Speaking of guests, we have had some delightful company, that caused us to look again at our life here in Umbria. I also recently made a trip back to the US for a work project. It was fun to be back in California, and it is always delightful to be home.
Many people have asked us about the earthquake. Umbertide was quite lucky and had no damage. The Stoic One and Luca slept through the entire ordeal, and had no idea anything had happened until I called them at 5:00 am to wake them up! Other towns have not been so lucky, and the awareness of earthquakes in this region, like California, is always in the back of our minds.
The town is in a subdued frenzy getting ready for their annual '800 festival. Even as I write this, I can hear them hammering outside my window, building god knows what. Will try to post some pictures later once their building sets are done.
Hunting season also started the first of September. For one week hunters are forced to stand in one spot and wait for the birds to fly overhead. Needless to say that does't happen that often, and does not have a very high yield for the hunters. The following week, the hunters get to walk around the fields and shoot at the birds which fly overhead. The third week the hunters are finally allowed to take their dogs out in the field and hunt. I'm not sure the reason for this controlled opening. Maybe it is to give the birds a head start? Anyway, we hear lots of gunshots, which in a stone town reverberates like heck, but we haven't seen any dead birds appearing on our door step. Thank heavens. Our neighbor did kill all of her chickens, telling me their hour of death was at hand. New chicks had arrived, and so the old ones were killed to be eaten later. Not much sentimentality here about life and death.
We went to our neighbor's youngest son's confirmation (la Cresima) on Sunday. The church was jammed. They had 40 young people being confirmed and family and friends were there for all of the 40 participants, including yours truly. Apparently you can not be married in a Catholic church in Italy unless you have been confirmed, so this is a guarantee for admittance to the next sacrament, marriage. Let's hope that is a long way off for the boys.
The Bishop from Gubbio officates this ceremony, and like last time, he was late. The empty chairs are for the young people who process in once the Bishop is "in the house." We spent our time chit chatting and looking at all of the ladies in their high heels and lovely dresses. Finally, every thing was in place. Then mass, then finally we are all released to have a lovely pranzo.
Someone told me that Italians practise Catholicism but they didn't believe in it. So what is a "practising" Catholic? Here is one list. I would say most Italians do number 3, 4, 7 and 8. I guess that means they are "semi-practising."
1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3. You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.
5. You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.
6. The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities
7. You shall marry according to the laws of the Church.
8. You shall raise your children in the Catholic faith and provide a Catholic education for them ( this can be in the parish school, or in CCD)