Monday, May 02, 2005

Christos Voskrese!

That’s your cue to say Voistinu Voskrese! In the wee hours of Sunday morning – specifically, from around midnight to three a.m. – I attended Pascha (i.e., Easter Vigil) services at Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco. Our Lady of Fatima is a unique and intriguing place, a Jesuit parish established in 1950 to minister to a small community of Russian Byzantine Catholics living in exile in San Francisco and now serving an ethnically diverse congregation brought together mainly by shared interest in the Eastern liturgy and Russian culture. The name of the parish owes less to any particularly Russian devotion to Our Lady of Fatima (there is none) than it does to the synergy between the Fatima devotion and anti-Communism in the early 1950’s, a topic I’ve discussed before. Anyhow, Our Lady of Fatima follows the Orthodox calendar, which is why they celebrated Pascha this weekend and not several weeks ago as in the West. The liturgy was beautiful and impeccably well-done in all respects, though though the fact that I had been up since 8 a.m. of the previous day made staying awake a positive challenge. I'm pleased to report that I rose to the challenge, but by the end I was so exhausted that I skipped the feast in the parish hall and drove back to JSTB to go to bed. In doing so I missed out on further fellowship and some Russian delicacies, but I'd say I had a good night nonetheless.

The preceding day in Berkeley featured a Chi Prov reunion of sorts. Loyola House's own superior and director Father Bill Verbryke was in town for a visit, and with him and Chi Prov theologian Kent Beausoleil I took in scenic Muir Woods in the afternoon. "Scenic" is almost too trite a word to describe Muir Woods, where ancient, enormous redwoods and tranquil silence (broken only occasionally by the shouts of visitors) conspire to evoke a sense of sacred space. Later, joined by Chi Prov theologian Mike Conley, we had dinner at a surprisingly tiny Italian restaurant in a trendy section of Oakland. On a somewhat related note, back at Nobili on Sunday I took part in a conversation in which several of Ours lamented the relative lack of truly authentic Italian restaurants in the Bay Area. I was pretty satisfied with the meal I had at the Italian place in Oakland, but on reflection I could see that my experience confirmed the Fathers' point. After all, here was a restaurant that advertised an "All-American" pizza (what many places would call "The Works") and had a Hawaiian-themed upstairs bar called The Conga Lounge; I'm tempted to think you wouldn't see either of this things at a pizzeria in Naples, but in this era of globalization and American cultural hegemony I'm not so sure about that.

In other news, greetings to reader Matt Monnig, a New England Province theologian studying at JSTB. I'm glad you found my blog, Matt, and I hope you'll feel free to post a comment now and then as the spirit moves you. AMDG.


At May 03, 2005 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time, try North Beach for pizza. I've never had pizza in Italy, but North Beach Pizza is fabulous.

No Hawaiian lounge upstairs, though.


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