Tuesday 21 March 2006 1:11 AM

Tonight I am working on a few old photography projects and am rediscovering a number of images that I have not visited in some time.  I am enjoying looking back at the photos, especially those from Sicily.  I am reminiscing about the memories of this motherland of sorts for me.   I wonder if I will ever return.

I have always been inspired and encouraged at the way that Italians revere the Catholic faith in this modern time.   There are random "shrines" along highways, roads, and walkways to patron saints, Jesus,  and the Virgin Mary.  All of these miniature shrines are enveloped with fresh flowers, an assortment of burning candles and offerings left recently in prayer.  The Catholic faith is very much alive in Italy today.

Almost anyone who is raised within the boundaries of organized religion will encounter times where the validity or the virtuosity of their given faith comes into question.  A Catholic traveling to Italy finds the roots of his or her faith and cannot help but be inspired in some way.  For me, experiencing the history and witnessing the strength of the Catholic faith in these modern times was a refreshing and enriching experience.  I brought home with me a renewed sense of pride in my Catholic roots and a newfound willingness to defend my faith.  I have come to understand that the Catholic Church is an organization of men and women in the service of God.  The church, like the men and women that comprise it, is not perfect.

In a little seaside town called Termini Imerese, near the city of Palermo, Sicily, I visited the church that my Palmesano ancestors helped build hundreds of years ago.  This church is where baptisms and marriages have taken place for centuries in this little ancient city. 

I am not one to preach on about how one should or should not live their life.  I believe that humans are born good and some of us will just go bad.  And even that is not cut and dry.  Treat others as you wish to be treated, how hard is that?  And then again, what do I know? 

What comes after death, I do not know.  What concerns me now is how I live my life.  And that's it. 

(And if only it were that simple.)