Friday, February 10, 2006

Festa a Torino!

I Giochi Olimpici hanno tornato alla paese di miei genitori.

Greetings from the biennial Opening Ceremonies party here at Loggia House.... Just taking a break from the beer, fried chicken and globe-uniting liturgy as the Parade of Nations -- the part of the festivities when you drink up and take a nap -- continues on, with a soundtrack which sounds more like Night Fever than Winter Olympics.

At a moment such is this, I have to throw a relevant story out there.

Vivid in my memory is the afternoon of 1 October 2000. After sitting in St. Peter's Square, watching John Paul canonize (no lie) 124 people, I fled the overflow crowd and sought refuge from the (100,000 Milanese kicking and Spaniards pushing) stampede leaving the Piazza, slipping into one of the 19,000 tchotske-marts located within a five-minute radius of Bernini's Colonnade.

To my pleasant surprise, the shopkeeper's television was tuned to the Closing Ceremonies of the Summer Games in Sydney -- which were being aired live on RAI, as opposed to here in the States where everything is taped for prime-time, mercilessly edited and Americanized (i.e. you'll know the name of Bode Miller's cats by the time the 26th rolls around).

Suffice it to say, seeing Kylie Minogue give the Games a happy ending was a sight for sore eyes.

Significant pastoral initiatives are being undertaken for the spiritual well-being of the athletes and spectators taking part in these Games, and B16 praised them some weeks back in a letter to Turin's archbishop, Cardinal Severino Poletto.

Lastly, in the spirit of the Olympic movement, ancient and modern, it is my hope that St. Blog's will observe the Olympic Truce and cease hostilities for the duration of the Games, which this Pope hopes will be "an eloquent sign of friendship... among the people of the world."

Admittedly, it's a request that's got a snowball's chance in hell, but there's always hope, right?

Enjoy your Olympic-watching these next 16 days. I know I will.

Clive Rose/Getty Images