's neighbor Hofbauer in Pentling got a new dog, a puppy still and called Lea. She is a niece of "Kommissar Rex", a dog star in a german TV series.

She will be trained as a guard dog to take care for Papa's house in Pentling. Hofbauer says, since Lea is still so little, she will be used to Chico and he thinks, they will get along very well.

00Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:13 AM
House puppy

It says amongst other things, that Papa's neighbor Hofbauer in Pentling got a new dog, a puppy still and called Lea. She is a niece of "Kommissar Rex", a dog star in a german TV series.


What a sweet looking puppy!  And a lovely colored coat. I bet Chico asserts his seniority in THIS dicastery! I hope they get along together ...
00Thursday, December 17, 2009 7:01 AM

This was created for you, Mary.


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican Web page Pope2you.net has made it possible this Christmas to send Benedict XVI a personalized Christmas card through e-mail or the social networking site Facebook.

Father Paolo Padrini, the project's coordinator, told ZENIT of the site's newest features for Christmas.

Upon visiting the site, launched by the Vatican Council for Social Communications in May, click on "Send the Pope your Christmas Greetings." Simply follow the instructions and a personalized, virtual card will be sent to the Holy Father. Even a picture can be included.

Pope2you.net is also offering a Facebook application that one can use to send Christmas cards to friends that feature an official picture of the Pope as taken by L'Osservatore Romano, accompanied by the Pontiff's "words of hope and peace."

The cards can be sent in English, Italian, Spanish, German and French, and there are four options to choose from.

Pope2you.net is an official site of the Vatican, and it aims to bring the words and message of Benedict XVI to the youth. In only eight months, the site has received 7 million visits.

00Friday, December 18, 2009 12:33 AM
house puppy

Lea is exploring her new terrain!
00Friday, December 18, 2009 11:17 PM
@benefan: I'll have a go at sending Papa an ecard - from us all, of course!

@Simone: What a very beautiful puppy! I like those dogs at that age, but am very wary of them when they are grown up. I definitely prefer cats and I hope Chico is still there when I eventually get to Pentling. The only German Shepherd I adore is Pope Benedict!!!!! The canine variety - no, thanks! I'm sure, though, that the Hofbauers [I assume they are still the guardians] will keep this new dog well under control.

@PapaB: Thank you for the link to the local newspaper. Is that Papa's house having the solar heating panels installed?
00Saturday, December 19, 2009 3:29 PM
no fear

German shepherds are everything you can ask for in a dog: loyal, protective, fierce, intimidating and at the same time over sized lap dogs, extremely patient with children, loving and highly intelligent.

The best dog we’ve ever had was a German shepherd called Rocky. He was the perfect dog. We were crushed when he died.
We also had a cat at that time (a VERY stately, huge, orange half-Maine-coon called Bobby) who was very dominant and who was already an adult when Rocky joined our family.
The poor dog never had a chance!!! He was WAYYY below the cat in hierarchy and never even tried to change that.
It was so cute. They'd sleep on top of each other and Rocky kept cleaning Bobby's fur while Bobby gnawed on the dog's ears. They were very, very good friends.

The perception of the German shepherd in the world is completely wrong.
He might be fierce and stand his ground when needed, but in general he's a soft, sweet, loving, intelligent and gorgeous creature.

*sounds familiar* [SM=g27811]
00Saturday, December 19, 2009 7:31 PM
@cowgirl: Your description of a German Shepherd certainly does sound familiar [SM=g27811] [SM=g27811] I suppose it's because I've never owned one and therefore don't know them. Someone in my town has two. Both wear muzzles and if I walk past them on the pavement one of them always attacks my shopping bag. I find that rather off-putting. But I do know that any dog is what you make it; I've owned and loved dogs of other breeds. Sounds as if your cat and dog really loved each other and obviously they had a caring home.
00Wednesday, December 23, 2009 5:19 AM
The Lights Are On!

O Christmas Tree, O Papal Tree....

Having tackled the lessons of the creche, over the weekend the Pope spoke of the symbolism of the Christmas tree as he thanked the Belgian donors of the Vatican's 100-foot, century-old spruce:
"In the forest," the Holy Father said, "the trees are close together and each one of them contributes to making the forest a shadowy, sometimes dark, place."

"But here," he continued, "chosen from among this multitude, the majestic tree that you offered us is today lit up and covered with brilliant decorations that are like so many marvelous fruits."

"Leaving aside its dark garments for a brilliant explosion, it has been transfigured, becoming a beacon of light that is not its own, but rather gives testimony to the true Light that comes to this world," the Pope suggested.
He compared the tree's destiny with that of the shepherds, who "keeping watch in the darkness of the night, are illumined by the message of the angels."

"The luck of this tree is also comparable to our own, we who are called to give good fruits to manifest that the world has truly been visited and rescued by the Lord."
As Zenit noted in its brief, this year's PopeTree is dedicated in the papal colors of gold and white.

While the Vatican's Christmas trappings long stayed in place until Candlemas Day -- 2 February's feast of the Presentation, 40 days after Christmas -- CNS noted that last year's ornaments were conspicuously removed following early January's feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the season's official end on the post-Conciliar calendar.


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