My Culture and My Faith Intertwined

Catholic

Sunday at Shrine of the Most Precious Blood, my parish, The Society of St. Anthony of Padua celebrated the Mass in honor the saint.  Tuesday the church itself will celebrate a Mass in honor of the saint, as Tuesday is the actual feast day of St. Anthony.

As the mix of Italian and English was filling the church, the statue of St. Anthony with lights all around it at the entrance visible when you first came in, the bread blessed and distributed at the end, everyone greeting everyone, even if they did not know each other, and people introducing you to others, it was beautiful.  It also brought home a very important point, maybe more than one.  It brought home to me that Catholicism is a major part of who I am, culturally whether I agree with all of the theology of the faith or not.  It is a very important part of me, what shapes me, who I am, the conservative side of me, also the spiritual side of me.  I have no problem saying I am of Christ, I am Christian, and yes I have had my crisis moments, my questioning moments, but I never turned my back on Christ.  The core of who I am remained the same throughout my journey and my connection the Trinity, the core of the Catholic faith never wavered, ever.  I have been also aware that as was pointed out last night in a Catholic anniversary program there has to be a periodic examination and renewal, so questioning is not problematic within itself.  However one thing I have realized is that the core principles of the faith are perfectly sound, logical and serve me well in my life should I adhere to them.  Appreciation for them and my culture is a true blessing, the church does and has recognized when it has faltered, even if not right away, but then do we immediately realize when we falter?  What are those principles that have guided me, that the saints have shown me?  There are a few:  

  • Make the journey of faith, really explore the Judeo-Christian faith from all facets, come to it and God with an open and willing heart, spirit and soul, and love
  • It’s okay to stumble along the way, just get up and keep going
  • Stand strong for and in who you are, a child of the Creator, and in Christ who gave his life for you
  • Discover your gifts, talents, purpose in that and how to best apply them for the good of society
  • Value family, cultural traditions, while still valuing progress and moving forward
  • Be a shinning example of faith and strength through faith, no matter what
  • Don’t ever be anything but who you are and are meant to be in Christ
  • Celebrate that every day of your life and help others to do so

As I continue in my work as an artist, and music coordinator for the church, I hope to learn more about myself, my faith, my culture all of that and grown in my relationship with the Trinity, as well align my own trinity in harmony, my heart, spirit and soul.

Amen

Life, Creative Partner, BFF

Life and Liberty, God Bless America

The light shines within., going out in connection to the Divine Creator.

When I think of a partner, I think of someone who will see me as his equal and who I will see as my equal.  What does that mean?  

Doesn’t mean what crap modern feminists today mean as equal.  I have enough sense to understand that if God wanted me to be a guy I would have been born a guy, so I am not going to try and in any way show out of some warped sense of ego I am better than men or take revenge on the male species for “years of oppression” crap over my gender stuff.  When I think of an equal partner, this is what I mean.  

I mean a man who shares the faith  and culture of my ancestors and that I grew up with perhaps, a man who shares my creative dreams and path.  It would be someone I can share these kinds of projects and activities with on a day to day basis, with whom I could share a similar spiritual life with.  We would create, write, produce, record together. even perform together. There would be mutual encouragement, support, appreciation of each other’s  gifts, talents, hopes, dreams so on and so forth.  We would be compliment and synergy, also share similar worldview.  Though we would care about each other deeply, we would also be able to give each other space to do stuff individually.  There would be a great balance of unity and individuality.  We will be best friends, the basis for any important long term relationship, able to share anything, also be understanding if there are things that we don’t share right away with each other, but might share with someone of the same sex only or first, or bounce off another friend first.  This is what I envision in a life partnership, which I hope God will grant to my life.  This is true feminism, it’s appreciating men for being men, and men appreciating us for being women, and each relationship, friendship appreciating itself for what it is. I pray this gift the Lord grants me in life, a most precious gift.

End of the Day,This Is Me

As I work with BIll Russo and think of how to make the Wednesday Coffee Club more interesting to the seniors, and really remember the beauty of my heritage, as I listen to Dino, and think about my own views on social issues etc.., I am realizing something very important.  

There are two care things I am in life, Italian and artist, and with the Italian comes the Catholic, part of that heritage, identity and I do align with the social teachings, maybe it’s time I really delved into the teachings before going into study of any other faith or philosophy.  As I think of my life, my future there are two things I want in life very much.  One thing I very much want is to be an artist on a day to day basis, to have a space where I can store my portable piano keyboard, take my recorders, plenty of batteries, lots of paper and write, create.  I also want a great partner who will share my culture, the faith of my ancestors, and  be a real creative partner with me, as well as spiritual partner as well as my best friend and I his.  I want to go into studio and record what I create, and use part of those proceeds to support entities within the Italian-American community.  I want to have a life where I am writing, creating, being inspired and inspiring, and a companion who understands true conservatism, appreciates faith, tradition and heritage.  I want to always appreciate that as well.   There is a lot for me to create, write etc…, a lot to explore in terms of faith and spirituality within my heritage, and I hope to do so with a great partner because it is more fun when you are exploring your heritage, your very own self with someone else than by yourself, when you have a special companion to share the journey with you.  I hope to be able to live this as I envision with the grace, and kindness of the Lord providing me with all the opportunities etc…

Amen

 

 

Authentic Self, Who Is That?

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The Journey That is Life.

 

When I am at the end of my physical life and look back, at least to the later part of it, the one thing I want to be able to say is that I was authentic and true to myself above all things in the context of faith, of my connection to the Creator, and the philosophy etc.. that makes me, me. 

What the heck is that and how do I achieve that?  To begin with I am above all my mother’s daughter, though we can be quite blunt with each other and we tell it to each other as it is at times, pull no punches, so when she wonders where I get my spice to counter my sugar, well I tell her look in the mirror, why don’t ya!  That’s my starting point that I have come to embrace, that I am my mother’s daughter and as such I am both sugar and spice, which is fine with me.  I am also Italian and that means if not fully embracing Catholic as my faith of practice at least honoring it as part of the culture of my ancestors and keeping it alive as part of that tradition, as a cultural aspect of my heritage. Intertwined with all of that is the fact that throughout my life the one thing I have always been is a writer, whether of poems, songs, a blog, writing and even singing, presenting, performing have always been part of me, of who I am.  At the same time I have always been much more spiritual than I have religious, with however very strong sense of natural order of things, even in terms of sexuality and marriage all that stuff.  I want to honor all of who I am including my being very much drawn to Judaism, the root of Christianity, the faith tradition of Yeshua and his family.  Again, I am not one that really is thrilled about religion, but prayer, meditation, song, reflection, yeah, all for it, study, yeah, all for it.  How am I going to honor all I am?  The arts of course. 

That is the beauty of the arts.  One thing I am blessed with is I have connected to the Center for Applied Judaism and will be talking to them about some ideas including recording a series of meditations in their sanctuary, also mini presentations on biblical topics.  I am also blessed to be working with Shrine Church of The Most Precious Blood in my area a church that was created ordered by the Vatican for Italian Immigrants and has a rich arts history, including participating in a monthly concert series, where I am blessed to exercise my Italian.  I hope to be more involved in both, to record material and have a portion of the proceeds go to both organizations, the Center for Jewish Science and Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, do different projects for each organization.  I can earn my living and at the same time benefit these institutions, be in alignment with who I am, and my culture through the arts.  I can record spiritual pieces that are spiritual, even romantic not necessarily religious and honor my heritage, and also meditations that are spiritual.  The arts will allow me to honor all of who I am and for that I will eternally thank the Lord.  I have refined my focus even further.  Make my living and benefit others, as well as stay true to who I am via the arts.

Amen

Christmas Traditions of Italy

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Christmas has different traditions around the world, and I wanted to share those from Italy, my mom’s native land. I found this article that gives the different traditions, including foods for that season.  I love my heritage and sharing about it with others.

Italian traditions in Italy are based heavily on the religion ofChristianity. Christmas starts eight days before Christmas and laststill after the Feast of Epiphany. Musical salutes are made at the shrineof the Virgin Mary and songs are played at the homes of carpenters inhonor of St. Joseph. Eight days before Christmas, a special Novena ofprayers and church services begin. It all ends on Christmas Day. OnDecember 23rd, sometimes earlier, children dressed as shepherds withsandals, leggings tied with crossing thongs, and wearing shepherds’hats, go from house to house playing songs on shepherds’ pipes andgiving recitations. They receive money to buy Christmas treats. Incities like Rome real shepherds sometimes carry out the performance.A strict fast is observed 24 hours before Christmas after which a mealwith many dishes (but no meat) is served. The traditional Christmasdinner, Cenone, is made up of spaghetti and anchovies, anassortment of fish, fresh broccoli, tossed salad, fruits, and sweets.A Yule log, the Ceppo, is burned, and toasts in wine and wishes for thefuture are expressed. The Urn of Fate, an old Italian tradition, is alarge ornamental bowl that holds wrapped gifts for members of thefamily. When the family gets together, each member takes his turn atdrawing a gift from the urn until all the presents are distributed.The presepio (manger or crib) represents in miniature the Holy Familyin the stable and is the center of Christmas for families. Guests kneelbefore it and musicians sing before it . The presepio figures are usuallyhand-carved and very detailed in features and dress. The scene isoften set out in the shape of a triangle. This is a wooden framearranged to make a pyramid several feet high. Several tiers of thinshelves are supported by this frame. It is entirely decorated withcolored paper, gilt pine cones, and miniature colored pennants. Smallcandles are fastened to the tapering sides. A star or small doll ishung at the apex of the triangular sides. The shelves above themanger scene have small gifts of fruit,candy, and presents. The ceppois in the old Tree of Light tradition which became the Christmas treein other countries. Some houses even have a ceppo for each child inthe family.From the Castle of Saint Angelo in Rome a cannon is fired to proclaimthe opening of the Holy Season. Each tries to outdo the other bydisplaying the biggest presepio.Children in Italy hang up their stockings on the Feast of theEpiphany, January 6. They celebrate the visit of the Three Kings toBethlehem. Instead of Santa Claus, children are expecting Befana.She is a witch-like character who rides around on a broom. Thelegend is that the Three Wise Men, I re magi, stopped at Befana‘s hut to ask[giotto: re magi]directions on their way to Bethlehem and asked her to join them. Shesaid no, she was too busy. Later a shepherd asked her to join him inpaying respect to the Baby Jesus. Again, Befana said no. Later when itwas dark and she saw a great light in the skies, she thought perhapsshe should have gone with the Wise Men. So, she gathered some toysthat had belonged to her own baby, who had died, and ran to find thekings and the shepherd. But Befana could not find them or the stable.Now, each year she looks for the Christ Child. And each year sinceshe can not find him, she leaves the gifts for the good children of Italyand pieces of charcoal for the bad ones..No meat is eaten for twenty-four hours before Christmas Eve, butthere follows a meal as big as the family can afford. A special NewYear Banquet is eaten on the last day of the year, with raisin bread,turkey, chicken, rabbit, and spaghetti. Champagne is the drink of theevening.