More Catholics in Stockholm.
The Catholic congregations in Stockholm are getting more and more members. It’s mostly because of Catholic immigrants, but also many Swedes are converting to the Catholic Church. “Every year we have about 100 persons converting,” says Maria Hasselgren, Press Secretary of the Catholic Church in Sweden. “They are attracted to the rituals and appreciate the intellectual tradition.” Most of the converts live in Stockholm. One of them is 30-year-old Tove, who goes to Mass every Sunday but feels that Swedish media doesn’t know much about Catholicism. “Media writes mostly negative things,” she says. “But most of the people I meet are interested in my religion.” Anneli Törnqvist is another convert. “I find things here that I didn’t find in the Swedish Church,” she explains. “A kind of dignity, people show their spirituality much more openly, by crossing themselves, by genuflection.” Another member of the Stockholm congregation has been a Catholic all her life and believes the lure of the Catholic Church on young Swedes is that it’s very clear on moral issues. “It’s either ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ not ‘well, it depends on how you feel’ like in many other churches,” she says. “Many people are prejudiced against the Catholic Church because of something the Pope said. They think Catholics blindly follow the Church, but you can be a Catholic and think for yourself at the same time.” Adds Hasselgren: “Media always focuses on sexual and moral issues, instead of spiritual or social ones.”
Unique fish caught.
When fisherman Ulf Åkerlund pulled in his net off the coast Öland he could hardly believe his eyes. There in his net was something different — a sturgeon. That kind of fish was declared extinct in the waters of Sweden’s east coast in the early 1900’s because of over-fishing. "I had at first no idea what it was. But we surfed a bit on the Internet and researched a couple of books, and we found out that it was a sturgeon," Åkerlund said. The fish, he continued, seemed alert and well, and it (weighing 2.7 kilos) is still with Åkerlund who doesn’t know what to do with it.
He is shining and white and the height of a man — the new Jesus statue in Önsta Gryta Church in Västerås. Made out of the most precious white Carrara marble perhaps? No, not at all, this Jesus is made of Lego. White Lego pieces from head to toe. The congregation of the church has been collecting Lego pieces since the end of 2007, and by Easter Sunday Lego-Jesus was finally revealed. “It was so much fun, really wonderful, and the church was almost full of people,” said vicar Per Wilder. Lego-Jesus sits under the altar painting and is patterned after Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen’s famous “Den uppståndne Kristus” in Copenhagen’s Vor Fru Kirke. Nobody knows how many Lego pieces have gone into the work, but Wilder attests that no glue was used. “We have just built it, piece by piece, but in order to keep it stable we have used a metal rod and a weight in the form of a stone so we can move the statue around without having it tip over.” What if visitors take pieces as souvenirs? “Well, we cannot prevent that of course,” says Wilder. “But we hope the pieces of Jesus our visitors take are more spiritual and in the heart.”
On turning 40.
Oh no, do you no longer recognize your face when you look in the mirror? Are you turning 40? Prepare yourself for the mid-life crisis. What are you going to do with yourself? Resign from work? Have an affair? Move to … Nässjö? Something happens to us when we turn 40— at least according to author Gunilla Bergensten who noticed her friends behaving somewhat irrationally. So she wrote a book about her life as a 39-year-old woman, “När jag fyller 40 ska jag vara snygg, rik och lycklig (och yngre)” (When I turn 40 I am going to be beautiful, rich and happy (and younger)). “Women age a bit slower,” she says. “But for men 40 comes quickly and brutally with balding heads and middle age bellies. But it’s more than that. With turning 40 you get the feeling of being invisible, and I think that’s why so many 40-year-olds log in on Facebook and Google old boy- and girlfriends. You want some kind of confirmation that you’re still good looking, that you’re still OK.” Bergensten says that the most important question for people between 30 and 40 is “do you know a good plumber?” because everybody is renovating their kitchen. Now, at 40, the question of the day is different, it goes like this: “Is this it?” She says: “No matter what choices you made earlier in life, however good they were, you will ask ‘is this really what I wanted?’” That the crisis comes at 40, she believes, has to do with the fact that we all of a sudden have time on our hands. “No more babies to take care of, we suddenly have time to ask ourselves these questions. We are also raised to believe everything’s possible, I think perhaps it’s good to think that not all things are possible, but we can have a great life in spite of that.” Make friends with turning 40, is Bergensten’s message.
Will Princess Madeleine marry before Victoria?
That Princess Madeleine wants to marry and marry soon is not exactly headline news, but will she actually beat older sister Victoria to the altar? Magdalena Ribbing, expert on etiquette, says there are no formal obstacles in the way of Madeleine marrying and her boyfriend Jonas before Victoria marries Daniel. That doesn’t mean, however, that Madeleine will get engaged any time soon. Anders Sundling at the Danish magazine Se & Hør says it would be highly “improper” and doubts that Madeleine and Jonas would do such a thing.
For the love of a village.
Singer Pugh Rogerfeldt (who grew up in Västerås) once had a hit in which he called Stockholm “the city of the world.” But he himself is living in Lokrume, a little village on Gotland with 300 inhabitants. “I know 75% of them I think,” he says. “I love the countryside and I’ve always gone my own ways. But I also love the city and can feel this longing for Stockholm every now and then. But when I lived there, I felt it was a bit too crowded.” Pugh Rogerfeldt’s favorites in the capitol are, “Hornsgatan, my favorite street, and my favorite neighborhood is the one around Slussen and Götgatan.” Favorite restaurant? “Sturehof, where I get a Dalarömacka with böckling.”
Will Princess Madeleine (here with boyfriend Jonas) beat Crown Princess Victoria to the altar? Not likely.
Professional fisherman Ulf Åkerlund caught a fish everyone thought was extinct in his corner of the world - the shores of Öland. The fish, a sturgeon, is still kicking while Åkerlund decides what to do with it.