Rome 2007: March 2007 Archives

Going Home

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So how long does it take to get to the airport? Oh, about an hour. So, we have to be at the airport about 5:00am for a 7:00am flight. Trains do not run that early. So I guess that means we find a taxi. The Hotel made sure we had a taxi for 4:00am. So in the quiet of that Roman morning we were all up early. The Tax arrived early, and of course there was no traffic. Ok, now we have added to our stories of Roman taxis. Traffic laws, stop signs, speed limits, they are all mere suggestions. We were on a bit of a race track through back roads and side streets. The old Appian Way gave way to modern two-lane highway. We were at the airport in 15 minutes, maybe less. The airport was empty. We sat there, first in line for nearly an hour before we were moved to another location. The security guards had arrived and informed us that the area was not yet open. So we waited a few minutes before British Airways opened and then we were back at the place to check in and deposit our luggage.


The trip to London was quick and we had a nice layover. We got a nice breakfast, though a bit salty and expensive, and, I also purchased two bottles of Paddy Irish Whiskey in a Duty free shop, and even found time to do a bit of blogging.

The trip from London to San Francisco seemed very long. I think I had time to watch about three movies and read two books. This trip was a bit quieter. On the plane, the British Airways people were bit more hospitable and helpful than they had been on the trip over. At Heathrow we wondered, though, what planet they had been born on. My traveling companions were playful even to the end.


At San Francisco I was in for a bit of further screening because my Passport had been stolen. But they soon determined that I was me, and we were on our way home. The sun had been up all day, for the entire flight home. It was now time for it to set, get some sleep, and be prepared for work on a new day, back in California.

It had been a great pilgrimage, rich in experiences, grace and friendship. Many meals since then have been reminiscent of the journey. Some of the art work photographed on the trip now adorns the walls of our homes and offices. The travel to the tomb of the apostles and the center of our faith, and to the sights and memories of St. Dominic and St. Gaspar have enriched our lives in many ways.


It would be impossible to share a glass of red wine, or a sip of grappa, or Eliser Gambrinus, without calling to mind several moments of grace on this journey.

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Day 16


Sigh. It was to be our last full day in Rome and Italy and we were already feeling a bit sad about it. Oh well, time to get back home and back to work. Morning Prayer was in private this morning as we had decided to attend Mass at the Tomb of St. Gaspar in the evening. It was also time to think about getting our boarding passes and so it was time to find a computer. There was a little Internet spot not too far from our Hotel so we took a small hike down there early to find it closed. We returned to the Hotel for Breakfast and then made another trip to the Internet Spot. It was still closed. The lady at the hotel tried to convince us that it should be open, but our experience told us differently. Reluctantly she allowed us to use the computer in her office in order to print out boarding passes for the next morning. Only later did we discover on our bill that she charged us for that privilege.


Today was to be another Day to explore St. Peter Basilica. We had been to the depths in the Scavi tour and now we were going to head for the heights. It was a good 300 plus steps up to the top after an elevator took us half way there. It was a beautiful day and the view from the cupola was tremendous.

We later made our way back into the Basilica to look around and see some of the things we had missed and then on to the little museum in the Basilica. There was a guide book that sparked the interested of one of our companions on this journey. It was a setting of diamonds as some stars in a crown, a gift from some modern monarch. Actually it was a bit of a disappointment. The rest of the museum, indeed the basilica itself, was much more interesting.

With all that climbing to the top, and walking through the basilica, some of us reported that our legs were turning to jello and that it was time to sit down. Actually it was time for Lunch, for pranzo. We had determined that we would have a last festive meal at one of the places we had visited earlier in our trip, Ristorante Orazio. We hailed a cab and gave him the card with the address of the restaurant. Even with the address he took a very interesting and long journey to a place we knew would be quicker to find. The Taxi’s that had once been so reasonable, now turned very expensive.

All of that was quickly forgotten because, as expected, it was a fabulous meal.

The food and wine were fabulous, as was the conversation. All of us had memories of our favorite stops on this pilgrimage.
After lunch we made our way over to Trevi Fountain. We sampled the gelato in a nearby shop. I have a wonderful picture of Donalyn going ecstatic over the sight of Gelato. I could post it here, but I also value my life. There was a nearby shop that had all sorts of culinary delights. Here I bought some spices that have made it into a variety of pastas and soups since our return. We also scoured a little theological bookstore near the Gregorian in search of a book recommended by Fr. Lopes. The book, “Mary and the Mystery of the New Covenant” by Fr. Ignace de la Potterie turns out to be a book that is out of print, but I have since been able to obtain it from Amazon. Actually, it arrived yesterday.

After a bit of shopping we made it over to Santa Maria in Trivo for the evening Mass. This is the small church near the Fontana Trevi where St. Gaspar is buried. It is also home for the seminarians in Theology. On entering the Church I see this large picture of Venerable John Merlini in front of the Altar. Then it dawns on me that it is January 12th, the anniversary of his death. Fr. Merlini is also buried here at Santa Maria in Trivio.


It turned out to be a festive Mass presided over by the Provincial of the Italian Province and concelebrated by many Italian CPPS confreres. They provided alb and stole and invited me to concelebrate. The music was provided by the seminarians who also led the Chaplet of the Precious Blood before the Mass began.

After Mass we made it back to our favorite Pizzeria near our Hotel for the Last supper. It was time for one final grappa before heading back to our rooms to complete packing for the trip home.

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Day 15

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Day 15 of our Pilgrimage was January 11, 2007. We did not have Mass this morning because a singular honor and blessing awaited me (and us) that afternoon. Morning Prayer was done in private and I was still rejoicing in the Breviary that now had the proper antiphons and readings now that we had reached Ordinary Time. After breakfast we headed over to San Clemente, a Dominican Church that delighted Sr. Mary Mark. The visit to the various crypts was a delight and added to the great number of Saints with whom we crossed paths on this journey.


There was a still lot of time before we had to be at Santa Croce for Mass so I decided that we should also visit the tomb of St. Maria De Mattias.

The Sister there in the Church was very hospitable in her limited English and was delighted when I identified myself as a Missionary of the Precious Blood. She asked if I would like to speak to a Sister in English and we gladly agreed. There was an American Sister there and this sister went to find her. When St. Therese came out it was a delightful meeting. I was standing there wondering where I had met her before and she was chatting with us wondering where she had seen us before. It turns out they had stayed at the same Brigittine guesthouse in Assisi where we had stayed. We had dinner only one night at the Brigittine house but two ASC sister had been there at the same time. It is too bad I did not catch sight of the Heart and Cross that is the distinctive pendant that the sisters wear.

After the very Generous hospitality of Sr. Therese, we caught a taxi over to Santa Croce.

Here we were welcomed by my good friend Don Marco Kirby who also has a blog. He ushered us into the Chapter room while he went in search of the Cistercian Graduals that we would use for Mass. As is often the case in large community’s someone else was using them as they were nowhere to be found. We were introduced to Br. Ryan who prepared some delightful copies of the chants for the Mass.

Then Don Marco led us into the huge refectory where the monks gathered for the midday meal. After the prayer, we slid into the seats and there I found myself right next to the Abbot. There was a brief reading, but then the Abbot rang the bell and the monks joined us in conversation. The Abbot’s English was ok. Sometimes I switched to Spanish which he found more understandable. After lunch we retired to the end of the refectory where the Abbot served us coffee. The hospitality was wonderful as they continue the ancient Benedictine custom a greeting each guest as Christ.

Don Marco gave us a wonderful tour of the Library, which included a look at some of the very old chant books and Sacramentaries that are kept there.


Then we went to the Chapel to prepare for Mass. Don Marco chose for us the Votive Mass of the Passion of the Lord, a Votive Mass found in the Cistercian Gradual. As this was a place where Gaspar had made retreat on many occasions, and a place where his uncle was once Abbot, and where he had preached retreats for the monks on ten separate Lents, it was an honor and a privilege to celebrate Mass, chanted entirely in Latin, in a place and in the same manner as St. Gaspar once prayed and celebrated Mass. I think, for me, this was the high point of the whole journey.

After Mass Don Marco gave us a guided tour of his Icon of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus. He also gave each of us a small copy of the Icon.

Later we took another taxi. This time we traveled to the Generalate of the CPPS community. Fr. General was not at home, but Jerry Stack, General Secretary, gave a us a little tour and then fed us a marvelous dinner. The Archives had changed since I last saw them. Everything was now if Plastic boxes behind glass.

Fr. Jerry took down a volume of Gaspar’s letters and I very dutifully went about photographing a signature of St. Gaspar. It was another occasion of wonderful hospitality.

We had taken a variety of taxis to various places in the city. Everyone was so kind and helpful, and the taxis prompt and clean. Occasionally we took the Metro, but we had already had one experience of being robbed, we were not going to risk it often. The Taxi home of this night was incredibly expensive, about 22 Euro for trip that had only cost about 12 Euro before. It was time to get a good night’s sleep before our last day in Italy.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Rome 2007 category from March 2007.

Rome 2007: February 2007 is the previous archive.

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