Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers Day, Sunday, May 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Miracle, Psalms 97, Acts 7:55-60 , Luke 24:46-53, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Regina Caeli and Canonization of Saints , Saint Dominic de la Calzada, Rioja Spain, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 3 Sacraments of Service at Communion Article 6:2 The Sacrament of Holy Orders - The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation

Mothers Day, Sunday,  May 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Miracle, Psalms 97, Acts 7:55-60 , Luke 24:46-53, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Regina Caeli and Canonization of Saints , Saint Dominic de la Calzada, Rioja Spain, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 3 Sacraments of Service at Communion Article 6:2 The Sacrament of Holy Orders - The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Easter

Rosary - Glorious Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis May 12 General Audience Address :

Regina caeli

(2013-05-12 Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday prayed the Regina coeli prayer with the tens of thousands of faithful who had gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for a Mass of Canonization for more than 800 saints. Before the Regina coeli, the Holy Father prayed especially for the countries of Italy, Colombia and Mexico, which had given so many new saints to the Church.

Pope Francis also called to mind the beatification on Saturday of the Italian priest Father Luigi Novarese, who, he said, was “able to renew the pastoral care of the sick by making them active participants in the Church.”

The Holy Father also had greetings for greeted all those who participated in Sunday’s March for Life, inviting them to continue to draw attention to the “important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception.” He urged support for the European initiative “One of us” that strives to obtain juridical protection for human embryos. And Pope Francis noted the upcoming “Day for Evangelium vitae” as “a special moment for those who have at heart the sanctity of human life.”

Finally, Pope Francis said, “let us call upon the Virgin Mary, the mother and model of all Christians.”

Dear brothers and sisters,

At the end of this celebration, I wish to greet all of you who have come to pay homage to the new saints, especially the official delegations of Italy, Colombia and Mexico. May the martyrs of Otranto help the beloved Italian people to look with hope to the future, trusting in the nearness of God who never abandons us, even in difficult times.

Through the intercession of Mother Laura Montoya, the Lord grant new missionary and evangelizing impulse to the Church, and, inspired by the example of harmony and reconciliation of this new saint, may the beloved children of Colombia continue to work for peace and fair development of their homeland.

Let us place in the hands of Saint Guadalupe García Zavala all the poor, the sick and those who assist them, and commend to her intercession the noble Mexican nation, that, having banished all violence and insecurity, the nation might increasingly advance along the path of solidarity and fraternal co-existence.

I am also pleased to mention that [Saturday], in Rome, the priest Luigi Novarese, founder of the Center for Volunteers of Suffering and the Silent Workers of the Cross, was beatified. I join in the thanksgiving for this exemplary priest, who was able to renew the pastoral care of the sick by making them active participants in the Church.

I greet the participants in the "March for Life" which took place in Rome this [Sunday] morning and invite you to keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception. In this regard, I am pleased to recall the signature-collection drive currently underway in many Italian parishes, in order to support the European “One of Us” initiative to ensure legal protection to the embryo, protecting every human being from the first moment of existence. A special moment especially for those who care about the defense of the sanctity of human life will be Evangelium Vitae Day, which will take place here in the Vatican, in the context of the Year of Faith, on 15 and 16 June.

I greet with affection all parish groups, families, schools, the young people present. With filial love we now turn to the Virgin Mary, Mother and model of all Christian saints. [Have a] good Sunday, and [enjoy your] lunch.


Pope Francis celebrates Mass, canonizes new saints

(Vatican Radio 5/12/2013)

At Mass for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis canonized 800 Martyrs from the Italian city of Otranto, along with two Latin American religious Foundresses, Mother Laura Montoya e Upegui – the first Colombian saint – and Mother Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, from Mexico.

In his homily, the Holy Father asked us to “look on the new saints in the light of the Word of God proclaimed: a Word that invited us to be faithful to Christ, even unto martyrdom; a word that recalled to us the urgency and the beauty of bringing Christ and his Gospel to everyone; a word that spoke to us about the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savor.” 

Today, he said, “the Church proposes for our veneration a host of martyrs, who were called together to the supreme witness to the Gospel.” The more than 800 Martyrs of Otranto, when faced with the choice of renouncing Christ or death, remained faithful to the Gospel. It is precisely their faith, the Pope said, that gave them the strength to remain faithful. He prayed, “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”

Pope Francis then turned to Saint Laura Montoya, “an instrument of evangelization, first as teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples.” He said, “This first saint born on the beautiful Colombian soil, teaches us to be generous [together] with God, not to live the faith alone - as if we could live our faith in isolation - but to communicate, to radiate the joy of the Gospel by word and witness of life in every place we find ourselves.”

He continued, “The martyrs’ faithfulness even unto death, the proclamation of the Gospel are rooted in the love of God that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit and in the witness we must bear to this love in our daily lives.” Saint Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, he said, knew this well. She gave up “a comfortable life to follow the call of Jesus, taught people to love poverty, in order the more to love the poor and the sick.” This, the Pope said, “This is what it means to touch the flesh of Christ. The poor, the abandoned, the sick, the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. And Mother Lupita touched the flesh of Christ and taught us this conduct: [to be] unabashed,[to be] unafraid, [to be] not loathe to touch the flesh of Christ. Mother Lupita understood what it means ‘to touch the flesh of Christ’.”

Pope Francis said the saints canonized on Sunday offer us “a shining example” of “fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, in order to proclaim it in word and deed, bearing witness to God’s love with our love, with our charity toward all.” Their example, he said, challenges us: “Let us take this question with us to consider during the day: how am I faithful to Christ? Am I able to 'show' my faith with respect, but also with courage? Am I attentive to others, do I recognize when someone is in need, do I see in everyone a brother and a sister to love?”

The Holy Father concluded his homily with a prayer to Mary and to the new saints: “Let us ask that, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the new saints, the Lord might fill our lives with the joy of His love. Amen.”

Dear brothers and sisters!

In this seventh Sunday of Easter we are gathered to celebrate with joy a feast of holiness. Thanks be to God who has made His glory – the glory of Love – to shine on the Martyrs of Otranto, on Mother Laura Montoya and María Guadalupe García Zavala. I greet all of you who have come to this celebration - from Italy, Colombia, Mexico, from other countries - and I thank you! Let us look on the new saints in the light of the Word of God proclaimed: a Word that invited us to be faithful to Christ, even unto martyrdom; a word that recalled to us the urgency and the beauty of bringing Christ and his Gospel to everyone; a word that spoke to us about the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savour.

The Acts of the Apostles, when they speak of the Deacon, Stephen, the first martyr, insist on telling us that he was a man “full of the Holy Spirit (6:5, 7:55).” What does this mean? It means that he was full of the love of God, that his whole person, his whole life was animated by the Spirit of the risen Christ, so as to follow Jesus with total fidelity, even unto to the gift of self.

Today the Church proposes for our veneration a host of martyrs, who were called together to the supreme witness to the Gospel in 1480. About eight hundred people, [who], having survived the siege and invasion of Otranto, were beheaded near that city. They refused to renounce their faith and died confessing the risen Christ. Where did they find the strength to remain faithful? Precisely in faith, which allows us to see beyond the limits of our human eyes, beyond the boundaries of earthly life, to contemplate “the heavens opened” – as St. Stephen said – and the living Christ at the right hand of the Father. Dear friends, let us conserve the faith [that] we have received and that is our true treasure, let us renew our fidelity to the Lord, even in the midst of obstacles and misunderstandings; God will never allow us to want [for] strength and serenity. As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.

The second idea can be drawn from the words of Jesus that we heard in the Gospel: “I pray for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may be one, as You, Father, are in me and I in thee, that they also may be in us. (Jn 17:20)” Saint Laura Montoya was an instrument of evangelization, first as teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples, in whom she infused hope, welcoming them with the love [she] learned from God, and bringing them to him with pedagogical efficacy that respected, and was not opposed to, their own culture. In her work of evangelization, Mother Laura became, in the words of St. Paul, truly everything to everyone, (cf. 1 Cor 9:22). Even today her spiritual daughters live and bring the Gospel to the most remote and needy places, as a kind of vanguard of the Church.

This first saint born on the beautiful Colombian soil, teaches us to be generous [together] with God, not to live the faith alone - as if we could live our faith in isolation - but to communicate, to radiate the joy of the Gospel by word and witness of life in every place we find ourselves. She teaches us to see the face of Jesus reflected in the other, to overcome indifference and individualism, welcoming everyone without prejudice or constraints, with love, giving the best of ourselves and above all, sharing with them the most valuable thing we have, which is not our works or our organizations, no: the most valuable thing we have is Christ and his Gospel.

Finally, a third thought. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father with these words: “I have made known thy name to them and will make it known: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (Jn 17:26)” The martyrs’ faithfulness even unto death, the proclamation of the Gospel are rooted in the love of God that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), and in the witness we must bear to this love in our daily lives. St. Maria Guadalupe García Zavala knew this well. Giving up a comfortable life – how much damage does the comfortable life, life of comfort, do? The gentrification of the heart paralyzes us – and [she], giving up a comfortable life to follow the call of Jesus, taught people to love poverty, in order the more to love the poor and the sick. Mother Lupita knelt on the floor of the hospital before the sick, before the abandoned, to serve them with tenderness and compassion. This is what it means to touch the flesh of Christ. The poor, the abandoned, the sick, the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. And Mother Lupita touched the flesh of Christ and taught us this conduct: [to be] unabashed,[to be] unafraid, [to be] not loathe to touch the flesh of Christ. Mother Lupita understood what it means “to touch the flesh of Christ.” Today her spiritual daughters also seek to reflect the love of God in works of charity, without sparing sacrifices, and [while] facing with meekness, with apostolic constancy (hypomone), any obstacle.

This new Mexican saint invites us to love as Jesus loved us, and this leads one not to retreat into oneself, into one’s own problems, into one’s own ideas, into one’s own interests in this little world that has done us so much damage, but to get up and go to meet those who need care, understanding and support, to bring the warm closeness of God’s love through gestures of delicacy and sincere affection and love.

Fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, in order to proclaim it in word and deed, bearing witness to God’s love with our love, with our charity toward all: the saints proclaimed today offer shining examples and teachings of these. They also pose questions to our Christian life: how am I faithful to Christ? Let us take this question with us to consider during the day: how am I faithful to Christ? I am able to “show” my faith with respect, but also with courage? Am I attentive to others, do I recognize when someone is in need, do I see in everyone a brother and a sister to love? Let us ask that, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the new saints, the Lord might fill our lives with the joy of His love. So be it.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: May

Vatican City, 3 April 2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father in the month May, 2013:


12 May, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and canonizations of Blesseds Antonio Primaldo and Companions; Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.

18 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Pentecost Vigil in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.

19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 05/12/2013.


May 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, I am calling you to love and not to judge. My Son, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, was among you to show you the way of salvation, to save you and not to judge you. If you desire to follow my Son, you will not judge but love like your Heavenly Father loves you. And when it is the most difficult for you, when you are falling under the weight of the cross do not despair, do not judge, instead remember that you are loved and praise the Heavenly Father because of His love. My children, do not deviate from the way on which I am leading you. Do not recklessly walk into perdition. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. My children, that is the only truth, the truth that leads to your conversion, and then to the conversion of all those whom you meet - those who have not come to know my Son - all those who do not know what it means to love. My children, my Son gave you a gift of the shepherds. Take good care of them. Pray for them. Thank you."

April 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:: "Dear children! Pray, pray, keep praying until your heart opens in faith as a flower opens to the warm rays of the sun. This is a time of grace which God gives you through my presence but you are far from my heart, therefore, I call you to personal conversion and to family prayer. May Sacred Scripture always be an incentive for you. I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

April 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, I am calling you to be one with my Son in spirit. I am calling you, through prayer, and the Holy Mass when my Son unites Himself with you in a special way, to try to be like Him; that, like Him, you may always be ready to carry out God's will and not seek the fulfillment of your own. Because, my children, it is according to God's will that you are and that you exist, and without God's will you are nothing. As a mother I am asking you to speak about the glory of God with your life because, in that way, you will also glorify yourself in accordance to His will. Show humility and love for your neighbour to everyone. Through such humility and love, my Son saved you and opened the way for you to the Heavenly Father. I implore you to keep opening the way to the Heavenly Father for all those who have not come to know Him and have not opened their hearts to His love. By your life, open the way to all those who still wander in search of the truth. My children, be my apostles who have not lived in vain. Do not forget that you will come before the Heavenly Father and tell Him about yourself. Be ready! Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  Miracle  mir·a·cle  [mir-uh-kuhl]  

Origin: 1125–75; Middle English miracle, miracul  (< Old French miracle ) < Latin mīrāculum,  equivalent to mīrā ( ) to wonder at + -culum -cle2

1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. a wonder; marvel.
4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 97:1-2, 6-7, 9

1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles be glad!
2 Cloud, black cloud enfolds him, saving justice and judgement the foundations of his throne.
6 The heavens proclaim his saving justice, all nations see his glory.
7 Shame on all who serve images, who pride themselves on their idols; bow down to him, all you gods!
9 For you are Yahweh, Most High over all the earth, far transcending all gods.


Today's Epistle -  Acts 7:55-60

55 But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand.
56 'Look! I can see heaven thrown open,' he said, 'and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.'
57 All the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they made a concerted rush at him,
58 thrust him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul.
59 As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
60 Then he knelt down and said aloud, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' And with these words he fell asleep.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 24:46-53

The mission of the Church:
To give witness to the pardon which Jesus offers to all
Luke 24, 46-53

Opening prayer
Shaddai, God of the mountain,
You who make of our fragile life
the rock of your dwelling place,
lead our mind
to strike the rock of the desert,
so that water may gush to quench our thirst.
May the poverty of our feelings
cover us as with a mantle in the darkness of the night
and may it open our heart to hear the echo of silence
until the dawn,
wrapping us with the light of the new morning,
may bring us,
with the spent embers of the fire of the shepherds of the Absolute
who have kept vigil for us close to the divine Master,
the flavour of the holy memory.

a) The text:
46 and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses to this. 49 'And now I am sending upon you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city, then, until you are clothed with the power from on high.' 50 Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and raising his hands he blessed them. 51 Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. 52 They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; 53 and they were continually in the Temple praising God.

b) A moment of silence:
Let us allow the voice of the Word to resonate within us.

a) Some questions:
- In the name of the Lord: In whose name do I live my daily life?
- To all nations. Am I capable of welcoming all or do I discriminate easily according to my point of view?
- Stay in the city. Do I have staying power in the most difficult situations or do I try, even before I understand their meaning, to eliminate them?
- My prayer. Do I praise the Lord for all he does in my life or do I ask things for myself?

b) A key to the reading:
These few lines speak of life, motion, journey, meeting… This is the aim of the so it is written and all the nations. Life is marked by witness. The apostles are those sent, they do not bring anything of their own but become life, motion, journey, meeting, a way that brings life wherever they go.
v. 46. «So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. What is written? Where? The only scripture we know is that of encounter. It seems that God cannot do without humankind, and so God goes seeking people wherever they are and will not give up until God embraces them. This is what is written: An eternal love, capable of enduring suffering, of drinking the chalice of pain to its dregs, so as to look once more upon the face of the beloved children. In the depths of non-life, Christ descends to take the hand of humankind to lead humankind back home. Three days! Three moments: passion, death, resurrection! This is what is written for Christ and for all those who belong to him. Passion: you surrender trustingly, and the other does with you whatever he wishes, he embraces you or ill-treats you, he welcomes you or rejects you… but you go on loving to the end. Death: a life that cannot be taken back… dies, is snuffed out… but not forever, because death has power over the flesh but the spirit that comes from God goes back to God. Resurrection: Everything makes sense in the light of Life. Love once given will not die but will always resurrect again.

v. 47. And in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Jesus’ word, spoken in time, does not come to an end. It needs those who proclaim it. The apostles go, sent in the holy name of God. They go to all nations. No longer to one chosen people, but to all who are now chosen. They go to put their arms around the shoulder of their brothers and sisters and to convert them, to turn them around towards them and to tell them: All is forgiven, you can live the divine life once more, Jesus died and rose again for you! Faith is not an invention. I come from Jerusalem, I saw him with my eyes, I experienced him in my life. I am telling you no more than my story, a story of salvation.

v. 48. You are witnesses to this. We know God from experience. To be witnesses means carrying the word that is Christ written in one’s skin, woven syllable by syllable. When one is touched by Christ, one becomes a bright lamp, even without one’s knowledge! And if one wanted to put out the flame, it would light up again, because the light comes not from the lamp but from the Spirit poured into the heart and beams eternal communion endlessly. 

 v. 49. And now I am sending upon you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city, then, until you are clothed with the power from on high». Jesus’ promises are always fulfilled. He goes away, but he does not leave his friends orphans. He knows that they need God’s constant presence. And God comes back to humankind. This time no longer in the flesh, but invisibly in the fire of an intangible love, in the ardour of a bond that will never be broken, the rainbow of the ratified covenant, the splendour of God’s smile, the Holy Spirit. Clothed in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, the apostles will not be afraid and can finally go!

v. 50. Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and raising his hands blessed them. The moment of separation is a solemn one. Bethany is the place of friendship. Jesus raises his hands and blesses his own. This is a salute and a gift. Goes does not draw away from his own, God simply leaves them to come back in different guise.

v. 51. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. Every separation brings sorrow with it. But in this case the blessing is a legacy of grace. The apostles live in such an intense communion with their Lord that they are not aware of a separation.

v. 52. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy. Great is the joy of the apostles, the joy of going through the streets of Jerusalem with a limitless treasure, the joy of belonging. Christ’s humanity goes to heaven, to open a gate that will never be shut again. The joy of the superabundance of life that Christ has now poured into their experience will never cease…

v. 53. And they were continually in the Temple praising God. To stay… is a very important verb for the Christian. To stay presupposes a special strength, the ability not to flee from situations but to live them out savouring them to their depths. To stay: an evangelical programme to be shared with all. Then praise flows out sincerely, because in staying God’s will is sipped like a healthy and intoxicating drink of bliss.

c) Reflection:
The witness of charity in the life of the church is without any doubt the clearest mirror for evangelisation. It is the instrument that loosens the soil so that when the seed of the Word falls it may bear abundant fruit. The good news cannot choose other ways to touch the hearts of people than that of mutual love, an experience that leads directly to the source: «This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you» (Jn 15:12). We find all this in the early Church: «This is the proof of love, that he laid down his life for us, and we too ought to lay down our live for our brothers» (1 Jn 3:16). The disciple who met and knew Jesus, the beloved disciple, knows that he cannot speak of him and not walk the ways he walked. «I am the way, the truth and the life» (Jn 14:6). What better words can express that the high road of every evangelisation is gratuitous love? Christ is the way of evangelisation. Christ is the truth to transmit in evangelising. Christ is evangelised life. And the love with which he loved us is evangelisation, a love given without conditions, that will not retreat but goes forward to the end, faithful to itself even at the price of death on a cross of malediction, to show the face of the Father as one of Love, a love that respects the freedom of human beings, even when this means rejection, contempt, aggression and death. «Christian charity has a great evangelising force. To the extent that it reveals itself as a sign and a window of God’s love, it opens the minds and hearts to the proclamation of the Word of truth. As Paul VI said, today’s people who look for authenticity and concreteness, value witnesses more than teachers, and generally will only allow themselves to be guided to discover the depth and the demands of God’s love if they have been touched by the tangible sign of charity». (CEI, Evangelisation and the witness of charity, in Enchiridion CEI, vol. 1-5, EDB, Bologna 1996 n. 24). Every pastoral endeavour that wants to show the deep relationship between faith and charity in the light of the Gospel, and that characteristic note of Christian love that is proximity and caring, has the duty of motivating and sustaining openness to others in service. (cfr Lk 10:34).

Psalm 22, 22-31
I shall proclaim your name to my brothers,
praise you in full assembly:
'You who fear Yahweh, praise him!
All the race of Jacob, honour him!
Revere him, all the race of Israel!'
For he has not despised
nor disregarded the poverty of the poor,
has not turned away his face,
but has listened to the cry for help.
Of you is my praise in the thronged assembly,
I will perform my vows before all who fear him.
The poor will eat and be filled,
those who seek Yahweh will praise him,
'May your heart live for ever.'
The whole wide world will remember
and return to Yahweh,
all the families of nations bow down before him.
For to Yahweh, ruler of the nations,
belongs kingly power!
All who prosper on earth will bow before him,
all who go down to the dust will do reverence before him.
And those who are dead,
their descendants will serve him,
will proclaim his name to generations
still to come;
and these will tell of his saving justice to a people yet unborn:
he has fulfilled it.

Lord, I know that evangelisation requires deep spirituality, authenticity and holiness of life on the part of witnesses, people of mature faith, able to mix well so as to make their personal experience of faith a meeting place and a place of growth in interpersonal contacts thus building deep relationships open to the Church, the world and history. As yet, I feel inadequate. In a context where images, words, proposals, projects and records follow each other swiftly and disorient, almost intoxicate thought and confuse feelings, bearing witness is a privileged word for a reflective pause, for a moment of rethinking. But am I one who is carried away by these images, words and projects?  Of one thing I am certain, and this comforts me. Even the most beautiful witness would in the long run be powerless were it not enlightened, justified, made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News, proclaimed by a living witness, sooner or later needs to be proclaimed by the word of life. I will justify my hope by proclaiming your name, your teaching, your life, your promises, your mystery as Jesus of Nazareth and Son of God. This seems to me to be the simplest way to arouse interest in knowing and meeting you, Master and Lord, who have chosen to live as son of man so as to show us the face of the Father.  Every pastoral endeavour today that finds itself chained by faith, will be able to ask you, God, that the gates of preaching be reopened to proclaim the mystery of Christ, the kind of preaching that as divine word works wonders in those who believe.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Dominic de la Calzada

Feast Day:  May 12

Patron Saint:  civil engineers

Saint Dominic de la Calzada (or Dominic of the Causeway) (Spanish: Santo Domingo de la Calzada) (May 12, 1019–1109) was a saint from a cottage in Burgos very close to La Rioja. Born Domingo García in Viloria de Rioja, he was the son of a peasant named Ximeno García. His mother was named Orodulce.[2]

He repeatedly tried to join the Benedictine order at Valvanera and San Millán de la Cogolla, but was turned away. He then became a hermit in the forests near Ayuela, near the present-day town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, until 1039.[2] In 1039, he began working with Gregory IV of Ostia (Gregorio), bishop of Ostia, who had been sent to Calahorra as a papal envoy to combat a plague of locusts that afflicted Navarre and La Rioja.[3]

Gregory ordained Dominic a priest.[2] They built together a wooden bridge over the Oja River to help pilgrims on the Way of St. James. Gregory died in 1044, and Dominic returned to Ayuela, where he began developing the area. He cleared trees, cultivated the earth, and began to build a paved causeway (in Spanish, calzada), which served as an alternate route to the traditional Roman causeway between Logroño and Burgos. Dominic’s causeway became the principal route between Nájera and Redecilla del Camino.[3]

To better the conditions of the pilgrims that began to use his new causeway, he replaced the wooden bridge that he had built with Gregory with one made of stone, and constructed a building that was at once hospital, well, and church, which attended to the needs of the travelers. Today, it is the Casa del Santo, which is a used as a hostel by modern day pilgrims.[3] Due to the development of these public works he is the Patron Saint of the Spanish Civil Engineers.

Dominic and Alfonso VI

Alfonso VI of Castile annexed La Rioja in 1076 and seeing that Dominic’s efforts contributed to the Castilianization of the region, decided to support him and his projects. He visited Dominic in 1090 and thereafter Dominic, assisted by his follower Juan de Ortega, began construction on a church dedicated to Christ and the Virgin Mary. This was consecrated by the bishop of Calahorra in 1106.[2][3]

The town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada began as a few houses built around the hermitage of the saint in his lifetime. At this death in 1109, the village had grown in population. Dominic's church, later the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, was where he was buried, and it was elevated to the rank of cathedral after being placed in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Calahorra in the 1230s.


Miracles are attributed to Dominic, among them the healing of a French knight who had been possessed by the devil and who was freed of his affliction by visiting the sepulcher of the saint. Another concerns the healing of a German pilgrim named Bernard in the fifteenth century, who was cured of an affliction of the eyes by visiting the saint’s tomb. Another concerns the healing of a blind Norman who was cured when he visited the cathedral.[3]

The most famous miracle, however, concerns that of the rooster and the chicken, which is said to have taken place at Santo Domingo de la Calzada.[4] The story goes that in the 14th century, a German 18-year old named Hugonell, from Xanten, goes on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with his parents. A Spanish girl at the hostel where they were staying makes sexual advances toward Hugonell; Hugonell rejects her advances. Angry at this, the girl hides a silver cup in the German’s bag and then informs the authorities that the youth had taken it. Hugonell is sentenced to the gallows, in accordance with the laws of Alfonso X of Castile.

The parents sadly decide to examine their son’s body, still hanging on the gallows, but suddenly hear his voice –he tells them that Saint Dominic has saved his life. His parents quickly make their way to Santiago de Compostela to see the magistrate. The magistrate, who is at the time eating dinner, remarks: “Your son is as alive as this rooster and chicken that I was feasting on before you interrupted me.” And in that moment, the two birds jump from the plate and begin to sing and crow happily.[4]

Analysis of the story of Dominic's miracle

The first element of the tale, that of a hanged pilgrim, is found in many collections of miracles, with the salvation from death of the victim attributed to not only Dominic, but also to Saint James the Great, or to the Virgin Mary, with the story taking place in various cities.[5] Versions of the tale are found in the Milagros de Nuestra Señora by Gonzalo de Berceo (Miracle No. 6), the 175th Cantiga de Santa María by Alfonso X, and in the Codex Calixtinus.[5] The second part of the tale, the miracle of the dancing roasted chicken and rooster, is unique to Santo Domingo de la Calzada,[5] though the notion can be found in folklore concerning the mythical land of Cockaigne, "where grilled geese fly directly into one's mouth,"[6] or otherwise move about on their own accord. No, the partents of Hugpnell went to Santiago and it was on their return that the miracle of the white cock and hen occurred.


Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
In memory of Dominic's miracle, a rooster and chicken, with white feathers, are kept alive at the cathedral all year round (they are called descendants of the original birds who miraculously danced even though roasted);[5] they are maintained by means of donations and a different rooster and chicken are switched each month. The pairs of roosters and chickens, when they are not at the cathedral, are kept in a chicken coop maintained by the Cofradía de Santo Domingo (Confraternity of Santo Domingo), called the Gallinero de Santo Domingo de la Calzada. A wayside shrine (hornacina) built in 1445 holds a relic associated with the miracle: a piece of wood from the gallows from which Hugonell was hanged.

The pilgrims gathered the feathers of these favored birds, or they got them from the priest, and they would affix them to their hats.[5] It was also said that if the birds ate breadcrumbs directly from the end of the pilgrim’s staff that the pilgrim would arrive safely in Compostela.[5]

The German pilgrim Hermann Künig (15th century) claims to have seen the room where the roasted birds began to sing and dance; other documents written by pilgrims state that Hugonell’s shirt had been conserved by the church of Santo Domingo and that the gallows themselves were conserved there as well. These artifacts are now lost.[5]

A verse commemorating this miracle runs: “Santo Domingo de la Calzada / Donde cantó la gallina después de asada.”[4][7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d CVC. Camino de Santiago. Santo Domingo de la Calzada. El santo
  3. ^ a b c d e Santo Domingo de la Calzada: Historia de la ciudad
  4. ^ a b c Santo Domingo de la Calzada: el milagro del gallo y la gallina
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Santo Domingo de la Calzada: el milagro
  6. ^
  7. ^ Santo Domingo de la Calzada / Where a chicken sang after being roasted.”

        Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


        Today's Snippet I:  La Rioja Spain

        Monasterios de San Millán de Yuso
        La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province in Spain, located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera. It has an estimated population of 322,415 inhabitants (INE 2010).

        It covers part of the Ebro valley towards its north and the Iberian Range in the south. The community is a single province, so there is no County Council and it is organized into 174 municipalities. It borders the Basque Country (province of Álava) to the north, Navarre to the northeast, Aragón to the southeast (province of Zaragoza), and Castilla y León to the west and south (provinces of Burgos and Soria).

        The area was formerly occupied by pre-Roman Berones, Pelendones and Basques. After partial recapture to the Muslims in the early tenth century, the region became part of the Kingdom of Pamplona, later being incorporated into Castile after a century and a half of disputes. From the eighteenth century the Rioja region remained divided between the provinces of Burgos and Soria, until in 1833 the province of Logroño was created, changing the name of the province to La Rioja in 1980 as a prelude to its constitution under a single provincial autonomous community following the adoption of the Estatuto de San Millán in 1982. The first written reference in which the name Rioja appears is in the Miranda de Ebro forum in 1099.

        The region is well known for its wines under the brand Origen Calificada Rioja.


        Dinosaur footprints

        Footprints of a Theropoda found near Enciso.
        During the Early Cretaceous period the geographical area of Cameros was part of a flooded plain that drained periodically,  leaving behind muddy areas where dinosaur tracks marked the path. Eventually they were dried and covered with new sediment layers whose weight pressed down on the lower layers, causing them to solidify into rocks over millions of years.

        Erosion has been wearing down the upper layers making many of these rock formations visible, bringing into view the footprints (footprints fossils). La Rioja is notable for the number and conservation of these sites, making it, according to experts, one of the most important paleontological areas of the world,  in addition to those found in the north of Soria, such as Yanguas, Santa Cruz de Yanguas and other highland locations.[2]

        Early History 

        View of La Rioja
        In Roman times the territory of La Rioja was inhabited by the tribes of the Berones (central country), Autrigones (upper country, extending also north and west of it) and the Vascones (lower country, extending also north and east of it). It was part of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis.

        In Medieval times La Rioja was often a disputed territory. The Visigoths created the Duchy of Cantabria that probably included most of La Rioja, as a border march against the Vascones. The area was invaded by the Muslims at the beginning of the eighth century. After the Muslim invasion of 711, La Rioja fell into the Muslim domains of Al Andalus.

        Most of the territory was reconquered in the early 10th century, in 923, by Sancho I of Pamplona, acting for the Kingdom of Pamplona together with the Kingdom of León and the Counts of Castile, feudal lords of the Leonese King. The lower region around Arnedo came under control of his allies the Banu Qasi of Tudela. The territory to the east of the Leza River remained under Muslim control.

        Later there was a dispute between the Castilian Count Fernán González and the kings of Pamplona-Navarra, involving great battles. It was decided in favour of the Navarrese after the imprisonment of the Count family in Cirueña, in 960.[1] La Rioja briefly formed the independent Kingdom of Viguera from 970 to about 1005, at which point it became a part of the Kingdom of Pamplona.

        Sancho Garcés moved the capital of the Kingdom of Pamplona to Nájera (La Rioja), creating the so-called kingdom of Nájera-Pamplona which was, due to its large size,  the first Spanish Empire.

        After the independence of Castile in 1035, this new kingdom fiercely fought against Pamplona for the possession of Bureba, La Rioja and other territories. In 1076, after the murder of Sancho VI, Navarre was divided among Castile and Aragon. Castile obtained La Rioja and many other Navarrese lands.[1]

        Nevertheless, since 1134, García Ramírez the Restorer and his son Sancho VI the Wise fought bitterly with Castile for the recovery of the former Pamplonese domains. Only in 1179 would they sign a peace agreement by which La Rioja was ceded definitively to Castile.

        The territory remained divided between the provinces of Burgos and Soria until the administrative reform of Riego in 1822 that created the province of Logroño.

        In 1980 it changed its name to province of La Rioja and in 1982 it was constituted as uni-provincial autonomous community with that name.

        Recent history

        Arnedillo, in La Rioja
        The territory of La Rioja (the name appeared in a charter of 1099) was formerly known as the province of Logroño for the fortified site around which it developed. The 12th-century church Iglesia de Santa Maria de Palacio recalls its origin as a chapel of the administrative palace.

        Logroño was a borderland disputed between the kings of Navarre and the kings of Castile starting in the 10th century; the region was awarded to Castile in a judgement by Henry I of England and annexed in 1173 (1177?). Its importance was that here the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino de Santiago, crossed the River Ebro on the stone bridge, the Puente de Piedra.

        La Rioja was taken by Napoleonic forces in the Peninsular War and remained solidly in French hands until 1814. In the 1810 project of Llorente it was to be a part of the prefecture of Arlanzón (capital in Burgos). The Constitutional Cortes declared La Rioja an independent province at the time of the Liberal Constitution of 1812, and in January 1822 the province of Logroño was created by royal decree, taking in the whole of the historical geography of La Rioja. However, Ferdinand VII soon annulled these decisions and recovered most of the divisions of the Ancien Régime. In the 1833 reorganization, a province of Logroño appeared again in the region of Castilla la Vieja. In 1841, the province increased its territory temporarily.

        It was made into an autonomous community during the reorganization following the democratic transition after the death of Francisco Franco, owing to its economic distinction from the surrounding regions. It is the second-smallest autonomous community in Spain and has the smallest population; fully half of its 174 municipalities have populations under 200. Nearly half of its citizens live in the capital.


        La Rioja and its seven valleys. Drawing by Ernesto Reiner.
        1. EbroRiver.
        2. Puerto de Piqueras.
        3. Conchas de Haro.
        4. Iberian Range.
        5. Puerto de Oncala.

        6. Sierras de Cantabria y Codés.
        7. Alhama Valley.
        8. Linares Valley.
        9. Cidacos Valley.
        10. Jubera Valley.

        11. Leza River Valley.
        12. Iregua River Valley.
        13. Najerilla Valley.
        14. Oja (river)Oja Valley.
        15. Tirón River Valley.
        16. Logroño.

        La Rioja is bordered by the Basque Country (province of Álava), Navarre, Aragón (province of Zaragoza), and Castile and León (provinces of Soria and Burgos). The river Ebro flows through this region, as does the river Oja, after which it is named.

        After the Ebro river flows through the narrow channel between the rocks of the Conchas de Haro, it reaches La Rioja, through which it runs for 120 km, before continuing its journey to the Mediterranean. In the Conchas de Haro the altitude of the river is 445 m and when it leaves the community, in the Sotos del Ebro Natural Reserve in Alfaro, it is 260 m high. The river therefore flows very quickly through La Rioja.

        The Ebro runs through the north of the community. The entire right bank (which is to the south) belongs to La Rioja. On the left bank there are only three municipalities, Briñas, San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Ábalos (known as the Riojan Sonsierra), although Logroño, Agoncillo, Alcanadre, Rincón de Soto and Alfaro are also part of the municipality's territory on that bank. Because of their proximity, the Álava area between the Ebro and the Sierra de Cantabria is called Rioja Alavesa.

        The Iberian mountain range, with altitudes ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, extends parallel to the south of the river for about 60 to 40 km. From the mountain range it moves towards the north, going deep into La Rioja, the Demanda mountains, and in the Monte San Lorenzo where, at 2271 m, it represents the highest altitude in La Rioja.

        Seven rivers descend rapidly towards the Ebro from the mountain range, which is why La Rioja is sometimes called: "Zone of the seven valleys". They are, from east to west, Alhama, Cidacos, Leza, Iregua, Najerilla, Oja (river)Oja and Tirón, although the headwaters of the Alhama and Cidacos originate in Soria and those of Najerilla-Neila and Tirón are from Burgos. Sometimes Linares (a tributary of Alhama) is added, grouping Tirón with its tributary, the Oja.

        All the rivers of these valleys form tributaries that go on to form as many valleys in their own right, such as those of Linares, Ocon, Jubera, Tuerto, Brieva, Viniegras and San Millán. There is an almost unlimited number of grandiose canyons, quite splendid in nature, such as Aguas Buenas, Nieva, Manzanares, Ardancha, Navajún, Valderresa, Ollora, Tobia, San Martín and others.

        In the highlands oaks, beech and pine are grown. There are also thickets of juniper, boxwood, sloes, holly and cistus. There are grand hillsides with fine pasture for livestock, cattle and sheep. In the lower areas there are oaks, olive and almond trees. Near the Ebro, in the plains, the land is used for cereal, sugar beet and potatoes, while the hills are covered with vast vineyards of the wine that has brought worldwide fame to this region.

        All Riojan rivers, including the Ebro, have a row of poplars and cottonwood. About the Riojan Alamos Ana Maria Matute has written: "... see them on the edge of the water, turning the landscape, like spears magical pointing towards the unreal and mysterious country of the riverbed."[3]


        Rioja Wine

        Rioja is a wine region, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.C. Qualified designation of origin) named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines. 


        The harvesting of wine in La Rioja has an ancient lineage with origins dating back to the Phoenicians and the Celtiberians. The earliest written evidence of the existence of the grape in La Rioja dates to 873, in the form of a document from the Public Notary of San Millán dealing with a donation to the San Andrés de Trepeana (Treviana) Monastery. As was the case in many Mediterranean lands in mediaeval times, monks were the main practitioners of winemaking in La Rioja and great advocates of its virtues. In the thirteenth century, Gonzalo de Berceo, clergyman of the Suso Monastery in San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja) and Spain's earliest known poet, mentions the wine in some of his works.

        In the year 1063, the first testimony of viticulture in La Rioja appears in the "Carta de población de Longares" (Letter to the Settlers of Longares). The King of Navarra and Aragon gave the first legal recognition of Rioja wine in 1102. In 1560, harvesters from Longares chose a symbol to represent the quality of the wines. In 1635, the mayor of Logroño prohibited the passing of carts through streets near wine cellars, in case the vibrations caused a deterioration of the quality of the wine. Several years later, in 1650, the first document to protect the quality of Rioja wines was drawn up.[1] In 1790, at the inaugural meeting of the Real Sociedad Económica de Cosecheros de La Rioja (Royal Economic Society of Rioja Winegrowers), many initiatives as to how to construct, fix, and maintain the roads and other forms of access for transportation of wine were discussed. The Society was established to promote the cultivation and commercialisation of Rioja wines and 52 Rioja localities participated.

        In 1852, Luciano Murrieta created the first fine wine of the Duque de la Victoria area, having learned the process in Bordeaux. In 1892, the Viticulture and Enology Station of Haro was founded for quality-control purposes. In 1902, a Royal Decree determining the origin of Rioja wines is promulgated. The Consejo Regulador (Regulating Council) was created in 1926 with the objective of limiting the zones of production, expanding the warranty of the wine and controlling the use of the name "Rioja". This Council became legally structured in 1945 and was finally inaugurated in 1953. In 1970 the Regulations for Denominación de Origen were approved as well as Regulations for the Regulating Council. In 1991, the prestigious "Calificada" (Qualified) nomination was awarded to La Rioja, making it Spain's first Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa).

        In 2008, the Regulatory Council for the La Rioja Denomination of Origin created a new logo to go on all bottles of wine produced under this designation. From now on bottles of wine from the La Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin will no longer bear the familiar logo. In an attempt to appeal to younger wine-lovers, the long-standing logo will now be replaced with a brighter, more modern logo with cleaner lines. The aim is to reflect the new, modern aspects of wine-growing in La Rioja without detracting from the traditional wines. In theory, the new logo represents a Tempranillo vine symbolising “heritage, creativity and dynamism”. Consumers should start seeing the labels in October 2008. The Joven from 2008, Crianza from 2006, Reserva from 2005, and Gran Reserva from 2003 being released this year should bear the new label, in theory.

        Geography and climate

        Located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro river, La Rioja benefits from a continental climate. The mountains help to isolate the region which has a moderating effect on the climate. They also protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain. The region is also home to the Oja river (Rio Oja), believed to have given the region its name. Most of the region is situated on a plateau, a little more than 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level. The area is subdivided into three regions - Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. La Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Alta, located closer to the mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. La Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.[1] Annual rainfall in the region ranges from 12 inches (300 mm) in parts of Baja to more than 20 inches (510 mm) in La Rioja Alta and Alavesa.[2] Many of Rioja's vineyards are found along the Ebro valley between the towns of Haro and Alfaro.[3]

        Wine regions 

        Limits of the Rioja D.O.C.
        The three principal regions of La Rioja are Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja with each area producing its own unique expression of Rioja wine. 

        Most of the territory subjected to the Rioja Protected designation of origin is in the La Rioja region, even though their limits do not coincide exactly. 

        There is a narrow strip in the left bank of the Ebro river lying in the southernmost part of Álava included in the La Rioja wine region, whereas the south-southwestern part of the La Rioja region is not a part of this Protected designation of origin.

        Rioja Alta

        Located on the western edge of the region and at higher elevations than the other areas, the Rioja Alta is known more for its "old world" style of wine. A higher elevation equates to a shorter growing season, which in turn produces unripe fruit flavors and a wine that is lighter on the palate.

        Rioja Alavesa

        Despite sharing a similar climate as the Alta region, the Rioja Alavesa produces wines with a fuller body and higher acidity.Vineyards in the area have a low vine density with large spacing between rows. This is due to the relatively poor conditions of the soil with the vines needing more distance from each other and less competition for the nutrients in the surrounding soil.

        Rioja Baja

        Unlike the more continental climate of the Alta and Alavesa, the Rioja Baja is strongly influenced by a Mediterranean climate which makes this area the warmest and driest of the Rioja. In the summer months, drought can be a significant viticultural hazard, though since the late 1990s irrigation has been permitted. Temperatures in the summer typically reach 35 °C (95 °F). A number of the vineyards are actually located in nearby Navarra and the wine produced from those grapes belongs to the Rioja appellation. Unlike the typically pale colour Rioja wine, Baja wines are very deeply coloured and can be highly alcoholic with some wines at 18% alcohol by volume. The wines typically do not have much acidity or aroma and are generally used as blending components with wines from other parts of the Rioja.

        Viticulture and grapes

        The "old vines" of the Alavesa regions can produce very concentrated grapes but in low yields.
        Rioja wines are normally a blend of various grape varieties, and can be either red (tinto), white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). La Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, of which 85% is red. The harvest time for most Rioja vineyards is September–October with the northern Rioja Alta having the latest harvest in late October. The soil here is clay based with a high concentration of chalk and iron. There is also significant concentration of limestone, sandstone and alluvial silt.Among the Tintos, the best-known and most widely-used variety is Tempranillo. Other grapes used include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. A typical blend will consist of approximately 60% Tempranillo and up to 20% Garnacha, with much smaller proportions of Mazuelo and Graciano. Each grape adds a unique component to the wine with Tempranillo contributing the main flavors and aging potential to the wine; Garnacha adding body and alcohol; Mazuelo adding seasoning flavors and Graciano adding additional aromas. Some estates have received special dispensation to include Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend due to historical inclusion of that grape in their wine that predates the formation of the Consejo Regulador.

        With Rioja Blanco, Viura is the prominent grape (also known as Macabeo) and is normally blended with some Malvasía and Garnacha blanca. In the white wines the Viura contributes mild fruitness, acidity and some aroma to the blend with Garnacha blanca adding body and Malvasía adding aroma. Rosados are mostly derived from Garnacha grapes. The "international varieties" of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have gained some attention and use through experimental plantings by some bodegas but their use has created wines distinctly different from the typical Rioja.

        Some of the most sought after grapes come from the limestone/sandstone based "old vine" vineyards in the Alavesa and Alta regions. The 40 year plus old vines are prized due to their low yields and more concentrated flavors. A unique DO regulation stipulates that the cost of the grapes used to make Rioja must exceed by at least 200% the national average of wine grapes used in all Spanish wines.

        Winemaking and styles

        A Tinto Rioja.
        A distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging. First introduced in the early 18th century by Bordeaux influenced winemakers, the use of oak and the pronounced vanilla flavors in the wines has been a virtual trademark of the region though some modern winemakers are experimenting with making wines less influenced by oak. Originally French oak was used but as the cost of the barrels increased many bodegas began to buy American oak planks and fashion them into barrels at Spanish cooperages in a style more closely resembling the French method. This included hand splitting the wood, rather than sawing, and allowing the planks time to dry and "season" in the outdoors versus drying in the kiln. In recent times, more bodegas have begun using French oak and many will age wines in both American and French oak for blending purposes.

        In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas to age their red wines for 15–20 years or even more before their release. One notable example of this the Marqués de Murrieta which released its 1942 vintage gran reserva in 1983 after 41 years of aging. Today most bodegas have shifted their winemaking focus to wines that are ready to drink sooner with the top wines typically aging for 4–8 years prior to release though some traditionalists still age longer. The typical bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels.

        The use of oak in white wine has declined significantly in recent times when before the norm was traditionally 2–5 years in oak. This created slightly oxidized wines with flavors of caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts that did not appeal to a large market of consumers with some of the more negative examples showing characteristics of rubber and petrol flavors. Today the focus of white wine makers has been to enhance the vibrancy and fruit flavors of the wine.

        Some winemakers utilize a derivative of carbonic maceration in which whole clusters are placed in large open vats allowed to ferment inside the individual grape berries, without the addition of yeast, for a few days before they are crushed.

        In the 1960s, Bodegas Rioja Santiago developed the first bottled version of the wine punch Sangría, based on Rioja wine, and exhibited it at the 1964 New York World's Fair. An import subsidiary of Pepsi Cola purchased the rights to the wine and began marketing it worldwide.


        Rioja red wines are classified into four categories. The first, simply labeled Rioja, is the youngest, spending less than a year in an oak aging barrel. A crianza is wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which was in oak. Rioja Reserva is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. Finally, Rioja Gran Reserva wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are not necessarily produced each year. Also produced are wines in a semi-crianza style, those that have had a couple of months oak influence but not enough to be called a full crianza. The designation of crianza, Reserva etc. might not always appear on the front label but may appear on a neck or back label in the form of a stamp designation known as Consejo.


        In Spain, wineries are commonly referred to as bodegas though this term may also refer to a wine cellar or warehouse. For quite some time, the Rioja wine industry has been dominated by local family vineyards and co-operatives that have bought the grapes and make the wine. Some bodegas would buy fermented wine from the co-ops and age the wine to sell under their own label. In recent times there has been more emphasis on securing vineyard land and making estate bottled wines from the bodegas.


        1. ^ K. MacNeil The Wine Bible pg 417 Workman Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-56305-434-5
        2. ^J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 580-581 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
        3. T. Stevenson "The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia" pg 312-314 Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0-7566-1324-8
        4. ^ J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Wine Course Third Edition pg 240-241 Abbeville Press 2003 ISBN 0-7892-0883-0
        5. ^ C. Fallis, editor The Encyclopedic Atlas of Wine pg 336 Global Book Publishing 2006 ISBN 1-74048-050-3
        6. ^ K. MacNeil The Wine Bible pg 418 Workman Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-56305-434-5
        7. K. MacNeil The Wine Bible pg 416 Workman Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-56305-434-5
        8. ^ K. MacNeil The Wine Bible pg 421 Workman Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-56305-434-5
        9. ^ K. MacNeil The Wine Bible pg 419 Workman Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-56305-434-5
        10. ^ A. Bennett "Grapes of mirth" UK Telegraph March 5th, 2005


        Catechism of the Catholic Church

        Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

        Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 





        1533 Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ's disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.

        1534 Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.

        1535 Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation LG 10 for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ's name "to feed the Church by the word and grace of God."LG 11 # 2 On their part, "Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament."GS 48  # 2

        ARTICLE 6

        1536 Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. (On the institution and mission of the apostolic ministry by Christ, see above, no. 874 ff. Here only the sacramental means by which this ministry is handed on will be treated.)

        II. The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation

        The priesthood of the Old Covenant
        1539 The chosen people was constituted by God as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."Ex 19:6; cf. Isa 61:6 But within the people of Israel, God chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance.Num 1:48-53; Josh 13:33 A special rite consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. the priests are "appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins."Heb 5:1; cf. Ex 29:1-30; Lev 8

        1540 Instituted to proclaim the Word of God and to restore communion with God by sacrifices and prayer,Mal 2:7-9 this priesthood nevertheless remains powerless to bring about salvation, needing to repeat its sacrifices ceaselessly and being unable to achieve a definitive sanctification, which only the sacrifice of Christ would accomplish.Heb 5:3; 7:27; 101-4

        1541 The liturgy of the Church, however, sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the service of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders,Num 11:24-25 a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant. Thus in the Latin Rite the Church prays in the consecratory preface of the ordination of bishops:

        God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
        by your gracious word
        you have established the plan of your Church.

        From the beginning,
        you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation.
        You established rulers and priests
        and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you....Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration

        1542 At the ordination of priests, the Church prays:
        Lord, holy Father, . . .
        when you had appointed high priests to rule your people,
        you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity
        to be with them and to help them in their task....

        you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men....
        You shared among the sons of Aaron
        the fullness of their father's power.Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 22, Prayer of Consecration

        1543 In the consecratory prayer for ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:
        Almighty God . . ..
        You make the Church, Christ's body,
        grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.
        You enrich it with every kind of grace
        and perfect it with a diversity of members
        to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.

        You established a threefold ministry of worship and service,
        for the glory of your name.
        As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi
        and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.14Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 21, Prayer of Consecration

        The one priesthood of Christ
        1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men."2 Tim 2:5 The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek";Heb 5:10; cf. 6:20; Gen 14:18 "holy, blameless, unstained,"Heb 7:26 "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,"Heb 10:14 that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

        1545 The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. the same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ's priesthood: "Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers."St. Thomas Aquinas, Hebr. 8, 4

        Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ
        1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father."Rev 1:6; cf. Rev 5:9-10; 1 Pet 2:5, 9 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are "consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood."LG 10 # 1

        1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially.LG 10 # 2 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace - a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit - ,the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. the ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

        In the person of Christ the Head . . .
        1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:LG 10; 28; SC 33; CD 11; PO 2; 6

        It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).Pius XII, encyclical, Mediator Dei: AAS, 39 (1947) 548

        Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 22, 4c

        1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers.LG 21 In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3, 1: SCh 10, 96; cf. Ad Magn. 6, 1:
           SCh 10, 82-84

        1550 This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. the power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister's sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.

        1551 This priesthood is ministerial. "That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service."LG 24 It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. the sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a "sacred power" which is none other than that of Christ. the exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all.Mk 10 43-45; 1 Pet 5:3 "The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him."St. John Chrysostom, De sac. 2, 4: PG 48, 636; cf. Jn 21:15-17

        . . . "in the name of the whole Church"
        1552 The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ - Head of the Church - before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.SC 33N; LG 10

        1553 "In the name of the whole Church" does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. the prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. the whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself "through him, with him, in him," in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. the whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.