The Roamin' Roman

Benvenuto! You have happened upon the blog of a wandering Catholic American college student studying for a year in Rome, the Eternal City. You will find here my pontifications, ruminations, reflections, images, and ponderings on my life in Rome. Ciao!

Thursday, October 13

Learning Roman-style

Ok, I hope the third time is the charm... I have been trying to write this blog post this afternoon (which was a free afternoon) and I kept getting interrupted to go do things, get gelato, attend orientation sessions for Latin classes, get dinner... You know, just the usual daily Roman adventures.

Anyway, this week has been our first week of regular classes at the Angelicum, and it is great! It was very cool to walk into the Angelicum's cloister (courtyard) and suddenly encounter tons of people in habits, clerics, and cassocks (and a few well-dressed laity and non-cleric wearing seminarians)!! After being practically alone in the Ang for a couple of weeks it was almost surprising to see the Ang ALIVE like that :)

So some of our classes are our "own" classes, taught by either Ang faculty or Dr. Gavrilyuk, and with only us 11 Catholic Studies students attending. But I also have two other classes that are "normal" Ang classes, Fundamental Moral Theology (with Fr. Gierytch, OP) and Spiritual Theology (with Fr. Murray, OP). Those two classes are going my favorites I think. It is just so cool to be in a classroom with 30+ other priests, religious, seminarians and laity, and being taught by Dominicans, and looking out the window and seeing either the history of Rome or the beauty of the historical Angelicum buildings. Ahhhhhh - I love Rome!

Those two classes are going to be really hard though I think, students over here are expected to be a lot more independent than students back home - and with final exams being oral exams, I think they will be a bit harder to prepare for. The Moral Theology class in particular - yikes, Fr. Gierytch is one of those profs who reads his lectures, and reads them really fast, and doesn't repeat anything. It's a good thing I have my laptop with me, otherwise there's no way I could keep up with my notes! Reading lists are also a bit confusing, because I think they are just general reading lists - like "read these books before the end of the class", and then of course there are the issues of how to get the books that you need to read, since libraries here do not let you check out books! (Hmmmm...) Well, we'll figure it out, since there are many of us in this together! Spiritual Theology is also really great, I love Fr. Murray!

I have met up with many people that I know, and a lot of people that I didn't even know were studying in Rome! Quite a few of the guys who studied at UST before coming to the NAC (the North American College, the American major seminary in Rome) are here, as are a few sisters that I knew from the States from the Nashville Dominicans, plus other friends of mine (Mara, Andrew & little Joseph Poole for instance). It's great! It's a big Catholic get-together in the heart of the Church!

One other thing that I should mention happened today, one of the things that interupted my blogging actually. Many of you are at least somewhat familiar with the famous Fr. Foster Latin classes - out of the blue one of the other girls came up and asked me to go to the orientation session with her. So I said hey sure, why not? Why not try to learn two langauges at once? No problem!

For those who don't know, Fr. Foster is one of the most famous Latinists in the world, he is known as the "Papal Latinist" who proofs and composes many documents for the Pope and Vatican in Latin, still the official and living language of the Church. He is also well known as one of the oddest characters anywhere in Rome - those of you at UST, think Dr. Kemp crossed with Dr. Schenk, at the age of 60+. He's great :) Every year he teaches yearlong FREE Latin courses for anyone who wants to learn Latin, at the Pontifical Gregorian University. So, I think I'm going to try it, we'll see... Hey, it's free, so I will give it a good shot and if it's not going to work then I'll just know it's not in the cards for me this year. For more information on Fr. Foster, go check out this website.

So, let's see, what else happened today? Mostly just a typical Roman day I guess - I had to get up early for class, and take a ride on the Roman Adventure Train (otherwise known as the Metro). We had Early Christian Worship and Moral Theology classes in the morning, then I was off for the afternoon so I started walking home. On the way, I ran into a few seminarians from the NAC and ended up wandering over by the Pantheon and Santa Maria sopra Minerva before splitting from them. Once again I tried to find a bus stop to get myself home, but I kind of wandered a little too far north, and realized that this was a part of Rome I hadn't really been in before - so hey, why not just walk and explore? I finally ended up back at Bernardi, had some lunch (gotta love grocery stores...) and then ended up going to the Latin orientation class. On the way back from class we walked past a church that we have been wanting to visit but was never open before - it was open today! It is the Church of the Holy Apostles, and when we went in we discovered that it contains the tombs of two Apostles - Phillip and James (the Less)... only in Rome. Then we made it home again, only to have other people ask to go out to dinner -- so of course we went. We had some great Italian food and finished it off with some Italian drinks and REALLY good gelato, and now, here I am again, home once more! So that's my day, a pretty typical one here.

This Saturday, really early in the morning, I am leaving by train for Firenze (Florence)!! I am staying overnight there in a religious guesthouse before coming back to Rome by train on Sunday night. I am excited to go to Florence, I have heard a lot about the town that I want to go see (even though it is going to be really really crowded with always is). I need to go this weekend for two reasons - 1) my school schedule isn't too crazy yet, so now is the time to do any more traveling, and 2) I have some extra days on my pre-paid Railpass that I need to use before October 26th or I lose them. Works for me! :)

I will return to blogging (hopefully) on Monday with info and photos from Florence (find out more about Florence here)!



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