Thursday, March 20, 2008

Michael Martine - "The Dunwoodie Disciple"

The Dunwoodie disciple Westchester County Business Journal March 20, 2008. Bill Fallon interviews Father Michael Martine, professor of canon law and seminary procurator (overseer) who is heading "an army of 40 or 50" in readying Yonkers' St. Joseph's Seminary for the papal visit and youth rally:

Martine – pronounced martini – is 37. He cited confidentiality regarding the visit’s budget, but noted it possesses planning elements unique to the pope’s world: 500 chalices are needed and confessionals for the repentant must be built. Without noting we are all sinners, Martine pointed out the broad plaza area that will be filled with confessionals. It seemed a lot were planned. “We’re hoping people will want the sacrament,” Martine said.

The super-modern stage is something to make Aerosmith pea green with arena envy. There will be “name entertainment” – Martine’s phrase – during the five-plus hours the youths fill the campus. And there will be at least something of the atmosphere of a festival, with, as Martine said, “hamburgers, hot dogs, T-shirts and religious articles for sale.”

Benedict will be celebrating his 81st birthday on April 16th at St. Joseph's, with "a girl’s choral group singing “Happy Birthday” in the pope’s native German."

The article mentions some interesting historical details about the seminary:

  • A chair handmade in Yonkers for Pope John Paul II’s St. Joseph’s visit in 1995. It still retained John Paul II’s seal as of March 7. But it is now to be refitted with the seal of Benedict XVI. Martine is a born raconteur and he offered an anecdote surely little-known outside the world of Vatican insiders: Pope John Paul I, who served only 33 days as pope in 1978, changed the etiquette of the papal seal as one of his few acts. It would no longer feature a crown. John Paul II’s papal coat of arms – prominently supporting the Virgin Mary – will be replaced by Benedict’s, which features a bear, a nod to the forests of his native Germany, Martine said. “And there will be no crown.”

  • An Irish penal chalice: The mass’ sacred cup harks to Christ’s last supper; this Elizabethan version was made to be quickly disassembled and hidden because priests caught celebrating mass could be hanged in 17th-century Ireland. The campus is also rich in statuary, with St Patrick and cornerstone-layer Archbishop Corrigan in line for a pre-pope power-washing and the flagpole slated for a fresh coat of paint.