Father Delisi's Chronicles of his trip to Termini Imerese, September 2002
Visit to Cerca and Cefalu
Since we could not get to the files at the Cathedral during this
weekend, we decided to do some traveling. Chuck drove Gloria and me in
the rented Fiat to the home town of Gloria's grandfather located on the
other side of Monte San Calogero which dominates the eastern view of
The town of Cerca is located about 15 miles southeast of
Termini. The scenery along the serpent like road gives one a new view
of the terrene of inland Sicily and also another perspective of Monte
The town of Cerca is built on a hill and its Cathedral
is closed for repairs. Gloria struggled to get someone to understand
that her grandfather came from this town. In a short time we were
surrounded by four of the police officers trying to speak what few words
of English they knew and we struggling with our very limited knowledge
One woman officer had dyed red hair. No longer do the
Sicilian women stand out with their shining black hair. Now the women
have turned to looking more northern European with their dyed hair and
teenage boys with stiff hair standing up like a porcupine. Gloria
looked more Sicilian than the Sicilians themselves.
Two officers drove
us to their cemetery which was much like a little city with paved walks,
different than the cemetery at Termini. They invited Gloria to come
back the following week when the courthouse would be open.
were waiting for a pizza to be baked at a bar, Gloria flagged down some
boys on motor scooters and struck up a real friendship and the exchange
of e-mail addresses. She has a gift for communicating with youth who
were struggling to learn English at school.
From there we went to Cefalu. To me, this is the most attractive city
in the world with its 12th century cathedral at the highest point and
then with a cliff behind it. The Cathedral did not open till 3:30 pm so
I read to Chuck and Gloria my first draft of Chronicle #1.
3:30 the gates swung open and we entered to behold the greatest
"Pantocrator" in this world. Jesus above us as Judge and ruler of the
universe. For nine centuries our forefathers came to this gem to
worship and stand before this sacred image within this cathedral built
by King Roger in 1131 A.D.
This mosaic of Christ far surpasses the
stern image of the "Pantocrator" of Moriale or the Palatine Chapel in
Palermo, and yet it is older. As Gloria said pointing to her ring, "It
is like a diamond set in a simple golden band." Around this image of
Jesus are the Latin words, "Factus homo, factor hominis, facteque
redemptor. Judio corporeus corpora corde Deus." This poetic Latin
phrase is very difficult to translate without loosing something. It
goes something like this: "I became man, who made man, and made
Redeemer. With a human body I judge the human heart as God."
left hand Jesus hold an open book with words written in Latin and Greek,
a text from John 8:12. "I am the light of the world. He who follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Through
this Mosaic, Jesus is speaking to our hearts. This was a place of place
of pilgrimage for our forefathers and now a place of pilgrimage for me.
Is there any wonder that I use this image as screen saver on my
computer, and also have a copy hung in my office.
This is the image of
Jesus that makes us face the reality of life. Before him we will all
one day stand, or rather fall is worship. For now he speaks to us from
this image, so filled with power, and yet filled with words of
compassion and love.
Back to Main Page of Stories