Tag Archives: Catholic

Day 6 in Rome

ImageWednesday 10-9

Day 6 in Rome

Church of John the Baptist just across the Tiber from the Vatican. Just another über- magnificent church in Rome.  

The sculptures, the walls, the pillars the floors and the paintings all took skill, lots of skill.



I had been told the pope would be blessing at the square, Wednesday at 10:30, but I was careless about the time, and didn’t arrive until there was less than an hour and a half to go. Next time I go earlier. I that point there was no hope.

Castel Sant’ Angelo


Very old, back to the time of Hadrian. It has been a fortress, a palace, and prison and now a museum. Different popes added different things to it. People come and go, buildings take different forms, but here they remain.


The story is that there had been a plague, and in 590, there was an apparition of St. Michael sheathing his sword, and the ended.

There is a great view from the roof


It is raining lightly, but I’m having lunch outdoors. They have tents and plastic walls to protect us. I America outdoor seating is a luxury; here it is a necessity. They do not have enough space to survive with only indoor seating. Bathrooms are always down narrow stairs, and even in nice restaurants, they are nasty looking.

The Staff have shirts that say on the back, “Bebere humanum est ergo bibamus” which I believe means “It is human to drink, therefore we drink.” Makes sense to me.

Interesting salad: lettuce, artichokes, tuna, fresh mozzarella, some other shredded cheese with bread it makes a meal (with wine, of course).

I had forgotten how much I love foreign travel. There is so much to learn, so much to see and so many ways things are different.

Church of St Agnes in Agony, in the Piazza Navona. Such a contrast to the piazza.

Day 5 in Rome (part 3)

Finally Chiese Gesu (the Church of Jesus).




Wow! So beautiful. Can’t believe how beautiful it is. Those Jesuits never were ones to do things half way. I must come back here and contemplate. The art often has the theme of victory over evil.

Pantheon. Powerful old building. The Façade seems not quite to fit, but I can’t argue with it. Believed to be built as a temple to all the gods, it has been remade as the Church of Mary of the Martyrs, once again the theme of Christianity conquering paganism. As with all the holy places, there is a dress code, and no eating, drinking, smoking or phone calls. Here they are especially strict; they also demand silence. How do we show that our sacred spaces are sacred and our special places are special?





Fontana di Trevi: They really know how to do fountains in this town.


Psalm for today: 93

Rome Day 5 (part 2)

ImagePiazza Venezia



Huge monument the unknown soldier, and strict rules about behavior at the entrance to the museum of the resurgence (lots of steps) Never made it to the museum because the entrance also took you to the Church of Mary of the something (I gotta start writing these things down sooner). The Church was very fancy and quite old (some reference to 1689). Fancy, lavish decorations, some statues (not all beautiful by today’s standards but done with love). I see exuberant, enthusiastic  expressions of worship. What signs will we leave to witness t to the next generations of our love for God?

Saw the Church of San Marcello: Magnificent inside.

Climbed the Spanish Steps (there are a lot of them). 

The Church of the Trinity on the Mount. They were having exposition. Then the Church of St. Ignatius and the Church of Maria Sopra Minerva.

Day 5 in Rome (part 1)

ImageDay 5 in Rome

Sitting in the Piazza Navona drinking very expensive mineral water (gotta pace myself; too much wine, cappuccino and gelato and I won’t survive).  I see a Big Old Building (take that B.O.B.!), an obelisk with Egyptian markings, huge sculptures. There are street musicians, painters and someone dressed as a Gold Egyptian sarcophagus. This is worth sitting and watching.


Day 4 in Rome

Monday 10-7

Day 4 in Rome

Went to an ATM machine, and was very grateful to push 2 for English.  I am glad they are hospitable to those who have not mastered the language.

Took a tour of the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel. Lots of good info, but wondered what I missed. Just left on our own in the Basilica.  I will come again.

That said, it was wonderful. The court of the Pine Cone with the seed of new life referring to the mysteries of the universe was powerful.


The Sistine Chapel was an irreplaceable experience. Such vivid colors. I’m so glad they cleaned it up. The conclaves were held there. The Second Vatican Council met there. I stood there. Wow.  (They wouldn’t let us take pictures, but pictures are readily available on line).

The images are timeless.

It was build when Michelangelo was born as a fortress in case of invasion of Muslim hordes. Michelangelo made it come to life with the story of the universe.

They had a double spiral staircase that was really interesting.


The Basilica of St. Peter is like nothing else. The Cathedral in Cologne is huge and impressive but cannot match this magnificence.  

There are huge statues, some of earlier and medieval figures, some of relatively modern (John Bosco and St. Vincent de Paul). Inspiration to learn more about some, like St. Bruno. There are also huge mosaics but you can’t tell they are mosaics without looking very closely. There is the Tomb of Blessed John Paul II.Image

There we see the body of Blessed John XXIII in a glass case (he looks pale, but pretty much like you’d see at an average wake).


Many events of the Christian story are being told, and others hinted at. This is just a tiny sampling of the vast ocean of stories of the people, through the ages, who kept the Gospel story going.

When I first walked into St. Peter’s, on the right was the Pieta of Michelangelo. I thought, “Oh, yah, I’ve seen a bunch of those.”


“Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, this is the real one!”


On the front wall is a great sculpture of a chair. Of course, this is a great celebration of the Chair of Peter. For all the gallons of cynical ink spilled on the subject, if our faith is true in any sense, the Chair of Peter is a gift from God, and therefore worthy of celebration.

It is said to contain fragments of the simple wooden chair of Peter.  Did he have an official chair? Very possibly; it was a custom far older than Christianity for a teacher to sit in a chair that was a sign of his authority.

There is a niche for another statue. Maybe for Saint John Paul II? Who would be more likely than him? I bet that a big bunch of people would be willing to donate to the project.

Oct 7 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Prayer for today: Joyful mysteries of the rosary, reflecting on God’s call to continue passing on the story.

Day 2 in Rome

Saturday, October 5: Day Two Rain (Pioggia/Piovere): That’s okay; it won’t stop me from walking. Walking old bridges (pontes) with old statues. Lots of statues St. Peter’s square has lots of portable wooden gates to herd the crowds.


I’m very happy that the hotel provides a substantial breakfast; that will save me a lot of money. I can walk a lot of miles on this.

It was worthwhile visiting a grocery store just to go to the cheese, meat and bread section and inhale the aroma!   Ahhhhh! And they didn’t even charge me.

Espresso and Chocolate Croissant (ah!)

Bruschetta here is very different from the pale imitation they serve in American restaurants. The pasta is firm, but gentle. The red sauce has zest (a bit spicy). When I was younger it was a lot easier to read the fine print in a pocket bilingual dictionary. Maybe I need new bifocals (sigh). Went into two churches near St. Peters: Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, and (I think) Mary of the Child Jesus.

They are very fancy inside.

 Hs in sassia2

In one church people were praying the rosary and doing a novena to Sr. Faustina (the church was full).

Psalm for today: 92

My trip to Rome: thoughts

These are some reflections from my trip to Rome in October of 2013:

Friday, October 4: Day One

Found a place to get a good portion of pizza, and a nice salad and a glass of wine for 10 euros. Not everything is that cheap however.

Gelato: Need to get more of this stuff!

Surprising how much beer is served in cafes. I would have thought wine was the thing. There is plenty of wine as well, however.

Wow! It is so easy just to walk into St. Peter’s Square

No surprise they sell a lot of religious trinkets, both cheap and expensive

Lot’s of priests and nuns

Yes, you do have to be careful crossing the street.  I don’t think they want to hit you, but they seem awfully confident that they won’t, even if they get really close…

Walking, and getting familiar with the immediate neighborhood. Very tired, a bit nervous about being in this new country, not feeling very adventurous.  I’m pleased, however, that I got my first look.


I figured I should take a couple pictures of myself so that people would know I was really here, and didn’t just make all this up 🙂