Asia, Countries, Europe

Give us this Day – the wee chapel

Our places of worship have shrunk with the lockdown but we can still give thanks to Our God from here in our homes.

Our forebears did during the days of repression in the Catholic and Protestant wars.

And the oppression of the Jews and discrimination against Muslims.

I saw evidence for it myself in Ann Boleyn’s Hever Castle in Kent in the south of England, through a hidden door behind a closet.

Where they boasted what was one of the smallest chapels and where, on occasion, they celebrated Mass clandestinely

Point towards Mecca

While Christians rely on their set Sunday services Muslims who cannot get to mosques can build their own places of worship.

With stones and a keen sense of direction for Mecca.

Set yourself up a mosque

Which I found in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan www.visitjordan.com.

With my ethically-responsible tour providers www.gadventures.com The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time

Small churches too can be found just around the corner when you go walkabout in a city.

Prague Protestants

As in Prague https://www.czechtourism.com/home/ and Hope springs eternal  from where Jan Hus and the first Protestants http://Give us this Day – The First Protestants (of Prague) hailed.

And the holy man stands with his back to you.

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Prague Protestant history

Again on Mount Lycabettus where stands the highest church in Athens, https://athensattica.com St George and My Greek odyssey.

Athena herself is said to have built the hill herself so she could inspect the erection of the Parthenon herself.

Ice love you

Small churches can be found anywhere really.

That they can put up a cross and one of the funkier churches was an ice one.

In Soll in Austria Soll Mates and https://www.wilderkaiser.info/en/destination-austria/region-wilder-kaiser-skiing-tyrol.html with Top Flight www.topflight.ie.

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Ring of truth: In Austria

While in Italy it helps if you’ve got your own chapel with your hotel.

Which I discovered on my Via Francigena www.ViaFrancigena.com and Small roads lead to Rome.

While in The Vatican http://m.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani-mobile/en/visita-i-musei.html itself you can always find a small chapel.

In one of the alcoves of St Paul’s Basilica.

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Your own hotel chapel… in Lazio

Where my own Scary One disturbed my peace at the end of my Via Francigena by phoning me up to give out about my phone bills!

Me, I’m off down to my own carefully created Wee Chapel in my back garden.

Where sits a wooden grotto with a holy water bottle from Lourdes and http://www.lourdes-france.org The Lourdes prayer.

MEET YOU IN THE AISLES

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day – Sing a song of prayer to the Lord

I’m sitting out my Sunday service today but I will sing a song of prayer to the Lord.

The advice on attending your place of worship has swung back and forth like yon botafumeiro incense holder that almost took me out in Santiago.

With the Diocese of Rome, whose boss, the Pope the ma. I defer to, ordering the closing of churches and then their reopening.

While mosques, synagogues and temples are also reacting coronavirus by closing their doors to protect their flock.

Best consult your place of worship for latest advice.

Of course there has always been an exemption from Sunday worship in my church for those who are old or infirm, if you’re sick, or at risk.

While there is no compulsion on Protestants to attend church with the emphasis very much on an individual’s personal relationship with God.

Through the Good Book and prayer.

And much like Methodists, Baptists and Gospel choirs the best way to pray is to sing.

And to Our Lady

So here are a few songs from my travels to get you going:

Ave Maria (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XpYGgtrMTYs): Well they are Marian sites…

Lourdes https://www.lourdes-infotourisme.com and The Lourdes prayer, Fatima in Portugal Centro www.visitportugal.com.

And Secret Portugal Medjugorje What’s the story, Medjugorje? Wouldn’t you like to know. And Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie.

Spiritual

Which is where the greats from Motown from Aretha to Whitney started out and how cruise ships https://www.celebritycruises.co.uk put on entertainment.

I’d missed the old gospel choir in Memphis after I had to get the early-morning connection back to Europe.

But we were greeted to Christmas songs in an antebellum house turned B&B (and Deep South B&Bs are actually country houses). Visit https://www.deep-south-usa.com.

I did manage to get my fix though in Anaheim. See https://visitanaheim.org and www.visitcalifornia.com

And breaking news…

Word reaches us from Siena, Italy, where the locals have been singing to each other for moral support.

Down an empty street https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hDu_kLJ-5Mk.

The song: E mentre Siena Dorme, or While Siena Sleeps.

Italians have never been silenced and never will… http://www.italia.it/en/home.html and Small roads lead to Rome.

And remember everybody has a place in God’s choir.

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.

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Give us this day – holy water fonts

You get a name for yourself… just by going to Mass.

And before you know it people are referring to you by that awful definition ‘religious’.

Then you’ve been approached to be a reader at your church.

And to give out the host.

It all culminates in being bought a holy water fount for Christmas.

Oh, well, She had waited 25 years to get her own back.

After I’d bought her a non-stick frying pan, bacon, sausages, eggs and black pudding for our first Christmas.

This holy water fount is from Lough Derg, St Patrick’s sanctuary.

In my Dear Old Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal in Ireland…. https://www.loughderg.org.

So what of the history of the bénitier?

Well, it’s a fancier and Frenchier way to describe a holy water font.

So you’ll not be surprised to know that it’s… found all over Gaul-land http://www.atout-france.fr in very ostentatious style.

It is often adorned with, say, Our Lady.

In olden days too rosary beads were often draped around the fonts.

Although in Marian sites Fatima https://www.fatima.pt/en and https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/the-best-of-portugal?gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=1258950&ds_rl=1252939&gclid=CjwKCAiA9JbwBRAAEiwAnWa4Q0nu0ByiGL2UMA94MnpCYcRAgaCRJQGmKM10FZv5yTiIEiAU8YjfzRoCym8QAvD_BwE, Lourdes https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/Medjugorje https://medjugorjelive.org you would do well to prise them out of the hands of the pilgrims.

You see I have seen it too first hand.

Stoups, of course, are most likely to be found in churches.

But did you know that they can sometimes be found above the bed? Passion killer, n’est ce pas?

I make a habit of seeking out places of worship wherever I go.

They have the best art in Rome http://www.rome.netand sometimes also the best craic… Give us this Day – Sunday School, Tobago https://www.visittobago.gov.tt

But while I like to pray I love to play.

And no saint me. I have been known to fill bottles.

Vatican rules

With holy water from St Paul’s Basilica at the end of my Via Francigena pilgrimage… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And in St James’s Cathedral in Santiago de Compostella http://www.caminoways.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/ after walking 100km from Sarria on the Camino.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I’ve also taken holy water from.

Water, water everywhere

A font by the River Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ and http://www.visitjordan.com.

A Greek Orthodox church on Mt Hybanthus… http://www.athensattica.com and Give us this Day – The Iconic Greek Orthodox

The Frauenkirche in Dresden http://www.dresden.de and Dresden’s renaissance under the eye of Martin Luther.

The cathedral in La Laguna in Tenerife… http://www.visitingtenerife.com and A walk through the ages… Tenerife

And these are just the sample charges.

I’d better get some prayers in then… maybe Our Lady will intercede on my behalf!

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Holiday Snaps… save on the slopes

The oul’ bobble hat has come out this week which means one of two things.

One, that I need to get out to the sun. Check… I’m off to Tobago next month.

Two, that I need to get back out on the slopes… put that on the to do list.

Particularly as there are some great offers out there.

Walking on snow

Such as savings of €100 per booking for the ski season with Crystal. €100* per booking on selected accommodations.

Having walked the mountains in Austria’s Tirol https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/01/austrian-toilet-humour/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/03/__trashed/ just last month I got a sense that the snows were falling gently heralding the ski season to come.

The life and the Soll of the party

Crystal offers a seven-night stay in the 3* Haus Edelweiss, Zell Am See on a B&B basis from €735pp. Depart December 21.

While seven nights B&B at the 2* Haus Prichmoos in Soll is from €615pp. And it’s a resort that I know well having fallen down its slopes… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/soll-mates/

While in Austria our guide Reini took us over the mountains and across to Germany and also pointed out Italy which was maybe a couple of days away.

They’ll be the Pyrenees then

Maybe ski it? Crystal has seven nights at the 3* Residence Planibel Apartments, La Thuile, self-catering from €365pp (four share). Depart January 17.

Or seven nights B&B at the 3* Hotel Clotes, Sauze D’oulx from €635pp.

Andorra’s box of tricks

Andorra is clearly an old favourite and Crystal are right on board with the tiny country in the Pyrenees.

Seven nights at the 3* Hotel Katmandou, Pas De La Case on a half-board basis for seven nights from €519pp. Depart December 22.

Again I’ve been walking in the Pyrenees… don’t judge me, there’s no snow to ski in the summer or the autumn but I love them and it was on a Lourdes and Pyrenees trip… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/.

And for more on this delightful region… https://www.lourdes-france.org/. And https://www.hautespyrenees.fr/.

All offers include flights from Dublin. Visit http://www.crystalski.ie.

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Give us this Day – Candles

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine,

Oh Let it shine,

Let it shine

Gosepl Spiritual

Yes, I’ve taken this little light around the world and am just back from Medjugorje in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Where I lit a candle for friends and family and the world.

With Myrlie Evers at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Candles flicker across all the religions of the world.

And none.

It is a mark of hope, of permanence and memorial.

The gospel spiritual ‘This little light of mine’ is on a spool in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Cleveland.

Where I met Civil Rights legend Myrlie Evers who opened the museum.

And amid the boards with their personal testimonies of struggles, loss and redemption the song is a stirring backdrop.

The ultimate sacrifice: At Great Uncle Willie’s gravestone

Here’s where it stands among my memories… The Promised Land. And http://www.mcrm.mdah.ms.gov

In another land, amid the mud and blood of Passchendaele in Flanders,

I lit a candle to my Irish Great Uncles who had fallen there.

It sits on my desk and every Memorial Sunday in November I light it and sit in silent memorial for a minute.

And I thank them for their sacrifice… In Flanders fields and http://www.gti-ireland.com and http://www.visitflanders.com.

Pilgrims: With Maria dos Anjos in Fatima

We stand too in reverence at the Marian sites of Fatima, Lourdes and Medjugorje.

Secret Portugal The Lourdes prayer. And these websites http://www.centerofportugal.com and http://www.en.lourdes-infotourisme.com and http://www.lourdes-france-org.

And watch out too for my review of my Medjugorje pilgrimage with Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie soon in the Irish Sun.

Light of the world: In Medjugorje

Candles, of course, are not just a Western, a Christian, a modern phenomenon.

Light of our lives

Light and fire are primal forces which link us to the Earth and to the heavens.

And are common to other cultures, religions and countries around the world.

And those who claim spirituality but no religion.

Waxing lyrical. In Lourdes

To finish, a light-hearted story from my time in Medge.

From the beautifully beardied Franciscan monk Fr Columba.

Who told of us a candlelight procession in New York when his beard which stretches down to his navel caught fire.

Fr Columba is fireproof though, and can fix TV freezes too… Medjugorje story – a sporting passion.

MEET YOU IN THE PEWS

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Give us this day: Lourdes

I’ve always thought the best way to really find out about the locals is to join them where they play and pray.

So I’ll be bringing you my thoughts on our life’s journeys every week on this day, HIS day.

First off: Lourdes. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/(opens in a new tab)

And carrying on the pray and play theme and because of the day that’s in it I’ll be showing how I scaled the most climbed mountain by cyclists on the Tour de France.

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Stumbling on another Camino

I did it my way… which was tailgating an American friar and his group from Sarria to Santiago de Compostella, the last 100km of the French Way which begins in St Jean Pied de Port.

But there is no one definitive way of doing the Camino, thank Heavens. You may prefer to follow the route from Lourdes.

I did the first stretch the easy way this time, by coach, with Lourdes rugby player Andre who is 56 but looks 36 doing the heavy lifting of the bus up the Pyrenees, and miraculously avoiding cyclists coming the other way down the middle of the road.

We visited the beguiling Cirque de Gavarnie with its crashing 434m waterfalls and 16 summits and scaled the Col du Tourmalet, the most climbed route for Tour de France cyclists where I took a breather…. sitting in the back of a coach sure takes it out of you!

And we let the cable car take the strain guiding us up the Pic du Midi to Le 2877 restaurant, the highest in Europe, where we looked out (or down) onto the peaks.

Je digresse! And you can too, off your Camino route, to take all this in before you get back on the road, over the Pyrenees and into Spain and onto Santiago.

Caminoways.com will map it all out for you. It’s basically a case of criss-crossing ways from your starting point at Lourdes, 40kms from the international airport served in the summer season by Ryanair. http://www.ryanair.com. And you’ll see the de rigeuer bar stops that so mark the Camino.

Follow http://www.caminoways.com/travel-the-camino-from-lourdes-to-santiago.

Look out for my Lourdes Prayer and Pyrenees peregrinations in future blogs.

I have recapped my Camino from a couple of years ago here… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/(opens in a new tab). And look out too for what happened to me when I got to the end of the world. Coming soon.

MEET YOU ON THE WAY