Day Four


day4a.jpgWe stayed at a little place called Villa Lituania and across the street was the Parish Church of San Antonio. This being Sunday morning we slept in a bit and went to the 9:00am Mass at the parish. It was the Feast of the Holy Family and after the homily they had a little blessing for Married couples and what appeared to be a renewal of vows. The big church was also freezing inside. I always wondered how they heated these cavernous churches. The answer is, they don’t.

After Mass we caught a taxi to St. Peter’s and did some shopping and browsing in the little tourist shops near the square. My daily bible reading had lapsed a bit since my bible was stolen. I was making do with the one Ordinary Time Breviary that I had left, but it was not the same. I was looking for a bible that might replace it, but nothing I found was very satisfactory.

Then we made it back to the square to witness the Angelus message of Benedict XVI.


Before the Angelus, we called Fr. Stephen Lopes from the Square and asked where he was. He was with some friends watching the Angelus from their balcony overlooking the Square. After we described where we were, they caught sight of us and we dutifully photographed their waving.


After the Angelus, We waited in the Square for Stephen and his friends to join us, and then we trotted off to another favorite restaurant, Quattro Mori. There was no menu, only the choice between Meat and Fish. We chose Meat and then were treated to a feast of several appetizers, three pastas, and then a platter of grilled meats. Fr. Stephen and his friends were quite entertaining with stories of seminary, life in ministry and life in the Vatican. Fr. Stephen is Cardinal Levada’s secretary and one of his friends is a teacher at the North American College.


At about 3:00pm, we finished this grand feast and headed back to the Square. It was time to get in line for the Vespers that would start at 6:00pm. The doors would open at 4:30pm. When we arrived there was already a large line that began circling the square. One Author describes St. Peters Square as part religious experience and part circus. Our wait was a witness to this experience. At long last the doors opened and we made our way into the Cathedral. The goal was to get as close to the center aisle so we could get good pictures of the Pope. Tomorrow we could get some seats closer to the front. Soon after 6:00pm a cry went up from the rear of the Basilica as the Pope was sighted. It was a stately procession, but in many ways Benedict was treated as a Rock star coming into the arena. It was a beautiful and prayerful service. I was a bit disappointed in the Te Deum. I had hoped it would be a chant that I would recognize and be able to sing. Instead it was a choral rendition with a congregational refrain. Still it was a pleasure to bring the old year to a close in such a way.

Here is what the Pope said at the Vespers. After the Vespers the Pope made a visit to the crèche in the Square. In the crowd outside we met some seminarians from Louisiana. They were delightful young men and we would end up running into them twice more on this trip.

After the Angelus we made our way to our favorite Pizzaria for a light supper and then back to the Villa to bed. We would greet the New Year on the following morning.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on January 17, 2007 2:57 PM.

Day Three was the previous entry in this blog.

Day Five is the next entry in this blog.

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