From the odds-and-ends desk, in case anyone forgot, nominations are still being taken for the 2006 Churchman of the Year, with the honoree(s) to be announced on New Year's Eve. Thanks to everyone who's already dropped in a name, and for those who'd like to, please do -- the more, the merrier, not to mention more-comprehensive.
As the '05 package was a bit slapdash, it'd be brilliant if we could all pool our collective brains (10,000 strong... and growing) to go off the beaten path and find someone who, in a particular way, embodies this year in the life of the church. Whether it's a nominee who's worked on a major issue, the harbinger of a rising trend, a symbol of hope doing the job in obscurity, whatever the case may be, in sending names, be bold and think outside the box. You're all way more observant and well-read than I, so the quality of the eventual choice depends on your input. And, for purposes of clarification, submitted names for the Churchman need not be ordained, nor men -- just someone who, in whatever capacity, contributes to the life of the ecclesial world. Again, all thanks.
And the other thing, which I've been meaning to get to for a while but, appropriately enough, seems to have held itself for this season. Over the years, I've been able to amass quite the collection of books -- books which've taught me much, kept me up all night and whose insight I've returned to frequently since and have stuck with me through the years. Some of the time, they were my own purchases but, more often, were gifts from friends passed down in a line. And I never forgot the example of the priests of my boyhood parish who'd seek to hand their libraries on when they were transferred, leaving some valuable volumes on the table in the narthex, just in case it could be of benefit to someone. (Suffice it to say, the rush on those was the closest I ever came to a Black Friday experience.)
Thing is, these days most of my reading's done from the screen and many of the books have ended up just... sitting there. So as the titles could probably do something for someone out there, and the bookshelf has overflowed several times over, both on its stacks and onto my floor, as a little way of saying "thank you" at Christmas and the second anniversary of these pages, in imitation of my childhood mentors I'm turning some of the library over to you lot.
(If Papa Ratzi -- he of the meticulously-organized 20,000 volume collection -- heard about this, he'd probably be scandalized. But oh well.)
Stay tuned for a list of 30 or 40 titles sometime this week -- it'd be more, but I can't part with most of the ritual and canonical collection, as they're needed for reference and, for the most part, not available in digital form. Ground rules: first person to e.mail in for a title gets it (please send a name and postal address with your pick), one request per person, and please, please, don't let me eventually find these ending up on eBay; ask for something if you're really keen to read it, and, when you're done, pass it along to someone who you think could use it. S&H are on the house, with all gratitude for graces received.
Buona domenica a tutti!
PHOTO: AP/Pier Paolo Cito