Friday, May 20, 2022

Giving Thanks to You!

…in faith and hope and in the love that Your love for me, and for everyone, awakens in my own small heart; in the midst of many joys and some tribulations, clarities and obscurities, health and sickness, laughter and tears and cries for Your mercy on my every breath, I give thanks to You.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Papa Looks Forward to Summer

Papa is looking forward to the upcoming Summer season. Are you ready, Maria?…😊 

Well, the weather is certainly getting nice.☀🌿

Monday, May 16, 2022

Lucia Graduates From University. Next Comes "The Wedding"

My daughter Lucia and her COVID-surviving Class of 2022 just had a wonderful, one-hundred-percent live graduation ceremony at Christendom College (i.e. "University," as I prefer to specify for my readers who are not from the U.S.A., and may be from places where "College" is a term used for what we call "High School").

My gosh! Can you believe it was two years ago that schools and universities were closed, and this class was desperately struggling to finish the bizarre Spring semester of 2020 online? We had no idea what the future held in store for us back in those strange days....

I don't mean to imply that we know what "the future" has in store for us in the days to come. But we are grateful that things worked out for these kids to return to campus and finish on time.

Christendom remains my "academic residence" (even though I am no longer able to teach in the classroom). I remain Associate Professor Emeritus, and - although I rarely visit the campus in person - I value my ongoing connection for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have access to many resources for my research, which is helpful for my monthly articles in Magnificat as well as my ongoing projects.

Lucia is now the third of our kids to graduate from Christendom, and we are very proud of her. (And Teresa just finished her freshman year.) We have gone out of our way to not put "pressure" on any of the kids to attend "the local college" (which has also been, in a way, the family business for three generations of Janaros, at least in terms of contributing to building it). Perhaps it has been just as well that the kids have been able to experience the place as their own turf, without the oversized ego of their father casting his idiosyncratic shadow around as a teacher. That might have been awkward for them. As it is, all I do is participate with cap and gown in their graduations. This time, rain moved in and we didn't even get a picture with Lucia after the ceremony.

In any case, they have all grown in their faith, gotten an exceptionally thorough undergraduate education, and have made great friends. In the case of John Paul and Lucia, they found something more than friends...πŸ˜‰ 

John Paul met, dated, and eventually married (in August 2020) his wonderful classmate Emily Farabaugh. They are an outstanding couple as well as now the dedicated parents of Maria Janaro (I think you know who she is😊). 

Lucia has been together with Mike Rego for several years, and we have come to know him well and have enjoyed visits from his parents as well. Mike is a great guy, and is planning to get a Masters degree in the Psychology field and become a certified Counselor. They got engaged during their semester in Rome, and the wedding is on July 9 - which is less than two months away!

I'm going to be "Father of the Bride"!😳 Help!

Really, I'm just immensely grateful. We do not know what the future holds in store for us, our family, our poor world... but in all things I pray that we might continue to trust in God who is our Father, who loves us, and to grow in recognition of the closeness of Jesus Christ to every aspect of our lives. We pray to be servants of His immense mercy and love for every human person, with particular solidarity and compassion for all those He entrusts to us.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Remembering May 13, ... 1981

May 13th commemorates the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to the three children of Fatima, Portugal in the year 1917. 

May 13th is also a day that commemorates another event, an event undoubtedly linked to that other afternoon in 1917, which could conceivably be remembered with its own “optional memorial” at some point in the future: the memorial of Saint John Paul II’s Confession of Faith. On this day, forty-one years ago, he shed his blood in Saint Peter’s Square.

I remember very well May 13, 1981.

I was an 18 year old boy, a few weeks from graduation from public high school, walking through the noisy hallway. It was around lunchtime in America. More than two thousand kids were in motion in the halls of that school. Not many of them were Catholic. I was going to my "home room" classroom. I can still see the door in my mind. I can see the hallway. I was almost ready to reach for the door. It’s something I had done hundreds of time; it was almost automatic....

A girl from class came up to me; she was also Catholic, a nice girl, though I didn’t know her very well... But I could see she was in shock. Here face was pale, so pale....

She said, "The Pope has been shot!" Forty-one years later, the astonishment of that moment hasn’t left me.

My memories of what happened the rest of the school day, however, are fragmented. Still, I have vivid images from that afternoon, and the time that followed. At some point, we were all in our various classrooms watching the news reports. The routine of the school day was utterly broken. The potheads and the jocks, the smart kids, the nerds, the heavy metal kids, the tough kids, girls and boys, all kinds of ethnic backgrounds, kids with all kinds of beliefs and ideologies and adolescent confusion, students and teachers too: we all watched the television and we were all united by the shock that had jolted our common humanity.

It was a moment when we realized that we were just people, just frail people holding onto our own lives by the thinnest of threads.

On television, the newscasters (themselves visibly disturbed) described with diagrams the surgery that was to take place. All over the world people prayed. I felt numb, with people I had known for the last four years without ever really knowing them, in a high school classroom watching the TV that was on in the room. Did I pray?

My Jewish friends wept and hugged me, as if the Pope were my own father (which, of course, he was - in a sense that I had scarcely begun to understand). Kids who called themselves atheists sat with their heads in their hands. It was like everyone's heart was trying to pray, somehow. Everyone was suffering.

It was like the whole human race was attacked on May 13, 1981. Somewhere in their depths, people knew it. They felt it.

History was riding a bullet fired at close range into a man's abdomen by a professional assassin who knew what he was doing, who never missed. And on that day, he didn't miss.

But “It was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path,” the Pope said later.

Can you possibly imagine what the world would be like now if that bullet had not been “guided by a mother's hand” forty-one years ago, on this day? Many things would have been different, and - as awful and dangerous as many of the events are in today's news - I think life might have been much worse if John Paul II had died in 1981. In any case, there is much to be grateful for: the Pope’s survival, his sacrifice, and his courage and endurance for 24 more years, were tremendous graces for the Church and the world.

Our Lady of Fatima, thank you for saving the life of Saint John Paul II!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Christina Grimmie: Light Shining All Over the Internet

Five years, eleven months.πŸ’š⭐️

Christina Grimmie still shines her bright beautiful light all over the Internet.

Monday, May 9, 2022

A Mother’s Day Without “Mom”…

Mother’s Day was bittersweet this year.

The physical absence of my Mom (who died last July) and my Dad (+2019) is still… uncanny. It’s more than just “missing them” (though I do, certainly). I know they have gone to be with the Lord, to be drawn through His mercy (which brings healing and perfection) to the eternal joy, the beatitude, of unending communion with Him. 

I think of them every day, and pray for them. I really think they also pray for me, and continue to look after me and my brother and Eileen and the grandchildren. But life in this world has changed in ways I never could have imagined, and sometimes it has been strange and dislocating, overwhelming and full of sorrow.

Life changes, and we have to “let go” of people we love, so as to grow toward the One who holds us all in His love - to seek Him in deeper, more mysterious ways, including those dark valleys where we don’t even know what’s happening or where we’re going as He carries us on His shoulders.

I missed my Mom on this first Mother’s Day without her.

I worked on “restoring” the photo above, with only limited success. It looks to be sometime in 1963, with my very young parents, Walter as a toddler, and me as an infant. Here is the young Janaro family in 1963.

Meanwhile, I was glad that Eileen got to see all five of her children at our house during the course of the day, plus her granddaughter. She is a wonderful mother (and nana) as well as being a wonderful wife. I know that seeing everyone made her happy. On a bittersweet day, this was the “sweet part.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

“Clothed With Incorruption”

May 2nd honors the great Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, defender of our faith in the Trinity and the Incarnation in the fourth century. 

"Through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all humans were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of humankind is such that, by virtue of the Word's indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all" (Saint Athanasius, On The Incarnation 2:9).