Rome 2008: August 2008 Archives

Day 10

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This one was an early morning, Matins and Lauds in the waning darkness, and dressed and ready to go by 6:45am. This morning we headed to St. Peters to celebrate Mass at the Clementine Altar, right above the tomb of St. Peter and below the High Altar. The Swiss Guard clicked their heels and saluted as we passed by, and the Vatican Altar boys were a wonder as they competed with each other to get me dressed in Amice, Alb, cincture, etc. To have this kid waiting patiently by my side to put the chasuble on me was a rare sight. Mass was celebrated for the intentions of the people of St. Edward. There was a distant cacophony of voices wafting through the marble corridors as various groups at various altars were celebrating Masses in the crypt.

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After Mass we retired to a little coffee bar across the street from the Vatican for some coffee. Then I spent some more time in the Basilica and the square taking pictures. In the square I saw a man taking a picture of his family with a camera just like mine. Passing by I noticed they spoke English and we compared notes on our various cameras. I ended up taking a picture of his family with his camera, and he snapped a picture of me with mine. In the Basilica, I was able to spend some time at the tomb of John Paul II before the place got crowded. I also purchased a few more gifts in the Vatican gift shop for the people back home.

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Next I headed over to Teatro Marcello and the Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere. It was in his apartment at Teatro Marcello that St. Gaspar died. At San Nicola he preached at the foundation of the Arch-confraternity of the Precious Blood on December 8, 1808, an event for which we celebrate the 200th anniversary this year.

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The sacristy:

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San Nicola there was an attendant who was offering tours of the crypt. It was a great explanation of the foundations of the place which was built in the early centuries on the ruins of three Roman Temples. The pillars are seen in the walls of the Church, but the foundations of all of the other pillars are visible in the crypt. The blue outlines the area of the church.

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Also in the crypt are the remains of an early byzantine chapel. He said that the Madonna in the Church was found there and removed in the 1800s and placed in the upper Church. It is a favorite image of mine. I have photographed it many times. He was amazed to see that I had the image on my Blackberry.

The image once was part of this early Byzantine Chapel:

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The image now hands in the upper church. This picture was taken of the image before they covered it with protective glass:

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This was the stuff of pilgrimage. This place figures significantly in the beginnings of our community. Here is the crucifix before which Gaspar preached the memorable sermon on the foundation of the Arch-confraternity.

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After touring San Nicola in Carcere, and spending some time in prayer there I took a walk through the surrounding neighborhood. The place is very different than it was in Gaspar's time, having been altered considerably by Mussolini. I took a picture of Teatro Marcello where Gaspar died, and the Church of San Angel in Pescherria where his funeral was held.

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Back home we had a delightful Pranzo, Sausage, and peas with Pasta, and plenty of the finest local vino. This was followed by doing dishes and requisite siesta. At lunch we pondered the significant difference between a siesta and a Solemn High Nap.

I must have had some opportunity for afternoon picture because the collection this day includes my favorite picture:

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Later in the Evening we chanted Vespers and headed over to another favorite Roman eatery. These are places without menus. All we said was "Do what you do." I think Steven referred to this place as "Mama's" although that is not the name of the place. She did mother us. She place a few simple antipastos on our table with Water and wine, and then she wheeled up a cart with eight more and two different kinds of bread. It would have been enough for a full meal, but we also had a main course of Meatballs served with chicory. There was no room for dessert, which she was not happy about.

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Day 9


This is the day I woke up to a ton of emails on my blackberry. The nicest one was "OMG, what happened to your blog?!"

yesterday I had tried to post but it would not let me. Come to find out that it posted three times, but they were not complete posts.

RC had taken up migrating everything over to MT4. He has too much time on his hands. Anyway I am grateful that he put the blog back together. That funky modern set of tree graphics was just not going to cut it.

Today I did not take any pictures, just a few shots of the dawn.

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Then a simple day:

  • Early Lauds and Mass
  • browsing through various shops
  • purchasing gifts for friends and co-workers back home
  • simple lunch
  • Drive to beach
  • enjoy the Mediterranean
  • sleep on Beach
  • Vespers
  • Great dinner, Bruschetta, Cacio e Pepe, Beef with Gorgonzola, yum, great wine and company.
  • a very restful day
  • to bed early
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Ok, let's be clear. The main highlight of the day was to be able to celebrate Mass again at San Felice, the Abbey where St. Gaspar and companions founded the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in 1815. That is always a privilege and an honor.

We also visited my favorite Restaurant, and I think that most of the pictures will be from there. Yep, did not have my camera in hand during the Mass.

I slept in today. I was surprised when I rolled out of bed as late as 6:00am. But then I did not set an alarm. We were not going to do Morning Prayer until 8:30am so had plenty of time to wake up, get cleaned up and chant Matins.

We skipped Mass this morning because the plan was to drive up to Giano and celebrate Mass there before heading off for the finest pranzo on earth.

Well, traffic was going to be the story today, both to and from Giano. The reasons were unexplained in the morning, but it took nearly an hour just to leave Rome. On the way home it was an accident. But the hour and a half trip turned into about 3 hours both directions.

So we get to Giano late, and of course, we were not permitted to celebrate Mass because they were all at Pranzo. So we were told to come back at 3:30. So we headed up the mountain to have Pranzo first.

After we finished we had plenty of time to have a reasonable fast, and Don Luciano was waiting for us when we arrived. He even stayed around to concelebrate with us. We did a lot of Latin, so he had an easy time. He stumbled a bit with the English parts.

After Mass it was the long trip home. We were pretty tired. Did some watering of plants, washing of laundry, but basic relaxing with a few books was the story for the rest of the evening. There was no dinner as lunch was pretty substantial.

I suppose you were wondering if there were any pictures:

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They do not start baking the bread they put on your table until you get there:

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Kathy, too bad you were not there. Your favorite: bruschetta.

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Then the pasta:

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and mixed grill:

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Taking our leave. We met there an older diocesan priest from the region and his friend from Colorado.

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Then back to San Felice:

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St. Felix whose tomb is here. Also St. Benedict as this served as a Benedictine Monastery for centuries.

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The sacristy:

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Detail from the sacristy:

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My favorite depiction of the Madonna, is up on the second floor of the cloister:

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My favorite image of St. Gaspar is just around the corner. The Madonna is from 1494. The St. Gaspar is a modern 20th Century depiction.

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Don Luciano waves arrivederci:

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Time to turn out the lights:

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Day 7


I have to say that I miss the beautiful dawn each morning in Rome. Each day had its own special beauty. I think that it was because it was so new and special, to be able each morning to see dawn breaking over St. Peter. Alright, the dawn here at Rifugio San Gaspare each morning quite beautiful, and maybe I have gotten so used to it. Well, those two weeks in Italy have taught me to appreciate these mornings here as well. At any rate, I did not take any picture of the early morning on Day 7.

It was an early morning as usual, chanting Matins as dawn break, and joining in the chapel to sing Lauds and Mass. After breakfast, I took in another early morning inside St. Peter to get some pictures of the light streaming in.

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One picture that I hoped to capture with my new lens was a shot of the Holy Spirit Window.

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Today, I had tickets to the Scavi Tour. This is maybe the fourth or fifth time I have been down in the excavations under St. Peter. Each time is a little different, but each time is always an affirmation of faith as we visit the tomb of St. Peter.

We came out after the Scavi tour near the tomb of Pope John Paul II. I really have no doubt that one day we may officially name him as St. John Paul II, the Great. With this in mind, I handed one of the Petrini my Precious Blood Chaplet that I carry in my pocket, and he laid it down on the tomb. I was impressed with the way he would do this very reverently, spending just a few seconds in reverent prayer, before lifting it up and handing it back to me. I have no doubt that one day I may consider this chaplet in my pocket as a 3rd class relic of this great saint of our time.

I met this newly married couple from Kansas who were in Rome on their honeymoon. This was Tuesday and they had only been married two days. I asked her if she had a rosary with her. She produced it from her purse. I told her what I had done with my chaplet and encouraged her to do the same. He took off his scapular and with the Rosary handed it to the Petrini. They were quite thrilled with this little addition to their vacation and wondered how I would have come up with this. They asked if I was a priest and I admitted I was a Pastor from California. They asked for and received my priestly blessing on their marriage.

Later, I headed over to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in St. Peters, and spent a holy Hour there, praying the Precious Blood Chaplet.

During the early part of the afternoon I was introduced to some of the more reputable shops near St. Peter, a bit farther off the tourist path. While doing this I ran into the newly married couple from Kansas having a typically Roman Pranzo in the sidewalks cafes of Rome.

After a nap and some reading, we prepared another typical Roman/American BBQ: Steaks, Pesto Spaghetti, roasted Zucchini, and plenty of Scotch, wine and grappa.

It was a cool night, and there was no need for the air conditioner as I drifted off to sleep.

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There are some people who think our Paschal Candle is too large....

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Day 6

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Monday July 14th had a beautiful dawn.
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It was a very full day. The day broke early and Matins and Lauds were chanted alone today. We were all off to different places for Mass. I had the outstanding honor of beginning the day with Mass for the Missionaries of Charity who serve the poor and the hungry who are near the Vatican. Mass was in English. The sisters were from India and from eastern Europe.

I thought this morning was part of God's divine sense of humor. So I am to preside at Eucharist and preach a short homily to Mother Teresa's sisters and the Lectionary gives me this as the Gospel text:

"And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple- amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

After Mass I headed over to St. Peters, right next door, and took some pictures in the quiet and empty basilica.

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After a restful walk through the Cathedral, there were some pilgrims attending various Masses in the early morning and the place was very quiet, I headed over to this little coffee bar near the Jesuit generalate for some breakfast. On the way I noticed this little Romanesque church was open.

This Church is completely surrounded on three sides by this building. The Building is home to a few Vatican Dicasteries, Congregation of Saints, the Congregation for Legislative Texts, as well as home to a few cardinals. It is not a parish, but apparently it was given by John Paul II a to serve as an International Youth Center. It was very quiet while I was in Rome because all the Youth were in Australian for Word Youth Day, but today it was showing a little life and I got to go inside and look around. It is beautiful inside, and very peaceful.

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After breakfast it was off to the Liturgical Candy stores:

Gammarelli is a famous store. They make the cassocks and the vestments for the Holy Father and they traditionally have the ready the three cassocks for a newly elected Pope. I purchased my cassock from them in 2001.

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This store is is near the Sopra Minerva Basilica that is the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena. It is also very near the Pantheon. There is, alsong this street, many little shops that have priestly or liturgical items. There were some specific things I was looking for and I went to each store about two or three times. I found an ostensoria at Barbiconi that was reasonable, and there was another store that had a small stand for it.

I already had about four of my shirts from Barbiconi. They were purchased in 2001 and are beginning to show some signs of wear. Today I purchased three shirts, as well as an Alb, a surplice, cinctures, a few icon gifts, as wells as the ostensoria.

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This all made for a very full morning. Also in the midst of this morning I was beginning to get some news from home. One parishioner in assisting the set up for one of the Masses inadvertently had knocked over the paschal candle. The Candle sits on the top step next to the Font, and fell toward the congregation, down three steps to the floor. The Candle shattered into a thousand pieces, the solid brass follower had a severe dent, the bobeche was folded in half, and the candle socket was broken cleanly from the stand. It is pretty expensive to replace a custom candle, but replacing the brass parts was very expensive. It was probably providential that I was in Rome.

We went to lunch at Ristorante Polese, a place near Chiesa Nuovo I had been to before. and then head home for a little nap. In the afternoon we were to go to St. Paul Outside the Walls for a little pilgrimage, and I will share pictures of that in the next post.

After the pilgrimage we came home for a Pot Roast dinner, and then we all retire for the night.

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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 August 2008.

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