Vicino Riva’s Taste of Paradise

So it turns out the guy Pope Francis hugged and kissed to such great fanfare last November 6 does have a name. It’s Vicino Riva. It also turns out he has a history. Now 53, Riva lives in Vicenza, just west of Venice. His tumors began growing when he was 15; both he and his [Read More...]

The Hidden Drama of Prayer

Yoking modern technology and oogedy-boogedy devotional practice, the website for the santuario in Nettuno, Italy, invites visitors to e-mail requests for intercession addressed to St. Maria Goretti. Every day, whoever’s in charge prints out the requests and stacks them in a corner of the urn where the saint’s wax-covered bones are on display. Whether the [Read More...]

A Depressed Solipsist’s Guide to Prayer Vigils

Having what a vocations director might describe as an active temperament, I have always, half-consciously, thought of prayer as a minimal, low-risk, nearly symbolic response to necessity or catastrophe. Like the person who hands a nickel to one of the ticket agents at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the person who offers to pray for [Read More...]


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