Monday, September 14, 2009

Chiesa Nuova

On Saturday afternoon I had another serendipitious encounter: returning to Santa Maria in Vallicella for to venerate St Philip, I found a French group (seminarians?) in course of singing a beautiful Novus Ordo Mass in the saint's chapel. There were four priests concelebrating, with two deacons and two others serving, plus about a dozen men who sang music in several parts, in both French and Italian. They all seemed notably pious. Having arrived at the start of the Offertory, I was delighted to find, through attendance to the prayers, that it was indeed a Votive of St Philip Neri: God has been very kind to me in stirring up devotion to this saint, for the good of my soul.

(Much later that night, I read over the readings and such for the Mass of St Philip, so as to supply as it were the half I'd missed. Interesting, isn't it, that one can miss the first half of Mass and not miss it, but not contrariwise; for the Liturgy of the Word is ordered to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, not vice versa - the Fore-Mass by itself is but a paraliturgy; though in Latin, it is a Missa sicca!)

I venerated the saint at closer quarters eventually, but first there was a baptism in the chapel. (Will I see all seven sacraments before I leave Rome?! I've seen now Baptism, the Eucharist, Confessions being heard, a Marriage, Ordinations... only Confirmation and Extreme Unction, which God avert, to go!)

In the huge sacristy, which itself could be a church, complete with a supermassive statue of St Philip above a noble altar, I was able to obtain a guide to the church, ever so many cards of St Philip and the Chiesa Nuova, and best of all a holy medal, which one of the Oratorian fathers kindly blessed for me. I saw another good son of St Philip patiently waiting in the confessional as I left the sacred edifice.

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