Leo month reportsBy V.P. Vamenta
Cebu Daily News
Let me pick up from where I left off in last week’s Bystander-ing regarding some of so much that has happened and continue to pile up in this Leo month of August. Our Saturday morning visit to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, which I detailed last week, was followed by an over-an-hour drive to the EWTN broadcast facilities in Irondale, also in Alabama.
EWTN, the now internationally-monitored Catholic television channel, airs Catholic activities like the daily Mass live from Alabama, as well as live and delayed significant religious and relevant socio-political and civic activities here in the States and world-wide. In Cebu, our Cebu Catholic television network, CCTN, has a similar broadcast programming adapted to our local conditions, as well as relevant national and international activities aired live, remote, or delayed all by chain broadcast. So this visit to EWTN was especially significant for me with my long-time involvement with broadcast media, particularly radio, and as a current regular TV viewer.
After driving along the tree-lined Old Leeds Road, we were greeted with a tall white cross immediately after entering the premises of EWTN. We then drove through some more tree-lined byways when the simple gray stone wall with the ETERNAL WORLD TELEVISION NETWORK letters came into view. We stopped at our designated parking and walked towards the frontage of the peaked chapel which appears at the start of the daily Mass TV broadcast.
As we stepped into the quiet chapel, I noted among others, the familiar Way of the Cross Stations along both side walls, and the rows of five or six pews alongside a short red-carpeted aisle. Then on a one-step level rise was the white-mantle-covered Mass table with triple candlesticks on both ends. Directly behind it, the golden Tabernacle was mounted on a stand against the many-windowed wall through which we could see the choir room behind with seat stalls and organ, the images of Saints Francis and Anthony on both sides of a frosted glass-panel back door, followed by the framed images of Our Lord of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe on the side walls nearer the many-windowed wall. The statue of Our Lady is located directly behind the Tabernacle facing the choir in the main chapel.
On another stand against the Wall and directly above the Tabernacle stood the tall monstrance containing the Sacred Host within a gilded elaborate tabernacle-like gilded frame upon a stand. Viewed farther up on the frosted glass from the choir room and visible from the main chapel was an elaborate San Damiano crucifix overlooking all visitors to the chapel.
Located in various positions on the upper side walls of the chapel up to almost the outward arched ceiling were strategically placed robotic cameras responsible for giving the television viewers a complete coverage of the Mass or other religious activities from various angles in the chapel. These gave the impression to the TV viewer of being actually present there, perhaps even more vividly than the devotees present during the activity.
Since it was a weekend, we missed the daily Monday through Friday guided tour of the broadcast facilities. We then went out and proceeded to the gift-and-bookshop shop in another room in the same complex, where we purchased postcards of the chapel and a book about the remarkable Mother Angelica, the now 89-year-old contemplative nun, Abbess of Our Lady of Angels, responsible for the establishment of the media station EWTN and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, which I wrote about last week, as well as the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels which is the home of her contemplative nuns. These provide spiritual peace and respite from the busy rush and noise and worldly concerns of modern-day life. More on her and her endeavors in next week’s Bystander-ing.
Meanwhile in current news here in the States, politics regarding the forthcoming November Presidential election has for the time been “out-newsed” with media coverage of the Summer Olympics going on in London. I follow developments daily on TV, particularly NBC, with its continuing live coverage from various locations, as well as on other news developments reported on CBN, BBC, and the daily papers to include local, national and world news. Thanks to modern media, we can be there where and when it happens almost, if not vicariously, almost like the thousands upon thousands have invested money and time to be really present at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Regarding the Summer Olympics in London, as well as other news developments, since some are in a continuing and fluid state, I leave it up to you to follow them daily on your own, for the time being, so for now, let me report as a Concerned Bystander on certain observations.
I sat through some of the coverage of free-finals in beach volleyball, various types of races, swimming, high platform diving, and witnessed for the first time water polo, admitting preference mostly for American teams, a number of which in which they led and won. I marveled at how creative modern techniques could show from under them swimmers’ techniques in motion, recapitulated athletes’ movements in slow motion, and athletes’ facial reactions upon winning or losing. And I also admired the general sportsmanship exhibited by winning and losing athletes who hugged each other. Here’s looking forward to more in the forthcoming critical finals. Meanwhile as I write, the total medal count for five participating nations as of last Monday was topped by China in first place with 64, and the United States in closely following second place at 63!
In other news: the current spreading drought in parts of the States, particularly in the Midwest, is now admittedly due to global warming; disastrous flood in parts of the Philippines have been reported; and in outer space, the recent Curiosity rover has successfully landed on Mars last Monday to give the world more than just a glimpse of a new alien landscape as we await later reports for further details.
And now for significant dates in the lives of well-known personalities: August 2nd, actor Peter O’Toole turned 80. August 3rd, Singer Tony Bennet turned 86 and actor Martin Sheen turned 72; on August 5, 2000, legendary British actor Alec Guiness died at the age of 86; and finally, on August 7th in 2005, long-time ABC news anchor and journalist, Peter Jennings, died of cancer at the age of 67.
Until next week, then, may God continue to bless us, one and all!
Tags: Religion & Belief