A JULY SMORGASBORD: VACATIONS, TRAVEL TIPS, WORLD YOUTH DAY
Although he is on a working vacation, Pope Francis does preside on Sundays in July at the Angelus from his study in the Apostolic Palace. Yesterday he reflected on the day’s Gospel story of Jesus who is welcomed by Martha and Mary into their home. They each offer their hospitality in different ways. Martha scurries around and is busy preparing things whereas Mary is content to sit at Jesus’ feet to listen to his words. When Martha asks Jesus if he is not upset that she is doing everything alone and Mary isn’t helping, he reminds her, as Pope Francis said, “that in order to welcome him many things are not necessary; indeed, only one thing is necessary, to listen to Jesus.”
Thus, the Holy Father was stressing two essential points: “the importance of hospitality, a real Christian virtue, but one which at times the world neglects,” and “the importance of dedicating more time to listening because the root of peace is in the capacity to listen.”
With those words in mind, I want to tell you that I start my vacation tomorrow, and will be enjoying the hospitality of family in California and dear friends in Hawaii. I hope I can be Mary to their Martha while on vacation.
I’m always excited about visiting family because I’m part of such a terrific family! I have 9 nieces and nephews and 21 great-nieces and -nephews, a number of whom I will see in California, while others live in Arizona, Oregon, Illinois and Wisconsin (my next visits!)
Hawaii is a vacation unlike any other! It is beautiful beyond description – I don’t feel like a wordsmith when I am there, in fact, I lack for words. Even photos don’t seem to do justice but I will be posting a number on Facebook as I travel.
I could write an entire blog about each of my very special friends, from Jan and Trip, retired Navy (at least two blogs about this amazing couple), to Maria, a doctor at Tripler Medical Center who works with veterans returning from war zones, to Sister Davilyn ah Chick, OSF, principal of Our Lady of Pepetual Help school who wears about a dozen other hats, to Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP, adjunct professor at Chaminade University in Honolulu, who also wears numerous hats (and both nuns are prolific writers), to Sister Marykutty Kottuppallil, a Missionary Sister of Mary Help of Christians (an order founded in 1942 in Guwahati northeast India in 1942, as part of the family of Salesian orders (superior of a small group of these sisters in Honolulu), to Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu.
In a category all by herself is Audrey Toguchi, our mutual friend, the person who “connects the dots” (her favorite saying), that is, brings people together. I was introduced to Audrey and her story in July of 2008 when I flew to Honolulu on a very quick “reconnaissance” mission. I had been alerted by Linda Cacpal, a fellow member of Audrey’s parish, St. Elizabeth in Aiea, that Audrey was the person whose miraculous cure of lung cancer was due to the intercesssion of Damien of Molokai and led to his canonization in October 2009.
I was in California in July 2008 for a nephew’s wedding. Linda and I had been emailing back and forth about the news from Rome days earlier about a miraculous cure leading to Damien’s canonization. She told me about Audrey and said, “you really should come to Hawaii and meet her.” Well, I did just that. I got on the Internet on Saturday, found airfare and a hotel and was on a plane for Honolulu Monday.
Audrey was the first person I met of what is now this circle of friends – my Hawaiian ohana or family. I interviewed her for my radio show and we struck up a friendship that has lasted and deepened to this day.
Audrey and her husband Yuki (a magical gardener – I think he could grow orchids from stone)
Linda also told Bishop Larry I was in town and his office called and we met for a visit and have seen each other every summer since. We’ve also met in Rome with Hawaii pilgrims for the 2009 Damien canonization and the 2012 St. Marianne Cope canonization.
Linda was fascinated by my blog and what she could learn about Rome, the Pope, the Vatican, etc. We had become pen pals not long after my first column appeared in 2006. She gave me my first ever orchid lei when I arrived in Honolulu in 2008 and we saw each other at least on most of my visits. Our last visit was the summer of 2014. She died in December of that year.
As the local Catholic paper wrote: Linda Cacpal was a lay person, a retired state employee, a convert, a parish minister with a love for the church so total that the bishop was moved to preside at her funeral. “This dear sister of ours dedicated her life to God completely,” Bishop Larry Silva told those who came to say goodbye to their friend in Christ, Jan. 12, at St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea. Eight priests concelebrated. Three deacons assisted.
Cacpal died on the day after Christmas in the home of her godchild and caregiver Leila Tee after suffering through a number of illnesses. She was 62. She worked in a variety of parish and diocesan ministries. She was a Secular Franciscan. And several years ago, Bishop Silva put her on the Diocesan Pastoral Council, his mostly lay advisory panel.
Now you have an inkling of why I get so excited when I plan my Hawaii trip. I love to see and do the Shaka, aka “Hang loose,” a Hawaiian hand gesture meaning take it easy, relax, chill out. It can also be shown to someone as a sign of approval, welcome or goodbye – aloha.
Make a fist, then extend your thumb and little finger, and lightly shake your hand in an up nand down, see-saw motion with your thumb and finger.
Now, “hang loose” on your vacation!
As I re-read what I’ve written, I began to mentally list the names of family and friends I will see and I think I have enough to make five decades of the rosary, each bead a beloved relative or friend.
Throughout the year, but especially during the Easter season and in the summer, I get avalanches of emails asking for travel tips. People want suggestions on sites to see in Rome and throughout Italy. I am asked for guides, how to procure tickets to events (or train tickets), for help with hotels and convents and rental cars or private drivers. I am asked for all kinds of shopping tips.
I could probably answer any or all of those questions if I was a full time travel agent but I am not – not do I have time to explore a lot of areas that, I admit, I wish I had time for!
But this is why I prepared the link on my blog: CLICK HERE FOR PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON VISITING THE VATICAN
Not every single question will be answered but a lot will. I write about convents. I explain why I cannot advise people on hotels. I DO, however, list some great restaurants!
Do you need a ticket to a papal Mass or weekly audience (the Angelus does not require a ticket)? Go to: Prefectrure of the Papal Household: http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/en/biglietti_en.html
Want to avoid the long lines and reserve tickets to the Vatican Museums? Click here: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html
Often just a simple search on the Internet to sites beyond what I have listed will provide you with all the information you need.
Pass this information on to friends and family members who will be travelling to Rome – you will help me and you will help them!
WORLD YOUTH DAY
What a terrific event this will be once again. I’ve been to a number of WYDs and always come home the richer person. Krakow will be immensely meaningful in the grand scheme of youth days because it was the diocese led for many years by Pope John Paul, who instituted WYD, and is now led by the late Pope’s secretary and confidante for 40 years. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.
St. John Paul and St. Faustina Kowalksa are the co-patrons of this special World Youth Day.
To track what is happening and what awaits you if you are about to leave for Poland, visit the official website: http://www.krakow2016.com/en/
And, of course, EWTN will have enormous coverage – television, radio, our website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
SAFE TRAVELS, EVERYONE! GOD SIT ON YOUR SHOULDER! SEE YOU IN A FEW WEEKS!