Monday, September 14, 2009

A Roman Afternoon and Evening

Yesterday in the later afternoon I walked over to San Giovanni dei Fiorentini again, and then paid another visit to St Philip at the Chiesa Nuova. Later still, I made my way along the Via Papalis (currently renamed after some usurper), and paid a visit at Santi XII Apostoli. I arrived as a Sunday evening Mass was in progress at a side altar, the priest just making the minor elevation at the Per ipsum, so I adored and worshipped with the congregation from then until the communion. Just when I was expecting to soon hear the last prayer and receive a blessing, instead the celebrant started up some infernal song in the most appalling flat nasal bass voice, which drove me away from that altar.

I was glad, for this prompted me to go across to the high altar, where I found the confessio, with steps leading down into a crypt: and there I venerated the relics of the Apostles Philip and James the Less (the other ten apostles are present in spirit, apparently). Soon enough the Franciscans running the basilica ushered us out, but as we left I heard a priceless comment from one elderly English lady to her husband, as they looked at a poster about Padre Pio, whose relics are on display at another Roman church: "He's dead now," she said.

Very close by, I found yet another little church, on the Corso, where Exposition was in progress: so I went from seeing Our Lord in the Sacrament to seeing Him again. But I couldn't stay, for I had an appointment: at Ristorante Abruzzi (Piazza dei SS Apostoli) I was meeting a prelate of my acquaintance for dinner at half seven.

"Eccellenza!" quoth I - His Lordship had just arrived, and was incognito, so the staff called him Padre, which greatly amused him, since (being close to the Greg.) it probably meant they thought him a Jesuit. His modest episcopal ring perhaps wasn't showy enough... since the situation was informal and he wasn't in full regalia, I decided not to genuflect on the left knee after all, as being rather over the top given the circumstances.

You know, sometimes with old friends you just take up where you left off - we had a very enjoyable conversation, and before we realized four hours had passed. Settling the bill (about €85, quite decent for a smorgasbord of antipasti, two bottles of the house wine, perfect Roman proper spaghetti carbonara, main course - I had vitello tonnato - with a side dish of vegetables, then dessert, coffee, and complimentary liqueurs), we walked along, still having a good chat, past Trajan's Column as far as the Colosseum, at which point I had to head off back to San Gregorio. It was an hour after curfew, so I snuck in...

Ad multos annos!


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that you should genuflect to a bishop in Rome anyway. Does one not genuflect only to the Pope when in Rome?

Joshua said...

How embarrassment: that would have been a real faux pas in that case.

I may try and be a Traddie, but the lore one must master is almost Talmudic in its complexity.

Thank you for informing me, Your esteemed Pseudonymity!

You grace my humble blog...

(Have I met you recently?)