Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Camera Stolen at WYD

Today, for the first time ever, yours truly got his camera stolen.

The camera, and 800 pics, gone.

Included were three priceless photos of Polish sisters at the WYD.

It was at a restaurant. I think it was a waiter. With our translator, I complained to the management. The small room was full of pilgrims. I doubt a pilgrim stole it. I think I know which waiter it might have been. Our hands were tied.

God has a plan.

My camera does not leave my side. I take every precaution. I had it on the table at my side.

I am a poor man and am here for free as a tour guide with a group. Even our meals are free as registered pilgrims.

If anybody wants to give 500 euro for a new camera I will love you forever.

The Lord has a plan. And part of it is our own sanctification. Pain, suffering and let down is essential.


  1. How can you afford a wife, but not a camera? Pretty cheeky of you to beg on here, but travel Europe.

  2. i don't have 500 euros, but do you have a paypal acct to accept donations.

  3. Il Signore ha un piano... e tu non hai più la macchina fotografica, lol.

  4. I'm really sorry to hear this! I enjoy seeing your pictures from Rome everyday!

  5. You are a grown, married man and you always requesting money when life throws you a curve ball. Why don't you save your own money and buy your own camera when you have enough to do so? What makes you feel entitled to ask people to send you hard earned money in this economy to assist you whenever some problem comes up or you need extra money? It's not dignified. Most people don't get to travel to Spain, Russia, Poland, England, France in a life time, yet poor man that you are has been to these places numerous times. Seems like you are doing pretty good to me.

  6. Pray to St. Anthony!

  7. And to the guardian angel of who every stole the'd be surprised what our angels do!:-)

  8. The devil has a small playbook -- he hates blogs.

  9. Go back to that restaurant, stand six inches away from the waiter, be as tall and American as you can, and say, "Give me back my camera. Give me back my camera. Give me back my camera." and keep saying it and nothing else until he gives you back your camera.

  10. Oh, and hey Jerkface "Anonymous"!

    John works his ass off all year as a tour guide in Rome, which is incredibly hard work, as well as keeping up his studies. He does this blog as a happy hobby and as a serious apostolate that is appreciated by as many as 3000 people a day. It's positive. It's uplifting. It's Catholic-friendly and a needed response to people like me who are always talking about how awful the world is.

    John only had that camera because a kind reader, fan and friend who could afford it, bought it for him so he could carry on with this work that is such a help to others. He can't possibly afford to replace it.

    Also, as a person who has never been to Europe, you obviously don't know that it costs next to nothing to fly/train and or/boat around Europe. The ferry fare to Tunis for example, (when it was a place anyone wanted to go) is about 25 Euros. It's incredibly expensive to fly across the Atlantic, but once you're here, it can be as little as 10 Euros to go to places like Dublin, Paris, London, etc. Everyone, and I mean EVERYone in Europe flies all over the place all the freaking time. You know why? Because it's ridiculously tiny. I could walk to Austria from here in a few days. If you can stay with friends or friends of friends, you can travel around Europe all you like for no more than it would cost to commute from the burbs to your crappy down-town North American city job for a week.

    The other way he, and any one of the rest of us who wants to, get to go places is because other people are kind and good, friendly and helpful and want to see other people having a nice time.

    Envy is an ugly sin, mate. It's the only one that Thomas Aquinas said it creates misery for those who indulge in it and gives absolutely nothing in return.

    I'm sorry if your crap life sucks and you hate North America and have never been anywhere. But you know what? It's not that hard really, you just have to buy a ticket and go.

    Oh, and on top of that, it helps a lot if you are a decent soul who's nice enough and friendly enough for other people to want to be nice to back.

    So, sucks to be you, I guess.

    (And hey, way to be a manly man there, lobbing insults and vitriol behind anonymity.)

  11. Please, respect for the guy at his own blog? Why do you hate him? :(

  12. I sent you a message on Facebook.

    I am aghast at reading some of these messages. If a person has nothing nice to say, then why say it ? Why are they looking at your site with all its beautiful pictures if they dislike it so much? The beautiful photos you post are a service to us all. Thank-you !
    Only a student or one who has been there can understand your position. I hope these mean spirited people realize how small, petty and uncharitable their comments are. God bless you ! An God bless them, too !

  13. Malignant comments those of that anonymous up there, obviously a very envious and deranged person. I seem to recognize the style, he or she must have been here before. John, many of us are sorry to hear what happened and would be glad to help if we could afford it. Your blog gives us many joys, and for free. Count on my prayers.

  14. I'm very sorry that happened, John. It's an awful feeling to lose creative work that means so much to the maker and profits a thief absolutely nothing. And it is almost as bad to lose one's favourite tools. This is why I haven't taken my laptop to Italy.

    I hope regular readers of your blog do chip in. If every reader who checks it once a day donates one dollar, euro or pound, you should have enough for a new one in no time.

    Meanwhile, the Anonymous mockers are cowardly rats. I hope they remember how they mocked you when they next get something they loved stolen.

  15. By the way, bloggers do an awful lot of work, the fruits of which others enjoy without paying anything. (And MSM has been known to blatantly steal their work.) If bloggers ask their regular readers for financial support so that they can continue blogging, that's not just fair, that's the new economy.

  16. Praying for the return of your camera. I wish I could help but the budget of a seminarian doesn't stretch that far.

  17. John, really enjoy your blog and pics from Roma. Can't afford the 500 bucks but would be delighted to give a donation if youset up a paypal account. Hope this episode does not spoil the joy of WYD for you. God Bless.

  18. Anonymous@8:30, why do you visit and anonymously post at this blog
    if you have such a low opinion of Mr. Sonnen? It's not dignified.

    I am not privy to the details of life in the Sonnen household, but it
    seems likely to me that Mr. Sonnen keeps this blog for the pleasure
    and edification it gives both himself and us visitors. I doubt he's
    getting rich doing this. Since this isn't a household expense, nor is
    it work or school-related but rather a hobby for Mr. Sonnen, I'd
    guess that he pays the expenses for it out of whatever income it
    generates. It makes perfect sense to me for Mr. Sonnen to refuse
    to use whatever household funds his new family has for the blog. It
    also makes perfect sense for those of us who choose to visit here
    to help support the expenses of a blog we enjoy.

    Mr. Sonnen, I've never had the pleasure of meeting you, but I hope
    you don't let this setback with the camera, and the subsequent
    uncharitable snarking by anonymous posters get you down.

    For my part, I'm visiting the paypal button.

  19. I live in Europe. You already have a good camera for 100 euro or less. 500 euro!!!! Shame on you.

  20. I'm really sorry to hear that and will say a prayer that it is returned. Meanwhile, I'm with the one who suggested donations with Paypal. I'd help.

    And how rude and thoughtless some commenters can be. It's not bad enough to have a big loss, you have to contend with the occasional smart aleck. It just shows how badly our world needs prayer and the encouragement that WYD can provide to those most at risk. Actually, I need it too. That's why I'm watching the events. But I wouldn't want to be in the crowds.

    God bless you.

  21. To "Anonymous August 18, 2011 4:00 PM" and "Anonymous August 19, 2011 8:30 AM", now that you've leveled your complaint about John, let us shine the light of criticism where it really belongs.

    John puts in a variety of labours, seen and unseen, all for the free benefit of those who read his blog. By no means are you, who freely receive the fruits of those labours, in a position to critique him. Not only is this hypocritical on your part, it is also unbiblical for sacred scripture tells us that the labourer deserves his wages.

    You should be grateful for what you freely receive and not resentful when the one whom is doing the work asks for some assistance so that he might continue to provide that service.

  22. MAy I ask in what bar o restaurant it happened? bear in mind that the thiefs also came to the WYD and It very unlikely that they all came to repent from their sins. We have an issue here with the rumanian pickpocket gypsies. I hope you and also the honest and decent rumanians understand.
    Miguel Ángel Simón

  23. May I ask in what bar o restaurant this happened, just in case it is found? what camera is it? bear in mind that thiefs also came to Madrid and not all of them to repent from their sins. I saw a few around in Puerta del Sol. We have an issue over here with the rumanian pickpocket gypsies ( may all decent rumanians pardon me and accept any apologies): tourist are easy prey.

  24. What Hilary Jane Margaret White and Shawn Tribe said regarding the nasty Anonymous comments about John and his stolen camera! Good of you both to stand up for him!

    And this is for the Anonymous posters who said those nasty things: John works his tail off making this blog what it is! So what if he asks for help in getting a new camera? He deserves it--not you!

    I would have loved to have contributed had I known while he was still in Spain, but I'm unable to do so right now because money is tight for me, too. But I would never begrudge a good Catholic man like John if he asks for help!

    I'm sorry that you lost your camera and the 800 photos that were in it, John. Maybe whoever stole it will have a disturbed conscience and send it back to you.


    Fortunately, in all my travels to Europe, I never had anything stolen. But in the years when I traveled with a group, I tried to make sure that none of my fellow pilgrims ever became victims.