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 27

A Tale of Two Popes

Hmm. Time flies...

Well, as many of you guessed, yes, I was at the Papal Mass for the Close of the Year of the Eucharist and the canonization of 5 newly-declared saints, celebrated on Sunday in St. Peter's Square. Maybe some of you even saw it on EWTN or something. If you did, I was one of those speck a little to the front and to the right of the obelisk.... right in amidst the Chileans! They were certainly exuberant about the declaration of one of their own as a saint, the joy was evident!

For details on the Mass, click here. Or click here for the Pope's Homily and the Angelus message.

Again, sadly, no camera! And boy oh boy, even more than on Sunday did I wish I had one this morning! Why, you ask? How about an early morning Mass with 5 of our Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis priests, 7 sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, and a few of us laity, in the Clementine chapel in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica, literally AT the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle? Yup, I got a voice message late last night from a good priest friend of mine who is in Rome for the week with a few others from the Archdiocese, and he basically said that if I wanted to join them, they were leaving the house at 6:45am. Well, duh, of course I was going! So I got up at 5am, took the subway and then a bus down to the Casa Santa Maria (the American priests' house in Rome), and turned up on their doorstep as they were leaving (quite the surprised double-look I got too, at my cheery "Buongiorno!" as they came out!). We all took the bus then to St. Peter's and before I knew it we were walking across St. Peter's Square. It was about 7:30am at that point, the Square was beautifully still and quiet, and there was just one bored security guard checking bags at the columnade. We made our way up the front stairs of St. Peter's after joyfully greeting the sisters and another of our priests, and for the first time I walked into the main nave of St. Peter's to the sound of... silence. It was so beautiful, very quiet, with just the soft sounds of Masses being celebrated all over the basilica, with interspersed singing of Alleluias and Sanctuses. My entire soul just got quiet the moment we came through the door! The sisters and I spent some time in prayer, while the priests went to get vested for Mass, before the sight of three Masses being celebrated at three side altars, each with just a priest and a few of the faithful along the communion rail. How beautiful!

When it was time to go downstairs, it was so neat to go carefully down the steps, with priests and the faithful who had just celebrated Mass passing us going up the steps, greeting us with quiet smiles. For those of you who have been there before, you can picture the scene of the ambulatory around the confessio, with little chapels branching out around it like rays of the sun, and as we walked down the splendid hallway every single chapel had a Mass being celebrated, as we walked by them we caught drifts of words of different languages, snatches of song, and a bit of incense, a bell in the distance, heartfelt Amens behind us.... and then we come to just another entrance, so it seems, but it's not, this is the Clementine chapel, which was built up against the tomb of St. Peter. Through the front of the altar you can see part of the marble tomb that was built by Constantine back in the 4th century. It is very beautiful inside, unfortunately... no camera. And after doing a search on the internet, it seems that there really are not many pictures of the chapel online.

I guess this is just going to have to be one of those memories that I'll have to treasure for myself! :)


  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger Christopher DeMars said…

    Ah, the memories! Reading your blog makes me want to return to Italia subito!
    Forse, ritornero' qualche giorno...

  • At 2:14 AM, Blogger greggm said…

    This is off topic, but thought you might like this:


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