Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Come to Life

Artist’s rendition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley from the site.
I just made a new blogpost on another site on which I make occasional contributions, SQPN's Secrets of Harry Potter. There has been a lot of excitement about the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley theme park opening up at Universal Studios Orlando on July 8, 2014. Fr. Roderick messaged me a couple of days ago to let me know about a great collection of images and videos of this new park, and in the post I made over at the Secrets of Harry Potter, I give a list of links to what is essentially a sneak preview of this new park. They all point to the work of Dave Parfitt over at Adventures by Daddy.

Click here to read the post and check out the links.

And yes, this makes me really want to go back and check out the new HP-themed park... but when the crowds die down. I admit that the last time I went to explore WWoHP—Hogsmeade, I didn't enjoy it because of the huge crowds. For me, the only highlight was seeing Tom Felton up close twice whilst I was there. And the butterbeer. Mmm, butterbeer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Catholic Photo Challenge #3: Good Shepherd

I will admit: I had wanted to give Steve's second photo challenge on Isaiah 9:1 a go; however, I had a difficult time trying to think of something that would fit that theme of light and darkness.

On the other hand, when I saw the third photo challenge, I knew immediately who my subject would be!

First of all, the challenge:

For Catholic Photo Challenge #3 (June 15-30) – show us an image that represents a "Good Shepherd" to you. Be sure to tell us why!

This person is probably very well known to you if you have followed Catholic media for a while. I've known of him since at least 2008 (many of you knew him longer). We even worked together on a little podcast about a literary figure made famous in a book series and films that enjoyed world-wide popularity, and I also helped him proofread his book that was released last year. I feel like I've known him forever despite having only met him in person last year October.

Fr. Roderick and me at the CNMC in Boston, October 2010. Photo by Fr. Darryl Millette.

Yes, the person I'm talking about is Fr. Roderick Vonhögen. I appreciate that he uses technology to reach out to people well beyond his parish(es) in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. His interests are varied and diverse, and he loves sharing it with others through his podcasts and other media. He also has a knack for inserting catechesis ("The Peculiar Bunch") without being overtly preachy. Even though most of our interactions have been "virtual", I know he's also very pastoral, and it was nice experiencing that in person at a Mass that he concelebrated (and delivered the homily) as well as at an Evening Prayer that he led at the conclusion of the CNMC in Boston.

It's very easy to relate to him, and IMHO, he definitely has the qualities of being a "Good Shepherd" to all of us bleating sheep.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Catholic Photo Challenge: Seeing God in the Works of Creation

My friend, Steve Nelson, had been participating in the 'Weekly Photo Challenge' over at On Catholic Weekend, Steve had talked about creating a similar photo challenge based on Catholic themes, and the Catholic Photo Challenge was born.

It's pretty simple: on the 1st and 15th of each month, a new theme that is based on some aspect of the Catholic faith will be posted. You choose a picture that you've taken (could be recent or one from the past) that you think fits the theme, and you explain why. When you share it on social media, use the hashtag #catholicphoto.

So with that out of the way: the first challenge (15 May – 31 May) is on the theme 'Seeing God in the Works of Creation'.

Here is my entry.

Waiting for the sun to rise at Haleakalā ('House of the Sun'), Maui.

On a cold, late September morning, my family woke up super-early to go see a sunrise at Haleakalā in Maui. It was an amazing experience. If you go, make sure you dress warmly because the low temperatures will dip to around 40 °F (5 °C). At a little under 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) above sea level, we were above the clouds, and I took a heap of pictures using the ProHDR app on my old iPhone 3GS.

This picture was taken 10 minutes before the official sunrise. I was amazed at all the colours that my simple cell phone camera captured. Below the orange line are the clouds. From where I was standing, it almost looked like an ocean, albeit a billowy, pillowy one. (Part of the reason why I took so many pictures was because I was trying, but failing, to capture those amazing clouds.) Admittedly, I was very disappointed that I wasn't capturing the clouds to my liking; however, when I looked at the blues and purples and grays in the picture, as well as the variation in terrain as we were looking into the crater of the volcano, I couldn't help but think of how majestic this was and that God had a hand in creating all this beauty around us.

Ten minutes later, the sun rose, and I remember hearing something like a horn blowing. I was a little far from this, but someone was also reciting some sort of a poem that goes like this:

E ala e Ka la i kahikina
I ka moana
Ka moana hohonu
Pi’i ka lewa
Ka lewa nu’u
I kahikina
Aia ka la.
E ala e!

The sun in the east
From the ocean
The ocean deep
Climbing (to) the heaven
The heaven highest
In the east
There is the sun

We stayed a little longer, and then we eventually made our way down the mountain and waving at the bicyclists as we passed by.

(Note: Yes, I waited until the very last minute to post this. I promise that I won't wait so long for the next one, which should be posted tomorrow, 1 June.)