Countries, Europe, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day – the best bar nun

Pope John Paul II only blessed my Uncle Danny and Auntie Nora.

For rearing six children in south Co. Donegal, all of whom became monks or nuns.

Which, without any signposting, other than maybe me watching Call the Midlife…

I’ve decided to shine a light on our Brothers and Sisters.

I more than fulfilled my holy obligations last year with visits to the holy sites of Lourdes…

See The Lourdes prayer, https://en.lourdes-infotourisme.com and Medjugorje The faces of 2019 – Pilgrimages.

Penguins’ march

And I hope to see Oberammergau in action this year after sampling the preparations last year https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home.

I had always thought that there was a height requirement to be admitted into the Holy Orders… you needed to be under 5ft.

Slam dunk

Until I was told of a basketball-playing nun in Medjugorje https://www.medjugorje.org on my Marian Pilgrimages tour www.marian.ie.

and, no, she doesn’t run between the opposition’s legs.

Basketball, incidentally, plays a part in the Marian apparitions story…

Our Lady only interrupted the big game on TV that day with her message of world peace and rosaries.

I confess

Monks, of course are great fun too and I wish I’d appreciated the brown-robed, big-bearded ones who regularly came a-visiting.

Way of the world

So what if they’d never heard of Heavy Metal or Celtic and Rangers, they knew exactly what was going on in Africa and the Middle East.

And so to this little Italian Franciscan dude who would do hours and hours of confessionals in Balkan Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Or Sister Elvira whose hostel for drug dependents in the hills above the town.

It’s always good insurance to say a prayer with a monk or a nun.

An Our Father

And particularly when they are Maria dos Anjos, the niece of the Last Shepherd of Fatima.

And I’d love to share her secrets with you.

Only a bolt of lightning would strike me down.

See. www.visitportugal.com and Secret Portugal.

MEET YOU IN THE PEWS

Countries, Europe, Pilgrimage

Thirteen years an Irishman – Five holy holidays

Give us this day, your weekly Sunday sermon from your outgoing and going out Eucharistic Minister (no, really, I am).

And as part of my long farewell, though not quite the 40 days between Christ’s Resurrection and his Assumption.

I give you five holy holidays:

I’m James too

Saint James

Buen Camino, Camino passport stamps and the La Queimada (the Galicia Halloween festival complete with fiery alcohol cauldron.

Peregrinos, that’s pilgrims to you and me, blisters and blisteringly good pulpo (octopus) and Chianti.

And the red-cloaked clerics swinging the botafumiero, the ornate and heavy incense holder, at the Pilgrims’ Mass in St James’s Cathedral.

With www.caminoways.com and A pilgrim’s prayer.

Or Giacomo in Italian

Phew Italia

Stranded in a one-horse town at night and Rosso Rum has left la citta, a bus from nowhere, lost again ten minutes into my Via Francigena.

The 100km pilgrimage from Viterbo to Rome, via country paths with snarling dogs behind barbed wire fences.

The sight of the Tiber, getting your last stamp in St Peter’s Square. A day to walk round and round La Citta Eterna.

Visit www.francigenaways.com and Small roads lead to Rome.

The last secret of Fatima

I think she knows the words

A Cristiano Ronaldo beach towel on a stand among the Virgin Mary souvenirs outside the Little Shepherd’s home.

Praying with Maria dos Anjos, the niece of the last Little Shepherd in her porch.

An elderly woman crawling on her knees to the altar, and a drunken Scotsman crawling out of the bar after too much Madeira wine.

Visit www.visitportugal.com and Secret Portugal.

Lourdes have mercy

Bernie and me

Candles… in cartons for the night-time vigil, in the shops, giant ones at €60, and ones inscribed by everyone in the village in which they were carved.

The helpers wheeling the disabled, pilgrims quietly queuing in front of the baths.

St Bernadette hiding in the gardens around the model villages in Lourdes Castle and the interdit sign which a disobedient Scot will always ignore.

Visit https://en.lourdes-infotourisme.com and The Lourdes prayer.

The Medjugorje story

The Lady is waiting

A monk held captive by ISIS giving a talk to pilgrims.

A priest revealing how Our Lady revealed herself to him and listening to Ivan Visionary channeling the Virgin Mary at the Blue Cross.

Visiting Muslim Sarajevo, its beautiful Bey Mosque and its museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide https://sarajevo.travel/en/things-to-do/museum-of-crimes-against-humanity-and-genocide-1992-1995/923.

Visit https://marian.ie/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInMu4zdWu5wIVWeDtCh19mA5OEAAYASAAEgIXzfD_BwE.

Tomorrow on my long goodbye, my favourite cities.

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech http://www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco http://www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

Pilgrimage

Give us this Day – Sunday School

Back in the day the kids of the parish would sit down cross-legged and listen to their Sunday School teacher – ME!

I’d surround myself with props related to the biblical story of the day.

And we’d sing from a playlist with set dances…

It’s Us Who Make Commuity, Ladybird, Do You Know Who Made You? and This Little Light of Mine come to mind.

Music is in the soul in the Deep South

I’m minded here to share with you that they play this song on a loop in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum http://www.mcrm.mdah.ms.gov.

Part of my American Trilogy which includes http://The Promised Land, http://The Story of the Blues and http://The King of Kings.

The reason why I’m raising Sunday Schools is twofold.

Firstly because the family behind me at Mass today (and many Sundays) spent the whole service running around after their hyperactive kids.

With another great Civil Rights leader Myrlie Evers in the Deep South

And secondly because, God willing, I’ll be attending a Sunday Service with a difference next weekend.

Before I get on to that it’s worth saying that not all kids are menaces.

Harriet’s story

And I was hugely impressed by the wee one who sat right through a high-powered film.

The excellent Harriet, the story of Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman.

Never forget. Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Sunday Schools were part and parcel of Sabbath worship back in Scotland but seems less of a thing here in Ireland.

But it makes sense, allowing parents to concentrate on the service.

And the kids are taken away and told biblical stories at their pace.

With all this in mind and with my experience at the sharp end I might just volunteer my services to Sunday School in Tobago http://www.visittobago.gov.tt.

Particularly as Tobago’s Sunday School has a twist.

Tobago’s Sunday School

It’s only a nightclub with a jumping steel band which gets the party started every Sunday night.

I’ll be returning to the Caribbean for the first time in a couple of years next weekend….

Here’s https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/.

Here’s what we know already about the island already. And I’m not kidding https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/11/tobago-ready-steady-goat/

Allellujah!