26 November 2007

Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility

i grew up listening to a prairie home companion by garrison keillor on national public radio, and he has said that in lake woebegone, everyone was lutheran, whether you really were or not, and the central church was the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility.

to parallel that, i´ve been living here in (e)spain for almost four months, and i´ve come to realize that everyone´s catholic here, whether you really are or not. everyone from the señoras that wear the black overcoats and carry their little grocery carts that look like carryon luggage to the señores who meet in the bar as big as a bedroom to share a beer and a laugh to the young hipsters and businessmen that stop to look at the shoe stores every 5 meters. it´s especially evident when there are local and national festivals dedicated to saints. for example nov 9 here in madrid was a holiday recognized by the local government as the day of the Virgen de la Almudena, the patron saint of madrid, and they televised the mass in the plaza mayor and the subsequent procession of the clergy and (statue of) the virgen to the cathedral as in the manner of the thanksgiving day macy´s parade, replete with live helicopter footage as well as interviews with little girls along the route.

it´s also in the language, when to say that something is over the top, it´s la hostia (the eucharistic host); it´s perfectly normal to name your daughter maría josé or maría jesús and your son josé maría or jesús maría.

in spain, there´s a patron saint for everything, so i´m going to borrow from the luterans of nothern minnesota and take Nuestra Señora de la Perpetua Responsabilidad as the patron saint of students, particularly grad students, as she whispers to us when our papers are due, reminds us to turn off the television to study or to get off facebook and use the computer como Dios manda (as God commands) and write that 10 page paper.

so, that´s the news from madrid, where are the women wear heels that way too high, all the men wear pants that are too tight, and all the children are in strollers until they´re 7 years old.

16 November 2007

Baby J Volume 2

my niece, Baby J Volume 2 (read dos), is going to be born next friday, 23 nov 2007! her older sister, dad and mum (especially) are very excited to meet her, as well as her extended family! i want her to know that she is very loved and that we and our church families around the world have been praying for her since we found out she was coming into our lives. i'm even planning a b-day party for her here in madrid to celebrate!

she's currently called Baby J Volume 2 because her mum and dad want her name to be special and especially for her. this nickname comes from her parents. of course, the initial J comes from her last name, and the Volume 2 is because her older sister was born last year; until she was born, we called her Humanita (literally, little human girl).

please join me in praying for a safe last week of pregnancy for my sis-in-law, a safe delivery of Baby J Volume 2 (by c-section at 7am CST) next friday, and for a smooth transition into the family.

crazy uncle paulo

09 November 2007

triumphs addendum

Phil 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

i've been reflecting on my past post, and i think i gave the impression that i was having these triumphs because of sheer human determination. that's not the impression i want to give at all, and i recognize that all the strength i have, any triumph i have is because God sustains me and has given me the ability to overcome any obstacle. he is the one who permits bad things to happen to us, but is the source of every good gift and eagerly blesses his children.

Job 12:10: In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.