Rome 2008: July 2008 Archives

Day 5

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Oh, the bells! You can tell it is a Sunday in Rome. All the Church bells in the vicinity ring their bells. There are a lot of churches in the vicinity. The high bell, the one on the left, rang continually for about 15 minutes. The sound was beautiful and fitting for the specialness of the day.

There was just the few of us, but lauds and Mass were chanted together. As usual, it was simple, beautiful and simply beautiful.

After Mass we headed off to Scarpone for Pranzo. Great lunch, great wine, but I think it was the dessert that gave me a buzz. It was a rum soaked dessert, and I do mean soaked.

After lunch we took a long walk through the largest landscaped park in Rome, the Doria Pamphili gardens.

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We did some touring of other ecclesiastical sites but the skies were threatening rain so we headed home.

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After heading home it ewas time for a nap. When it was time for supper, there was no need for food as lunch had been pretty substantial.

As night fell, the local parish of Our Lady of Mt Carmel had a procession. The Carmelites put on quite a show.

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I went to bed about 9:00pm but was awakened at 11:30 pm by some loud noises. I went outside to enjoy a bit of the light show before returning to bed.

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Day 4


Another Roman dawn:

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It was a Saturday so the liturgy was from the book of Masses for the Virgin Mary. We did the Votive of Mary, Help of Christians, the patroness of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

What else can I say about this day? There was a nice long walk; I bought too many books, a visit to a Roman Grocery store, and the most delightful Pork Sandwich from a sidewalk café. This was followed by a very long nap and then by preparations for an evening BBQ.

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It was a wonderful evening. The night was beautiful. It was immediately noticeable when the sun dipped behind St. Peters and the air became very calm and cool. There was a lot of shop talk too be sure. My only comment is that the difference between the Vatican and the local parish is hardly noticeable.

Except for the view:

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Day 3


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It was Day 3, if the 9th was the first full day in Rome. Ah, Roma. There is a bit of secretiveness about these reports simply because I was traveling to Rome alone. Here I was making connections with various members of my community who wish to remain off my blog, and also visiting some connections in the Vatican Dicasteries. Much is made of the secretiveness of the Vatican, but all that is descendant from a singular belief in human dignity and the rights of individuals whose cases are before these dicasteries. So none of these personages will be revealed; but only my own personal activities as a pilgrim.

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This morning, a Friday, we chanted Lauds in English, and then Mass in Latin, ordinary form. There was a simplicity and a beauty to these liturgies during the weeks I was in Rome. Not much else could be said.

This morning after a Roman breakfast, I walked back across the Tiber and purchased that leather journal I had seen on the previous day. There has been nothing close to what was taken from me. My old leather Journal had been with me for more than 20 years. It was a part of me as a layman, and then a seminarian and then a priest. It had been around the world with me, to the top of Clouds rest in Yosemite National Park all the way to the top of Mt. Sinai. It was the singular stain on the leather left by a camel in the Sinai desert that made the journal particularly dear to me. All of this is memory, and I guess, after nearly two years I am still mourning the loss of that treasure. The journal inserts now fill two full file drawers, and there is a three month period in those journals that is lost because it was part of that robbery in December of 2006.

At any rate, there is a new leather journal. This one was purchased in a little shop in Rome. The former one was purchased in the 80's in San Francisco when I worked for an Insurance Company. It fits the little notebooks quite well and even has a few extra pockets for notes.

Couple more of God's creatures crossing the Tiber:

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Today I started looking for Ostensoria, the small kind for small chapels. We now have a very nice monstrance for the Church, but I had the idea of acquiring a small ostensoria in Rome for the small chapel, so that in the Fall we could promote longer periods of Eucharistic Adoration in the Small chapel, without tying up the church calendar. Well the first shops were not fruitful. This question kept popping into my head: Is this worthy to bear and present the Eucharist for adoration? Well, no! Most of what I saw was so cheaply made, and the prices proved it. So nothing else was purchased today.

I had a lovely and gracious tour of one of these Vatican Offices. Most of what I saw will remain on the hard drive, but I thought I could show you the fountain in the courtyard without giving too much away.

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After another delightful Roman Pranzo and a long nap, we then took a long walk. One of the sights was the Church of St. Charles Borromeo on the Corso. The back of the church was an inspiration, all those pamphlets on various articles of faith in Italian, English and other languages. This is a place that has adult faith formation as a priority. It picked up several examples and may make use of them here.

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Dinner was delightful. The company was delightful. The food, well... The Aglio e Olio was too hot to eat, and for the secundo I had little pieces of grilled fat with a bite of lamb attached. The dessert was lovely, but it is not a restaurant I am inclined to return to on my next trip.

Long walk home, Compline chanted in the darkness, early to bed.

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Roman Dawn


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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:
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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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I am home, still recovering from Jet lag. Blogging will continue soon and will include some reports and pictures from a fantastic and very restful vacation in Rome. I am still trying to figure out this new MT4 stuff so it may be a while before the blog looks the way I want it to.

I am still using Internet Explorer 6.0 . The sidebar gets junked at the bottom. It looks better in Netscape and in IE 7.0

What kind of Browser do you all use, and how do things look on your computer?

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ok, some we are driving up to Umbria yesterday and I am trying to blog from my little blackberry, dificult enough as it is, and it just would not let me. It was just a collection of error messages and "page not found" messages, and the whole interface looks different, so I just give up and decide to enjoy the day. The day was wonderful, by the way. There are many reasons why this is my favorite restaurant.

Anyway, this morning I get lots of email messages asking me what happened to my blog, so I have to hunt around Rome for a real computer to take a look. Yuk!

It seems that RC has taken to migrating all these blogs to MT4 and there are a few changes. I need to get RC to use my real email adress so I can be notified of these things in advance. Hoefully we will get something akin to the old blog appearance once he has all the bugs worked out.

I will have to re-learn how to blog by blackberry. For the time being, though I am on vacation, and will be back to blogging once I return to California. I have lots of neat pics to share.

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Pranzo Today


... will be at Ristorante Rifugio San Gaspare

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Ah, Roma


I'm here. It has been 25 hours of travel. I am exhausted, Ready for a good night's sleep and then the pilgrimage comences.

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Stop over in Paris after more than 15 hours on this plane. I missed my conection. Adventure awaits.

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Just to let y'all know: I am heading for Rome again. I am not sure if I will have internet access there, but I will be sure to post pics and a log of the journey when I return. Rome should be quiet. The Pope will be in Australia most of the time I am there and he returns to Rome the day I leave. I still have fond memories of my last trip there.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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This page is a archive of entries in the Rome 2008 category from July 2008.

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