The First Day(s)


July 7, 2008

t takes the better part of a day to travel to Rome. By leaving in the early afternoon from San Francisco, that pretty much assures an early afternoon arrival in Rome on the next day. That gives time to get settled, eat a nice meal, and get some sleep. So it was that July 7th I left San Francisco on the way to the Eternal City. Very soon after takeoff there was a medical emergency on the plane and the stewards were asking if there might be a Doctor on Board. Soon we learned that we would landing in Salt Lake City. The airline would have to dump all of its fuel because the plane was too heavy to land. I informed one Steward that I was a priest and available if the patient was Catholic, but never heard back. The patient was removed from the rear of the plane after all the EMTs came on board.

We were on the tarmac for five hours. They had to reload the 21 tons of fuel for the plane, as well as replenish the food and water supply on the plane. I have to say that Air France did its best to keep us comfortable. The plane got a little warm during the layover.

Here is a picture of my home for 16 hours:
Rome 2008 001 b.jpg

The other memorable part of the trip was the fact I was seated next to two teenage girls who would talk and shriek for hours. They had this book that they were discussing and passing back and forth. The trip was made tolerable by earplugs.

July 8, 2008

We got to Paris by late afternoon. I missed my connecting flight, but Air France got me booked on another one. I got a sandwich and a Fanta at the Paris Airport and then caught the flight.

On arrival in Rome, I followed the signs to baggage, but still ended up at the wrong terminal. I had to leave the terminal I was in and walk to the other one. It was amazing that I got out without going through any kind of customs or passport control. At the other terminal I had to go through security again, but then had no trouble finding the luggage. Then I went through Customs.

By the time I arrived where I was staying, it was nearly 10:00pm, so after a brief settling in I went to bed.

July 9, 2008

Well, I had gotten some sleep on the plane, but I would not call it good sleep, still it must have been enough. I was still on California time and wide awake by 3:00am. I finally rolled out and chanted Matins and did some Lectio while watching the sun come up and shed its first light on the dome of St. Peter. At 7:15 the house gathered for Lauds and Mass and then a very nice American/Roman breakfast. The American part was they had Cheerios.

It was a restful first day early. I browsed through a a few bookstores. I picked up a copy of the proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference. The book title: "Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger" I devoured Ratzingers' first paper in the book, but even more exciting was an intervention by Professor Stratford Caldecott entitled, "Liturgy and Trinity: Toward an Anthropology of the Liturgy."

After a great Roman pranzo, I headed out into the summer heat, visiting a few more bookstores, but also the shops I referred to as Liturgical Candy Stores. After a bit, I was feeling a bit overcome by the heat so I got a drink and sat down by the wall near the Pantheon. We were going over to Barbiconi's but instead decided to head home. I laid down for a nap, but was soon pretty sick. I did not hold down any food for the rest of the day. I obtained some pink tablets designed to settle the stomach and then got a good night's sleep.

July 10, 2008

I had a good nights sleep but was still awake very early. The mornings were getting to be a bit monastic, chanting much of Matins in darkness as the lights of the city slowly awoke. I still felt a bit tired. I think that 25 hour transit took a greater toll on me than I had realized. Today I was able to enjoy more of the Roman fare without upsetting the stomach.

Today I made a pilgrimage over to Fontana Trevi and the church of Santa Maria in Trevio. In this church is the tomb of St. Gaspar del Bufalo. The place was very quiet in the morning and it was good to spend a moment in silence and prayer there. It being Summer, there was no one home, but I recognized Don Michele in the Sacristy. When he saw that I was taking a few pictures, he turned all the lights on in the Church. I will share some of those pictures in the next post.

I visited a book bindery and a leather shop in the afternoon. I would return there later to purchase a leather journal, finally replacing my precious leather journal that had been stolen on my previous trip to Italy.

In the early evening I took a taxi over to The CPPS Generalate and had dinner with Fr. Francesco, our new Moderator General and Fr. Grzegorz, the Vice-moderator, and Fr. Emmanuele who works in the archives. I had met all these men before. Fr. Emmanuele had been on the Formators workshop with me back in 2003 and Grzegorz gave me a tour of Poland in 1995. It was great to see them again.

In future posts, there will some more pictures of the sights from St. Gaspar's Rome.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on July 31, 2008 2:09 PM.

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