Friday, March 21, 2008

Pretty Good Friday

A Lutheran friend, a minister, told me that Purim and Good Friday will not fall on the same day again for ninety-five years. Easter is as early as Easter gets. Orthodox Easter is more than a month off. I don't know the intricacies of the calendars, but the Last Supper was a Passover seder, so Orthodox Easter can't take place till after Passover.

The good thing about all this, besides the benefit to Alternate Side Parkers of having a double Easter, is that my Last Supper pillows, which I got out for Holy Week, can stay out for months now. They are a set of seven—two coffered ceilings, two under-the-table views, and three sets of apostles (double-sided)—cut from a tapestry I bought on Fourteenth Street. It's a long story, and I felt as if I were seriously deranged while making them. Originally, I thought I'd give them away, but it turned out I was the only one I knew who wanted Last Supper throw pillows. Besides, somebody would have had to get the Judas pillow.

I knew exactly what I was going to wear when I got up today. I had been looking forward to it. I put on my Topolino T-shirt, which is a third-class relic of Padre Pio (diluted). See, I bought a T-shirt featuring the Fiat 500, or Cinquecento, also known as the Topolino (LIttle Mouse), at the Padua car show, and had it with me when I sat in Padre Pio's Mercedes Benz. So the shirt, which is red, was a relic. Someone told me that if it was truly a relic, I couldn't wash it. At first it was fun not to wash it. It got stained, and I didn't mind. But then it started to itch. It began to feel like a hair shirt. I folded it up and put it away, but I don't have that many items of clothing that I really enjoy wearing, so I missed it. Finally, I decided to handwash it. Of course the fabric bled. Now Padre Pio is part of the whole cycle of drain and rain: he goes out to sea, condenses into clouds, rains in the mountains, and gets drunk.

This is news that the Times had not yet seen fit to print, but the Catholic Church (in its wisdom) has exhumed the body of Padre Pio, and will be putting it on display in a glass coffin to "celebrate" the fortieth anniversary of his death. The details are, not surprisingly, ghoulish. This from BBC News: "As soon as we got inside the tomb we could clearly make out the beard. The top part of the skull is partly skeletal but the chin is perfect and the rest of the body is well preserved," said Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio. "If Padre Pio allows me, I might say he looks as though he just had a manicure." No sign of the stigmata.

I can't think why they had to dig him up. They don't have the excuse, as they did with Antony of Padua, that they wanted to make sure people were venerating the right remains: he died only forty years ago. Earlier this year, on February 11th, on the 100th anniversary of the first vision of Bernadette at Lourdes, a rib of Bernadette's was taken in solemn procession to the Vatican. I found this in questionable taste, because Bernadette's body was said to have been incorruptible. She died at the convent in Navarre where she went after attracting so much attention in Lourdes. The other nuns didn't like her very much, and she was sickly (and looked nothing like Jennifer Jones in the movie). Apparently just because her body was incorruptible didn't mean it was inviolable.

I wonder who is head of relics at the Vatican. I would make more savage fun of him, but then I remember that I am wearing this T-shirt. I think I'll keep it on till Sunday.

1 comment:

lucette said...

This made me laugh twice, out loud in my office. Ah, Catholic humor!