C. Everett Koop: The Padre Pio Connection

Padre Pio

You probably heard that C. Everett Koop, who served as Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan, died on February 25 at the age of 96. Dr. Koop, who was Surgeon General from 1981 through 1989, was the most visible and the most influential person ever to hold that office.  During his tenure Dr. Koop raised our national awareness regarding the health dangers of cigarette smoking, and established an aggressive government policy toward AIDS.  He fought to strengthen the rights of ha … [Read more...]

“The Lourdes of Germany”: Our Lady of Altötting and the World Day of the Sick

Our Lady of Altotting

In southeastern Germany, in the region of Bavaria, there stands an octagonal chapel which dates back to A.D. 660.  The chapel, constructed of native stone, is home to a small limewood statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, darkened by age, by the smoke of thousands of candles which have burned there, and by a fire which nearly destroyed it in A.D. 990.  The chapel is known to native Germans as the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting or the Chapel of Grace (in German, Gnadenkappelle).For over 500 ye … [Read more...]

Orvieto and the Feast of Corpus Christi

Orvieto atop a butte

The town of Orvieto is an Etruscan city located in the scenic region of Umbria, between Firenze (Florence) and Roma (Rome).I first visited the medieval town of Orvieto in 2002, and again in 2006.  It’s the eucharistic miracle which is preserved there that I want to tell you about today—but first, let me tell you a little about this picturesque little town. *     *     *     *     * Getting Up There - Orvieto sits atop a volcanic rock, on a high butte overlooking the plain; and our group rod … [Read more...]