Some Views From The Journey: Angels of heaven and of mercy

Just to get you going… anchovies!

More about this later.

We went to Alberobello, famous for its trulli, these houses of ancient construction with conical stone roofs.

Okay… well this is a plate of sausage, etc., out of order.

We visited one of these houses that was well preserved and then had a lunch outside, cooked by the mother of the man who owns the house.

We visited an olive grove that has some of the oldest of these amazing trees. This one is well over 2000 years old and producing very good fruit.    There are some 55 million olive trees just in Puglia.  40 million are centuries old.   It is an awesome sight to see mile after mile of olive trees.

This grower has a press going back to ancient Greek, ancient Roman and medieval times in different phases of development side by side.

The family had it’s chapel, of course.  Maybe next time we’ll arrange for Mass there.

For our lunch they served a wine that had never been bottled, very rough and ready.  It reminded me soooo much of seminary and wine we got there.

Matera, where many movies are being made these days.

We visited a preserved cave house and heard about life: imagine some 10 children, donkey, chickens, pig, everyone in a smallish cave carved out of the mountain side.  Just a few 100 sq feet.

In Matera is a church dedicated to the Poor Souls.

I love the pulpit.  I want a pulpit like this.




The cathedral of Matera.  This architecture makes my socks roll up and down.

And, pasta with a mudbug.

Today, we visited St. Pio at his shrine.


Then we went on to the magnificent Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel.  I would like to spend a couple days.

I prayed for all my cop, LEO, friends and military friends, past and present.

Here our group is visiting a pro-life center in Monopoli which has an incredibly successful model of volunteerism, carrying on  over a generation.  We visited this local center of Movimento Pro Vita with members of the board of Heartbeat International.

You might say a prayer for them.  In June there is a mayoral election.  They have their building from the city council.  So far, with volunteer work they have kept their overhead to E. 2000 but there have been amazing results including many mothers helped, babies brought to term, abandoned babies rescued, families supported.  Their patroness is Mother Theresa!  As she worked, so do they: on the fly.

If every town had such a group….

So, today, we went from Padre Pio to the heights of St. Michael back to the depths of a local, coastal pro-life hand-on center… on the Feast of Joseph.

Spiritually packed.  And I had a specific intention today, which I think is resolved and resolved just in time.  That’s my man JOSEPH.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    Thank you for the photos. They bring back fond memories of Matera and Puglia. The amount of salumi and cheese that Puglians serve, is unreal. I once ordered what I thought was a small plate of cheese and salumi around 5pm, with wine, thinking it would be a snack. But then came this platter. Alas, I couldn’t eat much for dinner even though in Puglia/Basilicata, dinner is around 9:30pm.

  2. James C says:

    Great to see you exploring where I used to live, Father! I hope you find time to come back. If you do, drop me an email and I’ll give you some insider’s suggestions. Puglia contains multitudes.

    Speaking of St. Joseph, it’s a shame you can’t be at the church of San Giuseppe in Bari Vecchia on Saturday night, where you can see the great Don Nicola Bux celebrate the usus antiquior!

    [That would indeed be a treat! The great BUX!]

  3. adriennep says:

    Some day, just once, we’d like this Fr. Z food tour. [It’s not really a food tour, although we do indeed eat along the way. When people travel they often don’t know what to eat, or they can’t get out of the grip of their tour directors who prearrange meals that are… ho hum. Local fare, regional specialities are far better. And it doesn’t take much effort to present simple, but really good food in a beautiful way, rather just throw it onto plate with an indifferent “Here.”]

    In fact, my husband and I were blessed to have participated in the Shroud of Turin Steve Ray tour of Italy in May 2010. What started in Turin with the Shroud worked its way to Assisi, then down the coast through Loreto to see Mary’s house, then the Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano, only to wake up the next day in San Giovanni Rotundo to see Padre Pio Land. Really, it is somewhat shameful that they built this modernist Church there over the tomb of Padre Pio (all encased in gold) while the residence housing elderly priests was languishing. Only an hour away is this cave of St Michael, one of the oldest Christian pilgrimage sites. It is more awesome than any photo can imagine. There is even a plaque before door where St. Francis visited. Then going west for several hours we landed in Manopello, home to the veil, the Face of God. This was just after Pope Benedict had visited there on a personal pilgrimage. It really took everyone by surprise as it was really only a stopover before Rome—yet there it was behind glass for all to see: the face of the resurrected Jesus (as Paul Badde wrote in his book). And then, Rome for the first time. One country. Italians just take all of this for granted.

    Sigh . . . That all will never happen again. But then, neither will our pilgrimage here on earth.

  4. thomas.merkle says:

    Great photos of Puglia! Was the Trulli house Alberobello or Matera?

    We have never been to the San Giovanni Rotondo although we visited Pietrelcina where he is from.

    My family has a special devotion to St. Michael the Archangel, especially my sons so we will HAVE to visit that shrine! Thanks for all the great pictures!

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    Lovely photos, although I’m stymied by St. Pio’s shrine? How odd a choice for architecture. It doesn’t seem to fit him at all.
    So glad your bronchitis has apparently departed. Seriously from now on you should travel with a mask for the flight.

  6. Spinmamma says:

    Thank you for sharing the lovely places (and beautiful food and settings) of your journeys. I especially enjoy your commentary. It is a lovely gift to all, but especially to those of us whose health or finances preclude such wonderful travels. Best wishes for a continued safe journey and safe return.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Eating an area’s normal food is part of visiting a place. Anchovies aren’t an expensive fish, and yet it’s very neat to see them as fresh fish, instead of salty shreds on a pizza.

    The weird thing is that restaurants in some areas don’t actually represent what people eat at home. My area has a lot of German-descended people eating German-descended foods, but there’s only one restaurant in the whole area that serves “German food.” (Probably because people don’t go out to eat what they could easily make themselves.) The situation is a little better in bigger cities nearby, but it’s still mostly a home cuisine.

    So you have to keep your eyes open, or you’ll end up eating the same stuff everywhere you go. I am glad that these tour people have found some good, reasonably priced places to eat, but which also have style!

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