A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘St. Peter’s Square’

Newly named saints

Friday, May 1st, 2009

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints April 26, including Portugal‘s 14th century independence leader and a priest who ministered to factory workers at the dawn of the industrial era. Speaking in a packed St. Peter’s Square, Benedict praised each of the five as a model for the faithful, saying their lives and works were as relevant today as when they were alive. Full story here.

New video: Making a Saint

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The process of making this video came in two parts. First, Micheael Frierson, a film maker at UNC-Greensboro, filmed me doing a stand up in front of the cathedral in Reggio. I had to just about shout over the noise of the traffic rushing by on the street. There’s a short transition related to the canonization and then, presto, there I am in Rome! This segment was shot on the last night of our stay in Italy last March. It was filmed around midnight and St. Peter’s Square was all but deserted. Laurelyn and Martha, Michael’s wife, were holding a light reflector and boom mic. We were all gibby from a late, wine-soaked dinner and tired from a long train ride that day from Reggio to Rome. We must’ve done 50 takes, laughing through most of them. Somehow, Michael found a take that worked well enough to use.

Bernini: Rome’s baroque genius

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

The spector of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the great 17th-century Italian sculptor and painter, is evident all over Rome — on bridges, buildings, piazzas and in the city’s finest museums. Perhaps nowhere is his artistic genius more evident than in St. Pater’s Square, where he designed the arching collonade, which defines the world’s most glorious public space, and is topped with 144 saints carved in travertine (St. Gaetano Catanoso is not up there, but his sainted Calabrian predecessor, St. Francis of Paola, is!). All this emphasis on gathering huge crowds overlooked by a communion of saints is entirely fitting: that is the primary place where canonizations are held — and where saints are named.

I’ve seen many, many Bernini masterpieces during my visits to Rome, including the incomparable “Ecstacy of St. Teresa” in a tiny church near the Piazza Repubblica (shown above). I really wish I could visit the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where a traveling exhibit of Bernini’s gorgeous marble busts are making their only American appearance. The story is here.

An excerpt: “The cloth ripples. You would swear it does. Call this the ultimate form of illusionism: making marble look as soft as cloth or as delicate as lace. The hair, the skin and the lips on Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s portrait busts are just as logic-defying.”

Blessed John Paul II

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

In 1997, Pope John Paul II, the most beloved pope in modern history, beatified Paddre Gaetano Catanoso in a huge ceremony in St. Peter’s Square. To the surprise of no one, it now appears John Paul II might be beatified himself in less than a year, according to a report in the Telegraph in the UK. As my book details, the road to sainthood is long and laborious, requiring lots of research. Beatification also requires one miracle. John Paul II will need another miracle credited to him for canonization. Rome will not be able to hold all the pilgrims who will flock to the city for these events.

More on the story here.